Nigeria, Ethnic Agitations and A Desire To Reposition The Country

Lawyer: Victor Aguku

I am not sure that the caption clearly captures what this brief article is all about but I will make an attempt to present my point in clear terms.

For some time now there has been this agitation by various ethnicities and or geopolitical zones in Nigeria for a national conference to discuss the various challenges facing the nation with a view to finding a fair and long lasting solution. Some have even called for an outright balkanisation of the country. However, all the agitators seem to agree or present the notion that a conference to discuss these challenges will solve all or almost solve all the inherent defects and challenges confronting the nation but I beg to disagree.

In as much as there is an urgent need for us as a people within a geographical entity called Nigeria to confront our fears headlong and tackle the challenges facing us in national discuss I do observe that there is an inherent defect in all these agitations which we have either overlooked or have failed to recognise as the most important factor in the challenges facing us. This factor is our regards or disregards or value or none value of HUMAN LIFE. Everything happening in Nigeria today points clearly to the fact that we have almost a zero value or regards for human life. What a few Nigerians have value or regards for is personal life and this value or regards is even contestable.

Allow me a little digression here so that I will be able to explain my thesis in a clearer way. We always say that all humans are created equal and therefore no race should feel superior or inferior to the other. That is a fact but the error of judgement here is that whereas all humans are created equal not all humans evolved or developed at the same rate or time. This is the crucial difference and this is what we have to accept as a fact so that we may understand where we are coming from, where we are and where we hope to get to. I have lived in Nigeria for more than 90% of my life time both as a child and as a working adult. I can fairly understand and analyse certain events and tendencies in my country. I have lived abroad now for just about 10% of my adult working life and as such cannot help but always consciously and unconsciously keep comparing and analysing what I see here with what I see in my country.

I have consistently observed the truth that all humans are created equal from what I daily encounter with the daily activities of my host when compared with that of my country. They all have the same idiosyncrasies, make same mistakes, have same ambitions, fears and expectations all as individuals but the great difference between them and my country is the level they have evolved in terms of their understanding and value for human life. Everything done on earth by man including laws and inventions is geared towards human life and nothing more. Nothing has ever been created by man on earth and it was meant for something else e.g an invention created solely for computer or a law made solely for a car. Ultimately it ends up for the use and or good of human life. The developed West places so much value on human life that they will go to any extent to protect, investigate and respond to any event that affects a single human. This they do because they know the truth that what affects one affects the other irrespective of whom or where or when or how it happened. They make sure that they do everything possible to prevent a recurrence or at least understand what caused it and work towards preventing a recurrence of the event if not favourable to human life.

This picture is different in Nigeria. You have a situation where someone is involved in a sad event rather than try to understand what happened, how it happened and seek ways to prevent a future occurrence you hear some Nigerians blaming the victim and saying all sorts of debased words, others will start looking for someone else to blame and calling for all sorts of vindictive measures without even a single care for the life involved or to understand what happened with a view to preventing another occurrence. It is also in Nigeria that you see a fellow human being consciously going to procure fake drugs to sell to people who are sick and need drugs to get well. This is the height of absolute lack of regards or value for human life yet you see these demons in human form claiming that they are merely doing business and they even fight to be allowed to continue in their mass poisoning of humanity. You also have people in Nigeria who rather than execute the contract to build roads will rather embezzle the funds and allow the roads to rot then when accidents happen on these roads blames will begin to be traded against the wrong or secondary culprits. If those who embezzle these funds have any value for human life they will never abandon that road contract or do a shoddy job. I say this because the money they usually budget for every one road is enough to build 10 other roads to international standard. So it is the complete lack of value or regards to self and other human life that makes these demons in human form over bloat these contracts yet find it difficult to execute it

What about executive lawlessness and judicial irresponsibility. I will talk about this with a simply illustration. (Major) Al Mustapha despite all the judicial corruption, rascality and irresponsibility was tried, found guilty of murder and sentenced accordingly but today he is a free man and is even being turned into a national icon. What a pathetic nation. If it is claimed that he is innocent then who is responsible for the murder/s he was charged with, what is being done to find those who are guilty or did the dead commit suicide. This is the same way politicians who claim to desire to serve human beings will sponsor and send fellow demons to go and kill the very humans they profess to desire to serve. How does that speak of their value or regards for those human life. Recently, in the social media there have been videos and pictures of fellow Nigerians butchering their fellow human beings in broad day light, the Aluu incident is still very fresh in our memories. How can one be convinced that these demons have any value or regards for human life

Many of the ills befalling our nation Nigeria will begin to be addressed and solutions found when we begin to address the issue of our value for human life in concrete terms, then we move to the next level of value for other life forms e.g value for the lives of animals. This is the only virtue that will cure or drastically reduce corruption even under the present political circumstances in Nigeria. It is also the virtue that will promote convivial existence and mutual respects between the various ethnicities. It is the virtue that will drastically reduce incompetence and I will explain my points

A person or official that places high value or regards for human life will think several times over before taking any decision that will likely adversely affect any human life and in most instances will do everything possible to seek an alternative way to do whatever he/she intends to do. An incompetent official or person charged with any duty who has high regards for human life will always accept his/her level of competence or lack of it and seek help from a competent person rather than try to cover up his/her deficiencies. This is why in the developed West you see officials having no problems resigning from posts or saying the truth when confronted with any situation. A nation that values or have regards for human life will do everything possible to uphold its laws irrespective of whom is involved instead of covering up when certain people are involved

Nigeria and Nigerians have to as a matter of urgent necessity put up laws, devices and tools to ensure that there is genuine high regards or value for human life infact and in law. The Human Rights Laws need to be upgraded urgently, the fundamental objectives and directive principles enshrined in the constitution needs to be made justiciable. Nigerians should be able to sue the responsible government or agency when they get hurt on the roads or lack clean drinkable tap water and get sick thereby or are unable to afford a habitable accommodation based on their legitimate salaries due to unfavorable or failed government housing policy etc

The National Human Rights Commission should be immediately upgraded, decentralised and made completely autonomous. It should be given the same status as the Central Bank of Nigeria or even made a tier of government. This level of drastic steps needs to be taken if Nigeria has to pull out of the debased human mud it finds itself now in respect of our value for human life

Victor Aguku.