The Nigerian state, undermines its own long term integrity and cohesion, with the promotion of graded citizenship, preservation of historical rights, and the blatant injustices thus engendered, nurtured, and promoted…
How do you reconcile the preservation of unjust historical privileges, under the guise of policies like; quota system, educationally disadvantaged states, land mass based revenue allocation formulas?
For every time that the Nigerian state has demanded to know my state of origin, it has been to assure the apportionment of some institutional disadvantage or the other, by reason of my father’s father’s place of birth, a location that certainly wasn’t known as Nigeria.
Be patriotic! Organs and agents of the Nigerian state demands, rather like demanding that the victim of a most brutal rape, pretend that the mating was consensual, and the consummation of a dalliance based on mutual acquiescence.
One of the lies underpinning the very foundation of the Nigerian state, is the presumption of citizenship based on nationality, but this presumption cannot stand up to objective scrutiny. Citizenship is the foundation upon which patriotism may be built, and citizenship rights cannot be unequal, and or unjust.
The refusal of the Nigerian state, to allow a level playing field for all its members, have ensured, that citizenship rights are uncommon to all, and the instrumentality of the state, is leveraged to guarantee historical advantages to some, whilst disadvantaging yet more. How does an Emeka, buy into the vision of “One Nigeria” whilst conscious of the historical and wicked discrepancies in the allocation of citizenship rights?
My great great grandfather was a prince of Igbajo, a warrior. Or so, I was told. He eventually found his way to Imesi-Ile, in present day Osun state. My family never owned any land in Imesi because we were deemed settlers threat. Any land we own, we either bought or were given. I am as far as the Nigerian state is concerned, an Indigene of Osun state.
I have been to Imesi on a grand total of 2 times, both excursions enforced by the obligations to witness my paternal grandparents’ funerals. The last of the pair died 30yrs ago. And I have spent less time in Imesi, than have been spent in the average Lekki traffic on any day of the week. But I am an indigene of Osun state.
I grew up in Ibadan, that’s in Oyo State, should you be unaware. And its dusty lanes, bore the tire marks from the several iterations of my earliest cars. I came to Lagos as a 17yrs old, in 1985, and I have never left to live anywhere else. But for a brief interregnum. Lagos is the burial ground of my youth, and I have no substance anywhere outside of the city I call my home. But I am an indigene of Osun state.
The historical liability of my citizenship began to manifest when it was time to go to the university, “Educationally Disadvantaged State” “Quota System” “VC’s List” “Catchment Area” etc, entered my daily lexicon, and these were the several explanations offered for seeing less qualified persons, get ahead of me on the queue for rights that should enure equally to all. You know the story.
My children were born in Lagos. My work and substance are Lagos based and taxed, but my children are not Lagosians. The Nigerian state, undermines its own long term integrity and cohesion, with the promotion of graded citizenship, preservation of historical rights, and the blatant injustices thus engendered, nurtured, and promoted. Each time that I have filled forms and described my children as being from Osun state, I have helped perpetuate the lies undergirding Nigeria.
Aboriginal rights may not be conflated with citizenship rights, and it is important to point out that aboriginal rights, properly administered, guarantees that nations, addresses historical wrongs. What we have in Nigeria, are not the promotion and or preservation of aboriginal rights, what we have, can only be likened to internal colonialism, and or apartheid, the several reactions to this unjust system, are what will eventually kill Nigeria. If we don’t figure out a way to reinvent it.
Excerpted from “Dele’s Observatory”
First published 11 January, 2017.