When I posted the tweet above, I was clear and unambiguous about the meaning, and I remain clear about the meaning of my tweet even as I pen these words. But as is usual with all of us, these unambiguous words are being appropriated by others to mean what they would prefer that it means, and I believe that clarity is of utmost importance at this point, and I have set myself the task of clearing up any and all ambiguities, on the subject.
A man might be shown his relatives, it is even possible that he might have to be shown his siblings in certain circumstances, but nobody shows a man his friends. I am a man entering the evening season of my life. I have lived over five decades, I was born a Nigerian, and I was born during the genocidal uncivil war. I have lived in Nigeria for the entirety of my life, save for a brief period in my youth, and I have never desired to live anywhere else in the world. I am a Nigerian through and through, Whether I have liked it or not. I have never liked it.
Nigeria has never given me joy. I have never seen my relationship with my country as being anything other than abusive, and I have been constrained for my entire lifetime by my nationality. The land is rich and prosperous to be sure, and the people are amongst the best that you would find anywhere in the world, and I have seen a bit of the world, but the state and its rulers have been rapaciously evil for the entirety of my life in this country. My nationality is an enduring handicap with which I have struggled for the better part of my life.
My handicap was introduced to me when it was time to attend university. I would routinely select the then University Of Ife and Law as my first choice university and course of study, and I always scored in the upper 260s in the JAMB examination, but the “Merit Cutoff” mark was always in the 270s. It took me several years before I came to the knowledge of the fact that the university would admit only 20% on merit, and the remaining 80% was allotted to students on the basis of educationally disadvantaged states, catchment areas, VC’s list, Dean’s list, and such other discretionary powers. My nationality was a debilitating handicap, even as a child.
Today is not the day to speak to my early introduction to the inequities of my country, but it is important that you understand that I have been painfully familiar with the evil and unjust character of the Nigerian state. I was so bitter with the Nigerian state, that I had made up my mind whilst yet in the university, that I would not proceed on the NYSC program, which I have always believed to be a lying attempt at cobbling together a false sense of national integration, when those that were promoting it, do not believe in the program, but view it as another drainpipe of the national resources.
But in the midst of my disenchantment with the state, I have always believed that a potentially great nation is trapped within the Nigerian state, and that it would emerge given time, and the right leadership. Buhari has systematically destroyed my hopes for the emergence of the Nigerian nation, and in the place of hope, I am now filled with despair, and I am forced to re-examine the content of my early beliefs in the potential greatness of the Nigerian state and the possibilities of national unity and progress.
For the avoidance of any doubt, I remain open to any effort designed to help birth the Nigerian nation, but I do not believe that the rulers of Nigeria, be those within my home region or at the national level, share the dreams of national integration based on equality of citizenship, or even the concept of citizenship and governance subsumed beneath the law. These are the circumstances in which the above tweet was posted, and these are the objective realities of my Nigerian existence.
Nigeria is not compulsory. The only thing that would appear certain for the Nigerian would appear to be unending exploitation by the state and its rulers, and violent abridgment of rights that do not appear to enjoy any protection by the state. The wide variety of things available to snuff out the lives of those labeled Nigerians would appear to be limitless, and the capacity and will of the Nigerian state to protect the Nigerian has become demonstrably discretionary, instead of universal. Nigeria has become a vast killing field.
It is in the light of these truths that I have come to decide, and do declare without ambiguity, that Nigeria is not sacrosanct, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with demanding a negotiation of the basis of its unity. I owe it to my children, and you owe it to your children too, to examine the basis of the Nigerian state, and of our membership of the Nigerian state, our abridged citizenship, and the future of the state, and of the children that we shall have to leave behind when the bells might have tolled for us. These are pertinent questions in need of clarification before our duties as parents might be said to be done, in the face of the realities of Nigeria as a killing field, under Buhari’s supervision.
Peace unto all men and women of goodwill.