Deep inside the complexities of Nigeria's political landscape, a stark reality of the intentional division of the groveling masses along religious and ethnic lines remains prevalent, and is a useful strategy of the ruling class. This sophisticated strategy which is orchestrated and perpetuated by the ruling or political class, regardless of political affiliation, profession or background, cleverly serves to ensure that the suffering masses remain fragmented, unable to unite with a collective voice against the oppressive status quo. So, as events unfold, it becomes evidently clear that the sufferings of the peoples in Nigeria are not merely a consequence of circumstance or of natural making, rather a well-engineered system is crafted, designed, and policed by agents of the state to keep the masses below the poverty lines forever.
Nigerian politicians, whose through their cynical actions and inactions - all of whom can be safely synonymized as crooks, exhibit a shrewdness that rivals the political stratagem of many ancient monarchs and emperors of medieval Europe, recorded in modern history.
The intentional fanning of religious and ethnic flames serves as a potential state-of-the-art weapon in their arsenal, strategically wielded to deepen the discord among the populace, capitalizing on their religious and ethnic difference. By dividing the citizenry, politicians have managed to sustain this fractured society where unity in true sense of it, is an elusive dream, warranting that the potential for a unified front against the oppressive ruling elite, and in pursuit of a common national purpose, remains a distant mirage.
The religious fault lines that occasionally erupt into full-blown crises are not merely spontaneous outbreak of tensions, but calculated gimmicks on the political chessboard. The government's involvement in religious matters serve a dual purpose – diverting attention from systemic issues, as well as perpetuating the division among the people. The result is a populace preoccupied with internal strife, leaving little or no attention for the demands for a sustainable change that would benefit all and sundry.
Similarly, the deliberate stoking of ethnic tensions serve the interests of those in power. Ethnic and religious differences are manipulated to create this narrative of "us versus them," ensuring that the suffering masses remain divided and focused on inter-ethnic and/or religious opponents, rather than a collectively striving for a better future.
Behind the curtain of political maneuvering lies the government's vested interest in the country's wealth and power crunch. The perpetuation of religious and ethnic conflicts is only a smokescreen to divert attention from government officials, deliberate shortcomings and creating an environment where the masses are too embroiled in internal battles to focus on the systemic issues plaguing the nation. In essence, internal confrontation amongst the masses become a shield that protects the ruling elite from accountability.
The prospect of a revolution in Nigeria is systematically quashed by the intricate political manipulations at play. As long as the masses remain divided along religious and ethnic lines, the likelihood of a unified potent force demanding change continues to dwindles. The very fabric of a united front essential for any revolutionary movement, is torn asunder by the intentional divisions sown by those in power. This was self-evident with the #EndSars/End to Police brutality protest cum revolution, whose momentum climaxed in the final quarter of 2020, but was short-lived by the virtue of this endemic problem being discussed in this piece. Also, what transpired during the past 2023 presidential election is another striking example to back up this argument.
On the other hand, the concept of "One Nigeria” takes on a ridiculous posture when objectively looked at, considering the lack of cohesion that exists amongst the peoples in it, and the animosity towards themselves. While the ruling class ostensibly cry for national unity every now and then, reciting it as the national anthem or pledge, including their mouth-pieces, it only serves as a mechanism for eternal perpetuation of the sufferings and unaccounted exploitation of national resources in various sectors and regions, all by the same ruling class and their imperialist enablers from the West. As long as the masses remain ensnared in the web of division, their collective voice muted by internal strife, the status quo prevails, and the suffering persists unabated.
Some have argued that, since a united form of revolution is now far from realization, attempts towards regionalism must be considered. However, the same ruling class who transcends ethnic boundaries or religious affiliation have prevented the devolution of power from the center, where it is easier for them to manipulate everyone from their control room.
Nigeria's political landscape is marked by a strategic and Machiavellian approach to governance. The intentional division of the masses along religious and ethnic lines serve as a powerful weapon in the hands of politicians, ensuring that the suffering populace remain fragmented and incapable of mounting a cohesive and profound resistance. As the echoes of division continue to gain momentum, especially for those in the East – who agitates for restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra, and an exit from the Nigerian union, the possibility of a revolution appears to be increasingly distant.
It is important to emphasize that should the East succeed in their quest to exit Nigeria, the problem is not going to disappear with them. Infact, it is likely to intensify, as by that time, the ruling class must have tightened every noose of escapade for anyone else. Although, they may have lost their favorite "bogeyman", that are always at the receiving end of every altercation. However, they are going to ensure that the grip they have on the rest of the masses shall never be loosened. And they would deploy every potential and kinetic asset at their disposal, to make that happen.
The challenge before present and future average citizen of Nigeria, is to unravel the mystery behind the political calculus that sustains this "divide and conquer” system which has been put in place to their own detriment and misery. As for those agitating for a better future outside the Nigerian union, the question to asked when considering the possibility of achieving their desired goal is not, "IF" but "When". Only time is to be considered and nothing else. Their minds are made up and that is final.
Written By Chima O. Biafra
Edited By Enenienwite Ikechukwu
For Family Writers Press International