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Buhari issues warning against civil war

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By Timothy Akintola

Nigeria’s fragile status quo can not afford to contemplate another civil war.

The 1967-1970 civil war in Nigeria which threatened the federation, forged what the country has held together as a nation afterwards. This war that witnessed the deaths of over a million people due to the plan of the Biafran communities to secede, spearheaded by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu remains a life changing event for the country, especially the Igbo society. While some believe this war to have been triggered by tribal alienation, others (especially marxists) have continually asserted that the civil war was a class war, noting that the lower class were colossally the damages of the war. Either way, this event remains an unrecoverable scar in the history of the nation.

In light of the numerous tribal differences that has occurred since the civil war, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly warned that the country’s fragility cannot afford another civil war. Having actively witnessed the 1967-1970 civil war, the President understands the colossal damages caused by the war. This concern was similarly raised by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, during a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) event earlier this month. According to him, the nation must collectively work together towards curbing any indication that would enact a tribal war.

It is insufficient to only warn against the danger that the country faces.

However, it is quite insufficient to merely diagnose the imminent danger. As the country’s Commander in Chief of the Federation, President Buhari must work closely and responsively towards ensuring the prevention of this phenomenon, which is the biggest reassurance that Nigerians and the world needs. It is a widely accepted conviction that no nation is strong-willed enough to survive two civil wars. The socioeconomic, political and cultural costs are too huge to contemplate another war. Researcher, Dr. Adetunji Ogunyemi of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) asserted that the 30 months of civil war cost the country, not just huge monetary value but also the immense loss of lives.

Like every other war, that come with direct and indirect damages like death, destruction of private properties and public infrastructures, massive displacements and psychological and physical trauma. The Nigerian civil war immensely affected the lives of numerous Nigerians and it would only be correct to work against experiencing this brutal reality again. It is no mistake that years after the civil war, the country is yet to recover from the consequences of the unnecessarily myopic war. Most issues that led to the war are being reincarnated in the socio-political spaces. Remember Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu was very critical about the corrupt political profiteers, tribalist, nepotist that have tainted the country’s image in the international scene with their corrupt practices. It is not hard to find these practices in Nigeria which are presently on a larger scale.

Tribal alienation, sectionalism and injustice, major catalysts of civil war.

Though there are numerous factors that fuel civil wars, tribal alienation, sectionalism and obvious injustice in the management of a state are common catalysts. Equity and justice are pivotal foundation to the stability and peacekeeping of every society. Wars are not instantly enacted. It is a buildup of systemic frustrations that immensely affect a group of people who, per perceived inequity, different sections revolt against the designed constructions, in a bid to correct the dilemma which mostly lies within power and wealth distribution.

While Nigeria hasn’t particularly witnessed complete social equity, especially in terms of power sharing and wealth allocation since independence, the past seven years under the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari has seen this status quo deteriorate even more. The sectionalism and tribal alienation in this governmental tenure has been self-evident. Terrorists continually enacting targeted attacks, farms and homes are being destroyed, numerous families displaced, cost of living is on a constant surge and numerous citizens are forcing their ways out of the country for greener pasture. All these are indications that the country is on the brink of an evident sociopolitical collapse.

Present insurgency has shaped the country into a war-like situation.

Even though the country is not experiencing another civil war presently, it faces a continued insurgency that has shaped the country into being in a war-like situation. Terrorist attacks have caused numerous deaths, kidnappings, displacements and destruction of properties and these attacks which are targeted at certain communities pose the impression of ethnic and religious bigotry. These terrorists have accrued so much power that they now go on to disrupt correctional facilities, infiltrating the country’s defense and even attacking the presidential convoy.

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