Urgency After The Certificate of Returns as The President-elect At a Time Like This.


In 1964, and just after the General Election, the equivalent of today's Presidential Election, the old Western Region of Nigeria descended into turmoil. Persons and houses, of those within that were perceived by the generality of that area as traitors, were torched. The leadership at the time fiddled while the West burned and treated the situation as regional. The rest is history. We ought to learn from that history. The summation of that history is that firstly, the Old West continued to burn - just like the North now burns. Secondly, the military came into our lives from nowhere - not particularly led by someone from the area that was burning. Thirdly, there was a countercoup by those who felt that the first coup was not balanced and that eventually led to the civil war. The first and third happening were the aftermaths of lack of decisive actions by the leaders, each of the time, and it eventually consumed us and them in the process.

Votes cast and those not cast are statements, no doubt; each statement must be respected. The percentage of those that did not vote could be attributed to apathy or nothing-ever-change mentality, whilst vote-for or vote-against makes its own statement. No responsible leadership should ignore any of these statements. The first dangerous thing is to do nothing, because soon it could allow the ill feeling of the generality of an area to seep into the larger area or even into the security apparatus: don't forget that members of the security units live among the people and can easily share the same opinion if nothing is urgently done to douse tension. There was an incident of an advanced intelligent report of a carnage on a church in Zaria; the police was said to be indifferent when contacted. At such point, it becomes worrisome and at that point, the ill feeling becomes uncontainable.

Back to examples in history: it was alleged that General Danjuma, then a lieutenant in the army, pulled the trigger that killed General Ironsi - Danjuma was a member of the security apparatus guarding Ironsi at the time; Ironsi had fiddled when part of the country had a perceived sense of injustice. Lorient Kabila of the Congo Democratic Republic was killed by a member of those guarding him; Indira Ghandi of India was assassinated by a member of her guard, etc. In each of the examples, there was a debacle on or in the offing, which was allowed to seep into the ranks in the security apparatus. Common sense dictates that responsible leadership needs to take decisive actions at a time like this. My analogy points in the direction of politics being allowed to seep into security that protects the community and even the leaders; and trust me, it is not an impossibility. Time is very important:perceptions take time to gain grounds, but when it does, no section or aspect of a community is immune.

The results of the last Presidential Poll created a pattern that is strange and the figures that came out are creating a perception, in the North, that does not bode well for the entity called Nigeria. The dichotomy between the north and the south became manifest, particularly by the block voting in the South-east and South-south that favours Jonathan massively in the region to over 95 percent. Somebody says, even Saddam Hussein did not get such figure in his one-party state. In the North, it was somewhat balanced even though Buhari won all of the area - Jonathan still had a sizeable showing which some analysts attributed to the machinery of PDP in the area; however, the generality of the North perceives the pattern as lopsided. Their anger is now on their kins and kith that voted for Jonathan, whom they see as traitors - that is reminiscent of the feeling of the Old West, 37 years ago.

Everybody has the right of choice of course, including those in the South-east and the South-south; whether that choice is dichotomy or not. What matters now is what Jonathan does with the perceived dangerous situation, which outcome he had little influence. If I were Jonathan, I will leave Sambo in Abuja and journey to the North now more than any other time - after all, he is still the president of the whole country and the commanderin-chief of the armed forces: today, I will be in Katsina having lunch with General Buhari in the latter's house - not in the capacity concerning the election but that of the survival of the nation. You never know, that gesture of condescending from Aso Rock to the simple house of the old general in Katsina could heal some wounded hearts.

I don't know if the president reads this, but I think it is the right thing to do. A friend called to say that maybe we should start thinking of going our own way. I asked him who will lead that crusade... will it be Jonathan that has the certificate to rule the whole country, who will now be satisfied with ruling a decimated Nigeria, or who? Going out of his way to pacify those that feel aggrieved by his victory could only be value added and not otherwise. Time to heal is now, because from our relative short history, we have seen the consequences of fiddling when a part of the entity, Nigeria, perceives injustice. Tanks and bullets do not heal hearts, it is only dialogue that does. If the country see Jonathan and Buhari together, or with Ribadu - parleying to uphold the sanctity of one indivisible Nigeria, I am of the opinion that 80% of the problem is solved.


Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, Zaria.