Nigeria’s current political, economic and social problems are important phases in our national progress that must be squarely appreciated not for the lousy debates they generate from the disgruntled section of the population but for the corollary they are setting for our destiny as Africa’s leader. Throughout history and world over, nations and empires scale back to due certain internal or external constraints. When they emerge from these challenges, they come out stronger. Examples abound throughout history: ancient Persia, Germany, and nearer home, Rwanda.
Ancient Persia had attained the height of development two millenniums ago. Later, it faced many challenges especially external aggressions, particularly from the Roman Empire, which weakened her progress and took away part of her territory. Persia emerged from her debacles and became a strong empire again. It regained her territories and expanded her frontiers.
Germany was united by Otto von Bismarck and it became a reference point of progress in Europe in the 19th century. Hitler’s international campaign to rule the world was hinged on the achievements of Bismarck. However, as soon as Hitler was defeated, Germany became a pariah state of sort. The Cold War that ensued practically divided the country – the East Germany and the West Germany – for almost five decades. While the West kept the tempo of their progress running, the East slowed down. In 1989, Germany united once again and since then, it has been an economic powerhouse.
Rwanda’s socio-political configuration bequeathed to it by Belgian colonialists had been the country’s source of tension that erupted into genocide in 1994. The world didn’t act until it was too late, and the Rwandans genocide became one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time. Today, Rwanda have overcome that by understanding themselves and fashioning out a new socio-political landscape. They have turned around their differences into “oneness”. They see themselves first as Rwandans, second as Rwandans and to the moon and back as Rwandans. Although their politics is still developing, overall, one can say that Rwanda is an African example of development story.
Now, back to my country Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria and my convictions for the country have no limit. The ‘Fulanisation’ or ‘Islamization’ debates funneled by some reactionary, misguided and ridiculous individuals and groups can lead to crisis unless arrested by determined Federal Government. The President’s near silence on this matter of national importance that threatens our national security is not acceptable. He must do what he must do as our leader to call to order the harassment of Fulani’s around mostly southern parts of Nigeria.
To all Nigerians, new developments around the world present Nigeria with opportunities to keep leading Africa in world affairs. When we harass ourselves within our country, nobody will take us seriously. We keep presenting ourselves and the nation as a laughing stock in the global arena. I hate it when such ridiculous things come from elder statesmen who should better know the act of positive silence.
I believe that Nigeria will come out of these trials stronger and more determined to lead Africa at the world’s dining table. I believe Nigeria will use all her credentials and potentials to occupy Africa’s permanent seat at the UN Security Council. In that hope, I call on all concerned to support the country in their own way towards achieving peace on a sound basis that all Nigerians and Africans will be proud of.
Muhammad Reza Ajani Suleiman, Department of Political Science and International Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria