Opinion

Cheta Nwanze: Nyako’s Memo To Northern Governors Incites Hate, Has No Merit

No one in his right mind can deny that Nigeria is a very funny country. Nigeria, sadly, punishes excellence, and rewards incompetence. So it was no surprise that I woke up on Saturday morning to find my entire holiday ruined by someone who, in order to cover up the fact that he has not done an effective job as a state chief executive since he’s been on that seat since 2007, decided to stick his hand in some red paint and draw a bull’s eye on my back.

Let’s calm down now for a second, and take a look at Mr. Nyako’s letter: in it, he used a phrase which has me in a cold sweat every evening since then: he said, “One is quite sure that if you had condemned the cold-blooded murder of political and military leaders of Northern and Western Nigerian origins in the night of 15 January, 1966 by your sons it would not have led to the subsequent massacre of the innocent and the Nigerian Civil War”. To my mind, there is no doubt who is he talking about. To my mind, and with the knowledge of my country’s history that I have, there is no doubt, none absolutely, about where this can lead to. To think he has supporters! At the risk of being mistaken for an apostle of hatred, Mr. Nyako should know that he is not the only one who can name dates, neither is he the only one with a long memory. I have some dates for him: 1945, 1953, 1954, 1966, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, and this list is not complete!

For the records, and just to be clear, when some people tell me that Mr. Nyako’s letter has “merits”, I want to scream. You see, I have read Mein Kampf. In that book, Adolf Hitler made a few arguments, which in the context of the time he lived in, had merit. But given his incitement to hate, we have all agreed to discard that book in the junk bin. When someone preaches hate, which Mr. Nyako has done, do not tell me to look at “the merit of his argument”. He could have made the same case without passing coded signals to people to kill their fellow countrymen.

In all of this, one must be cool, calm, and truthful. In Nigeria, we have a huge problem. And the only way we can understand, and solve this problem, and the problems it brings along with it, is to understand one another. There is no “north” as demagogues like Mr. Nyako will have us believe. “North”, was a colonial creation, and it is time to move on from that. Indeed, in my three decades plus on the planet, I’m yet to hear anyone from David Mark’s Benue state describe himself as a “Northerner”.

Bits and Bobs

The army is seeking an extension of the emergency rule in the Boko Haram stricken states. I support that move. And being that Murtala Nyako has not deigned it fit to visit the town of Mubi almost two years after an attack there killed 40 students, I recommend that the emergency rule be implemented properly, with the governor being relieved of office until peace is restored.

Sadly, even our army sometimes appear unable to count. Thus it was that fresh from celebrating their “heroic rescue” of kidnapped girls, we were embarrassed by the news that not only were said girls not rescued, but that apparently, even more than we previously thought, were taken.

In more humiliating news, Pakistan’s Prez decided that Nigeria was too hot for him to handle, and has put off a scheduled junket. This, coming from the country that, err, played host to Osama bin Laden…

I had improved power over the break. I know that someone else, somewhere paid with his power for my own improved power. I am selfishly praying that this continues. And the DISCOs are confirming my fears.

Last time I checked, a disease control centre involves hosting some of the most virulent bugs known to man. So it’s a scary thought, Nigeria, hosting such a centre. Why do we want to give Boko Haram access to potential biological weapons?
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Cheta writes from Lagos

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