The Suicide Bombers of Nigeria

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Nov 13 16:13:34 UTC 2008

The Suicide Bombers of Nigeria
November 12, 2008 by Guest Writer

These are sad times; our society is sitting on gunpowder. We are all
working surreptitiously and determinedly towards a devastating
implosion, one that shall leave us totally valueless. We are the
conscious architects of our own doom. We are the experts planting this
time bomb that shall be our undoing. How do I mean valueless?
Political scientists have made us to understand that the world is a
theatre of power play. It is a continuous drama, where survival of the
fittest is the over-riding motif. In this drama, a player is only
relevant so long as it still wields influence or has some thing to
offer. Every player strives to outwit the other. The smart among the
lot feed fat on the naivety or folly of the less visionary. Most of us
born after the Nigeria-Biafra war grew to find the globe divided into
first and third worlds.

We met the world stratified into developed, under–developed, and
undeveloped groups. We watched as some countries fought gallantly and
strategically to extricate themselves from this inimical
categorization. The Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans suddenly emerged to
be known as the Asian Tigers. They have advanced in science and
technology.  They have unraveled the secret of the first world
countries. In other words, they have discovered the technique of
exploiting the resources of others to develop themselves. However,
instead of striving to emancipate ourselves from the shackles, and
debilitating effects of our third world tag, we seem to glory in it.
We enjoy the dangled carrot in the form of Aids, Grants, and other
sundry assistance seemingly extended to us by the first world
countries. China is strategically and significantly pushing its
language to enjoy a wider spread. This is because the country's policy
makers have isolated language as a major factor in the development of
any nation. English is the language with the widest spread and that is
why Britain continues to remain relevant in global affairs even when
they are almost technologically obsolete. America is taking advantage
of its control of the information technology to sell its own version
of the English Language to the world hence the fast Americanization of
third world countries. France is not left out in this struggle to
advance national language and culture. They are establishing Alliance
Francaise in different countries of the world and sponsoring
programmes that promote the French Language and culture in primary and
post primary schools all over the world. We have also seen the Germans
doing the same using their Goethe institute.

Recently, China and Japan who have also joined in this struggle
established government scholarships for international students from
all over the world to study in their countries. What is it all about?
They are simply attracting the world to their countries to acquire
more human/intellectual resources and also help open up new markets
for their products.

For now, Europe and America seem to be courting Nigeria. It is not for
any other thing but the crude oil that has somehow managed to remain
here. Nigeria for now is the beautiful bride and shall remain
beautiful as long as it continues to have its refineries un-repaired,
as long as it keeps on exporting crude oil at little or no cost to the
USA and Europe only to re-import the refined petroleum at exorbitant
cost into Nigeria. Let us however not lose sight of the fact that
those advanced technologies are toiling day and night to discover an
effective alternative or substitute for our crude oil. The day that
eventually happens, Nigeria will quickly be discarded because it shall
have nothing more to offer and wield no influence. It shall become

Many may wonder why I decided to entitle this discourse the suicide
bombers in Nigeria. The reason is not far-fetched. I see every
Nigerian as a suicide bomber. We are suicide bombers not because we
deliberately set out to kill ourselves but because the time bomb we
planted to destroy the system must inevitably consume us. Whenever a
highly placed Nigerian Government official is humiliated by the
immigrations department of a foreign country, that person is being
consumed by a time bomb he or she contributed in planting. When
sometime in our recent history a serving state governor was abducted,
he was simply a victim of a time bomb he helped to plant. This time
bomb syndrome is not restricted to any particular cult of the society.
We are all game; the leaders and the led, the priest and the laity,
the teachers and the students, the rich and the poor, the working
class and the jobless, the men and the women.
However, let us begin with the policy makers or what I have chosen to
call the policy suicide bombers.

I could have simply called this part of the discourse The Executive
Time Bomb. But I have not done that because there is an aspect of the
essay that shall dwell entirely on the executive arm of the
government. I intend to call that part The Executive Suicide Bomber.
However, here I intend to generally look at policy makers at whatever
level I see them. One suicide bomber, the Vice Chancellor of a
university in Nigeria, once mal-administered his university to the
point of ruin. He sent his own children overseas to receive quality
education from well managed universities. The legislators at the
national assembly did not care because their own children were either
in expensive private universities or abroad in some of the best
universities in the world. The members of the executive council of the
Nigerian universities Commission did not bother because they also had
their own children schooling in Europe and America. It would have
taken only but one policy pronouncement to improve the lot of that
university; that for any one to hold public office in Nigeria, the
person's nuclear family must be resident in Nigeria, attend public
schools and use public facilities like every other citizen. But
unfortunately, those who should have made the pronouncement would only
be shooting themselves in the leg. They lack the moral unction to say
that. Meanwhile, the university in question was busy churning out
unemployable graduates.  It was graduating students found worthy only
in crime and in cheating. The university graduated prostitutes,
militants, armed robbers, fraudsters, and ritualists.

When eventually the child of the vice chancellor returned to join the
academia as a sound intellectual, he discovered that the universities
in Nigeria are no longer a place for sound scholars. He hastily
returned to Europe and might remain there forever. At a point people
like him become so westernized that they do not care about their
ageing parents.  Children in the village would assault and ridicule
the retired professor suicide bomber.

The pattern remains the same in every sector of the nation's
structure. There could be few exceptions to this pattern but suicide
bombers inevitably fall victim of their own time bomb. The unfortunate
thing is that Africans, particularly Nigerians have degenerated so
much that even though the trend is so conspicuous, they no longer
care. Nigerians have become sadists. In Nigeria, we produce
politicians who live in embarrassing luxury while the majority of
citizens live below starvation line. We have policy makers who
compromise public interest because of selfish needs. Our policy makers
would not make policies to stop the importation of refined petroleum
products. They would not think of a sustainable way to solve the food
crisis affecting the nation. They would not make a decisive
pronouncement on the power sector. No! They wouldn't do any of these
and more. Why? Because they all benefit in one way or the other from
the bad situation! Instead of legislators to make policies for
collective good, we hear reports of gross embezzlement of public
funds. It is even more worrisome that cases of corruption are hardly
brought before the judiciary for prosecution. Does the recovery or
repatriation of embezzled funds or part of it remove the fact of the
crime? It is only in Nigeria that public consciousness would be drawn
to a crime of misuse or embezzlement of public funds and then nothing
is heard again about it. It happened with Senator Adolphus Wabara,
and, then Patricia Etteh. They were only relieved of their immediate
portfolios but remained in the legislature. There was no recall and no
prosecution. Some people even went as far a beating up ethnic and
gender sentiments in the defence of alleged criminals. Legislators at
every level, be it Local Government Councilors, State House of
Assembly, or those at the National Assembly, are expected to make
people-oriented policies and carry out over-sight functions on the
executive arm of government.  Whenever they compromise these sacred
duties for fraudulent se!

lf-enrichment, they inadvertently detonate the time bomb strapped to
their bodies. Nigeria with its population, natural and human resources
should have advanced into a developed country but instead we are
stunted. Why? We are stunted because our policy suicide bombers are at
work. Earlier in the introduction to this long essay I talked about
Language is power.

In the area of language development our policy makers have failed
woefully. Some time earlier in the history of Nigeria as an
independent country, the nations policy makers humoured themselves
toying with the unrealistic idea of evolving a national language out
of the three major ethnic languages. They tagged it the WAZOBIA
project. Languages experts must have told the proponents of that idea
shall language are never involved that way. I have heard people
suggest the adoption of Pidgin English as Nigeria's national language.
How does it sound to the ear to say that after gaining political
independence from Britain we return to adopt a corruption of the
British language as our own sovereign national language? The truth is
that our policy makers know what should have been done. Most of them
are respectable intellectuals. But they won't do what is right because
They are suicide bombers. They know that language evolves through a
natural process.

They know that all they needed to do is make a policy that every
ethnic nationality should use every means within their control to
develop and project their individual ethnic languages. All they needed
to do is to make a policy that the pre-requisite for any foreigner to
get a job in Nigeria is that the person must have, at least a basic
knowledge of the indigenous language spoken in the area where the job
is located. The policy makers simply need to make policies that would
attract interest to indigenous Nigerian languages. For an instance,
make it compulsory that to gain admission into any university the
candidate must have made a credit in the ethnic language spoken in the
town where the university is located. This will excite a healthy
competition among ethnic nationalities in the development of ethnic
languages. Institutes of indigenous Nigerian languages will
automatically spring up everywhere in the country and beyond: and
scholarship schemes initiated for even international students to learn
indigenous Nig. Languages.

Once all these are done it would then be a matter of time before one
of the numerous indigenous languages assumes prominence over others
thereby, the emergence of a national language. It is even frothily to
expect Nigeria to remain one country forever. And that is the more
reason why ethnic nationalities should be encouraged to develop their
different languages. Our policy makers know the power of language but
they would not spend quality time to develop a defined and popular
(generally acceptable) policy on the question of national language.
Language develops a nation. Our policy makers are suicide bombers and
suicide bombers are anti –development.

Guest Written by:
Chidozie Chukwubuike

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