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Sunday, 29 July 2012 18:22

By Obi Ebuka Onochie: Similitude of Oligarchy in Palestine and Northern Nigeria

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The land self-interest grows from shore to shore for fear that plenty should attain the poor – Lord Byron.

Drunken in rage and hatred for the state of Israel, torn apart within by inordinate quest for power, wealth and relevance, the Palestinian people have remained puppets in Arab world. Every dictator and every terrorist in the Middle East justifies their abhorrent actions in defence of Palestinian people. Their leaders have always used them to serve their selfish whims and caprices while strutting the world media stage as fighting for the interest of their people and against injustice from the state of Israel. For example, after July 25, 2000 meeting in Camp David between the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat brokered by Bill Clinton, Arafat returned to his supporters as a hero who stood his ground against the pressure of almighty “infidels”. 

He refused an offer the world knows the Palestinian people are very unlikely to have again. Ehud Barak had offered Arafat about 90 percent of the West Bank, the entire Gaza stripe, and East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state. In addition, international fund would be established to compensate Palestinians for their property loss. Having known that the state of Israel has come to stay, there is only one reason Arafat would have rejected this unexpected offer, greed. At that point, Yasser Arafat as a symbol of victim hood had grown extraordinarily wealthy out of the fund of international donors which he didn’t want to lose to building a nation. 

He had insisted that all the refugees be allowed to return to the lands they had owned prior to 1967, an excessive request he was sure Israel would never accede to and that left Palestinians’ future on his discretion. He wasn’t just ready to surrender that status and picking up the burden and responsibility of building a functioning society for the Palestinian people. These were the realities behind the façade called Arafat. 

This is not peculiar to Arafat or the Palestinian authorities but it has also riddled the political leadership in Africa which has become the breeder of insecurity in our world today. In 1953 Nigeria, the commotion generated by the motion for self government moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro resulted in the North deciding that the region shall have complete legislative and executive autonomy with respect to all matters except defence, external affairs (including currency regulation and exchange), customs and West African research institutions. This arrangement if it had been allowed to stay would have entrenched fiscal federalism and the elimination of commonplace oligarchy in the north. 

Out of the 51 years of our nation hood, the North has ruled a staggering 36 years controlling the oil wealth and directing the whole sectors of our nation including education, commerce, works and housing, banking and so on. We have tasted of the regimes and administrations of different hands from the North and most of them had smooth tenure and regime run as demigods of this country at their various times. The philosophy of fatalism was established along side hegemonic oligarchy by the feudal lords in the North to serve their continuous desire for total control above others often regarded as the Talakawas

The Talakawas are the down trodden, mainly uneducated and simple-minded individuals whose minds have been religiously and ethnically warped and condemned to everlasting subserviency in the hands of the northern oligarchs. The Talakawas have watched the émigré from the Southern part of the country who were nobody when they arrived as they transformed into affluent individuals even better than their iconic oligarchs and some sparks of questions ignited in their minds.  As the strong holds of divine predestination and fatalism in the subconscious minds of the Talakawas began to dissipate leading to disillusionment, the northern oligarchs proved once more to be genius by re-directing the Talakawas’ anger toward the émigrés in the North.

 They have been managing the wrath of the Talakawas expertly to avoid its backlash by blaming the South just the way the Palestinian authorities blame the Jews of all their problems. The insecurity that is going on in the North can go on for ages without the oligarchs being affected financially because their major investments are in the South and their loots cooling off in the banks in far places like Europe, Asia and their new financial territories like the Oceania countries and far east.

Out of the Talakawas emerged the Almajirai who are shown to religion and religion alone all their lives. Most of them were abandoned by their families at various Qur’anic schools and many do not even know their parents or their roots. They don’t understand the life of love because nobody has shown them love. The society abandoned them, the government never noticed them and the most wrongful of them all is being scorned by the same iconic oligarchs whose political and economic activities created them. They grow in observance of the disparity between what they were told and what really exist in the same environment. They became disenchanted from the ambiguous pious lifestyles of their leaders who castigate and condemn others both within and outside their faith.

The irreconcilable realities they faced birthed their own interpretation of how they believe their faith should be practiced and they found willing mentors in Al-qeada and other terrorist groups. Out of Almajirai came the Boko Haram “warriors” and sworn enemies of western influence. They have seen the success of Hamas in Palestrina as they now dictate to the world’s largest stateless and homeless people and can’t see why they can’t replicate same here in Nigeria. What Hamas did to PLO is the aspiration of Boko Haram on Nigerian people as we journey into uncertain future in this water and oil like country. Where are those little Amajiris in 70s, 80s, and 90s? Who and what have them become today? What are their contributions and their capacity to contribute to the society? If we refuse to answer these questions, we can vividly look into our future with little Almajiris of today. 

Obi Ebuka Onochie

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From Port-Harcourt


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