By Arochukwu Ogbonna
Nigeria right from the inception has proved a paradox of a nation. The politics of the nation is in tandem with and responds to it structural formation and anomaly. Hence, political alliance and outcome of political contests is predictable to the extent that one understands the political formations and plains around the country.
The designers of the Nigerian state took time to tactically domicile power within certain region by their design of the political demography of the country but exclusively within certain power hegemonic influences in that region.
Thus, the European colonialists treated the Northern part of the country as one political unit or whole and the South as another, and went ahead to divide the South between Eastern and Western regions, suffix it to say that the European perception of the Northern part of the country is but the Muslim North, not just Islamic North but Ultra Northern cum Islamic and pro Islamic traditional establishment. Majority in that region do not share this tradition nor idea.
In Nigerian History and throughout colonial rule they received the pampering of the British and the blessing of the Buckingham Palace and indeed the British royalty. If every society is built after the image of the ruling class, then the colonial authorities construed national institutions, the army, Police, Civil Service etc to be at the effective management of that section that will oversee their hemisphere and after their self image. But disturbing is the fact that the structural deficiency created by this in the country by the administrative division of Nigeria had population implications and advantages for the rest of the country in every sphere of existence.
It implies that this skyward structural dubility and its arithmetic implication could always call to aid in major political decisions in the country. As seventen can never be greater than Nineteen just as eight cannot contest in numbers with forty four, in simple mathematics it implies that in political decision or distribution of values predicated on this the outcome is reasonable predictable.
At this point the Ultra status quoist and pro-establishment forces will simply consult among themselves and reach a decision, it does not matter if the characters in the context is entirely of the same region but what is of essence is the best representative of that interest at any time. They could choose across the country but the choice is theirs to make.
This framework exists in various formations across the country but of paramount importance in National Politics in Nigeria. If democracy is a game of numbers,it is pertinent to understand how the number works .This numbers may be fixed and variable too but may not need to be in existence in human form to produce enduring results and does not matter what the human majority actually says or represent.
So a pan Nigerian posturing or pro-nationalism is of no meaning if the political permutation and inclinations of this minority elite is against the political interests or aspirations of a person or a group. No wonder some people in the deep south will travel far North in search of political endorsement to the chagrin of their people, perhaps power resides there regrettably. The power brokers in the instance or case are men who control empires that have long ceased to exist but retain a powerful symbol of their past greatness, they even control the army, police, and other coercive institutions of the state even the head of state.
Democracy in Nigeria will remain a some sort of illusion in this clime and outcome of political contest predictable by discerning minds as far the political structure of country remains as it is currently. But more, you can now understand while some will go to war to have it changed. Indeed it enables the ruling class at each epoch to easily arrive at a consensus at whatever level especially nationally and to reconstitute themselves for the gains of power. FOR THE LOSERS IN THE 2019 ELECTIONS THE ROAD TO 2023 IS BEACONING. As they say tomorrow is another day.
Arochukwu Ogbonna is a Port Harcourt based Attorney, Activist, Political Scientist and Development Practitioner