Ndidi Uwechue’s Column: The Smart African… a place for intelligent discourse

Opinion | How to cure the weak social conscience in Nigeria

By Ndidi Uwueche

I am told that there was a time when Nigerian society was caring, and lived by the principles of Ubuntu. Some say it ended with the civil war of 1967-70. War does change people, civil war can change people all the more. From that civil war period the social conscience in Nigeria has progressively decreased to what we have today, a land where there is a very weak social conscience.

Simply defined, social conscience is “a sense of responsibility or concern for the problems and injustices of society.” It has gotten to the stage where unconcern is the norm, people will either voice out, or hold in their hearts: “What does it concern me?,” after being told about a particular evil or injustice in the land. That is why, even though there are massacres of Christians going on mainly for now in the Middle Belt, people are going about their business as if that Silent Slaughter is not happening. The Church in Nigeria included.

I am among the growing number with the opinion that Nigeria as it currently is, can never bring about anything but a country where: “…the Nigerian System. That system has in the pregnant words of ex-Judge Stocker been described as ‘a set back to a condition of things resembling the barbarous ages’…” (Paragraph 2, Page 1 of “The Amalgamation Of Nigeria – A Documentary Record, being a reprint of the Report of Sir Lugard together with supplementary Amalgamation…” found here: http://www.ninasvoice.org/the-amalgamation-of-nigeria).

Barbarous means brutal, savage, vicious, uncivilised, and wild. Thus, we learn that something of a “barbarous” kind was planned long ago for Nigeria, to come out of the “Nigerian system”. How did it come to presently be? The clue is in what happened just before that civil war. Before the civil war, there were military coups of 1966. Those coups terminated the new Nigeria of much promise, created at Independence in 1960, by abolishing the Federating Constitution as well as the four Regional Constitutions, and rule over the people began to be imposed by Military Decrees.

The current “1999 Constitution of Nigeria” is Military Decree 24, imposed by stealth and deceit after being renamed. All the Military Decrees including the “1999 Constitution” had one purpose. It is to hijack the Self-determination and sovereignty of the indigenous Ethnic Nations making up the Union called Nigeria, plus to create an environment of high corruption allied with non-development; eg, electricity lack, primitive heath care if any, terribly substandard education, no basic infrastructure including railroad, proper and safe roads, sanitation, potable water, waste management, etc.

Essentially, the Military Decrees and that includes Military Decree 24, aka, “1999 Constitution” all had the same purpose: ie, relaunching the “Nigerian System” first set up by Frederick Lugard, the colonial amalgamator of what was to become Nigeria, as that had been the way of making it much easier to seize the natural resources of the peoples of the South, without having to contend with their justified anger.

From the time of the toppling of Nigeria’s true Constitutions, there have been 55 continuous years of the “Nigerian System”, where ignorance, fear and state (or military) terror permeate through every aspect of life. The ordinary citizen knows that he will not get help or redress if he is a victim of crime or injustice. He lives in a merciless ‘dog-eat-dog’ world.

Under such terrible inhuman conditions it is inevitable that a society with a very weak social conscience is found. Each person is preoccupied with his own challenges, and is emotionally unable to consider the problems of others. Each person tries to find a way to bypass or limit the grinding effects of being in Nigeria. For many, the answer is to find a means to flee abroad, particularly to Europe, the Americas, and Australia.

Clearly, fleeing to the West is not sustainable. Western countries are not in a position to welcome and host some 170 million Nigerians.

The NINAS Movement has not only identified how the “1999 Constitution” is the source of brutality and non-development, and how it is now enabling the ethnic cleansing #SilentSlaughter going on in Nigeria, but also provided the solution. The solution lies in decommissioning that illegitimate “1999 Constitution” so that the peoples of Nigeria can create democratic systems and a country they will be able to identify with, and therefore rise. By so doing, they would be able to create a place for Ubuntu to return, and for a strong social conscience to develop. The NINAS Movement therefore started the decommissioning process by declaring a Constitutional Force Majeure on 16th December 2020.

Given that all countries are interconnected, Nigeria’s problem would also be the world’s problem. Unfortunately, since the principles of Ubuntu have been pushed aside by a weak social conscience, it is hoped that people in Western countries, living in free societies, where a strong social conscience can develop, would be concerned by the plight of Nigerians and use their influence to support the NINAS Movement.

NINAS is a non-violent Movement, that is using an ORDERLY PROCESS based on United Nations instruments and International Law. Information on the NINAS Movement can be obtained here: http://www.ninasvoice.org.