LASTING PEACE IN AFRICA
The regional Red Cross in neighboring Liberian state has reported that they have registered a total of 14,000 refugees fleeing an anticipated war in Ivory Coast also known as Cote d’Ivoire. Presently there are two heads of state in that country resulting from the disputed results of 28th of November 2010 elections. The regional economic cum political group Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently threatening the use of force to dislodge Laurent Gbagbo the incumbent president who is claiming victory in the November elections, and wants to retain power. Alassane Ouattara the opposition on the other hand is also claiming victory and much of the world communities are insisting that Gbagbo should hand over power to Ouattara.
It seems like everyone is calling out thunder and brimstone and no one is calling for dialog in the situation. Sometimes one has wondered; how long shall the rest of the world and Africans themselves continue to use force and intimidation to settle issues on the continent? Nigeria as an aggressor state has developed a penchant for intervention or better put as meddler in the internal affairs of most of the countries in the West African sub-region. It had been Liberia a few years back, then Sierra Leon and now Ivory Coast. Unfortunately Nigeria is a state with too many worse seething issues than those of the neighboring states it dabbles into at every slight shaking of the wind.
It is indeed disturbing that for a situation like the one going on in Ivory Coast which can easily be settled by dialog and hard political bargaining that anyone should be considering the option of military force. The question is; has anyone tried to contemplate the implications that such recklessness will have on the civilian population of Ivory Coast? Do these “policy” makers in this part of the world ever think that the political institutions they try to preserve are only relevant because of the populace they often take for granted in their planning? If they ever did, then why do they always act like the people’s lives are nothing and can always be wasted at the expense of preserving their pet political institutions?
It must be recalled that what is taking place in Ivory Coast right now is not much different from the Kenyan situation of 2008. What stops the negotiators from adopting the Kenyan solution in this Ivorian case? As it stands now and, for the sake of the civilian population, it is not the case of who is right or who is wrong because at the end of the day those that will bear the pain of the armed struggle are the unarmed civilians. Someone, it seems needs to talk sense to a world that seems to have gone mad. Do not use force in Ivory Coast!
Instead of threatening force let the two men share whatever power there is between them in the interim and afterwards find a lasting solution. We believe that the situation in Ivory Coast today does not call for any military force rather ECOWAS and the rest of the world communities should busy themselves with preparing a very big force to use in Nigeria in the early part of next year, 2011.
This is true because very soon in a matter of a few months what is happening in Ivory Coast will be like a child’s play compared to what will play out in Nigeria. Nigeria will be embroiled in a violence that will finally consume it. Nigeria will not survive the fire because the death had been long overdue. It is no use pretending that the coming hurricane is still far out on the sea. It will be making a landfall in the first half of next year, 2011. At the end of the coming conflagration there will be nothing like Nigeria as we know it. It would have died a deserved death. And for all lovers of justice and sanity the world over it would be a good riddance of a bad dream. Nigeria has been too long over bloated and constipated on the blood of the population of the various nationals within its so-called state boundaries. It has for so long resisted a peaceful and negotiated death but in early 2011 it will no longer postpone the inevitable violent death that is coming to it.
As it is always the tradition in Africa, the outsiders are at it once again in Ivory Coast. It is the repeat of the same old solution which has never been any good. Arbitrary and uninvolving allocation of power and space to whomsoever it pleases them by some outsiders who pretend not to know the feelings of the local peoples or think they know what the people should want for themselves; the maintenance of a convenient status quo at the cost of human lives and to the detriment of the continent’s peace, progress and prosperity. They do not feel the pain of the local people. They do not care about the beliefs of the indigenous peoples. These outsiders have lined themselves up pretending to be concerned with the problem of the African continent; the United Nations, European Union, United States, African Union and ECOWAS. But the truth is that there is no will yet in them to do the right thing on the continent in the interest of the people. It is still the issue of their convenience and economics rather than what the local people really want for themselves.
And for goodness sake, why does anyone think that what Africa deserves is the “interventionists’ solution” rather than a properly thought out one that will be permanent? Who thinks that Africa should not have a comprehensive solution that is founded on fairness and a realistic remapping of her political and geographical map? Has no one considered that for a lasting solution to take place in Africa’s many political and social crises there must be a redrawing of the map of the continent? The honest truth is that so long as the current political map of Africa remains, the continent will never know any peace not to talk of progress or prosperity. The so-called national boundaries will always be forcefully maintained with the blood of the innocent children, women and men of the continent if nobody is willing to take the right action.
Let us take the Nigerian situation for example, in the past fifty years since Nigeria’s independence from the British colonial rule that country has maintained its “unity” at the cost of not less than 4 million innocent civilians of children, women and men. The bulk of those unnecessary political and “unity maintenance” murders were of the people of the Southeastern region who seceded from Nigeria in May 30th 1967 as the Republic of Biafra. The Biafran Genocide still remains a festering issue that the world community is slowly but surely coming to confront. Justice is long overdue in the matter and now cannot be considered too early at all.
Right now there is a thousand and one wars going on in the entire country of Nigeria, it ranges from its south to north and from east to west. The people all over are agitating for freedom and for supremacy of one group over the other. Just like in the rest parts of the African continent, there are too many conflicts of interests and a constant clash of cultures.
The Islamic fundamentalists in the North and Central regions are out to impose their sharia/jihadist culture on the rest of the people while the Christian adherents are fighting to keep their faith. The Igbo/Biafrans and the Deep South in their own fight would want to be free from every outside interference in their local or internal political space. The reason for all these agitations and conflicts is because the British colonialists never took into consideration the peoples’ deep-rooted cultural divides when they were concocting in 1914 and subsequently in 1960 the obnoxious contraption that is Nigeria today.
These unreasonable and absurd culture-explosives imploding throughout the entire continent of Africa today are actually, as in the Big Bang Theory, the dangerous leftover and unexploded junk materials at the morning of creation of these states in Africa by the European colonial masters. These easily triggered combustible culture materials are all over the length and breadth of the continent and get set on fire at the slightest disagreement. Someone must begin now to make real and honest effort at permanently clearing these incendiaries by remaking the African map.
The only way to have a lasting peace and by extension progress and prosperity in Africa is through the remaking of the African political/national map along the peoples’ cultural divides. Let the world and Africans themselves recognize that the peoples’ cultures and way of life matter to them and are actually their most important possession and cannot be treated by both the indigenous peoples and outsiders like they were unimportant. Divide up the continent along the existing national cultural differences and let each cultural/political bloc as in a referendum freely and consciously choose who they want to merge and associate with.