Being born and bred in a metropolis such as Lagos, means existence in a certain social milieu where everyday life experience risks creating an insular mindset in which existence is seen to begin and to end in Lagos. A tendency to see all place and person outside Lagos as inconsequential fringe. A predisposition to think being streetwise and braggadocios is the way to solve a crisis.
No Nigerian president from any region would contemplate placing our brothers in Niger under sanction let alone, threaten them with violent death and destruction except one with a Lagos boy complex. Not even pressures from western powers would have been enough persuasion to induce a president to act so recklessly.
Northern Nigeria is under attack by elements with different names (bandits, Boko Haram, Herdsmen) but who seem to pursue the same objective-the destruction of the entire agricultural sector of the north including crop and animal farming. A large section of these farming communities whom have left their farms lying fallow are settled as refugees by our brothers in Niger. It takes an inconsiderate view of the north as an inconsequential fringe to seek to war with Niger under this circumstance, as it informed the appointments of the Lagos crowd to much of the important policy making positions of this administration.
Under this administration, every region outside Lagos is being left in no doubt about the fact that it is not their ‘turn’.
The ability to utilize a mafia-like streetwise approach to tame unruly Lagos can not be used to administer a huge complex country such as ours or lead a region at a point of historic inflection.
Notice the initial bluster upon the breaking of news of the coup in Niger. A summary order was issued for the reinstatement of Bazoum ‘within 24 hours or face…military action’ hoping it will work as blusters usually did when employed in the streets of Lagos. If he and his team had the humility to ask us in the north, we would have told him blusters don’t work in that part of the west African Sahel.
It took the snubbing of Mr President’s peace envoys and more importantly refusal to meet with representative of imperial USA, Victoria Nuland, for reality to register.
From a 24 hour ultimatum we hear encouraging news that Mr President is now negotiating transition duration with the military authorities of Niger ( an issue of discussion in my next piece). This good news we receive with a cautious gratitude. And the gratitude is to Allah that we are not yet in a shooting war against Niger.
To Mr President and the Lagos crowd with whom he has, sorrounding himself, we say learn to be humble. Nigeria is not Lagos and much as you think you know, you don’t and, you shall be reminded.
Prof. Jidda Said
Department of psychiatry
University of Maiduguri