Quit notice, the youth and national question
There is nothing under the sun, George Hegel, the German philosopher would argue, that does not obey the evolutionary process of human history, nay, the intelligence of the absolute spirit. That is why there is the ticking time bomb of population explosion, youth empowerment and of course, the millennium bug associated with globalisation. It is therefore in the dialectics of reason, the logic of necessity, thesis, antithesis and synthesis that the phenomenon of “quit notice” with reactions and counter-reactions can be reduced.
Recently, on June 6,the coalition of Northern youth groups gave the Ndigbo residing in the Northern part of the country a quit notice following the arguably relentless, destructive, distractive and anti-Nigerian quest for the Republic of Biafra as massively displayed on May 30, 2017 and the consequent paralysis of economic activities in the affected areas, which to them is intolerable and a baggage carried so long and to unnecessary distance. This stance has been restated, again and again on June 20, 2017, even as their equal and opposite numbers in the Niger Delta have taken the gauntlet to issue equal and opposite quit notice to the Northerners residing in their land for daring to issue quit notice to Nidigbo as if the country belongs to them.
Since then ‘hate speech’ has occupied a significant space both in print and electronic media in the national discourse, but this is so overwhelmingly a threat to national consciousness and unity that economic recession formerly in the front burner has suddenly become enveloped. It is however an undulating and cascading ubiquitous phenomenon that the nation must behold before any positive surge to greater unity. Only phenomenology, the science of phenomenon can explain this. It is an evolution of sort whose key words are, historicism, evolution, youth bug, modernisation, globalisation and communication technology.
The case now is a political forward integration in all its phenomenal postures which cannot be denied, but availed as an opportunity to birth a new nation in the making. It is simply postulating a pang of the maturity. The hate complement of speech apart, the reality of a new nation is emerging. That is why “war of words”, cross fire of quit notice, political hermeneutics of ethnic and religious bigotry as well as bodily and vehicular fast movements contrary to peace and order must not have direct correspondence to what doom-prophets pontificate of tomorrow. This foregrounds the question: can Nigeria or any society survive and make progress without once in a while, disagreeing to agree? Although restructuring has been tinkered across a significant spectrum of the national stratosphere, the cold reception demonstrated from some quarter is not in reality a negation, but a truth function of an idea. This analysis is logical as far as all the youths involved across the national divides were motivated out of their nationality interests other than untoward political gerrymandering and asphyxiation in civilian political rules. Let us therefore take the youth syndrome as the problem.
Now the millennials’ question in the age of modern technology, globalisation is an issue of nation-building for an adult state that has refused to grow. They are questioning the existence of Nigeria on the basis of justice and fair play, Youths in the multiracial divides are no less right or wrong in their propositional assertions of their identities and stakes in the Nigerian project: neither is the Northern youth commonsensical in their quit notice logic, nor the Niger Delta and Igbo youths playing out the script of commonsense. Everything is in a flux for good or for bad. All ethnic groups numbering about 300 in Nigeria are facing challenges, namely; North-East and North-West’s Boko Haram insurgency, North-Central, Edo and Delta herdsmen brouhaha, Niger- Delta insurgency, Biafran agitation and South-West diplomatic retreat with occasional flesh point of the national scourge at Ife, Ondo and so on. The truth is that the centre can no longer hold, unless the country is economically and politically restructured to become consistent with the principles of Justice and Fair play. All these need to be deconstructs.
Historical concourse is a phenomenon but necessarily not confessing. To forestall the nation from drifting in apparent confusion, leaders as philosophers and social scientists need to understand the youth bug and globalization in the context of social engineering, just like the paradoxes of Quantum field in Quantum gravity are grappled by the physicists in Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory. The concourse of history in the sense of historicism or fatalism is no less a menu for social scientific analysis then the analysis of large scale events where political actors are in the field to exchange bullets, fight wars and or engage in the battle of wits. Whether it is diachronic or synchronic interregnum subjected to critical apperception of logic, the social unsociability or the intelligibility which propels the universal sense of history would always be there. So the Arewa youth quit notice backed by an ultimatum is only a precursor to the emergence and alignment of forces that would restructure Nigeria.
It is critical to always preview the reality of the phenomenological upsurge of a new phase of Nigerian history which the Arewa group has invented followed quickly by the inadverted support given to this intelligent phase of Pan-Nigerian history by the ripples of dissenting voices from not only the former monolithic North, but from the Southern segments of youth population who now vowed both to support the Igbo youth alongside undiluted restructuring of the federal structure of the country in terms of devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and unity in diversity. This is where the apparent confusion, diatribe, hate speeches and threats of pogrom, which is a blessing in disguise, is going.
The investment on the youths by globalisation is the invisible intelligent propeller or the social unsociability at work in Nigeria. History is near the phase of maturity, and if allowed to play out without recourse to violence, Nigeria would emerge a great, united, viral, strong and economically vibrant nation. Nigerian system, therefore, is on a self-propelled trajectory which must be allowed to reach its awesome capacity in self-fulfillment, self-actualisation and self-consolidation.
No matter how explosive and violent prone the youths bug and the negativities of globalization are, there is the principle of sufficiency on-course or in the concourse of history revealing itself in apparent contradictions but in reality a creative process of Hegelian thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Suffice it to say that the Biafran agitation caused the Arewa youths’ quit notice which in turn caused the sleeping dog to lie no more sparking off chains and series of protestations from the nationalities against the latter’s ‘holier than thou attitude.’ This is the sublime stage where the “truth” must occupy its rightful phases in the scheme of things, in the nation-building, evolution, phenomenology, and in Kantian universal history.
At empirical and synthetic level practical reason has emerged to overwhelm the instincts in the radar of universal consciousness and in the lower ladder of evolution. Alas! the clamor for the arrest of those leaders of the Arewa youths’ coalition that gave all Igbo nationality extractions to leave the north by October 1could not kill an ant since the state and the governors may have thought “let the sleeping dog lie.” But certainly a critical engagement of the “hate utterance” is on from within and without Arewa forum which in the short time is a meaningful denouement in anomy. While we do not support the Arewa youth coalition, we should not throw away the baby in the bath water.
Reason’s dialectics is in control ,as from the same Arewa fold, is the Arewa youth assembly that has called for sack of National Security Adviser (NSA), Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Department of State Services (DSS) Director General (DG). The South-West, Niger-Delta and the Middle-Belt Elders and youths have equally, in strong terms, reproached the Arewa coalition, not in the wrongness or rightness of their action but because a tree does not make forest, let’s not make the break-up of Nigeria inevitable.
In conclusion, if Nigeria must not break and Biafra agitators must not set the South-East excised from Nigeria, the restructuring is an imperative that will save the nation. At the summit of the Dialectics of Reason, thesis, antithesis and synthesis, Arewa youth coalition will go down in history as the progenitor of a restructured Nigeria with true fiscal federalism only and only if the voices of reason echoed by hundreds of other nationalities are heeded.
Dukor is a Professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Editor-in-Chief of the Essence Library.
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