By UCHE EZECHUKWU
Last Friday evening, there was a celebration in every home in Nigeria; a carnival on every Nigerian street and open space. Ahmed Musa of the national Super Eagles football team had brought joy and fiesta to every Nigerian at home and the Diaspora with his brace score against the hard-fighting Icelandic team at the ongoing Mundial in Russia. The victory of the national team gave Nigeria and Nigerians something to celebrate in a long while. From all the cardinal crannies of the country, the point was made that Nigerians of all tongues and creed proved in very concrete terms that the people see themselves as one and the same people when they are given the opportunity to feel so, just the victory at the World Cup had made them feel.
In that evening of euphoria, it was proved once again that Nigerians are more united than anybody, especially their leaders can ever imagine. And that the oft-touted cleavages along ethnic and religious lines, are indeed phoney at the best, and skin deep at the worst. In the celebration that followed that football victory, all those touted cleavages evaporated as Nigerians become united in the celebration. In the celebration in the faraway Russia, it was the Anambra-born reserve goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa that hoisted up the instant hero from Kano for the victory dance. Also in the victory dance inside the team bus that went viral on the social media, it was the Imo born Kelechi Iheanacho that led the emergency orchestra.
At home in Nigeria, the celebration in the formal and social media showed everybody trying to take possession of Musa and the victory like a personal property. The possession of the victory was symbolically extended and dramatized on the political arena. Posters of “Musa for President” flooded the social media. Dramatically, one of such posters included the crest and logo of APGA, widely regarded as a party of the Igbo people. It was significant that Igbo people, easily the most Nigerian of every other group, in spite of the official discriminatory posture of the present government against them, were ready and happy to surrender the flag bearer position of their party to Ahmed Musa, who symbolised a Nigerian achiever.
Paradoxically, on the same evening when Nigerians, without distinction, were celebrating their Nigerian citizenship and oneness, President Buhari, with his Gestapo-like security outfit acted in a manner that underscored yet again that in spite of the strident unanimous voice of Nigerians for unity, the government is assiduously working in the opposite direction, working very hard to divide Nigerians along the several fault-lines. That evening, agents of the DSS invaded the Apo Legislative quarters home of Sena¬tor Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, the representative of Abia South in the up-per house, ransacked it and took away the law maker who has remained detained up till the time of writing this piece on Sunday even¬ing.
The arrest and detention of the senator who is the chair of the South East Caucus at the National Assembly immediately broke back to the fore, the fact that the Buhari administration has a scant appreciation of the efforts of Nigerians at the bonding by Nigerians which tried to symbolically eraze all the things that had tried to divide them. That badly timed arrest, especially the reason that was adduced for it, became a classical anti-climax to the euphoria of rare celebration of unity by Nigerians of different dimensions.
The DSS invaders gave the impression that they were harassing Abaribe over the fate Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, who the senator had taken on bail during his trial for treason. That act showed that the Buhari ad¬ministration is most clumsy in seizing the moment, in spite of the recent pretensions of the president at being adept at playing good and popular politics, with the June 12 recognition. The Abaribe arrest revised all what gains President Buhari might have gained with the recognition of June 12 election and the posthumous honour for the acclaimed winner of that election.
As the security officials laid siege to Abaribe’s home, Nigerians from different walks of life trooped to the Abaribe home, where in an uncharacteristic manner of the usual aloofness of Nigerians when ‘the big men’ were being assailed, they trooped to identify with the plight of the lawmaker, especially at the point when it was becoming obvious that Nigerians were starting to unanimously frown against the many ways the government of the day has been working around the clock to divide Nigerians.
The crowd at Abaribe’s home who camped out till late in the night, waiting it out till as long as the siege lasted close to midnight were one in their resolve. As the motley crowd camped out there, it was the family of the former governor of Edo State, whose house is opposite the besieged home of the Abaribes that provided food, drinks and other forms of the refreshments to the Nigerians, against underscoring that fact that in spite of the fact that it is being acknowledged that the Buhari administration has kept the people in chains, it has become impossible to maintain canyons of division between the people.
The truth is that it is be¬coming increasingly evident that Nigerians are become assertive in their resolve to abridge their ethnic and religious differences, even as the Buhari administration is busy digging the many gullies that separate the people. However, it is be¬coming very obvious that in the present battle between President Buhari and the Nigerian people, the people, as determined as ever, are winning decisively.
“I wish to inform the leadership of the party and the general public that we had wanted to be part of the National Convention but regrettably all the congresses that we conducted at the wards, Local Government Councils and at the State level were not recognized by the outgoing National Executive Council of the party.”
The immediate past governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, explaining why he avoided the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC)