Orange Union: A Peoples’ Alternative to Prevent War and Chaos in NigeriaThe Irohinoodua Editorial —- October 06, 2023

Will Nigeria slide into anarchy? Well, from bird’s view, everything seems not too bad in Nigeria. Africa’s largest democracy conducted Federal Elections early this year. Though before the elections came state induced hardship. The naira was suddenly swapped, with the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) asking Nigerians to deposit all they had but the apex bank in turn refused to return public funds in its kitty, throwing millions of Nigerians off the economic scale with some 2 million Small and Medium Scale Enterprises flushed out of the financial chain in a desperate bid by the ruling oligarchy to sustain itself in power or impose a protégé within the same ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC).

Like every election in the post-colonial state, the 2023 contest was marked by deep primordial divisions, ethnic taunts and the chief of all: corruption. The fact that the three most prominent Presidential candidates came from the three major ethnic groups further sharpened the historical divisions in Africa’s most populous country.
Nevertheless, a President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged, sworn in by the country’s Chief Justice, Olukayode Ariwoola. With the swiftness of a hawk, the economy slid into coma few days after Tinubu resumed. In response, the President announced palliatives in billions, increased worker’s wages even as fuel prices go up.
At present, Nigerians are living on the edge of the precipice. Three months after the February election, the value of the Naira plummeted to an all-time low. It is easy to assume that Nigeria will trudge on like before.
It is now more than 100 days since the President and hundreds of elected officials were sworn in. Yet, apart from continuous kidnapping and unease in the South East, and the litigation over the Presidential, National and State elections, there has not been any overwhelming mass revolt in the country. All seem calm.
But there is a Yoruba proverb: Oju Okun t’eju, sugbon, Isale re l’ewu. The surface of the ocean may be calm, but underneath lay perilous turbulence.
The reality is that Nigerians are finding it difficult to breath and it did not start today.The country is like a stifle bottle waiting for the bang. The garrison and fascist political economy structure continues to put asunder the future of a potentially great but diminished country. Life expectancy remains 52 years, the same with Niger Republic eventhough the country rake in billions of dollars from crude oil sale.
It is now obvious that the palliatives offered by the regime, just like before, is like an attempt to fill up a drum in few minutes with tablespoonful of dew. The nature of Federalism here brings anguish and hues. With 45 members of the Federal Cabinet, 36 State Governors, a retinue of aides, 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives, the future of Nigerian economy hangs in the air.
The salary of Senators alone will gulp N14b plus in one year while the House of Rep members will share N3b plus N366 million not to talk of the constituency allowances. Each Senator receives N200m while each House of Rep member pockets N100m. The country is indebted to the tune of N37trillion while debts of the 36 states run into trillions of naira, in a country where loans and foreign grants largely end up in private lockets on in white elephant projects. Inflation rate is now 23 percent amidst loss of millions of jobs and skyrocketing prices of foodstuff. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics put the unemployment rate at 4.1% but Nigerians themselves know that more than half of the country’s population cannot afford good food once in a day.
In understanding what the future portends, it is important to understand the culture and political history of the country. The problem is not that Nigeria is an artificial creation, the challenge is that the people have never had genuine opportunity to sit down and talk about the future they wish to build and on the terms of each ethnic group based on free, prior and informed consent.
Since 1914 when the ancient pre-invasion Kingdoms and nations forced to a reluctant marriage, the country remains an atomic society in perpetual conflict with itself, constantly postponing the day of doom. The constitutional conferences that began in 1922, continued up to 2014 when the Nigerian government organised another Constitutional conference, but reports from such conferences have often ended up in the thrashbin.
Futile efforts have been made to decree unity without any attempt to provide any opportunity for the people to debate and agree on how they wish to live together. Today, with all the funfare associated and media hype linked with democracy in Nigeria, the truth is that the country is dining on a tickling atomic bomb. While Nigerians in every four years have been going to the poll, the truth is that they have been asked to choose between contrained options imposed on them by their tormentors. Nigerians never had their own constitution. Less than 50 people have always fashioned out a constitution which is then imposed on the people willy-nilly in a game of neo-colonialism akin to slavery. There has been no real democracy in the sense that the people own the democratic process from conception, run the party by themselves and vote for people they have picked to fight for their essential needs.
The entire democratic process is tied to the apron spring of a few tyrants who see Nigerians as commodities to be sold for personal profit. This cycle of brigandage has produced a class of political leaders that in the real sense represent nobody except themselves and are accountable to no one except themselves. Elections and budgets have become mere rituals with a distant audience of the people those rituals are meant to serve. The last election for instance had less than 15 percent of Nigerians taking part and less than 30 percent of registered voters took part in the election. In a society where governance is a stranger to the governed, anarchy looms nextdoor.

The country’s deep-seated socio-political trauma, health, education, food security, industrialisation can never be fixed unless the moribund structure is addressed

Nigerians have cried consistently, but deaf ears and blind eyes come from their leaders. It is now even more certain that Nigeria risks a major implosion unless the fundamentals are addressed. Nigerians are tired of watching leaders buy new curtains and change the upholstery of a house without a foundation, sinking but the tenants are being told to wait for a miracle that will never come. Under the unitary civilian regimes since 1999, the potentials and the greatness of the people remain stalled, forcing many Nigerians to seek refuge even in war torn countries like Ukraine and Libya, in the desperation to live.

Those not permitted to survive within the obnoxious laws resort to terrorism and extremism especially when elected leaders completely lack a sense of history.
One fact is that Nigeria is falling apart every day but the country’s leaders party away in an Island, far away from the crying masses. The South East is littered with separatist movements, all armed. The North East and North West have thousands of armed non-state actors some of who have carved out territories they control. The South West perceived to be peaceful only to the extent that it appears to be the only gullible sheep that can easily be devoured by the hovering hyenas.
To assume that the Presidency of Tinubu, a key beneficiary of the system, will resolve these contradictions is like building castles in the moon. To even live in the illusion that a Yoruba President is all that is needed to address the centuries-long festering sour of Yoruba people, is a fleeting dust.
Hope is not lost. But that gleam of hope does not lay in a President acting the messiah, rather it is in uprooting the pillars of the house and rebuilding it.
The Orange Union, from diligent observations and monitoring by Irohinoodua Editorial team seems the only glimmer of hope Nigeria should explore for the most non-violent resolution of a lingering, dangerous problem. There have been such efforts in the past, but the great thing is never to close the book that leads to country’s return from the thorns of madness.

The Orange Union began is a silent but diligent movement barely a year and half ago. It is built around a mutually beneficial and symbiotic ties of Nigerian plural society, in a way that the dignity and civilisation of the big and the small are preserved and protected. Led by a London lawyer, who authored Fatherless, one of the most iconic books on Nigerian history, Mr Dele Ogun, the Orange Union team has been working day and night to surgically deal with the literary pregnancy of a country without aborting the child.
The Orange Union has also employed researchers and professionals from all fields, prominent figures from Nigerian diverse ethnic groups with rich knowledge of history. What is expected now, if the current Nigerian leaders want a greater and prosperous country, is for the National Assembly to work with this selfless group that has no other mission than the transformation of Nigeria to a peaceful and prosperous country based on justice and human liberty.
If the National Assembly feels too big to learn from the efforts of the Orange Union, it might just be too late and too costly.
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