20 September 2018
The unexpected(?) removal of Mr Matthew Seyeifa,the Bayelsa born high ranking secret cop as the acting Director General of the DSS and subsequent replacement with a retired "aboki" has continued to generate so much furore in the Nigerian socio-political space. The hoopla became so deafeaning that smart alecs at Aso Rock who had anticipated this brouhaha had to disingenuously come up with a stagemanaged "resignation" of the embattled former finance minister Kemi Adeosun who has reportedly fled the country just to deflect our attention from this faux pas. Actually I sympathize with Kemi a lot because of the guts and fiscal responsibility she had brought to bear in the finance ministry but the long arm of the law is no respecter of any person. Wish her well.
That PMB effected a change of guards at the DSS is not in anyway a big deal but what is off mark and very disturbing is that all the six senior agents who were next in rank in tow were not qualified to step into Seyeifa's shoes just because they were all from the southern part of the Niger.
However before we throw darts at PMB let's quickly remember that he is only behaving like a typical Nigerian.
The foremost Professor of Philosophy in my department ,Rev Fr Asouzu has an explanation for this anomaly. He calls it the "Super Maxim of ibuanyidanda Philosophy. The Super Maxim formulates that "the nearer the better and the safer ".Asouzu in expousing this doctrine which he quickly points out is an illusion which the practitioners have failed to decipher intoned that "by this super maxim actors are deceived into believing that only those nearest to them are better and safer always. They assume quite instinctively that their LIVES AND SECURITY (emphasis mine) depends on these type of intimate bond"
(Ibuanyidanda and the Super Maxim 24).
The President believes Mr Magaji Bichi,his new appointee is nearer and safer than a Seyeifa and the goddam or godforsaken six operatives from the south. Probably Major General Aguiyi Ironsi of blessed memory was oblivious of this maxim in 1966 that was why despite being warned of an impending revenge coup he still surrounded himself with troops and security aides of northern extraction instead of Igbo or other southern soldiers.Perhaps Ironsi was trying to be nationalistic and Pan Nigerian as a professional soldier that he incontrovertibly was but who nationalism "epp"? It is not surprising that PMB reenacted what former presidents Obansanjo and Jonathan did in the past. The ethnocentric acts of these leaders is only a reflection of the idiosyncrasies of a Nigerian. Have we not witnessed the sharp practice of surreptitiously promoting or elevating inferiors over superiors just because they are not from a particular ethnic stock in our parastataals, institutions, corporate bodies?Even our religious organizations are not spared of this charade.You can't be a high ranking overseer in some well known denominations if one is not of the same ethnic group with the General overseer.
One of the chief reasons Nigeria went up in flames in the fatricidal war of 1967-1970 was because there were were many senior ranking military officers ahead of Lt. Col Yakubu Gowon who would have been head of state when Ironsi was murdered but the super maxim was at work.For how long is this game of musical chairs going to continue? For how long will Nigerians ever see themselves as people of one stock and not ethnic champions?Some decades ago George Orwell wrote a very interesting satire and titled it the "Animal Farm ".It's like Orwell had us in mind when he said in that book that "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others".We might as well paraphrase him to say "All Nigerians are equal but some are more Nigerian than others. May God save Nigeria.
Jimmy Emmanuel lectures philosophy at the University of Calabar