Op-Ed: NBA, El-Rufai, and why Nigeria can never Progress By Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events:- #Opinion
When the opposition to the invitation of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to NBA’s conference sprung up, reasons advanced by persons who felt the governor is an unworthy invitee, are not unconnected to what they described as a terrible record of disregarding the rule of law, court orders and most notably, the controversy that has surrounded the governor’s response to the ongoing bloodbath in southern Kaduna.
Petitions were raised, members threatened to boycott the conference in protest and there was what seemed like general displeasure over the NBA’s decision to invite El-Rufai to the conference. Ideally, it would have been a contradiction having a person with such allegations and unanswered moral questions, to stand before the legal association.
The bowing to pressure and subsequent dis-invitation of El-Rufai to the NBA conference is not my concern here. Following the dis-invitation, there have been successful attempts to give ethnic and religious coloration to the decision of the NBA. That a group of persons decided to use the NBA platform to call out a governor has been twisted into an ethnic and religious struggle. If you look closely, you are definitely starring at two of the biggest obstacles to Nigeria’s progress – Ethnicity and Religion.
How we moved in quick succession from the issues warranting the opposition to the invitation of El-Rufai’s attendance into pitching and throwing missiles from ethnic and religious camps is a pointer to how far we have come in this one Nigeria project. The complexity of identity politics played in Nigeria tells you everything you need to know about why national integration is a Herculean if not an impossible task. That issue can quickly be turned into a northern versus southern or a Christian versus Muslim conflict tells you why the people who have given up on the one Nigeria project did so.
As a Christian, you can’t take a dating right step without falling into the trap of being labelled an enemy of Muslims. As a Muslim, it is easier to dismiss your efforts by labelling you anti-christian. As a southerner and a northerner, the same cards are easily played too.
Ethnicity and Religion have always relegated the main issues to the back seat. This is a summary of Nigeria’s existence.
I pity the new NBA leadership caught in the web of this age-long Nigerian madness.
By Caleb Onyeabor.
Caleb can be reached on WhatsApp +2347032829241