Download (PDF, 261KB)
You seem to have a more comprehensive view of the geopolitical struggles going on in the world than I have. While my attention has been fixed on developments in Ukraine, even to the exclusion of ISIL or ISIS, and — to my shame — the ugly Boko Haram insurgents in the areas where I had been for years, Maiduguri and Bama in particular! However, I would not like Scotland to choose a Yes vote! Of course, you are not suggesting that. Nigeria is unlucky in its leaders, the last being about the worst. But if you don’t allow him, there will be no peace in the Niger/Delta again. However, Nigeria must try to remain one. The more you remove from the clothing of an onion, the finer the clothing you’ll still have to remove. When the Roman plebs revolted, a wise man used the parable of the body to make them sheathe their swords. Things may be bad as they are right now, disintegration would make them even worse!
It is not obvious to me that that splitting Nigeria will be a very good solution.
Along what lines should this subdivision be carried out? Nigeria is a basin of diverse cultures and ethnic groups. Do you suggest that every ethnic representation should form its own nation state? I can imagine subgroups flirting with the idea of having their own country (as compared to being represented by a more general structure like ‘Yorubas’). The resulting nations could end up for the worse and then what do they do after that? Split up further?
I like to think that the colonial conquest was possible due to, among other factors, a lack of cohesion between the kingdoms. And possibly the small sizes of such kingdoms. This is just a wild speculation though.
Who will govern the newly formed nations? Will it not be the members of the aristocrat that we are currently fated with? The same people who we have no capacity to remove? Doesn’t the current situation at every level of authority indicate that we have a culture problem?
Like you, I would like to think that the solution will be an easy one. But I’m afraid that tearing down Nigeria will not replace the need for us to rebuild our culure and democracy
I don’t suggest that “every ethnic representation should form its own nation”. I suggest rather that they should be allowed to decide what they want. It is the present arrangement that is tearing down Nigeria. It is unreasonable, for example, to have six parliaments “making laws” for the Yoruba people. These six plus two others (Edo, Delta) were all once ruled from Ibadan. The civil service of that government was less than the one in Osun State today.
I cannot accept as fait accompli that we watch, wait, and hope these problems will go away. It is obvious to me that the fear of breaking up benumbs and stupefies us into parroting the advantages of “Unity” without asking ourselves what the objective and purpose of that “unity” should be.
The Europeans are united (and prosperous) in their separate countries via the EU, NATO and other voluntary organs they negotiate freely. It is obvious to me that the unity of Nigeria should be negotiated. Those souls that see the inevitability of the present arrangement should be allowed to enjoy themselves. Those that are tired and fed up of the suffocation should be allowed to breathe!
I write these because I think that setting the objective function as “Unity” obfuscates the fundamentals. My position is fully captured in the conclusion of my article: To keep NIgeria one is a task that must be negotiated; To make Nigerians prosperous, safe and healthy is a task that must be done!
I think the change in emphases, if we were to adopt it, is not trivial! Liberty and justice trump unity! Unity in foolishness is useless as we all can see!
I probably brought my preconceptions on the issue of negotiating Nigeria’s future to bear while reading your article. Indeed, you have not in any way suggested that the certain outcome of a negotiation must be a break up. You have only hinted, by the examples of the Scotts, Basques and co, that even that outcome should not be evaded if necessary.
It is not very fair to compare the size of the civil service of the Oyo empire with that of a “modern” state like Osun. The size of government is dictated by the size of the governed and the government’s responsibilities. Today’s standard of living dictates that a government provides many things for its people which are far greater than the benefits of royal privilege in ancient kingdoms. But I digress…
I think I can see how setting Unity sacrosanct can bar us from making progress. However, I suspect that the optimal solution would be along the lines of reconfiguring government structure — finding ways to have actual representation of the people without the pathetic waste that we now incur (and the various pleas for more states). Maybe we can revert to a regional system or retain the states and keep public institutions state-level (instead of having the same functions replicated across the three levels of government). I also hate the way local governments operate now. They act (much like all of government) as though they are charity. The people have almost zero expectations of them and are thrilled by the occasional community borehole drilled. While I think we should favor self-determination over economic prosperity, I think that Nigeria is currently as self-determining as it can get the primary problem to solve now is that of the welfare of the state.
I wonder how far sovereign national conferences and confabs can take us in this negotiation. How can the status-quo be usurped without incurring the wrath of the ones who cannot be removed.
I sincerely hope that my generation does not play the hope game, just like our fathers did… (I fear I have already begun to play it though 😀 )
History lesson, Bolutife: I was NOT comparing Osun State to the Oyo Empire! No! No!! No!!! I was comparing Osun State to the Western Region under Premier Obafemi Awolowo. Think about it! With just the cocoa money coming out of Ondo, Ekiti and other places, with a lean and purposeful Civil Service, they constructed grade A roads all over the Region that is now made up of eight parastatals wrongly called States. (They cannot be properly called States since they are quite incapable of self sustenance). The Western Region, in addition to supporting Missionary Schools, was able to create University of Ife when the Federal had only Lagos and Ibadan and was sometimes in a position to give loans to the Federal Government! They left the lasting legacy of free education which put their people ahead! It is the reality I refer to as a reversal of Hobbes justification for a coercive Government! The other regions did not fare much worse. They had purposeful leadership also and there was fair competition!
The present power block know they will be losers in any reconfiguration of Nigeria. I have no hope that a “National Conference” can be allowed to succeed. These incompetent rulers understand sabotage. Just like Abacha did before them, they will call a conference only when they have been assured that the sabotage mechanism is in place.
Here is my take on what can work:
1. Education of the young people to know they cannot afford the parroting of meaningless “Unity” and that their wellbeing, prosperity, safety and health should be non-negotiable.
2. The above sets the objective function that is incontrovertible and can be used to obviate the fruitless blame-game between Biafra aficionados and their opponents who continue using the past to make it impossible for us to move now.
3. If 1 and 2 are in place, Information Technology can be used to set up the Virtual National Conference right away.
Once it gathers momentum and the superior arguments win the day, there will be no way to stop the moving train.
The good fortune is in having two equally competent leaderships to choose from. Isn’t a vote between the devil and the deep blue sea rather redundant.
Yes, in this case, very redundant. They are only to choose between “Happy” and “Glad”!
I meant for us Nigerians, we only have horrible choices. Across the country, most regional governments have been as bad as the central government. Breaking the country will only result in the mutation of the present central leadership. Was Akintola as good a leader as Awolowo? Or was Awolowo’s leadership of the western region just a fluke. When Nigeria was a federation, did the other regions enjoy as progressive a governance as was experienced in the west. My guess is that it wasn’t so. Therefore, I think westerners have a skewed vision of the past. We haven’t done well for ourselves. Good governance is not a birth right, it is a result of the actions people take as a collective. Further more, what the Scots are experiencing today did not happen over night. It is the result of maybe 500 years of struggle. So the only lesson here may be that in 500 years Nigeria and all nations that have similar struggles will be alright.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *