Nigeria and Separatists: Is the nationhood negotiable? II

I must confess, writing the second part of this article is more difficult than the examinations I wrote more than two decades ago at my postgraduate level because of the expectations of readers. I can hardly escape being accused of bias, pro-establishment, northern bigot, or even playing scripts of some imaginary people to achieve a predetermined objective. Nonetheless, I must write to express my opinion on Nigeria’s nationhood as stated in the first part of the article.

As stated earlier, the separatists of today are becoming bold, daring, and seem to be unstoppable in dividing the country as the only solution to the years of decadence. The main agitators of today, the IPOB and Oduduwa groups, are tirelessly working to tear the country apart while the reaction of the Arewa groups are divided with some being indifferent and few others looking forward to such divisions. Can we afford the repetition of the events of the 1960s that led to civil war? Can we reflect and find an amicable solution to address the issues raised by the agitators? Can we discuss nationhood with agitators?

Before answering these questions, it is disheartening to watch Nigeria slowly drifting to the precipice of anarchy, squalor, and hopelessness. The global economic downturn, population explosion, climate change, insecurity, and corruption have all combined to make matters worst for many Nigerians. Certainly, agitation for the country’s disintegration or separation will degenerate the situation for the nastiest. We should learn lessons from the happenings in Syria, Libya, and other war-ravaged countries.

In such countries, killings of people have become mere daily statistical occurrences. On a circadian basis, the number of lives lost is becoming less concerned as the counting of deaths bypasses the counter. Out there, the killing machine continues unabated with every personality, irrespective of class, being a potential victim. Under these circumstances, the major concern is how to stop the killing.

That has always been the concern of the global community and people in such countries. No sane Nigerian will crave for such a situation to exist in Nigeria. Over the last three decades, the country has been in deep shit as it experienced mass disorder, mass killing, mass destruction, and mass dislocation of many people at different places and times across the country.

The natural law teaches us that those who decide to ignore the lessons of history or to forget them or to run deliberately against the lessons, risk being condemned to relive the history with highly unpleasant outcomes. They will certainly regret their actions or inactions if they are lucky to live again. Today, there are already ominous signs of factors capable of breeding crisis to serve the interests of unscrupulous people within and outside the country. Agitation for separation or secession will increase the level of instability, chaos and may make the country a testing ground for arms conflict. Natural resources can be easily, uncontrollably, and unconditionally exploited at the expense of the nation. Remember, Nigeria was predicted to be a failed nation in the year 2015 and why should we allow that ungodly prediction to become a reality?

It is high time; we should talk to ourselves about the future of this country. Can we discuss the unity of Nigeria? Yes, we should not be afraid to discuss the future of this country including how to achieve unity in diversity, the condition of being together as a nation. However, this should be done after a very careful and rational examination of the pros and cons of staying as a nation of multi ethnicities, religions, and cultures with equity, justice, and opportunities. This type of discussion should be made without intimidation, harassment, and fear, which manifest when the few vocal people in the name of agitators take the center stage at such a discussion forum.

As a strong believer of Nigeria, the country might have been a product of a historical accident called “amalgamation” made in 1914, I cannot see the basis of comparison for Nigeria, the way it is constituted as a potentially great nation with its diversities as virtue and disintegrated Nigeria in three or multiple small “homogenous” countries. Nevertheless, Nigeria may find it difficult to progress with the ongoing agitation for separation in addition to other consequential challenges against nationhood. So, what are the reasons for the agitation?

There are many reasons fuelling agitation for separation. These are under development, high level of poverty, inequality in resource sharing, and wealth control. Additionally, the political leaders are generally weak with a selfish thinking mentality; hence, they are only conscious and mindful of themselves, family, tribes, and religious beliefs. They have fear of free and fair competition as well as accountability. Promotion of ethnic unhealthy rivalry, nepotism in key appointments at the expense of merit as well as bad governance, which is rooted in corruption and divisiveness are the main factors that fuel the agitation for separation.

Regional/tribal domination, absence of equity, poor policymaking and implementation, lack of vision, selfishness, and mismanagement of the Nation’s wealth contribute significantly to agitation. Massive unemployment among youths and the likelihood of foreign instigation to cause crisis may significantly contribute to separatists’ agitation. All these reasons can squarely be addressed with good, accountable, and transparent governance, and a sound economic plan through diversification and human capital development.

In conclusion, the agitators should sheathe their swords; apply brakes against the balkanization of Nigeria, as it will do more harm than good. Their reasons for separation can be addressed through their involvement in seeking for the country’s leadership employing democracy. Nigeria’s leadership must wake up, adopt good governance and be sensitive and responsive to the yearning of Nigerians across the country. The rot must be stopped, build confidence and create hopes for a brighter future. Short of this, Nigeria is calamitously inching towards disintegration, whose inferno may consume all of us. God forbid, amen.