By Fola Ojo
I am sure there is no breathing being around the world who does not know that Nigeria is at the brink of collapse and disintegration. Every nook and cranny of our nation is bedevilled by deafening demurrer from Nigerians who are tired of Nigeria. There are groups in the Northern axis that want out. There is a legion of them in the South. Even on soils far away across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and away from Lagos and Abuja are huge assemblages of disenchanted Nigerians demanding outs from the contraption.
Fat-cat elites in Nigeria may be denying the possibility of a balkanised nation. Many of them think it is a joke, and they believe its present attending applause and ovation will soon run into a nosediving diminuendo. Tell those fat cats that what’s going on around now is more than the buccal rattling of jobless rabble-rousers. It is getting clearer by the day that Nigeria may be broken into parts that may never be gathered together again. Why are people chanting this song of balkanisation? They are tired of an asphyxiating system that will not allow them to achieve their life dreams. Before our eyes, destinies of our children are destroyed. And there are wicked men behind the lingering debacle. These wicked men are living large with more than enough for their children’s children. Nigeria’s extant dilemma is not just about kidnappings and killings that have become a lifestyle we are forced to endure. Nigeria has become a burden to Nigerians, and that is why groups are springing up desiring to leave the contraption and embrace their own Republics. No matter how anyone spins it, the government is not only labile and lame, it is also confused about how to tackle what’s pulling Nigeria apart. In some instances, the government is making it worse, exacerbating division and disunity with its action and inaction. There is just something about Nigeria that’s not working; and that may never work.
Anytime a nation is dealing with problems that will not go away, wise leaders should check out its foundation. It is only wise that the problems be dealt with from its foundation. Otherwise, we will only be dealing with the symptoms, not the disease entity itself. If the beginning and foundation of a nation are not revisited and overhauled, forever, that country will engage in witless shadow-boxing that will be rewarded with a crown of thorns. Let’s examine our history. Nigeria was conceived as a sick baby from the British fashioning womb. Our union was profoundly fraudulent. Its mortars and bricks were fashioned in deception. The Nigerian union was not built to last. It was a convenient business enterprise conjured by the British to wet their coffers. Nigeria is like one big square-peg ethnic groups rammed into a big, smothering round-hole geographical expression. A slice in the nation’s anthem infers that Nigeria is “one nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity”. Nigeria is too far from the dreamland of freedom, peace, and unity. How long can we hold on to a bond that appears like a mirage without talking about how to make it real and workable for all? A coerced relationship cannot run the long-haul course. The fundamental of our union is coerced. The spillover effects lurk in today’s widespread palpable tension. History is always a reminder of that which is the truth. The sooner we faced the truth, the better it will be to curtail injuries we continue to inflict on ourselves and on our destinies as different peoples.
It is very obvious that Nigerians are tired of one another. The Arewa in the North are already marketing the Republic of Arewa. Biafra in the East is marketing The Republic of Biafra. Oduduwa in the South-West is marketing Republic of Oodua. If everybody has resolved to leave, is that not enough an indication that there is something wrong with this relationship? What are we waiting for? What can anyone point to that indicates sincere love and enthusiasm to remain one? Before the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), came on board, there was ethnic division in Nigeria. But Mr. President has made ethnic co-existence and collaboration worse under his watch. He loaded up vital organs of government with his own people, and he is unrepentant about it. He said in his recent interview with ARISE TV that he doesn’t need to balance his appointments to powerful positions. He said he is about the longevity of service. I wish that was the same ‘fair’ rule for admission to Unity schools across Nigeria. Are admissions not balanced to favour one bloc of the nation? I wish that was the same approach in many of Nigeria’s government offices where merit is heave-hoed out of the window. We now know that in Mr. President’s dictionary, more qualified people for plum jobs in Nigeria are Northerners. When you have a blatantly displayed presidential double-standard such as this, you know Nigeria is in trouble. These are all evidence that we are far apart as a people.
I’ve always been a determined advocate of restructuring as a panacea for lasting peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups in Nigeria. But lately, I observed that the enthusiasm to keep going as one nation has evanesced from the hearts and minds of Nigerians. The honeymoon seems over. We all know it. Now, shouldn’t we take advantage of this mutual feeling; sit down, and peacefully slice off the pie and go about our businesses? Some may call this assertion ‘ignorant’. It is not. It is wise. It is smart. It is rooted in evidential truth that stares Nigerians in the face every day they wake up and go to bed. We will be better off apart than together. North, South, East, and West, we will all be alright independently. Those who think one region will suffer in the aftermath of a break-up don’t know what God has deposited all over the Nigerian soil. Too many precious stones and landmass for agriculture in the North. Too many precious stones under the ground and sufficient landmass too for agriculture in the South-West. The South-East and South-South have more than enough to remain buoyant. Everywhere in Nigeria is blessed.
Ethnic suspicion and hate will never end in Nigeria. The country can be broken down into autonomous nations and still benefit from one another as separate entities. We will forever be neighbours. We will still be friends. Obviously, staying together seems to be irritating everybody except for the elites who feed off of being together. I don’t know why we can’t just call for a referendum and end this endless bickering. We don’t have to shed a pint of blood. We don’t have to fire a shot! We don’t have to go to war. Narrow may be that road that takes every group peacefully to its tent, but war must not be the choice. Dividing Nigeria is better for all than all-consuming belligerence that may wipe the country off the map like Amalek.
Dividing Nigeria may be better for all
By Fola Ojo