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As it appears today, a murky cloud of anxiety and despair is hanging over Nigeria. Threats of secession have assumed alarming proportions, the wind of bad leadership has turned many Nigerians pseudo pessimists. To many of these people, a break up of Nigeria is the only way out and making it a reality would usher in an El Dorado. However, the big question is, is a break up of Nigeria capable of solving the quagmire?
Admittedly, secession would have been the solution if the unity of the Nigerian entity was the problem. Of course, matching problems with solutions birth results. It could be safe to posit that many Nigerians have not taken the time to run proper diagnoses of the issues to ascertain the actual nature of the problem. For this reason, many of them have conveniently continued to erroneously believe that their problem was Lord Lugard who amalgamated Nigeria.
Yes, without prevarication, colonialism left a clearly insufficient system of Nation-States with completely unforeseen borders. However, more than a century after Europe created the structure of African Nation-States, some of these States are beginning to find their feet and build their countries, why not Nigeria? The answer is Organised Religion. The difference between today’s Nigeria and Rwanda is that the former has chosen to remain entangled in her religious and ethnic bondages while the latter has unshackled herself from same.
In the closing years of this century, though, historians, political scientists, and other students of African affairs have begun a searching re-examination of the continent’s recent past. Increasingly they have concluded that many of its most persistent curses – from the plague of ethnic hatred widely known as tribalism to endemic official corruption – with powerful roots that are at least partly traceable to European subjugation and rule. Today, virtually every African conflict has some ethno-regional dimension to it.
The problem of Nigeria has always been ethnicity and religion. In his explosive booklet entitled ‘The Trouble With Nigeria’ which was published in 1983, the legendary Professor Chinua Achebe of blessed memory bluntly stated that ‘The trouble with Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership… Nigerians are what they are only because their leaders are not what they should be’. Achebe even went further to posit that there was nothing wrong with the Nigerian land, climate, water, or anything else and that is the truth. Nigeria’s problem has always been her political and religious leaders who hide under the guise of Organised Religion, ethnicity, and politics to deceive the masses thus causing anarchy. Politicians and religious leaders created these problems, they needed to keep the country divided to mask their kleptomaniac tendencies all for the advancement of their selfish desires.
Politicians and religious leaders have selfishly chosen to keep Nigerians at manipulatable levels just to maintain their hold on the system which has been designed to keep the citizens perpetually divided and the country in stark underdevelopment.
In politics for instance, the violence the political elites are wrecking on the society is worse than those Boko Haram and the bandits have done. It is just that nobody is counting. Nigerian correctional centres are full of innocent people who are victims of that elite’s violence. The greed, corruption, and indulgence of the elite are responsible for the immeasurable violence in the heart of the masses. The elite’s celebration of ‘might is right and woe to the weak’, is what the bandits adopt in their little world of influence.
Much of the existential threats now ravaging the nation derive directly from the leadership style of President Buhari or are accentuated by it. Unable to free himself from the dominion of tribe and religion, he began at once to construct in earnest a narrow governing ethos designed to entrench the domination of his Fulani tribe and interpreted reality strictly by rules of purely Fulani cum Islamic conventions. That have turned out to be a recipe for chaos in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nation-State already riven by acrimony and fears of ethnic domination. These issues would be non-existent if Nigeria was not engulfed in the abyss of religious and ethnic sentiments.
Secessionist agitations in Nigeria today are more ethnic than anything else. According to Horowitz, ethnicity-based secessionism is a special species of ethnic conflict. Undoubtedly, Nigeria’s ethnic, religious, and cultural heterogeneity is one of the many reasons why the country is susceptible to secessionist movements. Nigeria’s secessionist agitations are, by their very nature, a reflection of ethnic disharmony and conflict, particularly among the country’s three main ethnic groups. Now, a careful look at these issues would show that many of these agitators simply want to solve ethnic disharmony by breaking away from each other while yet to purge themselves of the same deformity. The big question is that, would Nigeria be broken into over 250 ethnic groups to erase the heterogeneity?
Nigeria as presently constituted is ravaged with multi-dimensional bad leadership in every part of the country, now would a miracle happen when the country breaks up to the extent that bad leaders would now get swallowed up? Wouldn’t it just be a situation where bad leaders like Theodore Orji, Orji Kalu, Hope Uzodinma, Yahaya Bello, Yemi Osinbajo, El-Rufai etc would just regroup and continue their malfeasance knowing fully well that their influence and the wealth they have corruptly garnered cannot be ignored?
Nigerians should think again, the battle should be against bad leadership and the present elitist system which have hijacked the country. They can start by demanding a change from their respective Governors, Senators, Rep Members, Councilors, Local Government Administrators, and what have you? Dismembering the country Geographically would not bring new people. It is still going to remain same old faces, same old sins, and a painful continuation of the vicious cycle.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK