What is Nigeria? A mere geographical expression comprising of the Northern and Southern Protectorates put together by the colonial powers for administrative convenience.
Who are Nigerians? A people of diverse tribes and religions caged in an unholy marriage by the administrative whims of their colonial masters, bound by the tragedy of such a forced co-existence and battered psychologically by the misrule of the custodians of a law foisted down the throats of the masses.
My above definition notwithstanding, I have always believed that the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates to form what is now Nigeria was to serve a higher purpose; Nigeria ought to be a beacon of hope and light for Africa just like America is for the rest of the world.
Sadly, Nigeria has since its inception been a house of straws without adequate foundation. This shaky foundation threatened to give way in the events that led to the Civil War of July 1967 – January 1970 but for reasons of superior military might, unfair and unsavoury war tactics, it remains.
Unfortunately, the issues that begat the Civil War has continued to be relegated to the background. We have had a situation akin to a doctor administering all sorts of drugs without correctly diagnosing the ailment it seeks to cure. The result is Nigeria has gotten sicker with each passing year and as at today, is much closer to its demise than it has ever been.
For a people as diverse as Nigeria, it is not surprising that the concept of unity is alien to us; at least between the divide of the North and South. Any person who has lived in Nigeria can attest to the fact that the diversity in the South is more united than the unity between the North and South. This assertion has its roots in the glaring tribal, cultural and religious differences. I remember many years ago my first visit to Kano where I attended law school, I never was able to shake off the feel that I was in a different country. There has always been a wide gulf in the mentality of the people of the South and the people of the North attributable mainly to religious differences.
Despite all of this, I have never failed to see the potential of a truly united Nigeria that got her act together. For a nation so blessed with natural and human resources, its potentials are truly limitless. Sadly, Nigeria has been bedeviled from its inception with a nagging suspicion of dominance of one tribe over the other. This is even more so without there being any serious frame work for a truly Nigerian consciousness from which the diverse tribes could be assimilated, and worse still, the total absence of an autochtonous constitution which embodies the will of a diverse people who have agreed to come together for the greatness of the nation. The result has always been a situation where tribal sentiments have always been placed over nationalistic sentiments.
The greedy jostle for power coupled with tribal sentiments has given rise to military incursions and more recently, do-or-die politics; a situation where principles of ethics, morality and fair play are thrown overboard to perpetuate a corrupt group in power as well as terrorist insurgency to foster an agenda of hate, intolerance and destabilization.
The indisputable fact remains that Nigerians as a people are yet to independently decide if they want to be a nation. A century after the amalgamation and almost six decades after independence, Nigeria is yet to show any signs that she is ready to embrace herself entirely and work together towards a common goal; a choice that would make it a force to reckon with in the committee of nations; a choice that I favour greatly. Unfortunately, after reading the article of a certain Yusuf Jubril, I am forced to reconsider my stand.
The arrogance of his ignorance is both humbling and pitiful. It lends credence to an opinion held by many that the entitlement mentality of the North to rule is a great draw back in terms of progress for the Nigerian State. This can be clearly seen by the assertion of the man; “the North has since independence by divine blessing provided leadership and administration which has kept the country stable and secure and would continue to work for a peaceful country. This is no accident; it is the Almighty Allah that has destined it so.”
One can’t help but wonder that after the years of the North at the helms of leadership of Nigeria as Jubril grandiosely bragged, can we honestly say that the Northern people of Nigeria are the better for it?
This fanatical statement is one that must be considered with all seriousness because in a region where a sizable amount of its people hold such an opinion, there is little need to wonder about presence of a terrorist group such as Boko Haram. The article is reckless, insensitive, misguided and displays the abysmally low level of intelligence of the writer.
Such fanatical views should be discouraged or alternatively, Jubril and his ilk who hold such opinions should be given the opportunity to secede and fulfill their “divine blessing” to rule.
Nigeria is at a dangerous stage where a breakup is beginning to look like the only solution to corruption, ethic violence and insurgency. Honest attempts should be made to see if this unholy union can be made holy by a sovereign national conference unlike the ongoing farce called the National CONFAB organized by this administration. A National Conference where the each region independently chooses its representatives; where the youth as the future of tomorrow are the main focus.
Or else we all should simply agree to disagree.
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