THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION: ANOTHER 100 YEARS?
When on Monday February 4, the President flagged off Nigeria's centenary celebration at the Aso Villa, the misgivings in the larger society against the celebration appear not to have discouraged the Federal Government in ensuring an anniversary that would launch the nation anew.
The President said something at that event. He said that "The amalgamation of the North and South was an act of God..."
True, Nigeria had survived a civil war, rapacious military regimes, ethnic and religious riots, and ethnic millitancy, such that it looks like our amalgamation is really an act of God, the unity of Nigeria - many would readily agree - is still on the verge of a breakdown. The President, of course, do not agree. He declared that, "the unity of Nigeria is indivisible and non-negociable"
That of course, is his opinion, shared by few people. 43 years after the civil war, many of the issues that led to it are still very much alive and kicking. That is the reason why Chinua Achebe's new work "There Was a Nation" will continue to be a reference point. And in fact these issues have time and again taken the country to the precipice.
President Goodluck Jonathan's proposed solution to the issues, unfortunately is no solution at all. It is in fact, laughable: "if there are issues that have been brewing over the period and we have been managing, WE WILL CONTINUE TO MANAGE," he declared.
We cannot continue to manage these issues. Not when we are 100 years old. It is simply akin to doing nothing to salvage the decaying situation.
Every region in Nigeria today believe that the mode of National Revenue Sharing is unfair to them. Don't let us deceive ourselves, nobody is comfortable in Nigeria. And I don't think anyone at this stage is confident that this contraption is going to last.
Truly, we have survived 100 years together as a country. But really, it isn't the time spent that matters, but the situation we are during that time spent. That's why I wondered if it's really worth it to spend another 100 uneasy years together, where we will continue to watch our backs in fear, as we have always been doing for the past 100 years.
As a people, we need to sit down with some honesty and talk seriously among ourselves. And we need to take real action after that, not just talk. So in celebrating this centenary of Nigeria, we should look within ourselves and honestly ask ourselves this question: "Do we still want this country called Nigeria? Or do we want to break up?" That question is left for each individual to answer.
But in the meantime, Mr. President, don't continue to propose that we manage. We can't continue to manage. We cannot afford that anymore.
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