How Nigeria may not break up – Ajimobi
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said that Nigeria will continue to remain as one united entity only if efforts are made to find out all the foundational wrongs in the country's amalgamation and correct the anomalies.
The governor said this at the 20thanniversary celebration of the death of a renowned economist, Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade held at the Development Policy Centre, Ibadan,
According to him, accelerating development and building a real nation from the multiplicity of ethnic groups and nationalities that make up Nigeria has been the major challenge that successive governments have shied away from, preferring instead the pretence that the country has already arrived at the destination.
“Political development and power calculation have further balkanized the country and resulted in moving the country farther away from addressing the problems of national unity, correcting subsisting historical injustices and ameliorating the lopsidedness of the federation,'' he noted.
Governor Ajimobi, who spoke on the topic “Nigeria's Amalgamation and National Development'', expressed his support for the celebration of the centenary of amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates.
He, however, said it should be done in sober reflection and intellectual brainstorming on how to forge a way forward from the historical wrongs of soldering two disparate protectorates together.
“The greatest calamity would be that, if after the centenary celebrations, we go back to our historical vomit, with no lesson learnt and no strategic move made to move forward as a better nation,'' he said.
The governor quoted many scholars as arguing that the post-colonial status that Nigeria arrived at, especially its myriad of socio-economic and even political problems that were debilitating obstacles to its development, were a carry-over from the Lord Lugard error of amalgamation.
“Although it may not be absolutely right to put all the blame for the nation's dismal economic performance and backwardness squarely and solely on the amalgamation, it is, however, impossible not to argue thattoday's myriad problems of disunity, slow development and contemporary backwardness cannot be traced to this unholy marriage of convenience between the Northern and Southern Nigeria.
“Almost 100 years after this marriage, Nigeria remains till date a badly fractured country being held together by a combination of force and deceit' he said.
He, however, opined that there was nothing wrong in bringing two strange bed fellows together to become one, as long as the reasons and the opportunities abound for them to forge a common sense of direction.
The governor expressed the regret that the nation's development was being hampered daily by youth unemployment and adult under-employment, general insecurity of life and property, decaying physical infrastructure, unbridled elite corruption and ostentation and pervasive feeling of hopelessness in a country so well-endowed, yet so cursed by lack of visionary leadership.
In his remarks, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Tekenah Tamuno expressed optimism that Nigeria would overcome all the socio-political and economic challenges currently facing it.
He urged those predicting the disintegration of the country to channel their efforts towards other productive ventures, even as he called for more freedom of expression and the need to consult Nigerians before the new constitution being worked on by the National Assembly was put in place.
Prof. Tamuno commended the various achievements of the Governor Ajimobi administration in Oyo State, saying that tremendous improvement had been made in the socio-economic life of the people of the state.
“Oyo State is now a better place, courtesy of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. If Nigeria is like Oyo State, I can assure you that it will survive,'' the former Vice Chancellor stated.