NATIONAL CONFERENCE: NIGERIA'S UNITY, NEGOTIABLE.
The Federal Government recently released the working document for the National Conference, and part of that document states unequivocally that Nigeria's indivisibility and indissolubility is not an area to be talked about at the conference.
This is to say that Nigeria's unity is not to be discussed, non-negotiable and will remain one country despite the ethnic, religious and political marginalization, frustration and killings.
But, Nigeria can be re-negotiated for unity and love, peace and progress.
It is because we have failed to face the reality all these years that we are assembling at the conference table to talk about it.
The real agenda, what should come to the front burner at this conference should be to discuss whether we want Nigeria together or not and how.
We must for the benefit of all and, basically to protect the future, to disallow Nigeria from violence disintegration allow ethnic groups to talk about how they want to remain one indivisible country.
I am an advocate, a true believer in one Nigeria, but a Nigeria that recognizes my freedom, my inalienable right as a citizen anywhere I chose to settle down with members of my family and worship in whatever way I deem fit, whether in Afikpo, Kafanchan, Imeko or in Ogbia.
We are politically and geographically aware that Nigeria was fused together by foreign strangers for their own economic gains, people who didn't understand or care about our culture, religion or bothered to ask our ancestors the possibility of whether they would like to stay together under one country to be called Nigeria or not.
Since this dubious marriage of the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914, we have never had it so good.
There is no discussion that would be done at the conference without allowing the ethnic nationalities to frankly agree or disagree staying together in a country, it is on this premise that other discussions would build.
This is British's Nigeria and not Nigeria's Nigeria, and the national conference is an opportunity to make it Nigeria's Nigeria.
We cannot afford to blow this opportunity to re-build Nigeria, to re-organize and re-position it to truly be the hope of Africa in the economic and political world map.
There is no doubt we are still disunited, we are not one nation with a common destiny.
This is the reason we must re-negotiate this country's unity.
There is still a section of the country that believes it is their right to govern, that their religion is supreme to others, they are still making comments to support this wishy-washy argument, so these and many other reasons are why we must discuss Nigeria's unity once and for all, now or never! It is not true when people allege that discussing the unity of Nigeria means waving bye-bye to Nigeria; rather it would afford us the opportunity to discuss all the ingredients that would make us stronger in love, unity, dedicated to our common destiny.
Of course, if we decide at the conference to go our different ways for peace to exist among nations so be it, there is no region that cannot stand on its own.
Till date, England and Scotland are still discussing and would put to vote at a future date whether to remain as United Kingdom or go there separate ways.
Pakistan pulled out of India, Eritrea from Ethiopia, so it is not anything new in the world if that would usher in stability, peace and progress among nations.
The Federal Government must be encouraged to seek for a lasting solution in a more holistic approach to the myriad of problems facing Nigeria's social-political climate.
Since deciding after many years of intense pressure to convene the national conference, we must be seen eager to get it right - that Nigeria's unity will be discussed accords the conference with a lot of credibility and makes it a success at the onset.
Delegates at the conference should and must be given the freedom to discuss the unity of Nigeria, let us allow and encourage every group to bring its pain, anger and frustration before others for debate and analysis, agreement and disagreement.
The Boko Haram insurgence, MASSOB's clamour, Odua's self determination, Niger Delta resource control, etc.
all boils down to how, if we must stay in Nigeria as one nation.
So, the national conference discussing the unity of Nigeria must top the agenda if we really mean to get it right.
Lastly, the agreed document at the conference should be subjected to a referendum.
The people must be given the right to vote yes or no to the final document that will emerge at the end of the conference; it makes it widely acceptable to majority of Nigerians.
We must not allow the document from the national conference to go through another debate either at the national assembly or at the executive for any reason or be tampered with.
Let the document be delivered to Nigerians without any alteration from any sector for the people to vote for or against.
No conference document would be forced down the throat of Nigerians, they must be allowed to have a say in agreement or disagreement, in other words, the agreed document coming out of the conference must be subjected to the will of the people.
Written By Uzodinma Nwaogbe