NIGERIA NEEDS ETHNIC SELF-DETERMINATION FOR ITS CONSTITUENT NATIONALITIES – AN ADDENDUM
Mr. Toyin Adepoju in an article titled “Nigeria Needs Ethnic Self-determination for Its Constituent Nationalities” ( https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/IgboWorldForum/conversations/messages/290849 ) asserts that the breakup of Nigeria is the answer to Nigeria's manifold problems.
He asserts as follows:
Breakup into smaller nations (does he mean ethnic nationalities?)
The country is a farce, created by a colonizer, and run largely by soldiers of fortune.
The culture of everybody for themselves and their cronies is the core of corruption
The welding of a nation by force is not working. All the ethnicities should decide how they want to move forward.
Those ethnicities who wish to be on their own or form national coalitions should do so. But to insist on this current nation, perhaps even in the name of so called restructuring, looks to me like looking for more of the vampirism represented by legally entrenched blood sucking manifest in ridiculous incomes for politicians and the recurrent terrorism flows from the Muslim North – the latest being state-supported Fulani herdsmen militia and random murders of Christians in the North.
Mr. Adepoju's words would be music to many ears including this scribe but on second thought the essay needs a little more clarifications. For example:
Breakup into smaller nations. There are currently about 350 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. Although he says that each nationality would then decide to do it alone or form coalitions but at which point would this take place? After the breakup or before then? When would assets and liabilities be shared? How does Nigeria determine borders and ethnic nationalities? Are we sure which people are Urhobo, itsekiri, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Igbo? In Kwara state which people are Yoruba and others? It will not be easy to breakup Nigeria into ethnic nationalities.
The culture of everybody to themselves and corruption. We know that the looters of Federal Nigeria come in all ethnic clothing. We also know that looters in the state governments come from all LGA. What makes anybody think that an Oduduwa/Biafra nation would be free of corruption? Or Fulani Republic of Sokoto? The root cause of corruption as I have asserted in more than one occasion is not ethnicity but poverty. Social and economic security structures do not exist so people who have opportunity try to ensure that they would never lack. Nigerian corruption is an opportunity crime. People of all ethnic groups who have the opportunity steal. If it now looks as if the northerners are the most corrupt, it is merely because they have had more chances.
The welding of a nation by force is not working. Mr. Adepoju is on the money here. Force ought not to used to hold a people together. But how to undo what has been welded together is the challenge as seen in part (a) above. It is here that the restructuring which Mr. Adepoju had taken out of the table is called for. But I completely agree that arresting Nnamdi Kanu and holding him in jail forever is not any type of rational thing to do. Killing Biafran agitators in the name of keeping Nigeria one is a misguided policy.
Blaming the North/Islam for everything: Mr. Adepoju is correct up to some point. The north has ruled Nigeria for all but 18 years of its 56 years of independence and even under OBJ's first 8 years the north had him in a stranglehold. It was in his last 4 years that he had a kind of leeway. So there is sufficient reason to blame the north. But the north had enough southern collaborators in ruining Nigeria.
If Mr. Adepoju's suggestions are difficult to implement what is the alternative proposal?
We have to start from the knowledge that there is no simple solution. Mr. Adepoju stated the obvious: the welding of a nation by force is not working; The country is a farce, created by a colonizer, and run largely by soldiers of fortune; Right wing Islamists as dominate Northern Nigeria cannot coexist peacefully with anyone else. Their only condition for peace is that they dominate you and do what they like with you, such as killing your people anytime they wish.
Giving these conditions there is need for some actions. Another difficult possible solution would be to add a secession clause to the constitution. Any group that wishes to part ways with Nigeria would after a referendum be allowed to secede. The beauty of this is that Nigeria would remain as a unit while the disintegration is going on. There would be no need for a division into 350 units and sharing of assets/liabilities and then coming together of groups. If a population of a homogenous group of up to 100,000 like say the Ikwerre voted against secession the unit would not be part of the new nation.
Even this simple idea would be difficult to implement especially in President Buhari's time in office. PMB is like Prime Mister Churchill who was asserting in November 1942 that:
“I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.”
Yet less than five years after Churchill's defiant speech, the British Empire effectively ended with India’s independence in 1947 and the end of the British Mandate in Palestine in 1948. And in 2016, another major setting of the sun seems to be taking place in what has remained of the British empire.
So PMB might try but may not be able to stem the tide.
My opinion; yours always welcome
Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba.