THE PROBLEM OF NIGERIA IS ONE-NIGERIA
Looking in from the outside Nigeria appears to have numerous problems. (There is no doubt now in anyone’s mind that Nigeria is a failed state by all definitions). Some people have surmised that Nigeria’s problems are, amongst others; pogroms, genocides, ethnic/religious cleansing resulting from hatred and intolerance of one another by the various ethnic groups, insecurity of lives and property, lack of good governance, a corrupt and decadent political class, non-emergence of inspirational and dynamic leadership and endemic and debilitating poverty resulting from the combined forces of the enumerated negative factors. The list can go on ad infinitum and they sound very attractive to any casual observer.
Some Western countries and organizations such as the European Union, Britain and the United States had at one time believed and continually preached that all the problems of Nigeria can be effectively solved once the country can conduct a free, fair and credible election which will usher in an enduring democracy. But all those have since changed when in 2011 an election which by their (the international community’s) assessment was the freest and fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria seemed to have actually multiplied and intensified the problems. What is currently making the headlines is that poverty is the reason why the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram under the sponsorship of the Northern Nigeria elite group, their political, business, religious and military leaders, is killing Christians. Boko Haram jihadists are actively ethnically/religiously cleansing the North of Nigeria of Christian Igbo and others of Southern origin in order to establish a sharia state yet some Western policy makers naïvely fall for the lie which says that these people kill because they are poor and unjustly treated.
Recently the European Union and others came up with pronouncements that are obviously conceived to make light of very serious problems by “pledging” to work closely with the Nigerian government to fight the spate of these ethnic killings by Boko Haram. Such less discreet pledges are nothing different from the same pledges that Britain, USSR, Egypt and the Arab League made and fought alongside Nigeria in the 1960s to scuttle the Biafran people’s self-determination effort and, in the process murdered 3.1 million Biafrans. Should the West be fighting alongside Nigeria to kill a people fighting for their self-determination or to help in granting the people their freedom? The people behind Boko Haram want a state of their own where they can practice their sharia, so why should anyone help to defeat such noble aspirations? The other question that all serious observers and stakeholders in the failed one-Nigerian project have not seized to ask is, should these Western nations be confronted with the similar problems in their respective societies, would they have continued to handle the matter with such levity or use such dishonest and insincere euphemisms?
The honest truth is that Nigeria has only one problem and it is a fact that is known to all including the European Union, United States, Britain and all other groups with serious interests in Nigeria. Everyone in this category knows that the problem of Nigeria is one-Nigeria. The one-Nigerian state structure as is presently constituted is wrong. So long as the one-Nigeria remains, Nigeria will never work. The original conception of the one-Nigeria that we currently have was never made to work in the context of a functional country. The colonial Britain originally designed it for their economic and administrative convenience and it was supposed to be dismantled soon after that purpose had been served. So the one-Nigeria structure is supposed to have ended in October 1, 1960 when Britain left Nigeria. The ethnic peoples who make up the present one-Nigeria can never exist amicably together as citizens of the same country. The one-Nigeria that we have today is a forced union of different peoples with irreconcilable differences of values and civilizations within an inconvenient enclave. Historically, culturally and religiously the different ethnic groups in Nigeria are not one and the same people and there is no reason to continue to force them to remain together in one country while Igbo/Biafrans’ blood is continually sacrificed at the altar of a forced “united one-Nigeria”.
If anyone is serious, honest and sincere in solving Nigeria’s problem, it can actually be done. The first step is to boldly remove all sentiments and be willing to do the right thing. The solution is restructuring; separation of the warring peoples, cultures and religions in Nigeria into independent and sovereign territories or countries. Let all the interest groups both within and outside Nigeria call for a United Nations organized and supervised referendum such as was conducted in Sudan in 2011 to be held in Nigeria. The truth is that the solution to one-Nigeria is the Self-Determination of the various ethnic peoples in Nigeria.
Written By Osita Ebiem