There are several Nigerians who will go along with this school of thought they we should divide Nigeria into several nations and there are millions who will not. Truly, the creation of a country such as Nigeria was a very abnormal amalgamation. That leaves us with a problem but what is wrong with overcoming this problem and transforming the diversities that exist in the entity called Nigeria into strengths? In my opinion, unity in diversity would be of monumental advantages to Nigeria and Africa. We must not forget that Nigeria earned the title of a giant a long time ago when she made so much money and didn’t know what to do with it. Many Africans came to Nigeria in the 70s and 80s to seek greener pasture the same way we herded in our migration in recent years to Europe and America. There was a time in Nigeria when the naira had more value that the dollar or pounds. There was a time in our history, we were told, when you arrived at Heathrow that the airport officials asked you “how long are you staying ma?” how long are you planning to stay sir?”
We know why and how we got to this point today that seeking self-determination or secession within Nigeria has become a major cry is several quarters in Nigeria. First, we allowed corruption to eat deep into every fabric of our societies. Secondly, we allowed and permitted autocratic governments in Nigeria. We allowed tyrants-absolute idiots and empty skulls, to rule over us. We did nothing to call to order the very undesirable elements in our midst. Rather we did all we can to encourage our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sisters, uncles, nephews, cousins and neighbours to loot and destroy the system. Many of us were by-standers or chance spectators; we waited patiently to benefits from the gradual destructions of our nation or we didn’t have the voice to oppose oppressions as non-beneficiaries.
If Nigerians split up into several nations, what is the guarantee that these emerging nations will not have serious internal friction such that the subsequent splitting will occur and bring forth more problems rather than succor? We’ll never know until we allow the split anyway. We should not split Nigeria. Nigeria as a country represents the hope of many African countries. This unique country is not only an icon of a regional strength, it will come to symbolize a global power if we set our priorities right. If things didn’t get this bad, only heavens know the kind of paradise we would have gotten on our hands. We lost the paradise but the time has come to rekindle our hopes.
To move forward and make progress, Nigeria needs a drastic change. First we need a true and profound democratic government. The one bequeathed to us By Iwu and Aremu is a very serious disaster. Such cannot form the basis for the progress that we sought. This makes the call for genuine democratic dispensation very pertinent and highly desirable. Umaru should resign and go home! The kind of leadership we need in Nigeria is the one that prioritizes accountability and probity. We need a leadership that will immediately look into the immediate and remote causes of our retrogression and apply urgent measures to start curbing them. We need signs, we need answers to our problems, we need purposeful visions and plausible missions integrated. One major aspect of the steps forward is to demand for the immediate prosecution of all the people who have contributed to the destruction of Nigeria from 1960-2007. They should answer to crimes and shortcomings. That kind of procedure is a necessary ingredient to STOP the further abuse of a collapsing system.
Another way to move Nigeria forward is to seek by popular demand the utilization of the good brains in Nigeria. How have we as a nation benefitted from the likes of Achebe, Soyinka, Emegwali, Chimamanda, Nwankwo, Utomi, Odegbami, Okocha, Tuface, you, me, our good friends, our wonderful neighbors, our gifted children and wonderful scholars and professionals scattered around the face of the earth? The isolated positive efforts of the likes of Dora Akinyuli, Okonja-Iweala and Soludo can be harnessed and transform to a National trait. It is possible through our collective intelligence to fish out these men and women who can transform this great country back to glory. There are unused Ngozis, unused Doras and unused Soludos in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. Some of them are wasting away locally and internationally. Many of such people are waiting to be discovered and used. We have closed our eyes to intelligence and allowed nonentities to seize people and plunge our land into a state of economic depression and wanton hopelessness.
When we remove square pegs from round holes and put them in square holes where they truly belong, we will start to see and experience our movement forward towards the glorious paths that we derailed from. Then the groundnut pyramids will reappear in the North. The cocoa farm will come back to the South West; the coal in Enugu will be utilized. Ajaokuta steel will be run by our engineers, the people we trust. Agriculture will once again become the back bone of our economy. We will borrow less or not at all. Our banks will continue to be trailblazers not only in Africa, but worldwide. Our oil reserves will indeed become reserves and add to our wealth and success. We will eat and have enough to throw away or send to far away Ethiopia and next door Niger. There will be too much Ijebu garri from Ogun State and chicken will not come from one farm only. Yellow garri will come from Abia and Anambra. Egg will be abundant and yet avoided for fear of cholesterol. Milk will no longer be a poison but it will be given free to children. Out health sector will be first class in service deliverance and our life span will exceed 70 years with ease. We will bring back home as many as are willing from the Diaspora. Our educational institutions will be resuscitated to first class delivery service. As a country, we will make money again but this time we know what to do with it. We will not steal it! We will put it in use for common prosperity and posterity. Travelling abroad will once again be for pleasure. Our original naira and kobo will be back.
This is not a dream. The developed countries in the world today do not have super humans or extra terrestrial beings. Living with them has allowed us to see their mortality, their weaknesses and strengths. Ironically, it takes a handful of responsible individuals to build these strong nations just the same opposite way that it has taken a few undesirable elements in Nigeria to destroy our common heritage. It is possible that only one thing has changed from the time we were true giant to now that we are a sleeping giant. That one thing is mismanagement aided by greed, corruption and selfishness of the people we know so well. We must remove these people and their vices for all time as I have suggested above. The other things that have not change are the natural resources, the human resources, the intelligent pool, the intelligent minds, the abundant land for farming, the oil reserves, our creativity and all the other ingredients that we can put together again and use in the way they should be. My fear is that Nigeria should not allow external influences to continue to hamper her progress. It is to the benefits of the other great nations that we remain underdeveloped thereby posing no threat to the current world order. We must break away from this kind of yoke, this kind of burden. It is true that some of us in the South have never been to the North of Nigeria. The reasons are obvious. When we have created or re-created the Nigeria of our desire, the hindrances to free movement of association and trade will be removed. Nigeria can work. We have all it takes to make it work. We should all contribute our voices, actions, positive attitudes, courage, and everything that we have, no matter how little or big, that can make Nigeria work.
Finally, indeed the creation of Nigeria came with some obvious problems. At this point in our history we cannot solve those problems by the logic that supports our breaking up into several nations. We must live with these problems, solve them and enjoy the benefits that will accrue from the solutions. How can we start? Let us seek a positive and radical change. The orange revolution is a desirable reference point. In it, there was a non-violent persistent resistance by the people. They stood their ground even against external influences. The orange revolution in Ukraine rested power on the people. The people made a choice and Ukrainians are living today with the consequences of their actions, the choice that they made. Let us make our own choices, let’s see where we go from there. Let’s arise and take control of our lives and secure the future of our children! Let us try men and women of honor and integrity at the helms of affairs with the power to remove and replace resting squarely on the people. This will bring change and progress.