Options to breaking up Nigeria
BY UBAKA OKOFU.
Only if Nigerians and the electoral umpire could get past the 2023 transition in the same peaceful manner the present administration of President Muhammadu Bahariand the All Progressives Congress, (APC) found its’ way to power in 2015, the ruckus in the air about possibly breaking up the country into several smaller countries might dissipate without even the firing of a shot to scare away purveyors of possible breaking up of the country .
Nigerians are already on the brink. There is no need trying to reinvent the wheel. What we do between now and the 2023 elections would to a large extent chart a legitimate course for the country. Breaking up is not an option to the very execrable and despicable state of the security situation in the country. We have had too much bloodshed already! Rather than break up, the monotone should be equity, justice and fairness, and all these can be gotten from genuine dialogue in the spirit of restructuring all what had gone wrong with Nigeria.
It’s not about the present threat of disintegration and agitations from supposed short-changed regions in the country. Whether from the north or the south, we are all victims of inept leadership; all except a few politicians that had created the mess. All the noise about succession will die down if the right persons are in power and the right economic policies are pursued vigorously.
Whether from the South East, South West and even those from the crude oil rich Niger Delta, the hue and cries are simply that of economic hardship and insecurity which are as a result of bad governance and crass failure on the part of whoever is in power. Particularly, his inability to treat those from other regions of the country and outside where he hails from with equity, good conscience and fairness.
Nothing seems to be working out in the country. The shame that we are already the poverty headquarters of the world is as devastating as it is true! Each day, the people are being bombard with political sophistry and barefaced lies , particularly on how the Buhari government intend to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty when in realities, more Nigerians are either being crushed by insurgents and bandits or hunger. With the present economic realities and especially a free and continuous fall of the Naira to the US dollar, it does not add up that the present administration can lift a 100 thousand Nigerians from poverty needless to mention a 100 million of the over 160 million jobless and poverty stricken populace.
Although former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan were both from the South West and South- South regions respectively, they did not, during their time in office treat Nigerians from other regions as second class citizens in the appointment of political offices as well as in the distribution of the nation’s common wealth.
It might be hard if not absolutely impossible for the administration of President Buhari to admit this. But, signs are ominous that the present administration is only for the Hausa-Fulanis. It’s clear enough to decipher that preferential or special treatments are given to only those from the region the President himself hails from in appointments and other national benefits. Appointment are not evenly and equitably distributed. Most MDGs, Parastatals and relevant government agencies are headed by those from the Northern region especially the Hauas-Fulanis of northern Nigeria. This, and in addition to the impunity of herdsmen and the unabated pogrom against Christians in the northern part of the country had gone down to create the impression that Buhari government is not for every Nigerian but for some Nigerians who certainly are of the Hausa-Fulani extraction.
It cannot be impugned that the North has already shot itself in the leg with its extreme religious policies and levity with which the insurgency was handled. Negotiating with members of Boko Haram first, and then Bandits exposed the military as bereaved of digital intelligence. Payment of ransoms to insurgents and bandits amount to adding petrol to fire. It thickens their supplies especially of armoury. Sympathy for Boko Haram by the people of the north because it was first believed to be an Islamic jihadist was the Achilles heel of the northern elites. Now, it is rather too late to see Boko Haram as a gang of criminal minded youths masquerading as Islamic reformers .
Would the Yorubas of the South west and the Igbos of South eastern Nigeria carry out their threat of breaking away from the rest of the north should the presidency remain in the north beyond 2023? There are more questions arising from the foregoing question than answers. What if a northerner who may emerge as President of the country in 2023 is a person who is not an ethnic bigot or a fanatical Muslim? What if he is a person whose aura of friendship and coterie of associates break religious and tribal barriers, the likes of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, a former presidential candidate who contested and lost the presidency under the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP)? What if a generally accepted candidate from the north is paired up with a running mate from the eastern part of the country, would there still be threat to break up the country? What if Buhari in his wisdom decided to support an Igbo presidential candidate and the candidate eventually emerge as president in 2023? Would the monotone still be break up Nigeria?
It’s not about an Igbo president mainly, but about a government with the right mien and courage to address the plethora issues beleaguering the country. Top on the list is that of restructuring. Over 60% of the elites in Nigeria cannot be wrong on the issue of restructuring at the same time. A majority of informed Nigerians are vigorously chorusing the monotone of restructuring while the present administration is pretending not to hear them by looking at the opposite direction.
There is more to achieve together as one indivisible country than break up into several smaller countries which may in a short while break up again if the fear of the minorities is not first allayed, and the issue of resource control / fiscal federation permanently addressed. There are several other issues which in fact, are corollary of the northern hegemony. Hence, the call for restructuring. Federal character, equity, fairness and religious tolerance among others are social issues Nigerians must surmount to get to the Eldorado of national unity and economic prosperity.
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila