“Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”, the motto of our Federal Republic, Nigeria. This is what we stand for as well as what we are suppose to fight for. It’s rather sickening and unfortunate quite alright, that after a journey this far, we can not comfortably boast of either Peace or any tangible progress in Nigeria. It’s saddening. On the other hand, Faith I can say, is alive in the hearts of many but not Unity. It’s one Nigeria, a country made up of more than 200 tribes, most of which are ethnically distinct. It’s a one Nigeria when it comes to Geography, topographically bound by a single map, bearing the same national identity, upholding the same Flag, Coat of Arm and Constitution. Nevertheless, It’s not hard to tell that beyound this point, Nigeria is hardly one or united.
In recent years, the unity of Nigeria has been questioned over and over again, mostly by the citizens themselves. Reasons, ofcourse, are numerous, however, I don’t find any one reasonable. During the Presidential media chat a few days before Nigeria clocked 53 years since its independence, the President called for National Conference which Nigerians tagged as Sovereign. The National Assembly has rejected the “Sovereign” modification, saying only the consititution and the house sits on that throne, other than that, the conference is a welcomed and timely move. Now, whether the conference is going to be sovereign or not, the main item on the agenda for now, is centered on Unity and peaceful and Mutual coexistence between the country’s diversities. Many Nigerians are already calling for a break up. The Oil-rich south wants independence for the dominating North which have failed to appreciate it for feeding the whole nation from its reserves. Now let’s paint the picture.
The man from the west says he is from the most educated and enlightened tribe in Nigeria. He believes he is the future of Nigeria. The Hausa man says he is from the dominant tribe and that politics is in his blood. He believes that by history, Ruling is his birthright. The Igbo man says he is from the rebellious tribe that controls the markets and Business, he can save Nigeria. The man from south says it’s been our oil, why can’t we have the power? The rest are struggling to be heard. The igbo man is blamed for all the criminal woes of the country. The Hausa man is hated and blamed for retarding the growth and progress of the country because he won’t whole-heartedly welcome the western education but will hide under his religion to terrorize the whole country and scare everybody away, including investors. The man from the south is blamed for selfishness in wanting the full control of his resources after eating from the cocoa, groundnut, cotton, palm kernal and other resources provided by others before the discovery of his oil. The other minorities are crying of neglect and unfairness. One man feels he will live better without the other. Every man feels he is better than the other. Every man feels his way is ultimate and will always discriminate someone else’s. The Hausa man does not trust a non-Hausa to fight for his interest when in power, so he will fight to put himself there, and vice versa. Well, this is just a faint picture. It is worse. The journey has been rough that we have gotten to a place where all blames are now directed to Sir Federick Lord Lugard for amalgamating the protectorates 100 years ago. So the question is asked once again, should Nigeria break up? If Nigeria should break up, how many countries are we looking out for to emerge?
Well, if Nigeria should ever resolve to break up, it’s not going to be a division by 2. this I’m sertain about. Its going to be a disintegration. This is my point, follow me. Let’s say Nigeria breaks into two, each part taking up the initial boundary before January 1914, it will take just a little time for the the new southern Nigeria to recognize and treat Yoruba as the new dominating tribe as the hausas are now. The igbos will still be rebelling for Biafra. The Ijaw, Ibibio and Tshekiri will still be crying, “it’s our oil”. If the far south ever get independence to form a republic, a further division will surface to seperate the Ekoi and Bendels from the oil-rich tribes. The Biafra people will find a way to create a new form of division among themselves, trust Igbos. Oduduwa Republic will find some form of division too. My Yoruba Landlord says he can not take me as a tenant if I am igbo or Ijebu. Apparently He doesn’t trust or feel safe to mingle with another Yoruba-an Ijebu Yoruba. Meanwhile the new Nothern Nigerian Republic will be thrown into a bigger chaos. The Kanuris, Nupes, Gwaris, Tivs, Igalas etc will, in no time, intolarably move for another state. The breaking continues until the now smaller countries are conquered to form colonies and dependecies by other countries. Strength of a country, they say, is in its unity.
If the Nation will not mend the cracks of disunity inherent now, as a country, the same disease of intolarance and discrimination that is killing it now, will eat it up even after the so cherished divorce. If at all any item of deliberation should be on the agenda for the proposed national conference, it should be ways we can tackle the disunity troubling us, as a people, which lies on the discrimination and intolerance of nigerians. It will good for the North to know that Nigeria does not belong to north but on the contrary, the North belongs to Nigeria. It will good for the Christians and Muslims not to discriminate each other. When we are one Nigeria, it is not going to matter that we are electing the west to preside over the affairs of the Presidential Villa for the third time consecutively, because the one and only criterion we accept is Credibility. We attain Unity and Oneness when no long cling to the differences that pollute our discretion. When people unite, there is no limit to their capability. God feared the ambition of his united creation set to build the Tower of Babel to reach his abode, so he created diversity among them. In other words, the more we ignore our differences and unite, the greater our chances to achieve.
The future of Nigeria is our hands. I fight for one Nigeria not because I am a northerner and stands the risk of missing out of the Oil wealth provided by the south if the country breaks up. No! My only fear is that I will miss calling Chidi, Tunde and Efehi my compatriots, you know why? because I love them. Pick a side and take a stand today. I have taken mine, and when finally, the battle is won and history is made, I will remember my place in the struggle, my contribution and my faith. Long live Nigeria.