Speech by Akogun Tola Adeniyi. Guest Speaker, at the Oriwu Club, Ikorodu. April 24, 2021
I will not be saying much of new things to you today, many patriots, with whom I stand, have raised the salient issues several times. In fact, Chief Solomon Asemota, SAN, was in tune with this this topic five years ago at the 50th Anniversary of the creation of Lagos State with his well-researched and illuminating brief on the conundrum about to consume the Nigerian space and its diverse peoples. With your permission, I shall quote generously from that authoritative paper he dubbed Lagos: The Original Southern Lady of Means, a title he derived from Lord Harcourt’s 1913 speech at a Colonial Service Dinner. Then, Lord Harcourt, after whom Port Harcourt was named, was Secretary of State to the Colonies. He, in humour, metaphorically summarized the transfer of Northern Nigeria’s dependence on British treasury to Southern Nigeria with the title and said:
“We have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the treasury. The promising and well-conducted Youth is now on an allowance ‘on his own’ and is about to affect an alliance with a Southern Lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant! The Nigerians are not designed to be a great ‘trust’ but a great ‘federation’.
“The agencies and methods that the British adopted to bring the whole of modern Nigeria under their control varied, as did the initiatives and reactions on the part of the Nigerians. Yorubaland was won by the missionaries and the Lagos government; the Oil Rivers by the missionaries and the consuls; and Northern Nigeria by both the National African Company (from 1886 the Royal Niger Company) and the British government. The main weapons used by the British were diplomacy and military confrontation. Nigerian reactions therefore varied from open military confrontations to temporary alliances and submission. As a result of the activities of the missionaries, British influence and trade had penetrated from Lagos, occupied in 1851, to most parts of Yorubaland and a number of anti-slave trade and trade and protection treaties had been concluded between the British and many Yoruba rulers by 1884. In 1886, the British administration was also able to convince Ibadan and the Ekitiparapo (comprising the Ekiti, Ijesha and Egba), who had been at war since 1879, to sign a peace treaty, Kwarteng (2012).
“In 1906 and in preparation for amalgamation, the colony of Lagos and Southern Nigeria were merged and named the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Thus, Lagos became the original ‘Lady of Means’. Lagos provided the first metropolis in Nigeria. The marriage between the ‘well conducted Youth of the North and the Southern Lady of Means’ became necessary for two reasons. One, the well conducted Youth, North, relied on the British treasury for subsistence and two, the affection the British colonialists had for the Fulani people (the Negroids) at a time when racism was an important factor in human history. The British knew that sooner than later, the British treasury would stop augmenting the finances of the well conducted Youth of the North
“These were the main factors responsible for amalgamation. To this day, the ‘South’ based on arbitrary latitude, remains the Southern Lady of Means as an oil producing region with Lagos as the original. The North had a mixture of Negros and Negroids of Arab descent who provided Islamic education and culture in the 18th Century. The Arab descent of the Kanuri stock occupies parts of present-day Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroun. The Arab descent of Fulani occupies part of present-day Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Sudan. The Negro of the North were the indigenous people of the Middle Belt, including Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau etc. The Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri had dominated the North as rulers and elite class with the indigenous Negros who were able to access Western education and civilization through Christian missionaries, as their subjects. The spread of the Fulani/Hausa and the Kanuri in other West African countries may be responsible for their divided loyalty to Nigeria. They see themselves first as Muslims, Fulani, Hausa or Kanuri before their status as Nigerians. To them, the Nigerian passport is valuable but Sudanese passport is priceless.
“We must not forget that Nigeria was protected from European invasion by mosquitoes, unlike South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. ‘Of the forty-eight Europeans who had steamed up the River Niger in three ships in the years 1832 – 1834, thirty-eight had died of fever.’ Cole (2013). Otherwise, Nigeria would have had European settlers as was the case in East and South Africa.
“The Nigeria federation, as carved out by Britain, was not only unusual but also a tripod of three major ethnic nationalities; Hausa/Fulani North, Yoruba West, and Ndi Igbo East, in the image of the matchmaker – Great Britain made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The difference, of course, is that Nigeria has over three hundred and eighty-six other ethnic nationalities, unlike Britain with only three. The well conducted Youth as head of this polygamous household East and West became adept in ‘harem politics’ whereby he ensures that his two ‘wives’ never united to prevent conspiracy against him. The Youth comes closer to the East when it suited him, then he turns to the West, but always ensures that his two wives Ndi Igbo and Yoruba, though part of the Christians South, never agreed. The superior education of the two wives seemed to be ineffective.
“Sudan also played an important role in shaping Nigeria in two ways; first British officers stationed in the North were mainly ex-soldiers who got their first taste of colonial assignments from Sudan before coming to Nigeria. The last Governor General of Nigeria, Sir James Robertson, was transferred from Sudan to Nigeria and he guided Nigeria to independence modeled after the Northern and Southern Sudan pattern. The second, was Nigerians who visited Sudan before independence. Sheikh Gumi who had part of his Quranic training in Sudan, remarked thus: looking back at it, one can say that, in a way, all of us had been individually affected by our stay in the Sudan. Personally, I count the time as the first close training I had in Arab life and culture.”
Going by his impressions and readings of the deft moves of the well conducted Youth on the Nigerian terrain, Chief Asemota, the lawyer and elder statesman who has been well involved and most concerned on how best to resolve the British imposed conundrum gave his historically acute views on desires of heirs of the Northern Youth on Nigeria:
“All they are asking for, to my mind, are two caliphates, one in the West, the other in the East that are opposed to democracy and, in the process, promote Sharia as the source of all legislation in Nigeria, not a constitution. The concept of superior individual or religion is fascism which is an ideology of hate that cannot succeed in 21st Century Nigeria” Asemota (2016).
He went further to put the historical facts of Nigeria in lucid perspective:
“Lord Lugard had planned that the British would be succeeded by the Fulani. He wrote thus: “My desire to utilize the Fulani as rulers has been described in a former report and has met with the approval of the Secretary of State. They are unfit at present to exercise power except under supervision; nor do I hope for any great success in the present generation, but I hope and believe that with careful guidance, their sons will form invaluable rulers under British supervision, and that their superior intelligence can be developed as a useful asset in our administration …” Asemota noted Lugard made further statements on his design even after retirement.
“In a lecture at London’s Birkbeck College in 1928, Lugard stated firmly that ‘only those institutions will survive which are in harmony with native mentality and tradition. He praised what he called the ‘African system of Indirect Rule’, in which rulers would continue to be under the guidance of a ‘higher civilization’.” Asemota (2016). The clear import of this is that Britain shall continue to aid and direct the favoured Fulani to rule Nigeria.
To conclude the memorable lecture, Asemota admonished: “We must not forget that Nigeria is a product of the British Empire which has been described as ‘a bizarre model to follow for fostering stability in today’s world’. Indeed, much of the instability in the world is the product of its legacy and haphazard policy making” Asemota (2016).
Another learned statesman, Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, at the launch of Richard Akinola’s book, Fellow Countrymen – The Story of Coup D’etats in Nigeria, twelve years ago, had pointed to Chief Asemota’s submissions. Akinjide who declared that nothing but economic interest of Britain was responsible for the amalgamation of Nigeria, noted Lugard’s words that while Southern Nigeria had resources and educated people, Northern Nigeria was “poor” and Britain needed money to run the Northern Protectorate which had “no resources” and no access to the sea. Because it was “not the policy of the British Government to bring the tax-payers money to run the protectorate” and also because Lugard wanted a railway from the North to the Coast in the interest of British businesses. The 1914 amalgamation, designed to unify the administrative structures and the geographical spaces of North and South of Nigeria, “not the people” was therefore necessary, Akinjide (2000).
“…between 1914 and 1960, that is a period of 46 years, the British allowed minimum contact between the North and South because it was not in the British interest that the North be allowed to be polluted by the educated South,
“When the North formed a political party, the Northern leaders called it Northern People’s Congress, NPC. They did not call it Nigeria’s People Congress. That was in accordance with the dictum and policies of Lugard. When Aminu Kano formed his own party, it was called Northern Elements Progressive Union, NEPU, not Nigerian Elements Progressive Union. It was only Awolowo and Zik who were mistaken that there was anything called Nigeria, In fact the so-called Nigeria, created in 1914 was a complete fraud”, Akinjide (2000).
He concluded that the configuring of Nigeria by Britain was not only fraudulent, the British backed this up with the absurd and falsified census figures that showed Nigeria as the only country in West Africa, from Mauritania to Cameroon, where population is higher not at the coastal zone, but in the savannah and where population is lower at the coast but higher in the arid savannah zone. All other countries bordering Nigeria in the West African belt have higher populations at their coasts and sparse populations at their savannah zones. Akinjide has company in Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, who described the country called Nigeria as a “British invention”, Adeniyi (2021) and Akinjide (2000). Akinjide’s assertion was corroborated by Sir Harold Smith, a repentant British administrator in Nigeria who recently confessed on a BBC programme that Britain cooked up a false census figure for Nigeria to rig the 1959 election in favour of the Northern Fulanis, Mason (2007).
In April 2019, in the article, Bye Bye to the Lugardian Contraption, well circulated by the press, I explained the role of the 1914 Amalgamation in the crises afflicting Nigeria thus: “The myriad of problems confronting the geopolitical space called Nigeria today could be traced to one single cause. It was a marriage that was not canvassed, not negotiated, not consented to. This was the root, the father and mother of all the diseases that had plagued Nigeria since 1914. The diseases include consistently rigged population census, the basic fraudulent allocation of parliamentary seats in the Federation, the fraudulent foundation of the country’s Military and the Police, and the inbuilt ingredients of sectional domination.
“The listed diseases and their by-products gave birth to the military incursion in the country’s politics. Coups and counter coups, avoidable tortuous and calamitous brutal war; the self-serving dubious balkanization of the political space into unending states that have become a huge albatross on the financial resources of the country. The bigger fraud of 774 local governments, the collapse of the country’s infrastructure nation-wide, the plunder of the country’s huge assets, including corporations like the Nigeria Airways, and the grinding poverty that has virtually consumed all the citizens of the land.”
Even those we labelled as the founding fathers of Nigeria as far back as 1946 have misgivings on a united Nigeria the amalgamation later sought. Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa noted that “Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, … and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite…Nigerian unity is only a British invention.” This observation was corroborated by Chief Obafemi Awolowo who said “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression,” and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe cautioned after the consummated unwholesome marriage started birthing problems that “it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces.” Adeniyi (2019).
Like it is ever validly affirmed by many concerned nationalists and patriots, nothing is sacrosanct about an amalgamated Nigeria that it cannot be dissolved, if the people so wish, just like any group of people can opt out of a union whenever they are burdened or tired of its yoke. The so-called Amalgamation Treaty expected to have expired in 2014 is a factual hoax and legal day dream ab initio. Even the cession treaties like the Lagos 1861 Treaty signed by Oba Dosunmu, Chijioke (2014), holds no water today with Article 1 of the United Nations Charter which embodies the principle of self-determination. It states that: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”, UNPO (2017).
Going further, the Unrecognised Nations and Peoples Organisations, UNPO, described as “indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognised states and occupied territories that have joined together to promote their right to self-determination, while also defending their political, social and cultural rights and preserving their environments”, UNPO (2017), like the peoples of Yoruba kingdoms in the West and Igbo people in the East are doing now. They are pursuing a Fundamental Right, UN Article 3, incorporated into the 1941 Atlantic Charter and the Dumbarton Oaks proposals that formed the United Nations Charter. The fundamental right of all peoples to self-determination is firmly established in international law and also “by the International Meeting of Experts for the Elucidation of the Concepts of Rights of Peoples brought together by UNESCO from 1985 to 1991, 12”, UNPO (2017).
The pursuit of self-determination as showcased by Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, a world acclaimed scholar, has made “constituent peoples exist in innumerable new states with names beginning with and from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.” He expanded the thought and queried: “Whatever happened to Sweden-Norway, Czarist Russia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, British India, French Indo-China, Portuguese Empire, Spanish Empire and, more latterly, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Malaysian Federation, West Indian Federation, Central African Federation, British Cameroons, United Arab Republic, Sene-Gambia Confederation, the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Treaty states, Czechoslovakia, Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia, etc.?” The simple answer buttressed by facts is each and every one of these states no longer exist. Gone! The states that Europe created in Africa, in the aftermath of its 1884-1885 Berlin conqueror-conference, cannot provide the fundamental needs of Africans
Adeniyi (2019) and Ekwe-Ekwe (2006).
The Failed Marriage and Its Alienated Offspring:
To Lugard, the mercantile unification of Northern and Southern geographical space called Nigeria was to be a federation. “Nigerians are not designed to be a great ‘trust’ but a great ‘federation”. He further averred his “desire to utilize the Fulani as rulers”. Indeed, at Britain’s exit in the October 1, 1960 flag independence, Nigeria was a federation with a Fulani man, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the Prime Minister. Lugard had his heart’s desire when Britain “handed over power on a platter of gold to their well-nurtured obedient children, Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Tafawa Balewa who contributed nothing, absolutely nothing but delays and obstructions, to the struggle” Anele (2020) and Asemota (2016).
Some witnesses insist Nnamdi Azikiwe who became a ceremonial President at independence, after his Governor General post, was railroaded by Britain into the position to forfend consequences of alleged role in foreign students’ scholarship scam and massive graft at the African Continental Bank, as director. These coupled with Zik’s supposed personal animosity towards Awolowo, following the 1951 carpet crossing saga in Ibadan, made Zik discard Awolowo’s offer to safe Nigeria from the grips of the Northern Youth. Azikiwe, according to Awo’s proposal, would have ruled as Prime Minister while Awolowo would serve as Minister of Finance. The Fulani Ahmadu Bello could then probably have made good his refrain threat then to pull the North out of his bequest federation, Anele (2020).
Lugard expected his invention to remain a federation, nothing otherwise. His favoured Youth never wished a Nigeria outside the North’s fiefdom and stands in waiting to pull out if otherwise, until the military further placed the covet means on the Youth’s plate; power, resources and landmass. The East, dominated mainly by Igbos, stands clear in words and deeds. From Zik’s pre-independence emancipation agenda to the 1966 January coup plotters’ scheme and with Nwafor Orizu, acting President, who enabled Ironsi’s emergence as First Military Head of State, prelude to Ojukwu’s failed breakaway bid, it is either the Igbos control Nigeria or exit. Raging Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB’s agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra is decisive on Eastern Nigeria’s ceaseless quest.
For the Yoruba, most populous homogenous unit of the federation, seeking to exit the Nigerian contraption is nothing outside what Adaka Boro started February 1966 in failed attempt to severe the Niger Delta Republic from Nigeria. This agitation is not only re-ignited by militants from the Niger Delta area today, every region of the miscarried federation of more than 386 ethnic nationalities has critical and significant groups agitating for an exit from the country with fierce systems that endangers them, clipped the flowering of their innate capacities and fulfilment. It is clear to all, even the global community and Britain that Nigeria has broken down. The country is today a beastly jungle of nationwide insecurity, poverty and chaos. Less than 2000 career politicians and some military collaborators are beneficiaries of the horrendous calamity. Most of these extremely selfish and insensitive persons have no stake whatsoever in the dying country as most, if not all, of their families reside and live large on pilfered resources abroad.
Faulty Base; Feeble Structures:
Before the termination of Lugardian federation in the 1966 coup d’etat organized principally by military officers of the Eastern stock, the Federal Government of Nigeria had its own constitution as subscribed to and with inputs from the three federating regions of East, North and West on responsibilities and roles. At the same time, the three Nigerian regions had their separate constitutions operative within their jurisdictions and territories. When the failed 1966 coup was contained, General Aguiyi Ironsi, an Eastern officer, who took over governance thrashed and replaced all the civil constitutions with a unitary document conceived to seal the fate of Nigeria as a central state. By the time soldiers for the Fulani North dislodged Ironsi in a retaliatory coup to avenge death of their civilian leaders, Nigeria was further served to the Northern Youth, this time on the platter of central administration.
The operative 1999 ”Constitution’, prepared by the military was unlike the 1963 Constitution, Nigerian peoples were never involved in its making. It rather appropriates the peoples’ endorsement via false assertion in its opening statement, “We the people…” to hijack the resources and powers of the federating units made up of the 36 emasculated states and the Abuja Federal Capital Territory, all as created by military fiat. This “federation” neither emerged through a contract among states nor as a voluntary union of a number of originally independent ethnic nationalities. Also, the 1999 ‘Constitution’ totally emasculated the supposedly federating states. Though states are closer to the people, only 12 items of responsibilities are shared with them while 68 items are exclusive to the federal government.
To compound the woes, Governors as chief security officers of their states cannot take measures to protect citizens’ lives and property from rampaging bandits while the state Police Commissioners do not report to them but answerable to the Inspector General at the federal level. Further, the governors cannot arm whatever local security agencies they create in the face of AK-47 wielding marauders brutishly terrorizing their states, killing people, looting properties and taking over ancestral land. The fate of Benue State where Fulani herders killed many, destroyed farms, burnt houses and took over villages in communities in not very different from the situation in Borno State where Boko Haram militia unleashed mayhem on the people, killing, abducting people and taking over territories while all the state governors could do was lament are illustrations of the failed Nigerian state, Arowosegbe (2014) and Eleagwu (2004).
Citizens Bereft of Locus:
The captive citizens in Nigeria, well alienated, have no locus and labour at every turn to situate their identities within Nigeria. Their traditional essence and values in the fluid socio-political and economic systems have been corroded. Many can only locate themselves within their original ethnic stock and not as Nigerians. Nigerian folks are not integrated into any ideological framework or socio-welfare package by right because the country is bereft of the essential institutions and ingredients of state. The Nigerian person, except the privileged, hardly have a right to anything, including security and livelihood. Workers are owed salaries at will for months by the governments and private sectors; pension funds are misappropriated; people get unjustifiably levied by the government that at the same time impedes their productive schemes. Service providers are sabotaged manufacturers blockaded and farmers dislodged by government policies, the agencies as well as with overt actions and inactions.
To seek to assert a fundamental right or seek redress against manifest social and administrative malfeasance in Nigeria is unusual, difficult and oftentimes punished by the state. The fates of the Benue State Governor and the Benue State citizens in the hands of the federal government are rare global paradigms illustrating the disaster Nigeria is. Majority of Nigerians cannot see the purpose and rationale for the state to justify their unalloyed allegiance to the nation. Instead, what we have are defined tribesmen whose levers of fulfilment are entrenched in the values of their ethnic origins, deliberately manipulated to erode national integration.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to tell you in clear terms that Nigeria is not working. It has never worked. It will never work. Living in denial and pretending it may work on a future date is futile. All the indicators point to the contrary. No unit of Nigeria is happy with the unbearable nastiness and hopelessness that has enveloped this geographical space. Nigerian youths that are supposed to form the productive base are battered physically and emotionally with economic and social hardships that challenge their survival mode intelligence on a daily basis and at every turn. Goods and services youths could be empowered to produce are outsourced through unbridled importation when majority of these youths, eager to contribute to national development, stay idle, unemployed, underemployed or unemployable with their tremendous potentials in a land of disrupted opportunities. It cannot be news that many Nigerian youths have taken to drugs, scam, crime, cults, prostitution and crew for hire to politicians, it is the natural consequence of the alternative enablement Nigeria dishes to them.
These systematically displaced youths of Nigeria have neither hope nor the prospects of a bright future. The routine brutalization of the youths by state agents and apparatus led to the spontaneous #endsars protest that recently crippled the country and left on its heels loss of lives and massive destruction properties, public amenities and goods. Contrary to what many thought, the protest was much beyond police misdemeanours but more about pervading misgovernance the youths were confronted with. It is trite in moral and legal jurisprudence that a society which could not ask why a citizen is poor lacks the justification to demand why another citizen gets rich, even from nefarious subterranean activities. This is reason systemic corruption and graft ally with vices like oil bunkering, kidnapping for ransom and sundry fraudulent activities in government offices and religious settings to our chagrin.
Failed Government, Cracked Leadership and Faulty Institutions:
Relationships among the three tiers of the Nigerian government, federal states and local governments, are pro unitary system in a supposed federation. While the units should feed the federal government with funds as normal in federal amalgamations, Nigerian emasculated states go pan in hand to Abuja for monthly revenue allocations of proceeds cornered by the federal government from state resources. Many state endowments that could be utilized to boost productivity and simulate wealth are kept idle by the federal government that had taken ownership. In many cases, rampaging mercenary exploiters, mostly from outside than inside the country, sponsor bandit troops to tap these resources while the owner states and its citizens face the security challenges and lawlessness that accompany such jungle operations.
To compound the states’ woes, the federal tier attempts to whittle their influences on the local council levels with misguided approach to local government autonomy to blur the relationship lines between the federating units, the federal authority and the local councils. The executive that hijacked and blocked states’ veritable sources of wealth at the same time fuels labour crisis by campaigning states should pay equal and uniform wages as the federal government. Kaduna State in reaction to this has embarked on massive retrenchment at a season the people need improved purchasing capacity while Kano State is reverting to the old workers minimum wage of N18, 000 from the N30, 000 per month centrally imposed. Please allow me to lament here that while an RSN certificated nurse is paid up to $60 per hour in Canada, poor Nigerian workers are being insulted and grossly exploited with $26 per month; not per day, not per week but per month! Only six of the 36 states of Nigeria are off panic mode to regularly pay workers’ salaries.
The Nigerian operations at the executive, legislature and judicial arms of government are experiences in aberrant absurdities. The executive strays by default to the spheres of influences of the legislative and the judicial arms of state in defiance of the extant rules. Oftentimes, legislative enactments that are not dictated by the executives are treated with disdain while court orders unfavourable to governments are ignored with impunity. Routine expectation in this peculiar federation is loyalty to and dependence of the legislature and judiciary on the executive.
The electoral process in Nigeria, a critical pivot of democracies, is dubious and discriminatory; it favours money bags and contestants sponsored by deep pocket patrons to the eviction of untainted agents of development. The tragedy of the Nigerian state is best understood with the character deficits and moral baggage of almost all the heads of the various arms of the national government, who got there not on merit but via power cartels to preside over decadent institutions and making full statement of the odium with their conducts. On a clearer note, Nigeria cannot just wean itself from the British DNA of election rigging with the legacy foundation Britain laid with its first national election to subvert the peoples’ will in favour of the northern Fulanis. That odium has eroded, probably forever, as confessed by Harold Smith, the foundation for an accurate census in the country, Mason (2007).
Displayed attitude of Fulani President Muhammadu Buhari, a man at best an illiterate to contemporary trends, illustrates and puts the Nigerian issue in exact context. His continued impunity in office without remorse and the condescension for Nigerian medical facilities are legendary. Nigeria is a country where foreigners from Africa, Asia and Arab countries used to visit for medical services once upon a time. With a professor of law as deputy, Buhari and his family shuttle on private trips serviced with Nigerian funds for private family events, shopping sprees, schooling and medicare. This “elected model leader” is too good to use best of Nigeria’s medical experts and facilities or Nigerian schools on which he budgets billions of Naira yearly, rather he spends scarce foreign exchange for personal medical treatments while his Nigerian electors use dilapidated human abattoirs as hospitals and predominantly degenerate centers for ignoramuses as schools. He just returned from a two-week medical holiday to Europe.
The reticent Muhammadu Buhari has been an unguided maximum ruler without compare and measure with the four estates of the realm – the executive, the legislature, the judiciary and even the media, at his behest with his proxy ruthless Fulani cabal. Surprisingly, his wife is not exempt from the machinations of this clique of power-hungry acolytes at the Presidential Villa. Members of his cabinet, from the Vice President, the secretary to government, ministers and Head of Service hardly object to his serial governance blunders. The service chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, heads of security and intelligence, overwhelming majority of whom are members of his Fulani clan and Islamic religious affiliation, owe him unquestionable obeisance. Frustrated state governors hardly get his ears on urgent national issues, particularly on their devastating security challenges. This leadership deficit and inability of the government to effectively manage any of its institutions from rot, flags failure on the cardinal principle of state which opposes the federating units from keeping their spaces protected. This Nigerian Hobbesian Jungle house is propped by shifting crops of selfish elite rent takers who paper-bond its cracks and fault lines as positive duties.
From the decrepit infrastructure to the dismal social services, decadent legal system, leaking financial institutions to the large-scale top-level corruption, all beyond the fixing capacity of the government, Nigeria is a failed state. The living standards of Nigerians and the development of Nigeria are beyond the hope for change under the present leadership, systems and structures. How can Nigerians whose productivity quotient is hampered, economic prospects mortgaged and opportunities to earn a living outsourced by the state ever survive economically? Peoples’ wealth is eroded with self-serving monetary policies that makes the Naira weakest national currency in Africa at N500 to a Dollar. This is because politicians draining the treasury denominate their large-scale cash theft in dollars to overheat the exchange market and drive hyper-inflation in an import dependent economy with anti-productive institutions most hostile to local entrepreneurs and ventures.
Years of reasoning on the unfaltering situation of Nigeria shows what this unitary state, that has engulfed its federating units, needs to survive is not compatible with the interests of the current political players and decision makers. This dire national essential is at variance with the desires of the rulers who have become the problem of the country. Nigeria’s life-saving formula cannot be integrated with the self-serving pursuits of the current set of rulers who are oblivious of the basic fact that Nigeria is a floating bubble. It has so far survived many pricking needles on its ill wind trajectory. How long it could survive the decider needles pointed for its burst remains to be seen. With the raging groundswells, the days are few.
Restructuring this “Federation” vs Building a New Federation:
Restructuring Nigeria was once upon a time an attractive option. It is no longer tenable. However much tinkering is done to the architectural design of a defective structure about to collapse, the edifice cannot be saved. Best to pull down the damned building and move on! Not too long, David Kenenna went viral on his wall with convincingly arguments on the huge benefits assumed from a restructured Nigeria. Before we take the useful kernels of Kenenna’s submissions, the exact words of the local negotiators of the failed Nigerian Federation are prophetic on what has become of Nigeria at a time there was a glimmer of hope. Probably the statement of Zik, one of them foretells the future outcome.
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the favoured well behaved Fulani youth packaged by Britain to inherit the Lugardian creation said in 1948: “Since 1014, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite… Nigerian unity is only a British invention.” Anyanwu (2009. P. 19).
A year before this, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1947 has said: “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English.’ ‘Welsh.’ or ‘French.’ The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not.” Calitown (2013).
Fifty years after the amalgamation and six years after the flag independence of 1964, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe reviewing outcome of the workings of the British experiment said: “I have one advice to give our politicians. If they have decided to destroy our national unity, then, they should summon a round-table conference to decide how our national assets should be divided before they seal their doom by satisfying their lust for office. I make this suggestion because it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then, I will venture the prediction that the experience of Democratic Republic of Congo will be child’s play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role.” Calitown (2013). Those who remember Zik’s bombshell curse on Chuba Okadigbo which came to pass with clinical accuracy will not joke with Zik’s prediction or prophesy!
Internal Colonialism Has No Place in Modern Civilization:
In Kennena’s well researched paper, most useful to encourage peoples within Nigeria’s geopolitical zones to show they could survive better as independent countries, are vignettes on the possibility frontiers of indigenous peoples liberating themselves from the Nigerian yoke. Though the author envisaged their existence as geographical regions within a restructured Nigeria, I say without fear of contradiction that there is nothing to restructure in Nigeria where some groups of people set out a programmed agenda to dislodge others from their ancestral lands through undisguised ethnic cleansing that is fast assuming the alarming status of pogrom.
President Buhari stands exposed on his invitation to Fulanis all over West Africa to come into Nigeria and confiscate land for home. This reality is playing out large with full government backing of plundering Fulanis using various guises in well-organized rampage to dislodge indigenous people from their settlements. A scrutiny at the Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna shows the various indigenous peoples like the Agatus, Udomas, Katafs, Kajurus, Igalas, Biroms, Gwaris, etc. are facing near extirpation in the hands of the Fulanis like the Celts faced with the Anglo-Saxons and the annihilation of the Aborigines of New Zealand in the ancient times. This disastrous trend cannot be allowed to happen on our soil here in Nigeria this 21st Century. Counter examples abound of the Romans, Portuguese, Spanish and Belgians that once held sway over colonies until their imperialistic strangleholds collapsed in freedom for the subjugated peoples. The Jews survival of the Holocaust and African slaves’ triumph over the brutal inhumanity of slavers show the liberation of yoked people is a constant factor.
The new countries expected to emerge from Lugard’s Nigeria would bury the ashes of the contraption and restore much-needed peace, stability, security and prosperity to the occupiers of the geographical space. With new countries, it would be difficult for citizens of any of the new countries to embark on kidnapping sprees in other countries as is the case now in Nigeria. Here is a look at Kenenna’s academic exercise on emergent nations:
United Oduduwa Kingdoms: Expected to have English language as its second official language with trans-regional 5G Internet fiber connection, railways, subways, highways, power grids etc. With oil discovered at the zone, the UYK, should be first with 24/7 power supply. The region owns academia, has mega corporations and should drive foreign investments with huge returns from the Diaspora. More Forbes billionaires, including internet moguls, should emerge from the zone and Lagos would be relieved of the population burden as railway would make living outside Lagos a breeze.
The Caliphate and Kanuri countries: These Northwest and Northeast countries shall have Islamic laws entrenched and would be less corrupt. Arab nations shall partner with them for major developments. Jaiz Bank and Unity Bank will become mega banks in the nations. Three languages, Arabic, Hausa and English shall be featured in the region expected to have abundant economic resources and human capital to excel. Solar power will aid the countries’ 24/7 electricity. With gold and diamond deposits, they shall be rich African countries. The North West and the North East have a lot to gain when Nigeria brakes, they will export agricultural produce and meat to rest of the world. The Fulanis, Kanuris and the subjugated Hausas can live together peacefully in these nations.
Middle Belt: This zone has prowess in agriculture and should be the biggest exporter of food. It would also focus on tourism, with its beautiful tourist sites, and solid minerals development for exports.
Biafra country: This country would transform into the auto industry hub of Africa and grow to manufacture airplanes, helicopters, tractors, cranes, heavy duty construction equipment etc. Forbes billionaires living in Anambra will be many and several villages shall be transformed into semi-urban communities with rapid developments. Many Igbos outside the country would rush home to take advantage of the changes.
The African Atlantic or Delta Republic: With an abundance of oil and gas wealth, this country with Uyo, Port Harcourt and Calabar would have top grade infrastructure with more monorails and 24/7 electricity supply and diverse aqua resorts for tourists.
… The Possible Antidote?
When General Alani Akinrinade, distinguished War hero and former Chief of Defence Staff, posited to “the die-hard Nigeria-must-survive group” that a new approach is necessary to break the stranglehold and tackle the menace with his profound statement that “we are deploying massive resources to quell the unquellable,” it should be clear to all concerned patriots that hope has taken a flight off the entity referred to as the Federal Republic of Nigeria into the extinction. As another renowned soldier, General Theophilus Danjuma warned, “If you wait for the armed forces to stop the killings, you shall all die one-by-one,” it is clear the social contract between the people and the Nigerian government has long been terminated and torn into shreds by the deep seated nepotism of the ruling Fulani hegemony in cohort with the rampaging bandits that kill and dislodge people at will from their ancestral land and collaborative cash-and carry politicians.-
Reality in Nigeria today is people from four of the six geopolitical regions no longer want to be called Nigerians. The South-South Niger Delta people want out, the South East Igbo people would not want anything to do with Nigeria again, the agglomeration of peoples in the Middle Belt can no longer relate themselves to being Nigerians and now the Yoruba in the West [who had never in all their history demanded to exit contraption, not even when their hero Awo was humiliated in 1960, 62, 63 and 79, or Abiola robbed of his Presidency and killed] say they are better off from Nigeria. This situation, like I have pointed out, means “there is no threat of secession. When you have four or five major components of a six-structure country calling for separate autonomies, that situation has gone beyond secession. It is a call for dissolution of a union.” Lest we forget, the Fulani oligarchy once declared secession with declaration of Araba in 1966
My recommended antidote therefore is let us have courage to say bye-bye to the bad rubbish. Let us disband the colonial heritage of the Berlin Conference and the artificiality of the unviable and acrimonious countries and boundaries carved out of Africa. Let us welcome new countries that will usher in our desired peace, security and prosperity for all long-suffering sons and daughters of Africa bundled together in a jungle called Nigeria. It is time we demonstrate the political will and the honesty to heed Zik’s call and “decide how our national assets should be divided …, it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces.” The challenge now before us is how best to deploy our cerebral skills to do the philosopher’s phenomenological dissection of the Nigerian contraption for better and more appropriate Sovereignties suitable to the diverse nationalities concerned so that we can breathe again.
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