Nigeria: To Let Live or Leave Die

Guest Editorial by Dr. M.O. Ene

Nigeria is at the crossroads. Things are falling apart. This is not new. Nigeria has been here. During the 1990s ravaging regime of General Abacha, pundits declared Nigeria a failed state. By divine intervention, as Pentecostals claim, the green giant with clay claws crawled back from the edge of extinction. It was an era Nigerians consigned to the silos of stories better forgotten.

The dawn of another republic in 1999 held promises. Four presidents later, the places remain the same. Persons barely changed. The current President Buhari returned after 30 years, five years after President Obasanjo had had an eight-year rerun— like Buhari, after being a military head of state 30 years earlier.

Nigeria is a soured romance. Things are worse than when Abacha was in power: Many will give up Buhari’s democracy for the safety of Abacha’s dictatorship! Abacha would not have tolerated for one week the menace of Fulani herdsmen, the banditry of unknown gunmen, the Boko Haram insurrection, and the sinister kidnapping and senseless killings all over the country.

Nigeria is stuck in the problems that have held it down for over 60 years. It has stepped deeper into the dungs of despair and strolls to a crazy cliff, from which the only way down is a free fall forced by gravity. Buhari and his cabinet and security chiefs of mostly his ethnic Fulani elites either lack the competence to control the scary situation, or they have hegemonic plans to destabilize and dominate other Nigerian nations.

For a former army general, many do not yet know what went wrong with Buhari. His promises have proven false. The economy has tanked. The currency is weak. Such senseless policies as closing of southern land borders to ECOWAS countries and opening the northern borders to unrestrained influx of foreign Fulani herdsmen terrorists have many scratching their heads.

Rehashing Nigeria’s many problems is an excruciating exercise in self-suffering. The issue to address is whether to let Nigeria strive to live or leave it to expire. Unless the fundamental structural issues are addressed and fixed, Nigeria will never reach its full potentials. If left to fall and fail, the effect on ECOWAS comity of nations may be so catastrophic it is better imagined than experienced.

Nigeria is not working. The colonial contraption has been leaking oil since it was patched up for British colonial commercial interests. Nigeria fails because the paradigm for “one Nigeria” has not been discussed dispassionately. Little is learnt from the rich lessons of its turbulent history. Some ethnic groups seek a divorce they are unlikely to get only when some national events stack against them. Others clamor for one Nigeria when the going is good for their elites. The masses remain downtrodden.

The clamor for referendum on, and or restructuring of, the 1999 military miracle called ‘constitution’ has gone viral. Though many Nigerians do not agree on the form of a new polity, anything different from the shady status quo is better. Interestingly, the matter was settled at the 1967Aburi, Ghana conference hosted by General Ankrah. It failed and led to the Nigeria-Biafra War. At the 1994 constitutional conference in Abuja, the Aburi Accord modified to accommodate northern minority nations in separate confederations or zones. Sadly, it was not implemented. Again!

The truth of the matter is that while Europeans formed new states along defined ethnic and or linguistic lines, they carved up ancient African nations into states along arbitrary long lines and compass curves. Thus, while Europe’s ethnolinguistic entities became wealthy seamless states, African nations force-bonded to become poor dysfunctional states. There is no other continent with such brazen gerrymandering.

The romance with a nurtured Nigerian nationalism should not radically remove from, nor revalue, the reality of Nigeria’s enthralling ethnic entities: the natural nations. The simple solution to Nigeria’s seemingly tough and tormenting troubles of forced togetherness lies in empowering these culturally cohesive nations. Anything else is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is said that no country survives two civil wars. Nigerian may not be an exception. It survived the 30-month Nigeria-Biafra War; the 10-year costly civil war with Boko Haram insurgents persists.

While the emotions of current crises must not tear Nigeria into smaller independent states that have no chance of immediate stability nor sustenance, the nations must stay slightly apart or be consumed by the frictions of a fundamentally flawed federation. With the knee of colonial contrivance off the necks of these natural nations, each will strive and achieve its full potentials under a clear canopy of confederacy combining, eventually, all ECOWAS countries. Everything else is embellishment.

Posted by on Apr 14 2021. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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