The emergence of a President Buhari, Nnamdi Kanu, Niger Delta Avengers and other groups, the killings by the Fulani cattle herdsmen, Indigenous People of Biafra and many more events have shown that Nigeria is at a defining moment in her history. The statement by the former President and the incumbent that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable has thrown up many doubts in the hearts of many. More people are beginning to question if we really are better, stronger and more prosperous together and if you ask clergymen and pastors, one does not know if God really wants us to remain one. Without mincing words, the unity or staying together of Nigeria’s diverse tribes and groups is under threat or is no longer tenable and profiting to all and sundry.
Referendum or public vote is not new in this century as other nations have gone through it; the UK, Scotland, Brexit, Turkey, Venezuela and much more. Nations (citizens) are coming together to determine what their leaders are expected to do and which arms of government should be kept and it is working for them. These governments have proved that quote by Alan Moore that a government should be afraid of their people, not the people being afraid of their government. This helping check impunity and public officials are being forced to resign because the people are not satisfied by their actions and inaction. In some other climes, they have called the rise of populism.
What would be the case in Nigeria especially in the time when more people are beginning to clamour for restructuring completely? If there is a referendum thrown out tomorrow, would be the content of it and a likely expectation and reactions?
- Should Nigeria be divided into separate nation states based on tribes (250 ethnic groups; quite scary) or based on the North-South dichotomy or other ways?
- If we are to vote as a nation, are we going to also deal with the challenge of rigging; where some people would resort to alteration of figures to either keep us one or divided?
- Will other western nations who have a special interest in Nigeria since the 1960s till date really allow this to happen?
- What impact would it have on Sub-Saharan African the entire continent?
- Would it be an Oduduwa nation issue, Arewa nation, Biafra, Ijaw, Efik and more; what really should be the nature of the question that requires a Yee and a Nay?
I know that there are many people who really emotional about Nigeria and why we should remain as one and you can find this in the soldiers who fought during the war to keep us one. They don’t want to wake up and find out that their fight, struggles in battle was all in vain. Some others think that Nigerian situation is more like playing emotion in a relationship when it is actually not working but for feelings, you choose to remain in it. To them, it is not working then file for a divorce.
And if we are to restructure, what would it be like? This clamour has been ongoing for quite some time yet no one has come up with how we should restructure into. The last national conference of 2014 is just about to be considered and one wonders what would come out of it. Agitations continue on killings, kidnappings, corruption and looting of the highest proportions and we seem not to be ready to sit down and talk.
What really is the way forward Nigerians? The young people are only interested in venting on social media while many are getting crumbs of government spoils and loot. We need a rethink on how to wrestle our country from those ravaging us day and night, without conscience, without apathy but fuelled by devilish greed that cannot be explained.