Unity in Diversity?

September 7, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Israel Ophori

 

By

David Adejumo

It can be said that Nigeria has been in a vicious cycle of tribalism, nepotism, ethnicity, religious chauvinism and sentimentalism after over 100 years when the Entity called Nigeria was formed, although there were both negative and positive motives to the so called amalgamation which will be discussed later. I however have a dissenting opinion to the unity of the Entity called Nigeria.

Nigeria is not truly united, take it or leave it. We can’t continue living on a false premise that we are united and relying on the one common rhetoric that “United we stand, divided we fall”. The truth needs to be told which I will state clearly, that Nigeria is not united.

Nigeria, which originally comprised of disparate elements, Nations and Kingdoms/Empires before 1914, was forcefully married by the Colonialists for reasons best known to them against the wills of the component Units or inhabitants of these disparate Kingdoms,  Empires and Nations. Since then the Entity Nigeria that was formed plunged into a long period of disunity, the Nation having since been divided along ethnic and religious lines. Various so called “Dissident” Groups have emerged to agitate for a break up from the Union but their agitations were greeted with resentment and disapproval from those who were making end means from the divided system. This agitation led to the Biafra/civil war in 1967, just seven years after independence, the war lasting for three years between 1967 and 1970. Though the war ended with Nigeria emerging victorious, this was not enough to curb the issue.

Many years after the war the same old issue continues to persist and in even far more greater degrees. More dissident Groups have risen agitating for their own state and independence.

Boko Haram is agitating for an Islamic Caliphate where Sharia law will be strictly adhered to.

The Niger Delta Avengers and other subsidiary Groups in the Region are agitating for a break away.

There is now a resurgence of the Biafra agitation with two new Groups The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), calling for secession.

There also religious conflicts and crises which will not be left out.

There is a great North/South dichotomy and a Christian/Muslim divide in the country. This same issue has done more harm than good to the country, having led to the loss of lives and properties, greatly injuring the economy of Nigeria.

But the approach of the Government has further compounded the issue. The Government has resorted to using force to stop them, but this cannot be effective judging by the fact that they have been injected with various ideologies which they are vehemently pursuing.

 

What truly lies ahead for Nigeria?; Is our unity negotiable?; Are we truly united?

 

We have to know that Nigeria is not a Nation, but a forceful ‘marriage’ of various disparate Elements and Nations.

There have been various calls for restructuring which I believe is the lasting solution to the issue. We need to go back to our roots since 1914 and examine the various treaties and agreements that were signed in the past. We also need to review the 1999 constitution which contains some provisions that are rather obsolete and that can not apply in the present reality in a changing world. The United States continually drafts amendments to their constitution to adjust to the present realities of the Global system.

Secession is not the best answer, but if the call for secession persists, a referendum and public opinion can be conducted to know what the people really want and where our unity stands. After all, the United Kingdom conducted a referendum before Scotland seceded; Nigeria cannot be an exception.

Two or more people can only walk together if they agree. There needs to be a National Agreement on our supposed ‘marriage’. The Government has all the time to curb this issue before it transcends to something serious.

Just like the English proverb says:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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David Adejumo

David Adejumo is a final year student of Bowen University, a young Diplomat and the President of the Department of History and International Relations Department, a blogger and a writer, who is preparing to publish his own book. He lives in Abuja and is also an Ambassador of Peace for the Global Youth Peace and Empowerment Initiative.

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