From: Stratification of One-Nigeria According to the 1960 Mission Statement & Battle Script of Alhaji Ahmadu Bello
What is unnecessarily giving Nigerians an avoidable severe headache is our inability to find a way of living harmoniously together as one nation, equitably living in prosperity, and enjoying the fruits our labour and endowments while happily contributing to the building of a powerful progressive nation. The present scenario is that we are not living harmoniously together. What is causing the disharmony? Let us find it and fix it. Equity does not seem to exist in Nigeria in view of cries of marginalization, favoritism and exploitation. Many Nigerians feel that their hard work is enjoyed by other people who have not worked that hard and that their natural endowments are exploited more for the benefit of others. Complex network of issues collaborate to cause our nagging severe headache, sustain it and exacerbate it. Is solution unavailable or inaccessible? Solution is obtained by doing a correct diagnosis and this is made possible by knowing the origin or the cause of the problem and finding a working simple template.
There is a much better way than the present infusion of complex rhetoric from various quarters, many being deliberately deployed to obviate the seeking of solution in certain albeit popular directions, for selfish or parochial reasons, some being downright confusing, sometimes coming from the confused advocate, and many being popularly well deployed. A lot of people involved in the conversation lack even the basic knowledge of what brought about the present failure of the Nigerian state. I believe the workable simple template can be found and well-appreciated by understanding the salient facts in the history of our nationhood that resulted in this failed state Nigeria presently is. That is when a proper solution can be proferred.
The history starts from the birth of Nigeria in 1914 – the contraption with diverse component parts. These component parts were supposed to showcase unity, strength and prosperity in diversity. Right from the inception authorities in some sections expressed their disbelief in the workability of the union and made it no secret their desire to maximally expend their energy for the benefit of their own regions. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto was the most blatant opponent of the union which he only embraced on the condition that the North had perpetual control of power. Chief Obafemi Awolowo saw the handwriting on the wall quite early and decided to deploy his energy more beneficially on taking good care of his people of the Western Region, and this he did very excellently. The Eastern Region leaders had no choice but concentrate efforts on developing the economy of the East very well. Each component part was autonomous and developed independently, contributing commensurately to the center, the Federal Government. We know how landmark achievements were recorded in the sixties because of this arrangement that brought out maximum efforts from the regions and engendered a healthy competition to the benefit of the nation. This worked very well until1966 when military intervention took place and a unitary system was introduced by the Military Rulers. The deep flaw in this kind of government was seen immediately after its introduction and a call for confederation by Col Odumegwu Ojukwu was agreed upon as early as 1967 at a meeting at Aburi, Ghana, between delegates from the badly oppressed Easterners and those from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the famous Aburi Accord which Femi Adesina said “WOULD HAVE SAVED NIGERIA FROM ALL HER PROBLEMS…( but aborted by the Fulani Oligarchy)”. Unfortunately they breathed down the neck of Yakubu Gowon, the then Head of State and he reneged and Nigeria sank into a sorry situation that has resulted into the present chaos and failure of the Nigerian state we are now seeing, which was prophesied by Ojukwu 50 years ago.
“Federation” is the act of constituting a political unity out of a number of separate states, colonies or provinces so that each member retains the management of its internal affairs. It is already an overwhelming consensus that the only way out of Nigeria’s present embarrassment is to embrace confederacy and the call for true federalism is already deafening. Most citizens believe we are in an opportune moment right now to get it right having just concluded a national conference in 2014 which recommended true federalism among other wonderful concepts that guarantee emergence of good governance and start a march of our nation to greatness. Fortunately, the document is handy read for implementation.
Unfortunately the same stock of people who forced us to lose the opportunity in 1967 and who orchestrated the civil war are at it again in this generation they are resisting the implementation of the 2014 Conference agreements after being part of its making. A tragic repeat of the 1967 mistake is about to play out.
It is a great wonder why northerners are always opposed to confederation while they are interested in One Nigeria and specially angered by threats of pull-out by some regions of Nigeria. It is not because they will not have enough resources in the North if it is done. The situation in the first republic is a clear pointer. It seems they are interested in One Nigeria that is configured to be skewed towards injustice and inequity, a situation that is responsible for the present determined efforts at pulling out of the contraption by the majority of the federating parts in this non-federal federation, they argue that things will never be normal in Nigeria as long as the far North is included in the equation. It is actually true that it looks like such a viewpoint is the unfortunate real situation today.
The unanimous view of those on the vanguard of disintegration to form a new Nigeria is that the far North is playing according to an agenda of domination set by Ahmadu Bello and cannot be accommodated in the proposed New Nigeria. It is also clear that what is happening on the Nigerian stage shows a vivid refreshing of that agenda and the flagrant unmasking and installing of it in the present Government although the subterranean pursuit of it has been going on all along from the Sardauna, playing along with regimes that are in line, intimidating and arm-twisting those that are not; the later usually play along and grudgingly, covertly cooperate for the sake of peace albeit a contrived one. “Like Bello, like Buhari” seems to be the correct picture now with Buhari maintaining that atmosphere (while dead or moribund) through the carefully established layered deadly Cabal.
Given the present `scenario in Nigeria, is it not already too late to save Nigeria from disintegration? No argument seems to hold promise and the pace of the disintegration moves look ferocious. The northern cabal living under the illusion that they have tight control and, perhaps, not understanding the real importance of the un-masking of their agenda, may not even be thinking of showing any bit of retreat from their position. They even seem to be oblivious of the present setting in Nigeria where they are no longer commanding the loyalty of the rest of Nigeria as they did against Biafra. They also seem not to know how the world is disposed now towards encouraging self-determination.
The only proposition that seems to have some light at the end of this dark tunnel, a very tiny one at that, is the embracing of true federalism, which the northern elements may not easily embrace. Outside this, Nigeria will disintegrate.