By Babs Onabanjo
SIR: The year 1914 is very important in world’s history. It was the year the First World War broke out when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated which tumbled the world into turmoil until when the war ended in 1918.
On the other hand, another epoch event happened in the same year. It was the year when Lord Frederick Lugard, the governor of the northern and southern regions of Nigeria, had a brainwave and amalgamated the two regions which had few things in common in terms of religion and ways of life.
This ‘unequal yoke’ of the regions of Nigeria has been the major cause of the challenges bedeviling Nigeria. The independence of Nigeria from British did little to create a perfect union between the north and south.
Even as we celebrated the 60th independence, it is important to have a sober reflection on the nation called Nigeria.
Unfortunately, no matter the angle one desires to look at the union, the country at the age of 60 is a failed state. Anyone who thinks that Nigeria is democratic with democratic values is either daydreaming or in denial.
The country is more divided more than ever in history. While the eastern part is determined to secede, some elements in the western part of the country are agitating for their own independence. Whereas, there is an uneasy calm in the middle belt.
Indeed, for this union to continue to exist, Nigeria needs to be fixed through restructuring into regional autonomous six geo-political zones (Northeast, Northwest, North-central, Southwest, Southeast and South-south).
I was part of the Washington (NADECO) conference of Nigerian which came up with the six geo-political zone during Abacha’s reign of terror.
Abacha adopted our recommendation for his own political interest but rather than creating six-geo autonomous zones, he adopted six geo political zones to sustain himself in power as a means of becoming a civilian president. He needed the unitary system to retain absolute power and control.
If President Buhari fails to heed this wise counsel to restructure Nigeria during his tenure, then history will not be kind to him,
President Buhari’s administration has failed Nigeria miserably but there is hope for redemption through genuine restructuring into regional autonomy- the only hope to keep Nigeria one and united.
The political elites in Nigeria do not want restructuring. However, the political elites will become inconsequential in the struggle for the preservation of life and property of the indigenous people of Nigeria. A good General does not fight a battle he or she cannot win.
There is an adage which states that “those the gods will destroy, he first make them mad”. So is the story of Pharaoh /Moses and many power drunk leaders. This is a time for reflection and action to redeem Nigeria by restructuring or risk a break up.
- Prof. Babs Onabanjo, Georgia, USA.
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