Abeni Aso-Oke

Why should Nigeria not breakup?, by Dr. Hassan Gimba

Abeni Aso-Oke

Two weeks ago, in my article entitled “Tinubu, beware the gathering dark clouds (2)”, I touched on our unity and rhetorically ended by asking if going our various ways would be better for all.

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I said, “To stitch the “merely a geographical entity” that we currently have, therefore, is a task that must involve all of us. We do not have any other country to call ours. And we cannot afford to see the country put together by God through the British rendered asunder.

“Another reason I always look at some Nigerians from the south and north who shout ‘let Nigeria be divided:’ “Do they know what they are saying? Do they think that is feasible anymore? Would it be beneficial to all concerned? We will look at this next.”

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Yes, we have to look at it because from the uppermost tip of the north to the southernmost part of the Nigerian map, you find those agitating for “everyone” to find their way out of Nigeria. Well, to these people, there is good news and bad news.

I will start with the latter.

On January 31, 2021, I wrote here, under the title “Mandela and the parable of the Fulani”, that “But I have always maintained that even if Nigeria would balkanise, now is the wrong time, for all our sakes. The best time would have been 1966 and, perhaps by now, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now, none of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. Bandits, insurgents, militants and all would overwhelm us.”

The northeast will just be an easy pick for Boko Haram, and the North West an easy meal for the bandits while the North Central will be a good ‘brunch’ for the kidnappers and killer-herdsmen militia. And you know what? All three sets of criminals are somehow interconnected. The security forces will, in the event of a national breakdown, all be concerned with protecting themselves and their families, for there will be no country to live in or a nation to die for.

In the same article, I pointed out that in the South, “even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left to the whims, arrogance and demagoguery of its self-anointed secessionist leaders who will make Yoweri Museveni look like a saint”.

“But many intelligent Igbo know this. The problem is there is a herd movement towards something that the gullible, used as cannon fodder, do not even know what it is. To them, it is “freedom”. Sure? Freedom from what? From where? From who? If it happens, which is doubtful, then they will recall Nigeria with nostalgia and rue over a Nigerian slang “one chance”. They would realise its real meaning, albeit late in the day. This is assuming various warlords have not emerged to deny everyone peace. And freedom.”

The Asari Dokubos and Tompolos will control the South-South of Adaka Boro and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Then throw strongmen like Nyesom Wike into the mix and the cauldron is complete.

This would necessitate international action that would see Chad and Niger Republics encouraged to come in and take over the North because the world cannot stand a fake Afghanistan or a country of bandits. In the South, Cameroon too will have to be encouraged to come in and help. The survivors among our children and their children and their children’s children would now be left struggling to reunite because they would forever remain second or third-class citizens in their new countries.

Well, perhaps the western region would escape this scenario because, after the first hiccup, it would pick up, as it is currently the only zone that can survive as a mini-nation. Under the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the zone consolidated itself as a democracy and economic powerhouse. Please compare Lagos and the North’s economic hub, Kano, in just one area – transportation. Can you see the modern intra-train services in Lagos and how Keke NAPEP (commercial tricycles) has become the symbol of the state? Can you see the industries in the southwest employing tens of thousands while in Kaduna billions were collected as a loan to build roads that cannot bring revenue in any way while moribund industries were overlooked?

But that is still with a big “perhaps” because the South West too has its fair share of rabble-rousers and enfant terrible. It has the Sunday Igbohos and Gani Adams before he was tamed. Maybe they are good at taming their problem children.

The North could have survived and escaped being landlocked had the late President ‘Yar’Adua’s vision of the Baro Port been sustained by the last president of northern extraction. Or even if there was a genuine commitment to get oil in the North. Sadly, both were used to deceive the ever-gullible northern voter at every election cycle.

What made the North this pathetic is that it lacked a genuine leader and, therefore, vision and focus. Do you know that most of the Fulani terrorising Nigeria now could have long been engineers, medical doctors, professors, big dairy and meat factory owners, etc? The regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida started what it christened nomadic education. Under it, there were many things involved that could change the way the Fulani live. But because most of our leaders were, and are, short-sighted and prioritise lining their pockets, they never took that programme seriously. Now, with all the money they have sliced for themselves, those who should have been empowered with skills and knowledge yesterday will not allow them to enjoy it today. And what of the nomadic education programme started by the much-maligned President Jonathan in which billions were expended but allowed to work?

The good news is that the scenario painted will never happen. Despite intra-fights, threats and blackmails, Nigeria has come to stay. While it is said that “there is nothing the good and visionary can do when demagogues opiate the minds and souls of the gullible herd,” or so it seems, we should also keep in mind Edmund Burke’s letter to Thomas Mercer, a 19th-century judge. A summary of the letter is: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Ultimately, for this country to stick together for the long haul, the governance pillars must be probity, justice, fairness, equality, equity and inclusiveness. Leaders who work at variance with these values are the greatest enemies of Nigeria’s unity.

Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.

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