Why I still believe Nigeria is too large to be one

For so long, unity and integration is a poem that all Nigerian governments recite and I do not foresee an end to that.  This indicates that the fear of succession is still a threat after long years of independence. We are only beguiled with our nationality that we are one when truly we know we are in multiples.  As our ethnic groups are not in uniformity with each other so is our development across the nation.        

By EveEden

I know this piece may suggest to a mind that I am canvassing for a split in Nigeria. Perhaps, I should have written something with a title as ‘one nation, we stand.’ But, as someone with a pragmatic experience and judging by what we see and sniff in this nation, Nigeria is over saddled with the burden of being a nation. It’s almost impossible for us to be united in the nearest future because we are extremely multi-diversified.  We are people that our diversification tops more figures than our similarities (if any). I guess it’s just our traits and the emblem of our nationality that we have in common.  Even within the same ethnic group, there are still overwhelming discrepancies in cultures.

Regardless living in a twenty first century world, they are places you would visit in Nigeria; you would assume you are still in the year 2000. Eliminate the big popular states such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and any other state you feel merits to be inclusive, then, tell me if you still perceive a sense of development in Nigeria.  I had always been someone who usually wore my nationality at my forehead, I only remind myself of my tribe when filling a form that requests my state of my origin. However, my visit to one of the southwestern part of the country due to a mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme now makes me think of my tribe first before I remember the green and white emblem.  You may not fully grasp my story but I am convinced you would when you visit places as Kano, Ekiti, Taraba. Gombe, Imo. Then, you would think of your tribe first before considering yourself as a Nigeria.

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For so long Unity and integration is a poem that all Nigerian governments recite and I do not foresee an end to that.  This indicates that the fear of succession is still a threat after long years of independence. We are only beguiled with our nationality that we are one when truly we know we are in multiples.  As our ethnic groups are not in uniformity with each other so is our development across the nation.

“Nigeria is over saddled with the burden of being a nation. It’s almost impossible for us to be united in the nearest future because we are extremely multi-diversified.  We are people that our diversification tops more figures than our similarities (if any). I guess it’s just our traits and the emblem of our nationality that we have in common.  Even within the same ethnic group, there are still overwhelming discrepancies in cultures.”

Personally, I think judging our development by what is obtainable in Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and other states worth recognizing while sweeping the identities of other states is deception. If we are truly one; we should grow and develop together. Our development across Nigeria should be comparable and not a development with lengthy gaps among various states that make up a nation. Do you know that they are some state’s capital cities that still have hut houses, where the number of banks can easily be counted, where 6pm is the sunset for all commercial ventures, where only the government media is the king and all as source for entertainment? All these exist and they threaten our stand in the global community. My experience with a state so backward in development makes me believe we deserve an adjective below a developing nation.

Since the government has left us to our fate, maybe this is time we need to be more loyal to our states. If you check mate the tribes of those who are responsible for the development in the limelight states (Lagos, Abuja, Port- Harcourt, etc) then you wonder why development is lagging in their tribes.  If we keep pushing all our wealth into these states while neglecting the over twenty plus other states that hunger for spittle of milk and honey just to be termed okay for living. Then, we are only magnifying our disunity. We are creating unequal partitions in Nigeria which is rendering our aspiration of being integrated to a fantasy. If this trend is not resolved, the less developed states would continue to be the minorities among us and that is a setback for national integration.

It is appalling that among other national problems, this problem (unequal development) is present yet we have leaders who are dedicated to consuming our wealth and impoverishing the nation. We have an avalanche of national problems that may not be eliminated in the next five years.  I suggest that a con- federal system of government is more apt for Nigeria than federal system. Even if we cannot rewrite our constitution and set in a new political structure we can arrest the issue through our actions. It is time for different states to exploit their natural endowment and strengths. The Enugucians should embrace their coals, the ‘Cross riverians’ should go close to their river lands and feed us with more sea foods, and if we cannot consume all the yams that Benue state and any other tuber resourceful state can yield; we can export to other nations. We are tired of the ceaseless sensitization of citizens to live as one Nigeria. Such messages have overstayed their impact. Insecurity issues due to ethnicity and religious intolerance still hunts us daily more than most national problems. Quite alright, we cannot heed to such messages (united Nigeria) and be perfectly united when we cannot grow together. We can’t be united and poor, undeveloped or be happy that a part of the country is progressive more than the other.

“I suggest that a con- federal system of government is more apt for Nigeria than federal system. Even if we cannot rewrite our constitution and set in a new political structure we can arrest the issue through our actions. It is time for different states to exploit their natural endowment and strengths.”

As a result, it is time to beat another drum to produce a different rhythm. We need to think of what we can give to Nigeria instead of us just folding our hands for Nigeria to be the giver at all times.  The state governors should realize that they are shouldered with the responsibility of equally representing the country. Our development cannot be attained when in one part of the country, there are no such things as flyovers or standard medical centers where as in another state; there are many sky scrapers and the standard of living is almost as living overseas. A part of the country cannot be eating with glass plates whereas the others feed with wooden cutleries and it is expected we should be forever one and happy.

We are tired of the ceaseless sensitization of citizens to live as one Nigeria. Such messages have overstayed their impact. Insecurity issues due to ethnicity and religious intolerance still hunts us daily more than most national problems. Quite alright, we cannot heed to such messages (united Nigeria) and be perfectly united when we cannot grow together. We can’t be united and poor, undeveloped or be happy that a part of the country is progressive more than the other.

 

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