By Agunze Azuka Onwuka
I have been watching the demonstration in Pakistan over a lady accused of blasphemy during an argument. The lady has been in detention for 8 years but the Supreme Court acquitted her recently. The hardliners began to demonstrate that the lady must be killed in spite of the court ruling.
I continue to wonder if Pakistan and India had remained one country, what would be the fate of that country. The best thing the UK did for those two countries was to divide them into two at independence. Pakistan has chosen its path, while India has chosen its path. Even Bangladesh that pulled out of Pakistan in early 1970s has also chosen its path. None of the countries disturbs the other from achieving its dreams.
That is why I am shocked whenever people harp on Nigeria’s unity being non-negotiable. Nigeria’s strength is not in its size. It’s biggest weakness even stems from that big size: Nigeria’s biggest weakness is the lumping of peoples with extremely opposing values together without creating effective structures and systems that will make them live together peacefully and successfully.
Our leaders are not the cause of our backwardness and lack of peace. Our leaders are corrupt, selfish, dishonest, etc, because of that unworkable structure that makes them have support from their ethnic groups and religions, no matter what evil they commit.
Progressive countries don’t continue to harp on unity, because unity is not an end but a means to an end. The essence of unity is not just for the beauty in unity, but for you to use that unity to achieve other milestones. Progressive countries harp on things like justice, equity, welfare, protection, citizen’s rights, patriotism, etc. When these things exist, the people naturally unite as one nation to make their country great.
Since 1960 when Nigeria had its independence, Nigeria has not been getting better as a country; rather it has been steadily degenerating. It cannot be saved by mere hopes or wishes. If it is not pulled back by being completely and honestly restructured to become a true federation where its parts will have the freedom to focus on its issue, it will simply continue to deteriorate.
The second alternative is to dissolve Nigeria and allow its component parts to take care of themselves like the USSR and Yugoslavia did. The parts that love progress will progress, while those who don’t love progress will continue to retrogress.
The greatest enemies of Nigeria are those who don’t want Nigeria to restructure and also don’t want Nigeria to dissolve. As it is said, you can’t have your cake and eat it!
If Nigeria fails to genuinely restructure, two things will happen:
- The country will continue to degenerate and deteriorate at a faster rate with poverty rising and violent clashes increasing.
- One day, the degeneration and deterioration will reach a climax and there will be crises – not one crisis but different crises from different parts, which will overwhelm the security forces. Different parts of Nigeria will pull out with ease and form their smaller countries. The new countries will later form alliances and move on.
This is not a prophecy but a projection based on a clear trend since 1960. The solution to it is not to shout: “God forbid” or “It is not our portion.” The solution is to take an action that will stop the descent.
*Onwuka wrote in from Lagos