Peaceful Separation Of Nigerians, By JD Ephraim

I appreciate Aminu Sa’ad Beli’s write-up which appeared on his Facebook’s page, which some if his readers have forwarded to many fora . It makes very interesting reading and highly informative, on what had taken place in certain places, of the world , vis a vis, the cravings by certain sections of the country for restructuring, separation, and if we decide to stay as one, then the practice of power rotation, among the ethnic groups, as done, in other countries of the world .

He advocates peaceful separation, and or, perhaps, change of name, as it had happened elsewhere. Then certain statistical data are given, on the various land sizes of the states in Nigeria and several combinations of same. These are among several other information. But the kernel of it is on peaceful separation, rather than a forceful union, that will yield nobody good.
In his words, he says, “….. here in Nigeria, you have people arguing, vehemently, that a decrepit, structurally flawed, and crisis-prone, artificial contraption, badly configured by the British, only needs people to survive …………. ”
What an apt statement ! With this kind of statement, coming from a member of the Nigerian elite, more so, from a region traditionally considered as ultra-conservative, such requires serious attention, analyses, and consideration. If it were to come from an area, traditionally known, to be talkative and meddlesome trouble-shooters, then one would have dismissed it as the rantings of naboobs of negativity, signifying nothing. But here, you have a lone voice, from an area that is considered by others as dominating and exploiting the political( and perhaps the economic), space, advocating freedom for the
“Oppressed”. To this, I say, “wonders shall never end.”
Aminu Sa’ad’s recount of “peaceful separations” that had taken place in different parts of the world and at different times, is well taken, but I wish to differ, mainly on the assertion that those separations were peaceful. This assertion is antithetical to what has always happened in history : there had never, and I repeat, never, been any peaceful separation, anywhere , however, and whenever, in the world. History is replete with struggles and suppressions against those struggles, by the dominant forces controlling, or enjoying the status quo. There are those who want change and there are those who do not want that change, to take place. For both protagonists and antagonists, it depends on their position in the scheme of things. It would seem then, that it is a natural law.
I agree that in all those places mentioned, change,or separation,
did actually took place, but to argue that they were all peaceful,is to exhibit an economy with the truth.
Just a few instances, would suffice:what brought about the American war of independence from Britain in the 18th century? What of the split of the USSR into many Republics? What of Somalia, South Africa and all those African countries that got liberated ? It is a similar history of struggles, resistance, culminating in the success or failure of one side or the other for so many other countries in the world.
I therefore, disagree with his assertion. But if his assertion is about the success of the protagonists of separation, I would agree. It is in view of this and to the extent of the separation, or restructuring, which are being advocated that, I side with Aminu. I also see the plea for peaceful separation in his write-up as a good thing .
What is the purpose of history, other than we should learn from it?. A good grasp of history,
shows that we avoid those painful past experiences and embrace those which are not so painful, and should only embrace a painful experience as a last resort, because the outcome would be inevitable. These are the reflective and wise decisions that good leaders should take.
Inspite of the separation of those countries mentioned, it can never be uhuru yet. There are still diversities which are part of human existence. Those countries which have sought to eliminate diversities have never succeeded. They later succumbed to the overriding nature of humanity, which is diversity and divergent views.
Therefore, even if a country separates, either violently, or peacefully, or even restructures, and does not have competent leaders to manage the diversities endemic in those societies, they were not likely going to succeed in eliminating those problems , which in the first place, led to the separation.
But what I know can not be guaranteed, especially in the case of Nigeria , is those competent managers of our diversities. Nigeria presents a deficit on this.
This is perhaps so, due to our leadership recruitment system : it had never been fool-proof, and seems to, at all the levels, been hijacked by corrupt and incompetent people, who maintain a never- ceasing hold on the fabric of the leadership strata of the society, like leaches, feeding fat on the system and the resources of the State.
The challenge has been how to shake-off this parasitic class from the fabrics and re-engineer a new begining.
Until this is done, I am afraid, it is still not uhuru, and no matter the subdivisions, they are capable of replicating their kind like amoeba.
If it is so, then I see separation– peaceful or otherwise, as just replication of bad leadership, into smaller groups. The inevitable effect is that all those potential bad leaders that are excluded from the current system, would now have room to lead. It means, instead of separation leading to emergence of good leaders and leadership, we are, or have succeeded, in creating, and spreading bad leaders and leadership. It would be a vicious circle. This circle has to be broken.
But is there any prospect of engendering emergence of good leadership in the present system ? The answer is “yes”, and”no”.
It is no , if there is no conscious effort at striking at the root cause. That means a fundamental overhauling of the structure and the leadership recruitment system.
The answer is no, mainly because the bad leadership recruitment system has eaten deep into the political fabric and such adverse changes would be opposed by those benefiting from the present corrupt system. The current structures support their continuation. Therefore, no change can ever take place.
These bad managers of our diversities have mastered the art and science of their manipulation. The objective is to divide and rule. Karl Marx said it long ago, that religion(one of the manipulative tools), is OPIUM of the people. Yes, it is ; especially in a multi-religious country( where two dominant religions exist ), such as Nigeria. An average person would be willing to die, for religion and not for country. There can never be a political tool as potent as religion, in the hands of a selfish, and corrupt, political elite. Religion can ignite fire into the country .
A second tool is the tribe, or the ethnic nationality. The tribe exemplifies primitive society, where the people are biologically linked and united together, not on the basis of humanity, but on the basis of biology, ancestry, race and so on.
The modern society is detribalised, humanity is seen as one, and interactions in such society is not based on the tribe, or any intrinsic value of it, but it is utilitarian. The computer was neither invented by a tribe, nor used by a tribe. So also are medicine, engineering and other scientific and technological advances. Even markets are not operated on the basis of tribe. There are no different prices for the tribes. This should be more so in politics. Yet , because of our primitivity, encouraged by the tribal political structures we have in a multi-national society, our primitive political elite have found a way of importing tribe into the political fabric of the society. It means it can never be well, no matter who is at the political helm of affairs. More so, when you have a selfish opportunistic leaching elites, who are leading, or aspiring to lead, in a multi-national society, such as we have. Tribe has become a tool for manipulating politics, and setting the whole place on fire.
Therein lies our dilemma: the twine evil tools of tribe and religion, coexisting, in the political space.

Joshua Ephraim writes from Abuja

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