Breaking up Nigeria into several nations to solve its current problems, as some people suggest, will not work. The resulting chaos will be unimaginable, throwing much of West Africa into crisis. The better option is for all Nigerians to commit to work to build one Nigeria that works for all.
Many people are rightly aggrieved in Nigeria. Not just Igbos. In fact most Igbos who have been able to overcome the tragedy of and fallout from the Nigerian Civil War do not agitate for a separatist state. Even if there were any chance of it being viable, they are not prepared to see the decimation of their economic strength.
Do not think anyone will have it good in a splintered nation that creates three new nations. Only strong military rule will be able to contain the disorder and chaos that will erupt in the northern parts of Nigeria in a splintered nation. It will no longer have the oil resources for a strong military and security operatives to contain the chaos.
Black Muslims in a landlocked part of a failed state without oil that is perceived as a haven for extremism and camps of the deadliest terrorist organization in the world (according to western intelligence)? Western and foreign bombs will be unleashed without mercy, in addition to the perennial battle with droughts, famine and disease.
An Oduduwa Republic will be constantly invaded, and fear will be palpable in the state. Will the north willingly give up the Yorubalands, which it considers part of the Sokoto Caliphate, acquired during the Fulani jihads and Nupe wars from Yorubas: Ilorin, Okun-Yorubalands? Oduduwa Republic has made its map to include everywhere Yorubas are indigenous and Yorubas in the north have been agitating to go back and be included with their Yoruba kith and kin.
These are just some of the many persistent problems that will plague a balkanized Nigerian state. Can you imagine the attendant ills that will overwhelm West Africa if Nigeria creates a refugee crisis from internecine wars or another civil war? West Africa is only just recovering from the protracted wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone and other crises and epidemics. We don't need an additional refugee problem from Nigeria.
The balkanized states will all become vulnerable to more foreign aggressors and exploitation. Regarding the genuine dissatisfaction of the Igbos, other Nigerians are unhappy too with the current state of affairs caused by a corrupt cabal not the northern common man, who simply accepts the lot dished out to him by greedy leaders.
It took tenacity, intelligence and shrewdness for Igbos, who lost everything during the war and after it, to gain the sort of economic ascendancy and victory the whole world now associates with them and the reason they are called the “Jews of Africa”.
Because like the Jews, who re-emerged more powerful than ever after the Holocaust that decimated their numbers, Igbos have seemingly recovered from the debacle of the Nigerian Civil War, in which they were the victims.
However, as King Pyrrhus of Epirus noted, "one more victory like this will utterly ruin him." One more economic victory for the Igbos after another costly civil war or separatist movement may utterly ruin the Igbos, because it will amount to a Pyrrhic Victory: victory gained at too great a cost such that it destroys you.
Igbos cannot afford for their economic growth to be decimated again, apart from other attendant problems that will plague a Biafra state that will only see more agitations for independence among oil-rich neighbors surrounding a landlocked Igboland that suffers land hunger and erosion.
Do you know the gargantuan population of the Igbo nation? It is estimated that Igbos are over 35 million. Where will they all fit in should they decide to abandon their immovable assets and investments in a future Oduduwa Republic or an Arewa nation? As the Igbo man, Chukuka, has said, one nation (Nigeria) is all he has. It is all we have. We are the sensible and talented generation that can fix the challenges we face. Join us to build a united and detribalized Nigeria, where we end marginalization and corruption, which cause us all to suffer now.
The whole world knows, and more importantly we know, we are greatly blessed with the resources and ingenuity to make Nigeria great for all Nigerians and not just for some Nigerians. Because a Nigeria, where just a few are well off, by tribal lines or other demographic parameters, will just not work. Let us now commit to work to build one Nigeria that works for all Nigerians and maintain the territorial integrity of our one indivisible nation. One great Nigeria.
* OLUROTIMI OSHA is a Doctor of Law candidate at George Washington University.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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