Nigeria: nation-state or mere geographical expression? By Adebayo Justice Hassan

However unpleasant, we must be frankly truthful about who we are, our history and what future holds for us as a society. Perhaps, that would cause us regret, sober reflection, the spirits to correct the mistakes and ultimately bequeath a better society to the posterity.

Such is the frankness and grimness presented by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, fiction, reflecting Nigeria’s artificiality and brutal history through the 60s, pointing to a future that hangs in balance.

Nigeria is not a nation and I am really convinced, I wish not to be, that the idea of one Nigeria is a blandishment and façade, only being held together by corruption and poverty of the leaders to do the needful. The founding founders, so-called nationalists, caused grave damage and planted seeds that would make difficult evolving an attitudinally unified entity, a new social whole, with common purpose, national identity and sense of oneness, from array of groups of which Nigeria is composed. They’re the best ever, even with them, we were going to set our sights on rivalling the West (please get Nigeria’s First Nat’l Devt Plan) but their sectional psychology, among others, fouled their labour, engraving in the psyches of their followers hatred for other tribes and receding belief in this country, because they would exploit the significance of their ethnic background as platform to get the power at the centre. The challenge is still there with us till today!

The events leading to the civil war, the war itself, the two coups, the unjustifiable massacre of the Igbos have worked with other factors to make Nigeria a state without nation – the idea “we the people of Nigeria” is a fraudulent imposition. The average Hausa Muslim would see Igbos or Yoruba Christians as fellows who don’t worth their lives because they are “astray”. The Yoruba man would arrogantly refuse to call Hausa man a human being in case of auto accident. Is “only two persons and one Hausa were involved . . .” not common? Nigeria is divided! The Igbos are still convinced they are victims of bloody iniquity, while almost every family could count at least one member killed in the Northern Massacre that preceded the civil war. They still have siege mentality and believe other groups hate and envy them because they are remarkably entrepreneurial and innovative. What’s more? Buhari gave Shagari house arrest in Ikoyi, while the Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme was to rot in Kirikiri prison. The oil-rich minorities in the Niger Delta are aggrieved because they are victims of economic injustice and majoritarian oppression and exploitation of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa (topic for another day). Some Northerners are already saying the some South South elites, including the President of the country, CAN leader and a former Chief of Army Staff, are behind the Boko Haram terrorism to reduce the North population

We must admit this, and get ourselves to the table to discuss our future and being together, which ultimately should be decided through referendum.

At the risk of being misunderstood, need I say quickly that I still believe it’s a great illusion that we can never and should never live together as a nation due to our diversity. That is, our diversity should ordinarily not pose problem, after all India is more diverse than we are and Swaziland is homogenous yet much like forlornly underdeveloped. And even our collective pre-colonial pasts had met in myths of origin, trade etc. But the problem is what we have over the decades made out of Nigeria’s creation; our failure to think realistically a way of living together in unity, peace, albeit diversity and the characteristic emptiness of the head and mind of the political class. And we already have caused the mess and embarrassment that Nigeria is, made the country a filthy carcass, a terra nullius to which an average Nigerian does not have emotional, affective and psychological affiliation, in such way as he does to his ethnic group .

Therefore, if we are to continue as one Nigeria, the groups that make up Nigeria must freely work out a template to have a NIGERIANESS out the various Nigerian ethnic groups. Otherwise , every group should be allowed to freely assert for themselves their future and the state under which they wish to live, before things get worse than this all time worst. Should self-determination not be a right?

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