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My charter for restructuring Nigeria 


Chris Okotie

Sir: As we approach another election cycle, the prognosis for a national crisis coveys a reality of frightening proportions. We are confronted by existential threats that seek to engender the fragmentation and disintegration of our nation as a holistic entity. Nigeria has become a divided and segregated society like never before. We have become polarised by ethnicity; we have become balkanised by religious fundamentalism. We have become fractured by political insensitivity and leadership disability.

The advent of the Boko Haram insurgents and the ubiquitous Fulani herdsmen phenomenon have further exacerbated social insecurity and cast nebulous clouds over the viability of our union. The concentric arrangements of the WAZOBIA alliances have been a disaster; engendering the marginalisation of the smaller ethnic units, thus, perforating the canopy of the Federalism under whose aegis we co-exist.

The dream of a great Nigeria which flowered at independence, the yearnings and aspirations of the people and the Nigerian brotherhood whose ensign dominated the political horizon at independence have all been consigned to oblivion. The worrisome symptoms indicative of the restiveness signalling the preamble to the Civil War of the past have re-emerged in more definite configuration and now form a circadian rhythm which must be addressed immediately. We must act now to avert the manifestation of the great inevitable.

Times like these require the recruitment of patriotic gladiators who must now take up the gauntlet to defend the Nigerian dream. I believe we are conditioned by our circumstances to rise to the occasion of our reality.

Please permit me to reminisce, for a moment, in Romanic antiquity. There were incessant wars between Rome and Carthage in those days. In one of such military campaigns, the Roman General Regulus was captured and taken to Carthage. He was brought before the ruling council and promised liberty if he would return to Rome and persuade the Romans to enter into a peace treaty with Carthage. The people of Carthage were war weary and envisaged that this strategy would provide a tactical leverage to negotiate a cease-fire with Rome. However, there was a proviso that if General Regulus was unable to do so, he was to return to Carthage to face execution. The General agreed and was set free based on the integrity of his word as a Roman.

General Regulus returned to Rome and passionately appealed to the Roman Senate not to make peace with Carthage. He posited that Rome could never achieve true greatness as long as Carthage existed as a formidable adversary. The Roman Senate agreed with him. General Regulus left the Senate, went home, kissed his wife and little baby; and returned to Carthage.
Rev. Chris Okotie.

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Chris Okotie
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