The north and the rest of us – Part 2
One can reasonably guess that that was the end of Western education for those innocent children whose crime was just the accident of their place of birth. How are we sure that those children are not members of the Boko Haram or the murderous Fulani herdsmen or other bandits tormenting innocent Nigerians today. The above story clearly reveals the marked difference between the North and the rest of us on what really constitute values that are really having impacts on the polity. No wonder Sir Ahmadu Bello unambiguously declared the amalgamation of the North and South as “the mistake of 1914.”
How long can we continue to accommodate this mistake and the retrogressive impacts of the North on the rest of us? Under the present situation, it is quite unreasonable for the Northern hegemonists and their selfish collaborator quislings from the South to continue to shout at the top of their voices that Nigeria is an indivisible entity without doing the needful first. This is a great fallacy. Nigeria is divisible. We should stop living in self-delusion.
A Yoruba proverb says that in a hunting expedition, instead of the elephant to be the armour bearer of the leopard, the expedition will rather be conducted separately. If every group goes its different way and life becomes meaningful for everyone, is it not desirable than under an enforced association where life is perpetually meaningless to almost everyone?
The situation of the country is moving to where the North and the rest of us will be doing ourselves favour to heed the counsel of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s First Republic President. Zik pleaded in a broadcast: “whether our beloved Nigeria will continue to remain united as one country or will become disintegrated into minute principalities depends now upon two factors … I have only one request to make … if this embryo Republic must disintegrate, then in the name of God, let the operation be a short and painless one.”
Zik added: …Let it not be featured by violence … should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a child’s play if it ever comes to our turn to play such a tragic role…”.
The bitter truth is that the prevailing system cannot work. It has never worked. It will never work. It is only the restructuring of the country that can save the situation for Nigeria as single political entity. This will foster a symbiotic rather than the prevailing parasitic relationship. Each group in a genuine federation will be allowed to develop at its own pace, creating room for healthy competition as seen in the pre-independent era. Then, under Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Western Region became the cynosure of all eyes as a result of spectacular social, economic and political developments that were glaring even to the blind and audible to the deaf.
Other regions tried as much as possible to rise to the challenges of the breakthroughs in the West. Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the East also did things that were of great landmarks and of immense benefits to their people. Unfortunately the negative effects of the Northern domination on the rest of us had virtually wiped off the gains of that era.
The Northern elite of today are not ready to face challenges of generating the resources they need. They are only interested in the feeding bottle federalism in which the needed resources, generated mainly from the South are under their control and doled out to them periodically without making any serious effort to work for what they need. It is purely a parasitic relationship. Ahmadu Bello did not rely on allocation from the centre to develop the North. He worked assiduously for what he needed.
In fact, under the present Buhari government, it appears the detestable Ironsi’s Decree 34 of May 24, 1966 is just being implemented. Ironsi and his cohorts failed to consider the peculiarity of Nigeria as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation before coming up with the ill-fated decree. Compare the language and expectations of that decree with what is on ground under the present regime, you find the spirit of the decree dangerously hovering over the nation. The North can recall the major role it played in the conflagrations the ill-fated decree inevitably attracted which did not spare Ironsi and almost consumed the whole nation.
If the decree, even before implementation by Ironsi, generated such conflagrations, anyone who thinks it would work now is living in a fool’s paradise. The North should not be deluded into thinking that there is immunity for it against the avoidable conflagrations this time around.
Because the Northern elite are already complacent with the periodic allocation from the centre, they are ready to even threaten war to prevent the restructuring of the country that will force them to work for what they need. The only alternative to the restructuring of the country is for each group to go its separate ways peacefully just as Zik admonished.
Adesua is former MD/EIC, Tribune, Ibadan.
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