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To resolve the crises of Nigeria as a nation state

By Felix N. C. Oragwu
27 December 2016   |   3:10 am
Nigeria’s Post-Colonial Crises and the Civil War of 1967-1970 taught the Nation State of Nigeria the following ...
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Nigeria’s Post-Colonial Crises and the Civil War of 1967-1970 taught the Nation State of Nigeria the following, namely:

. That progress in socio-economic growth, progress, security and prosperity of nations are driven not necessarily by natural resources endowment but more importantly by the developments in modern science and technology (S&T);

. That a Nation State needs real unity and real peace to develop its economy and to make real economic progress; and

. To actualise the foregoing, a nation must have (a) Political Stability (b) Selfless Leadership Elite with vision for modern economic development (c) National Political cohesion and (d) Nationalism, Patriotism, Pride and Love of the Citizens for the Nation.
Most of the above attributes seem to be in short supply in the nation-state of Nigeria, particularly, since the end of the Civil War of 1967-1970.

What conclusions can we as a nation draw from the Civil War and the current endemic political travails of Nigeria to enable us (Nigerians) build a united nation state? :
These, I believe include the following, namely:

. Understanding that in 1914, Nigeria became a nation state, albeit, by forced amalgamation or cobbling together of various independent and disparate ethnic nationalities and entities (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Nupe, Ijaw, Uhrobo, etc.) numbering well over 200 (some with large, some with small populations) but with different cultures, religions, languages, and in specific geographical areas around the River Niger, by the virtue of British Imperial Power and Colonial diplomacy,

. The Colonial Authorities obviously and deliberately did not develop S&T as domestic instrument for modern economic growth and development, prosperity and security of the Nigerian State, possibly to avoid hurting the British home industry and economy or making Nigeria a prosperous modern competitive industrial and politically united nation, which would have compromised the British main objectives of Nigeria’s colonization;

. From 1914-1960, therefore, Nigeria was sustained as a nation state by virtue of British imperial power and colonial diplomacy but remained in fact a poorly structured and an unstable nation state “on paper, a geographical expression and or an artificial creation” whose political unity and economy was sustained by imported foreign developed (mostly British) industrial, scientific, engineering and technological infrastructure and security apparatus;

. In 1914 –1960 Nigeria existed and was led and administered as a conflicting nation state by three majority (population and size of territory) ethnic nationality political power blocks of Northern Region of Nigeria, Eastern Region of Nigeria and Western Region of Nigeria respectively, led by Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba ethnic nationalities respectively in which other various different minority ethnic nationality political power blocks such as Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Ijaw, Nupe etc. were subsumed and ignored, Each of the three majority population power blocks is also plagued internally by diverse cultural, religious and differing ethnic nationalities;
; Nigeria’s political leadership elite also entered into political independence and took over from British Colonial Authorities without first fashioning out a vision of how to run a multi-ethnic nationality nation state of Nigeria in unity, equity, harmony, prosperity and welfare of all its citizens and the absence of a true Federal State Structure required for a multi-national nation state has remained till date, the Nigeria’s albatross for true unity, peace and economic progress in the new nation state;

. From 1960-1966, in the absence of political ideology and a clear vision of national political development, the most powerful political power block namely Northern Nigeria Political Power Block (Northern Nigeria People’s Congress (NPC) in alliance with the Eastern Nigeria Political Power Block, (National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun (NCNC) as junior partner kept Nigeria together as a nation and administered it, albeit, as a factionalised nation state with a very powerful Western Nigeria (Yoruba) Political Power Block (Action Group) in opposition to the government in power;

. The purposeful thoughts, vision and foresight of Nigeria’s icons of anti-colonial struggle for the liberation of Nigeria and for a united Nigeria completely eluded the emerging Nigeria’s political leadership elite at the dawn of political independence in 1960 which saw power and self-enrichment as the essence of governance;

. The apparent manipulation of the Northern Nigeria Political Power Block with the apparent support initially of its junior partner in government, namely the Eastern Nigeria Political Power Block, to break and reduce the power and influence of the opposing Western Nigeria Political Power Block in 1963 led to a major political crisis in Western Region of Nigeria and the emergence of Military Rule in Nigeria in 1966 and a near disintegration of Nigeria as a nation state. This is the beginning of the current endemic and complex political crisis.

. On January, 15, 1966, the Federal Government of Nigeria was overthrown by a military insurrection in which a majority of Igbo officers were seriously implicated. The Northern Nigeria-led government was replaced by an Igbo ethnic National Military Officer who took over the control of the new Federal Military Government (FMG) and who followed up by abolishing the existing relatively True Federal Structure of Government and introduced a quasi Unitary Government that rendered the semi-autonomous Federating Regions into mere Administrative Units of the Igbo led FMG, from January, 15 to July 29, 1966;.

The above military action was interpreted as a move by the Eastern Nigeria (Igbo-led) Political Power Block to take over political power from Northern Nigeria (Hausa-Fulani-led) Political Power Block. This again is the main cause of the conflict between the former allies in government against the former Yoruba Political Power Block formerly in opposition to the Federal Central Government.

On July 29, 1966, the Military Officers of Northern Region of Nigeria undertook a revenge counter-coup d’etat against the Igbo-led Federal Government and replaced the latter with a Northern Nigeria Military government, which retained the quasi Unitary Administration of Nigeria inherited from the Igbo-led FMG till date.

So from January 15, 1966 till May 30, 1967 Nigeria was kept together as a nation, this time, not by the virtue of British Imperial Power, nor by the factionalised civilian constitutional democratic administration but by the military rule and military dictatorship now led by Northern Nigeria military officers,

By May 30, 1967, the Eastern Nigeria Political Power Block seceded from Nigerian Federation to form its own nation state.

From 1967-1970, the two Political Power Blocks of Northern and Western Nigeria, this time working together, engaged in a ferocious military campaign and intense war against the seceding Eastern Nigeria Power Block, conquered the latter and forced it by military conquest back into Nigeria in January 1970.

Oragwu, was Head of Research /Coordinator of Technological Services in the now defunct State of Biafra, 1967-1970