By Remi Oyeyemi
I have been an advocate for peaceful break-up of Nigeria. An alternative is the regionalization of the country to allow each ethnic nationality to be in control of its destiny. Either of this would definitely have serious consequences for the existence of Nigeria. Ineffective accusations of tribalism have always been thrown around in vain to silence people of my school of thought. Rather than engage in serious debates on how to resolve issues that led to this kind of agitation, name-calling, intimidation and harassment have been resorted to by the protagonists of Nigeria as is.
But as the quote above suggests, TRUTH, more often than not, is not always acceptable, especially, if it hits us unprepared. Most of us like to be in denial. We do not like to face reality for a variety of reasons ranging from selfishness, naiveté, and insincerity to downright dishonesty. There are times in Nigerian history when the idea of autonomous entities within the Nigeria set up or total break-up of the country has been met with ridicule and or violently opposed. The Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and Gideon Orkar’s coup of April 22, 1990 are instances.
What history and nature has taught us is that Nigeria has little or no chance to survive, except we have the will. But obviously we don’t. Hence, Nigeria has become an exercise
in futility. The next thing would thus be, to do what civilized people often do – sit around the table to discuss (a) How to restructure Nigeria to the satisfaction of all or (b) Break up peacefully with each and every ethnic nationality determining its own future, unfettered. Either has to be done peacefully to prevent unnecessary bloodletting that could result from forcing disparaging units to remain one.
Thus, when the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka in his speech to the South-South Economic Summit on April 26, this year, called on Nigerians to “drop lingering clamour for national conference,” saying “it is no longer necessary in view of emerging democratic liberties, ” it is a sign that the TRUTH about Nigeria is becoming “self-evident.” He had admonished that rather, Nigerians should begin to organize themselves on regional basis to devalue the Center and take their destinies in their hands.
Professor Soyinka has always demonstrated his faith in the survival of Nigeria as an entity. He has risked his life for Nigeria’s survival several times. What he has done with his comments above is to recognize, just like others that the present state of Nigeria is no longer tenable. His suggestion still protects the sanctity of the Nigerian entity but changes its structure.