– Says South Sudan still a country in search of peace 10 years after creation
– Insists Nigerians need one another to survive, proposes ‘refederation’
Vice-Chancellor, Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Prof. Mahfouz Adedimeji has argued that breaking up Nigeria is not the solution to the current challenges facing the country.
Adedimeji made this assertion at the 10th Annual Symposium of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) B Zone held recently in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Noting that the theme of the event ‘Saving a Nation on the Precipice’ is apt, timely, and profound, the Professor of Pragmatics and Applied Linguistics added, “I appreciate the leadership of the MSSN, a society I am gratified to have passed through and that I served at the Branch and Unit levels as an undergraduate student.”
Muslim News reports that the voices promoting secession are becoming louder, bolder, and more daring in recent times, with the involvement of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), convener of Yoruba Nation leading the pack.
Adedimeji said the January 15, 1966 coup led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and the consequent counter-coup laid the foundation for secessionist agitations in the country.
“Shortly after independence, Nigeria became threatened by her own contradictions such that a country that was once considered a likely model of an independent, democratic and multi-national state was emerging troubled, like the Central African Federation, the West Indian Federation and Malaysia (after the separation of Singapore).
“Things came to a head-on January 15, 1966, when a group of coup plotters, led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, violently struck. Ironically, the January 1966 coup which resulted in the death of many political bigwigs and was to be a solution became a problem that led to more problems, especially secessionist fervor,” he noted.
“The plotters were disproportionately 9 Igbos from the Eastern Region and 1Yoruba from Western Region. Regardless of the intentions of the coup plotters, the statistics of the planners and the victims would lend credence to the presumption that it was a coup targeted at the non-Igbo ethnic groups.
“Nigeria was on the tenterhooks because rather than address the issues of perceived ethnicisation of the coup, the Head of State, Aguiyi Ironsi, took actions that appeared to worsen the tense situation. It was within this context that the counter-coup of July 1966 took place in which senior Igbo officers including the Head of State, Aguiyi Ironsi, were killed. The counter-coup was especially bloody and as Prof. Ruth First put it in her ‘The Barrel of a Gun: The Politics of Coup d’Etal in Africa (1970), ‘within three days of the July outbreak, every Igbo soldier serving in the army outside the East was dead, imprisoned or fleeing eastward for his life’. There was an eventual declaration of secession on May 30, 1967.”
The VC who taught at the University of Ilorin until his recent appointment pointed out that Nigeria was so wonderful that existential factors which would have led to state collapse in other climes have been “tantalising the country without consequences.”
He said Nigeria’s many challenges would not be solved by a breakup, a holistic approach can only tackle them.
“Nigeria definitely has serious problems but the cessation of Nigeria as a country or secession will not wipe the problems away even if the country is broken into 36 countries. This is because Nigerians actually need one another to survive. The problems will still be there until they are holistically solved.
“The theory of sibling rivalry would be traced to the first violent encounter between two sons of Adam (AS), Aabil and Kaabil, meaning that cultural or ethnic homogeneity is not an automatic indicator of peaceful coexistence. If linguistic and ethnic homogeneity were to be automatic factors of stability, Somalia should have been one of the happiest nations in the world. The Glorious Quran, Chapter 49, verse 12 is unequivocal about the rationale for ethnic diversity. In practical terms, few of the new countries in the world have been greater than the old countries for our people here to be contemplating or romanticising new nations. South Sudan, 10 years after its creation in 2011, is still a sad country. It has been at war without end in the midst of man’s inhumanity to man.”
Proposing refederation as a solution to Nigeria’s problems, Prof. Adedimeji said to save the nation from the brink of the precipice, “we should go on with one Nigeria but formalise the geopolitical zones and each zone with its own Premier and security outfit.”
According to him, “The revenue of the country should be shared among the federating units with the Federal Government having 35%, the Zones/States 30% and the Local Governments 20%. The Local Government Area as a level of Government is practically dead. That’s not how to run a government. The remaining 15% should be shared among revenue-generating federating units to address possible ecological problems arising from oil prospecting, mining, or as the case may be.
“A unicameral legislature with two representatives from each state is sufficient. The National Assembly should have less than 100 members including Abuja.
“Nigeria cannot be greater than Nigerians and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to join hands to make Nigeria better and to steer its ship away from the looming iceberg. In their proverbial wisdom, the Yorubas say that ten good eyes are not like one’s own,” he added.
By Abdullahi Abdulganiy
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