By Chiedu Uche Okoye
Sir: It was Hugo Grotius, who said this: “Government comes and goes, but a state remains forever.” But does this axiomatic political saying hold true today based on political happenings in our world? The balkanization of countries has exploded the truism of Hugo Grotius postulation or theory. The dismemberment of Soviet Union is still in living memory. And millions of people, who are alive today, have witnessed the disintegration of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Somalia, and others. So, the map of the world is being drawn and re-drawn, with the emergence of new nation-states.
The agitation for statehood by some secessionists and freedom fighters necessitated my asking this question: will Nigeria break up in the foreseeable future?
At the end of the Biafra- Nigeria civil war in 1970, the slogan of “no victor, no vanquished” which was propagated by Yakubu Gowon, gained resonance among the people (s) of Nigeria. And, in 1973, the Gowon military administration established the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme to entrench peace and unity in Nigeria.
But has Nigeria achieved true peace and unity since then?
It should be noted that since the end of the civil war in 1970, the ruling political class and military juntas have been treating the Igbo people and Igbo territory as conquered people and conquered territory, respectively. The Igbo people are chafing and choking under the stranglehold of the fascist hegemony.
Lack of egalitarianism, inequity, injustice, and unfairness, which have characterized Nigeria, are not forces for the enthronement of peace and unity in any country. And President Buhari’s ethnocentrism, insularity, and provincial outlook have further bifurcated Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines, and stalled its march to economic and technological greatness.
So, Nigeria is fast morphing to a banana republic what with the issues of insecurity of lives and property, economic and technological backwardness, and disunity militating against the rise of Nigeria to greatness.
In order that Nigeria should remain as one country, and achieve rapid national development, President Buhari should get out of his provincial cloak, become broad-minded, and learn to look at issues from perspectives other than religion and ethnic origins. He should imbibe the notion that Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu reserve the right to agitate. And, he should address the issues that have given rise to their clamour for statehood instead of clamping down on them, and muzzling the voices of dissent.
I would like President Buhari to acquiesce into the idea of ceding the presidential seat to the Southeast, the homeland of the Igbo people in 2023. Doing that will diffuse political tension in the country , assure the Igbo people that they are not unwanted people in Nigeria, and set our country on the path of achieving true peace and unity, which is a sine qua non for our country’s leap to the summit of economic and technological greatness.
- Chiedu Uche Okoye, Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.