Little minds are happy to be stuck in little ruts, smugly resisting change. Of all the devil’s tools for making Nigerians miserable, hypocrisy and self-delusion are his finest and most frequently used.
If seeing is believing, Nigerians as true skeptics refuse to look. Here is just a reminder to those who are unaware that the contraption christened Nigeria by the first British Governor-General, Lord Lugard, is on the road to demolition. Amalgamation has long expired. The recently concluded Constitution review by the Senate was an exercise in futility. Restructure, favoured by a majority of Nigerians, was rejected by the senators 48 to 46. Out of 33 bills considered for amendment to various sections of the Constitution, restructure, which deals with devolution of power, among other things, is the most important. Restructure would have forced the Federal Government to transfer to the states, some of the 68 items on its exclusive list.
Out of 360 members of the House of Representatives, the North has 191 members while the entire South has 169. Politics is a game of numbers. As long as the numbers are on the side of the North, they’ll not only drive Nigerian politics, they’ll always control and dominate the centre
The vote against restructure reinforced many conflicts around the world today between the central governments of many countries and ethnic groups within the countries. The ethnic groups demand independence or autonomous rule, while the central government refuses to concede to such demand. This is the situation in Nigeria today. Secession is an act of breaking away from a state and creating another one. The right to secede is part of the right to self-determination. This is the reality we cannot deny, it’s inevitable.
There is an old saying: “Rome was not built in a day.” Likewise, the Roman Empire did not fall in one night. Its decline was gradual. Not long ago before it rose to world dominance, several factors were already at work contributing to the empire’s ultimate demise. Similarly, these factors are at work in Nigeria and serve us warning signs of a nation on the brink.
The Northerners are my best material witnesses in support of my argument that it’s too late to save Nigeria and of course, the catalyst that will hasten the birth of Oduduwa Republic.
Consider the following as a matter of emphasis:
Northern region territory of 1960 covered nearly 80% land mass, while the West and East sit on a little more than 20%. Out of 109 senators, Yoruba has 18 from six states: Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, and Osun. Igbo has 15 senators from five states of the South-east. The South-south has 18 senators while the North-west, North-central, and North-east which formed the 19 states of the former northern region has 57 senators. The Federal Capital Territory has only one senator which jerks up northern senators to 58 in total.
Out of 360 members of House of Representatives, the North has 191 members while the entire South has 169. Politics is a game of numbers. As long as the numbers are on the side of the North, they’ll not only drive Nigerian politics, they’ll always control and dominate the centre. They’ll always vote down any reforms that will restructure the lopsided federal system of which they’re the biggest beneficiary. It’s no surprise that they’re against devolution of power!
Nigerian federalism is a misnomer. Our federal system fails to meet the simple definition of federalism: “Federalism is a political organisation in which the activities of government are divided between regional governments and a central government, in such a way that each kind of government has some activities in which it makes final decisions.” Our brand of federalism negates the major element of federalism: distribution of powers. Separation of powers is one of the essential features as well as the very basis of a federal system. In a federalism, government is based on shared rule and harmonisation of powers. In decision-making as well as decision-executing processes, both governments have to participate together.
Other contributing factors that will speed up the breakup of Nigeria: signs of a failed state and when cabals are more powerful than the President or the acting President. When the Constitution is violated at will without consequences. When the President couldn’t get any agenda done. When the laws and positions adopted by the National Assembly are but only resolutions on paper.
In reality, Nigeria is governed by side-road decrees, a crazy cabal, with reactionary positions taken by the kitchen cabinet. When promises and arrangements agreed to on behalf of the people are just like the lies a teenager tells to woo his young friend. When reports and recommendations of inquiry constituted by the President are not made public, and when they are not followed. When all religious institutions, civil society, and human rights groups have no faith in the government. When the government in power fails to make new inroads or follow her own laws. When the government fails to protect lives and properties of citizens. When a government is incapable of arresting, prosecuting, convicting, and jailing perpetrators of crimes against humanity. And when a government cannot investigate itself. These indisputable factors ultimately will end Nigeria as we know it.
Now, restructure has been killed by the northern majority which prefers the status quo. Nigerians continue to suffer under the weight of impossible grief of uncertain tomorrow. Nigerians are dying from crushing weight of shock and heartbreak of socioeconomic and political turmoil. Where do we go from here: chaos or community? The central quality in Yoruba’s life is pain – pain so old and deep that it shows in almost every moment of our existence. Separation remains the only viable and realistic option for Yoruba.
All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right, we the people of Yoruba nation are free to determine our political status and freely pursue our economic, social, and cultural development. Justice requires that our right to self-determination be respected and honoured. There’s no more certain injustice than for a section of the country to impose its rule against the will of Yoruba people. It’s time to go!
*Oluwasanmi, a US-based Nigerian social commentator, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.