Here we are going to consider the theory of a former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo who believes in the divine creation of the Nigerian state. Of course for a man like Obasanjo and the part he has played in the Nigeria affairs it is not difficult to see how it is easy for him to believe as he does. On the two occasions that he had opportunity to head Nigeria’s government, they were both fortuitous moments, all coming on the heels of the death or assassination of his predecessors. The first happened when the villain Murtala Mohammed was killed in office and the second time was even more dramatic. Obasanjo was in prison and when Moshood Abiola, his kinsman was killed by the Islamic North of Nigeria, there was a lot of confusion and Nigeria seemingly came to the brink of breaking up, which eventually will happen soon, they needed to compensate Obasanjo’s Yoruba ethnic group by electing him as the President for 8 years. So, for someone who has been so fortuitously appointed it will take an extraordinarily transcended mind not to believe in miracles and providential interventions in the ordinary things of men and countries.
For one moment and for the purpose of this discussion alone, we shall pretend that Nigeria, rather than being an arbitrary fabrication of the colonial Britain, was actually created by God. There is nothing wrong with this assumption or even blasphemous as long as we do not attempt to take it to the ridiculous level of taking it seriously or, unguardedly, stake our faith on blatant lies. In the real world even fools have their day on All Fools’ Day, the 1st of every April of each year. And when we look at Nature we agree that sometimes even God comes short of creating many things perfect. The only difference now is that when such imperfections occur in Nature and, they are not rare at all, then it is always the duty of the creatures which are directly affected to try and tinker and improve on the inadequacies of Nature and their limiting or non-conducive natural endowments. This is why some people have argued that human beings were equipped with the unique ability of the creative mind to be co-creators with God. In this way humans are given jobs to occupy their overly inventive minds so that they are not idle and become susceptible to devious and negative inventions. And because much has been given to humans a lot more responsibilities are required of them to fix whatever Nature had overlooked or negligently missed in her original creations. Every honest and sincere observer had long ago accepted the truth that the Nigerian union is one of those imperfect creations of “God” (Britain) that must be rejigged or recreated by the human members of the deadly “divine” misadventure in creativeness.
In furthering our position that it is not a crime against Nature to try and improve the work of God for the purpose of greater enjoyment of nature by the people, we are going to illustrate copiously with the simple things that most of us are familiar with. When the woman for instance who had not originally been endowed with a socially acceptable height wears high heeled footwear or a plainly gifted lady applies beauty enhancing makeups, at least, in sane and advanced societies they are not considered as being irreverent or blasphemous.
The Yoruba nation of the Southwest of Nigeria (Obasanjo’s ethnic group) recently held an ethnic meeting in Ibadan and came out with among other conclusions that there is a “… glaring failure of Nigeria’s present federal arrangement,” and that “regional cooperation, collaboration and integration offer the best approach to saving Nigeria, and delivering development and prosperity to Nigerian citizens.” Unfortunately as it is the manner of the typical elite class of Nigeria and the rest of Africa, they came short of being honest and bold enough to call for an outright dismantling of the hitherto unworkable Nigerian union. They said; “That [their call for] regional integration is not to break up Nigeria. It is rather to renew the Nigerian federation and its capacity to deliver the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians, in the six geo-political zones.” (Only God knows how that can be done in such a completely decadent and unworkable Nigerian arrangement). But these conferees no doubt know in their inner selves that such deceptive dreams that are founded on falsehood will never come true. They know as well as all other persons who are entrapped in the failed “Nigeria’s present federal arrangement” that the only viable and thoroughly rational option left is to break up the Nigerian arrangement.
Therefore, if the Nigerian arrangement is so flawed and has failed as claimed then it has to be radically improved on or more plainly put, broken down into its original different national components so that the human inhabitants can have the opportunity to design and build societies that are realistic and in conformity with the culture/religion and holistic worldview of the people who are the ultimate direct beneficiaries or losers when mistakes are rectified or sustained. If the Nigerian experiment is not working as centralized then why retain any residual attachment when the regions or ethnic nations can succeed and prosper as separate and independent entities. This is why nations maintain regional cooperative economic/social relationships as neighbors and not necessarily as one meaningless big-for-nothing country. The regional or ethnic/national components of the present Nigeria do not have to maintain any rudimentary sovereignty attachments with any other parts such as what some describe as “true federalism, weak/strong center, 100% resource control formula, Aburi Accord, etc.” The truth is that the Christian people of Southeast or the Igbo/Biafrans have, culturally/religiously, nothing in common with the Islamic North and Southwest of Nigeria. In real life situations such primitive and infantile sentiments have never taken anyone far especially in the critical areas of social engineering.
Still taking us back to the issue of some less perfect creations of God, let’s consider such example of the Siamese twins. In real life, conjoined twins eventually find out how inconvenient and imperfect they were naturally created or their “Godly” attachment can be and by that realization they wisely seek out expert’s help on how to detach and live independently, freely and happily ever after. After the detachment the twins do not necessarily have to become enemies just because they were separated from each other. They do not have to continue sleeping on the same bed or even living in the same house after they have been physically separated. If that is not pictorial enough we can still take another example from nature. We are still talking about birthing or creating of lives or entities.
Midwives are a lovely and affectionate set of the hospital staff. But they are also realistic. They do not let sentiments or the infantile screams of the birthed child deter them from doing the right thing. As loving and kind as they may be but they must of necessity be experts at using the surgical knife, knowing when and how to separate the child from the mother. Every child is born with an umbilical cord which while in the mother’s womb enabled it to get nutrients and nourishment from the mother. Umbilical cords serve as the children’s natural connection between mothers and children. In a realistic life where sentiments are not allowed to get in the way of the people’s freedom, well-being and happiness, after children are born all inconvenient attachments must be severed. The severance of course never really means the ending of the love relationship between the mother and child. (After 50 years of childhood, the child Nigeria is for long ready for the necessary umbilical cord severance and traditional child weaning). A healthy and successful consanguinity relationship has never consisted in any arrangement where parents and children remained under one roof everyday of their lives. It must come a time when families will part ways. Sometimes such separation must happen not because of so much fighting and killings such as the Nigerian mistake but because there is a big world out there that must be explored. It is only the less adventurous ones who insist on maintaining the nonworking, very limited and limiting space/relationship when there is a vast open space out there waiting to be explored and charted. The opportunities out there are enormous and endless and can only be discovered after the severance of the restricting umbilical cords or when the kids leave home.
Independence creates confidence; the belief in oneself which is behind all the progress and successes the world has ever known. Independence gives the independent fellow or society the freedom to exercise those very private dreams and aspirations without being unduly conscious of the feelings of the neighbor. It is also true because most of the critically important inventions and achievements of our world come from, as at the time, unpopular and sometimes non-conformed-to prevailing and accepted cultural norms and traditions. So it is no wonder that great inventions and innovations happen mostly in societies and among peoples with so much tolerances, freedoms and independence of the individuals and groups.
As we conclude, I want to leave us with some salient points and disabuse our minds of the fallacy of ever thinking that God created the Nigerian union, he did not. Nigeria is one of those arbitrary 1884/5 Berlin states creations of the colonial Europe. Then, in that conference, the gathered imperial Europe sat down at a table and arbitrarily penciled and divided up the African continent as it best suited their administrative convenience and without any recourse to how the indigenous societies and peoples were originally culturally and ethnically constituted. So the Europeans of 1884 and 1885 were not Gods neither did they claim to have taken into consideration any realistic feelings of the indigenous peoples at that drawing table of nearly 200 years ago. No, they were only concerned about how to reduce conflict amongst themselves so that one European country did not encroach on the other’s colonial territory.
Isn’t that instructive enough for the current political elites in Africa and particularly Nigeria! If the Europeans could so partition their vassal estates in faraway African continent in such a way that the French did not have to fight and kill the English people because they recognized their differences as separate nations, what is difficult in the Christian Igbo/Biafrans recognizing the irreconcilable differences that exist between them and the Islamic Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba ethnic groups.
Obasanjo and all others who believe like him in the divine creation of the failed state of Nigeria are wrong. After the nineteenth century Berlin misadventure, colonial Britain merged the formally separate states of Islamic North and Christian South of Nigeria in 1914 to further make easy their administration of the area. There is equally a lesson to be learned from that action popularly called amalgamation of Islamic North and Christian South of Nigeria. The one important thing we cannot miss is that there are no state boundaries that are drawn in stone. State boundaries are moved, adjusted and redrawn as the need arises. Right now, as it were in 1884/5 and 1914 there is an urgent need to redraw the state boundaries of the ethnic/national members of the present Nigerian union.
Let the peoples sit down at a table and redraw not only the outdated and deadly Nigerian state map but that of the entire Black Africa. They can choose to put the exercise to votes or a referendum. Let the peoples consciously through the casting of their votes decide how they are defined and who they associate with as fellow citizens of the same country. There are some nationalities within the enclave that do not want to be called Nigerians or be associated with it in any form. Nigeria is an imperfect colonial British creation that must be recreated by separating the incongruent federating ethnic nations and giving them back their sovereignties. Let the so-separated nations through their own freewill and self-determination decide their destinies and who they will identify with.
And we must get it clear too, the colonial Britain may have made a mistake about Nigeria but it is never a mistake of the heart. They never set out to punish the indigenous peoples by insensitively lumping them into a deadly union. They were at the time thinking about their administrative convenience, how to minimize the cost of running their government and maximize profit. Now the colonialists have left it is left to the indigenous peoples of Africa to correct the deadly experiment. The indigenous peoples should know what should be good for them. The imposed European Nigerian/African national boundaries may have been unintentionally created by foreigners to be so deadly and destructive to the indigenous peoples’ lives and property. But the peoples that bear the pain of the mistake can do better for themselves now by redrawing more realistic and friendly human-life and property-preserving national boundaries. After all this has to do with us and our homeland and we must decide to get it right for ourselves.