Let's Talk About It

NIGERIA: The making of a new nation (2) with Rev. Canon Chike Samuelson

The year 1914 was the year in which the northern and southern Protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated into a nation called Nigeria. That means that it has been for the last 100 years. Be that as it may, it was in 1960 that nation received her independence from Britain.
In 1963 she became a republic, supposedly a federal republic.
However, for the thirty years plus during which the military was on the saddle, the nation for all intents and purposes was actually run and administered as the Unitary Republic of Nigeria” This came with monumental damages and dislocations many of which the nation is still struggling with today. The foregoing complicated the fact that the Federal Republic of Nigeria abinitio had a very hasty and faulty foundation these were in addition to the mutual distrust that were part of the foundation.
Just as you cannot build anything that will endure on a hasty and faulty foundation, so you cannot build a great nation.
Unfortunately, both our founding fathers and the military that came in as corrective did not have the courage to dispassionately confront the lapses and to address them. The military, infact complicated the situation. As the civilian’s they overthrew they played into the hands of the nepotic politicians. They were also manipulated by the speaking of tribalism, nepotism, selfishness that were speaking from their ethnic nationalities and regional interests. Then it was, the Northern region, Western region, Eastern region and later also the Mid Western region.
Part of the consequence was that regional federalism was skilled to favour one of the regions.
Divide and rule were raised into a state art. In the midst of all these, the civil war ensued for which the South East has been hugely deprived and is still suffering deep injustices and neglect till date. But I think it is part of the price that had to be paid to preserve Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the situations that led to the civil war are largely still around with us. At the end of the war, General Gowon declared a “no victor, no vanquished” “policy.
For Eastern Nigeria, the 3R policy was declared. That was for the Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the war torn area especially in the South East zone. The 3R policy was one most unfaithfully and haphazardly implemented. And this situation was never addressed by the subsequent military regimes after that of General Yakubu Gowon.
With the help of God Ndi-Igbo has taken the injustices done to them by Nigeria in her strides. I still believe that this is the price that they must pay for the new Nigeria of our dream.
Today one of the realities militating against the repairs of our weak and faulty national foundation includes the following – refusal to fully address the mistakes and misadventures of the military; refusal to address the inequities that had subsisted; the centrepetal forces coming from some of the regions namely Egbe Omo Oduduwa forces and the patronizing One north stance from some cabals from northern Nigeria.
The other serious issue is the inability of the nation to address the neglect of the Niger Delta. The devastation that the place has known is most incredible.
The continuing damage to the environment speaks for itself. The oil and gas wealth from this area since the late 1950s has sustained Nigeria.
The resourcing of the development which the nation has known was made possible by this. Yet in the midst of all these see the way some northern elements politicize the matter. It is not only a shame, but an unfortunate lie-telling and patronizing self deceit and diffusion.
The journey for the making of Nigeria has been long and tortuous. We have come a long way and still have some long way to go. Breaking up Nigeria is not a viable alternative. We are better of as one indivisible BIG NATION. But not much progress will be made in advancing the NEW NIGERIA project if mutual distrust, lies, injustice and inequities continues to prevail. Nigeria and Nigerians must arise to fight evils, then a GREAT NATION is ahead! Amen.


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