By Sunny Awhefeada,
So much has been said about the idea of Nigerian unity. Some consider it to be unsustainable. Some think it is a fraud. While others think that there is no basis for it. Commentators and agitators are quick to point at other entities that have collapsed in the course of history.
They glibly mention Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Yugoslavia and more to justify why they think that Nigeria will go up in blazes.
Presently, there is a cacophony of voices advocating for the final dismemberment of Nigeria. The situation has not been helped by those ruling and ruining Nigeria.
President Buhari presently represents the leading voice, albeit inadvertently, in the tendency to unbundle Nigeria. His recent comments describing a section of the country as “a dot in a circle” and that there was “nothing to restructure” only inflamed anger and passion for incendiary action rather than pacify those that feel genuinely aggrieved and shortchanged in the Nigerian arrangement. Unfortunately, Buhari’s handlers and aides have not helped matters in trying to reorder his thinking and perspectives. Were Buhari to refer to Nigeria as Airegin, an inversion of Nigeria, these handlers and aides would have applauded and defended him as having said and done something very patriotic.
To them, the President is always right no matter how wrong he is. That is why despite the acute failure of government since 2015, none of his aides has had the gumption to either disagree with Buhari or resigned on the grounds of dissatisfaction with the below average performance. Aso Rock and a section of the National Assembly have turned into a large choir of “Buhari has Performed Excellently” despite the obvious tragic failings.
Fortunately for the optimists, there are Nigerians who still believe in the future of this much assaulted country. Those who think Nigeria has a future draw their consolation and hope from the realization that countries are not made overnight. They evolve and fall and rise in doing so. The countries we consider as model states today have had their share of a harrowing history.
The countries of Europe have had a bloody history, a reprehensible past that they wouldn’t want to return to. England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal have gory histories that spanned centuries. Their evolution threw up villains and heroes. Voices of dissent as well as voices of reason sized up one another. They fought wars. Revolutions erupted and what didn’t they experience to emerge as stable entities.
That Nigeria is presently unstable can be attributed to the exigency of our history and time will nurture our nation and people onto a new dawn. How long this will take is unknown. But the present upheavals should be taken as the tentative steps to our national retrieval and wholesomeness.
The steps to consolidating our nationhood are already being taken in the clamour for restructuring. The clamour is also now cautiously being taken up in quarters that had hitherto opposed it. What is needed now is a measure of altruism on the part of all stakeholders that will birth a consensus on what to do to consolidate Nigeria. Restructuring is not and will never be a silver bullet for our malaise. We need a new thinking. Those in charge of the affairs of Nigeria must genuinely come to realize that all is not well with Nigeria. This recognition and acceptance of our state of deficit will be the beginning of national revival. Come what may, the process of revival will be born out of engagements among all stakeholders. All hands must be on deck. Our rebirth will not be the product of coercion. No military force can guarantee the essence of unity. Our unity and wholesomeness will only come out of trust and recognition that all Nigerians are equal and must be so treated irrespective of what corner he or she comes from. The principles of equity, fairness and justice must be upheld.
Equity, fairness and justice are the wheels around which a new Nigeria will revolve. The wheels will be oiled by a commitment to doing what is right at all times not minding whose ox is gored. Time will also breed a new generation that will encode a new ideal powered by the realization that the failure of their fathers must not be reenacted. The new generation will rebut the thought that failure is perennial. They will reinvent the wheel and make Nigeria run seamlessly. Yes, Nigeria will survive. The hopes of those who envisage a great future for Nigeria are anchored on a lot of factors, too many to configure here.
Ours is home to some of the smartest people that ever lived. Our can-do spirit is reinforced by sublime creativity, innovativeness and an uncommon propensity for perseverance. We have a great population. A perfect climate and inexhaustible arable land that can banish hunger from the face of the earth when dutifully ploughed. What about the plenitude of our mineral resources? This is just fabulous!
The pains of the present are the necessary hiccups for the gains of tomorrow. We shall plod through this moment. The things and those that torment us now shall go away and in their place shall emerge a new consciousness that will drive our hopes and aspirations. A new order must surely emerge. We might not be around to witness that new order, but our children and our children’s children will. Let us from whatever corner we find ourselves strive and work for that new moment. Let us be guided by the ennobling thought that the present must not repeat itself. We must hold on to an avowed creed that everything good will dock in Nigeria. But we must work for that moment.
Nigeria will survive and lead the charge for a new order in Africa and the world.
Rome and Greece, Britain and France all ruled the world. America and China have today taken the lead. Nigeria’s moment shall come. Let us be hopeful. Let us work for it. Nigeria will survive despite the challenges. It is well.