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Independence: Another Look at Nigeria – By Arnold A. Alalibo

By Arnold A. Alalibo | NNP | October 8, 2017 –

I am not surprised at the current widespread agitations for secession across the country. The gestures have always loomed in the horizon of the country long ago. Years of turmoils, claims and counter-claims of marginalization as well as vituperations, especially from stakeholders and former leaders, have already overstretched the feeble bond that holds the contradistinct nationalities in the country.
The exertions of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and those of the Arewa, Niger Delta and South West groups that recently issued quit notices to people in parts of Nigeria are indeed unhealthy to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country. The name-calling and hate speeches are consternating as well. They can provide immediate occasions for crisis with attendant precipice reminiscent of the events that led to the 1966 military coup, the declaration of Biafra and the Civil War. Heaven knows we cannot afford this now.
In successive years, the Biafra agitations have assumed all kinds of objectives. What began as a means of drawing the attention of the authorities to the negative plight of certain Nigerians, has suddenly metamorphosed into criminality, ethnocentrism and a political tool for self-aggrandizement. The Igbos are not alone in the cry against injustice. Many other ethnic groups are sobbing against infringements, marginalization and acrimonious treatments. Sadly, these allegations of negligence have also permeated the various levels of political establishments.

The remissness is demonstrated in lopsided appointments, inequitable distributions of resources and unequal political representations. They have all become catalysts for upheavals which have been hijacked by opportunists. Yet, our leaders have failed to act, perhaps waiting for when the tantrums will become veritable threats to the country.
Rather than address the issues, politicians have hijacked it to score cheap political points for themselves and their people. Since solutions cannot come through this way, Nigerians have decided to agitate and in extreme cases, go violent. Unfortunately, the despair has increased because successive governments have only paid lip service to the issues. It is poignant and, of course, distressing that calls to restructure the country as solutions to our numerous problems have not received attention from any government including the present administration which has true federalism in its manifesto.
Now, see how the solicitations have gone awry and dangerous. See how the country is bamboozled. I affirm the unity of Nigeria in spite of the obvious disorientation and I dissent completely from those who want the country disintegrated. But the indivisibility can only be made stronger when substantial steps are taken to engage the burning issues frazzling the country apart. The time has come when we must diagnose our problems and confront them. Therefore, we have to dispassionately examine all the genuinely conceived and perceived agitations and address their concerns. But as a very quick step, the Federal Government must deal with all hawkers of rancour, inciting and discordant messages. Remember, we had been martyrs of such dangerous trend in the past and shouldn’t wait until it gets out of hand.
Any action or pronouncement that endangers the existence of the country should not be tolerated. But Iasting solutions should be devised to contain all the apprehensions and agitations of the different groups in the country. For this reason, we have to revisit the various reports and recommendations contrived on how to address the intractable problems that have always beleaguered our nation. Yes, the Federal Government recognizes the numerous reports which address the structural and governance challenges of the country as far back as the 80s, with the most recent report of the 2014 National Conference. They have to be voraciously examined and enforced. All the national dialogues have, in one way or the other, proposed ways of remodeling our federalism and deepening our democracy; so, the government cannot feign any excuses, rather, it can only draw from the proposals.
It is certainly critical for the government at the centre to heed the calls for the introduction of true federalism. Any attempt to restructure the country without it will render the entire reconstruction exercise inchoate because they go hand in hand. However, one is not unmindful of the fact that the task is difficult. But with indubitable collaboration between our leaders and Nigerians, the enterprise can be accomplished.

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Posted by on Oct 8 2017. Filed under Arnold Alalibo, Articles, Columnists, NNP Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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