Opinion: Why Nigeria Has Not Broken Up As Predicted by Experts after More Than 100 Years of Amalgamation
Nigeria was expected to have either broken up into three separate countries or disintegrated into several pieces, as predicted by some political observers within the country and even outside Nigeria. In 1904, when Lord Lugard amalgamated the protectorates of the north and south, many saw it as an unholy alliance mashed together to sustain the British Empire. This was because day and night were identical to the two protectorates and were somewhat different ideologically, culturally, and socially. When Nigeria was agitating for independence, the feeling of a united front seemed to be present. However, this was not the case, as provincial officials had already made statements that exposed their true status and the feelings of their citizens. Chief Obafemi Awolowo wrote in his book Path to Nigerian Independence in 1947: "Nigeria is not a nation, it is a mere geographical expression." "In the same sense as there is "English" or "Welsh" or "French," there are no "Nigerians. The word Nigeria is simply a distinctive name to distinguish between those living within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not.
In 1947, Nigeria's Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was also reported as reporting that "Nigeria has existed as one country only on paper since the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern provinces in 1914...." It is also far from unified. Nigeria's integration is just a British target for the region.' Therefore, at the time Nigeria achieved independence in 1960, there was already a crack in the formation of the republic. It was no surprise, however, that the country degenerated into a civil war that lasted three years, taking millions of lives. The war itself was ignited by a series of events that ultimately escalated to a full-blown ethnic battle. The first coup in 1966 was an "Igbo coup," the counter-coup six months later, the northern pogrom, and the Biafra declaration of Odumegwu Ojukwu both led to the civil war. The then head of state, Yakubu Gowon, declared that there was "no victory, no victory." after Philip Effiong surrendered on behalf of the Biafra army after the battle. The country thus survived a break-up, but the controversy did not end.
Well after the civil war, the movement for an independent Biafra state began, from Ralph Uwazuruike's Drive to Update the Federal State of Biafra to Nnamdi Kanu's Indigenous People of Biafra. At one point, crude oil pipelines were blown up by the Niger Delta Avengers calling for a country break over what it called the ill-treatment of the Niger Delta communities. Thus, at all times, Nigeria has faced obstacles that have threatened to tear apart the worn-out fabric of stability in the region. 2014 was meant to be the year of Nigeria's break-up. As it marked one hundred years of government amalgamation, the year was symbolic. The trajectory of the country was also observed by many political commentators and historical observers who predicted the Niger Delta militancy, Biafra independence agitation, and Boko Haram terrorism to culminate in the nation's ultimate break-up. However, this did not arise and Nigeria continued to remain as a single country. The fact that the nation is not tied to religious and ethnic tensions that are still widespread should not be overlooked, but for the following reasons, the government survived the break-up forecast:
Goodluck Jonathan was president of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and the country owes its continued life to his peaceful leadership style. At a time when the wrong move could have ignited an awkward scenario, Jonathan diplomatically confronted these questions. At the height of the 2013 Boko Haram attack in the northeast, Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Jonathan said in his declaration of a state of emergency in the three states that what the country was facing was "not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and rebellion by terrorist groups that pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity." He clarified that lawmakers in those states must be s in order not to escalate the conflict with a military takeover of these channels. The Occupy Nigeria protest in January 2014, shortly after the abolition of the petrol subsidy that lifted the fuel price from N65 to N140 in January 2014, may have been the catalyst for the country's rift in a violent way. To stop the escalating riots, Jonathan tactically lowered the petrol price and not doing so might have contributed to the tragedy. During his 2015 re-election bid, Jonathan lost.
Since oil was discovered in Oloibiri in 1956, it became Nigeria's main export commodity and quickly replaced the long-standing reliance on agriculture with the petro-dollar search. Some historical analysts have argued that the primary devastation of Nigeria's federal system and regional economic freedom was oil, as agriculture and fishing were secondary. With regionalism's intentional weakening and the reinforcement of the central government, states had to focus on federal allocations. In certain nations, conditions are so bad that paying the salaries of civil servants and executing programs without federal appropriation would be almost unlikely. The petro-dollar spirit kept the country together as it was predicted that Nigeria would split up. In reality, oil was also a reason why the Nigerian government struggled to preserve the nation in the middle of the southern insurgency for an independent state of Biafra (east). Experts also said that if Nigeria's oil had dried up or its worth had plummeted irredeemably internationally, the dissolution of Nigeria would have resulted.
The link between those in the top political class in Nigeria is so strong that it is almost as if they belong to the same family. The question of religious and ethnic discord that is common among the lower class is non-existent among those occupying the top echelon of the political class, as they are united by money and influence. These people are benefiting from the injustice in the world and are becoming more united than ever. Without their support, it was also almost difficult for the nation to fracture, as many of them continue to compete for political roles.
The three major ethnic communities in Nigeria are Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa. However, in the world, there are some 250 ethnic groups, with some sharing only a single area of local government. These minority ethnic groups should not, however, be excluded from the grand scheme of things, which is why the dissolution of Nigeria was not an easy affair. Perhaps the predicted break-up in Nigeria in 2014 would have occurred if an Ijaw man had not become president. For the first time in a while, certain Biafra agitators suspended their protest as it would be stupid to champion secession as a moment where an Ijaw person was president. The Igbos, particularly the agitators of Biafra, have been clamoring for the support of the citizens of the Niger Delta to secede from Nigeria, and that would have been difficult to do during the presidency of Jonathan. Ethnic minority groups also agree that the division of Nigeria means nothing to them, since it is just a case of changing masters, as they will remain a minority. For example, some ethnic groups in the Delta state of Anioma sometimes refer to themselves as Delta Igbo. Some of them are opposed to the independence of Nigeria because they predict that an autonomous Biafra State would only put them at the whim of the Igbo people and therefore favor a united Nigeria.
The strong alliance between the Yoruba and the Hausa sealed the trust of Nigeria and ultimately prevented the dissolution of the nation. A Yoruba-Hausa coalition was formed by the merging of Nigeria's Yoruba-dominated Action Congress and the Hausa-dominated Progressive Reform Congress and the All Nigeria Peoples Party to form the All Progressive Congress in 2014, rendering it nearly difficult for Nigeria to split. The strength of this alliance was adequate to sustain the government, as it seems unlikely that other ethnic groups would have been able to form a different coalition stronger than that. Many have also noted that as long as the Yorubas stay active in the one-Nigeria initiative, the break-up of the country would be impossible, as they tend to be the cord that keeps the country together. Ultimately, with the Yoruba people holding a major stake in the APC project as the party to give it an inroad into the central government, the break-up of Nigeria did not manifest.
Content created and supplied by: Utomobong6 (via Opera News )