ALL this talk about negotiating Nigeria’s unity sounds almost satanic to me, pardon my extremism if you must. Why should the thought of a national conference always evoke thoughts of disintegration in the minds of some people? And what kinds of people want Nigeria to break anyway? Yes, we may not be totally happy together. In fact, romance may have flown out of our national window but going our separate ways won’t bring romance back and in any case, what’s the guarantee that where we think we are going after here would bring happiness. It’s like a woman dumping her marriage for anything short of life-threatening reasons. The next man won’t come with a NAFDAC number. So, my point is, those who think a national conference, sovereign or not, is synonymous with breaking up Nigeria should check their dictionary and perish the thought.
This may sound trivial but imagine owing rent in London. Would you walk up to your landlord or landlady and ask for his or her understanding while you organize your mother-in-law’s burial and then fix the children’s school fees? And if you owe electricity bills, you just switch on your generator? And if your gas cylinder goes empty, you whisk out your stove and buy a bottle of kerosene from Mama Caro’s provision shop? In London? I don’t see any of that happening. In countries like United Kingdom, you pay all your bills. So, when people who are used to paying bribes instead of bills start talking about how to go our separate ways, I just wonder if they have all their screws tightly in the right place.
If you are broke here, there is always a brother’s keeper to help out.
Someone who takes your kid in and help with the school fees. Someone who sees you on the bus and pays your fare or tells the bus conductor to refund you if you’d already paid. There are pastors and Alfas who help out as shrinks so we don’t end up in padded wards too.
Nigerian mean husbands who are thinking of Nigeria breaking up are obviously not thinking straight. Has it occurred to them that they would no longer be able to bounce their wives against the wall if they have to go live in America? Oh, the polite but meaner cops are always a phone call away in those places. Then you cane your child and lose him to social welfare and eventually foster parents.
Let’s not even go very far. How will Nigerians, millions of us fare in Guinea Bissau, South Africa and Ghana? Aren’t the people in those countries already afraid, threatened by us even now that we there only in our hundreds? Xenophobia, is that a disease that will go into extinction as soon as we break up? Will Ghanaians suddenly want us taking over their country, which is what we’d do if we leave Nigeria in droves? Imagine small Guinea harassing Nigerians. How many Nigerians are in the country? What will happen if for instance, everybody in Port Harcourt decides to relocate to Conakry? What will happen if the good boys and girls of Lagos Island relocate to Capetown and the hardworking people and professors of Ekiti unleash their thing on Banjul and Accra? In fact, which African country’s economy will survive the consequences of a broken Nigeria? None, as far as I can see.
Okay, maybe there is a missing paragraph somewhere. I should have asked you earlier if you actually think the proponents of ‘let’s go our separate ways’ think their idea can come to pass bloodlessly.
Yeah, can this Nigeria break bloodlessly? Will the husband let the wife go without a bloody nose? Will the wife leave without destroying as many gadgets as she can? No, we have been together for too long to part without bitterness. And I know cutting off the head does not cure the headache, or don’t you?
What is worse, all those who are saying let us break the pot have other means of getting water.
In fact, they have reservoirs everywhere. Their children don’t live here. They have homes from Mauritius to Alaska. They have investments in Singapore and California. Didn’t I just read about some of them commissioning universities in Republic of Benin? Ah. What all that means is that a broken Nigeria will hurt some more than others. Or is it every Somalian that ended up in refugee camps? Was it every Ethiopian baby that ended up as poster faces of kwashiorkor on CNN and BBC while war ravaged that country?
Those who are thinking of war, those who are talking disintegration, have you seen their children before? If you have, do you know where those children work? If you saw photos of their wedding ceremonies, did you notice the number of people who own private jets who attended?
Okay, you still think they are speaking for you and I? When they go on television and grant interviews on how the amalgamation of 1914 was a mistake and so we should annul this marriage, you know they have alternatives and you don’t. Me, I think they have guns to sell and relief materials to supply refugee camps. Very Satanic motives, believe me.
How many of us will Europe and America accommodate to sweep their streets and wash dead bodies? If the fire they are building becomes a conflagration, where will 100million Nigerians go, Mali, Monrovia or Mauritius? Is there really an alternative to Nigeria, even as bad as it is? No, there isn’t? We are not just joined at the hip, we are Siamese twins who share the same brain, heart, liver and central nervous system. Any attempt at separation will be fatal.
Now, say after me:
Nigeria is totally imperfect.
It is totally underdeveloped
Things can be better than this
If Nigerians change, Nigeria will change
If we all put our hands on the plough and do not look back, we will
get to the Promised Land.
That, my friends, is the spirit.