Think of the Unthinkable: Notes on Nigeria s Future

By

Brigadier General Abba Kyari (Rtd)

Forwarded by Ibrahim Waziri

iawaziri@yahoo.com

 

BEING A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE WORKSHOP ON STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF RESOURCES IN NORTHERN NIGERIA . (17TH AND 18TH JULY 2004). TEEJAY GUEST HOUSE, G.R.A, ZARIA . KADUNA   STATE .

 

In his 1994 Inaugural Sardauna Memorial Lecture, the late Ciroman Fika made a powerful case for the unity and indivisibility of this country.  While many shared his thoughts by mere instinct, his advocacy was backed by a knowledge that is extensive, varied and profound. In a nutshell, the thrust of his argument is based on the trends of globalization.

 

But if we examine historical trends since 1945 and all the ingredients of globalization as demonstrated by the Italian Diplomat Boris Biancheri, it is worth our while to reflect on the unthinkable and not be prisoners to the superstitious pair of words: - Unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.  This is not a case for the division of the country, but just to demonstrate that history will not have special rules for Nigeria .

 

Within the ambits of globalization are two distinct trends integration and fragmentation.  While at the economic, technological and information spheres the trend is towards integration, the social and political trends tend towards fragmentation and yet we seem to have gone into a self cocoon that Nigeria will be an exception.

 

Let us take a brief review of the state of nation states in the last six decades, since the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1945.  At that date there were about 50 countries.  Twenty years later the states had multiplied to about 100, due largely but not only restricted to decolonization.  Prior to that was the decline of the great multi-ethnic units which began at the end of the 1st World War with the dissolution of the:

 

(a)  Austro-Hungarian

(b)  Trsarist and the

(c)  Ottoman; empires.

 

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the independence of 15 Republics while the fall of Yugoslavia led to the creation of 5 republics.  Today there are over 200 countries registered as members of UNO and the process is still continuing.

 

The examples stated above are admittedly at the international level, but ingredients of fragmentation are also to be found within countries, particularly in Nigeria where the landscape is dominated by the following trends:

 

(i)   accentuation of differences to the detriment of whatever creates common causes

(ii)   the decline of the centre in favour of the periphery

 

 

These trends are compounded by the following tendencies:

 

(a)  Separatism

(b)  Provincialism

(c)  Parochialism

 

Some of the trends and tendencies will inevitably exist in any polity and need not ring alarm bells, but to exist in one polity at the same time with such vehemence, should make us think of the unthinkable, that this place may just fragment not out of our desire but as the logical consequences of the drift we have found ourselves in.  Nigeria is like a ship that is rudderless or a plane on automatic pilot and may run into rocks or sand or crash in a wilderness.

 

Even at the integrative trends of globalization, the economic agenda which is basically to create not just a capitalist-world order but market societies, has the potentials of replicating the injustices of the global economy within national economies with devastating consequences for social stability.  The state and its agencies will not be neutral in this.

 

These notes are just to remind us that while we fight for the federal cause, we should not be one-dimensional in reviewing the state of the nation.

 

The message is simple, fight for a just Nigeria ; think of the unthinkable or be prepared to be condemned to perpetual slavery.