When the Westminster System of Government was in force in Nigeria, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa was too futuristic to have urged Nigerians to “move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage”. On a fifty-three (53) years journey to nationhood, our destination to the world stage has been greeted by chapters of accident, amongst which is the long proposed commercialization of Nigeria. In as much as Nigerians want her country to grow amongst the Comity of States, constructive criticisms of some religiously coated and defective characters in and out of government, does not amount to aggression or hatred of her country; for to criticize one’s country is to render her service and pay her compliments.
Eleven days after Nigeria got her political independence on October 1, 1960, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello said, as was carried by the Parrot Newspaper on October 12, 1960, that: “The nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Othman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”. General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) did not hide his feelings towards President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential ambition when he said that; “There may be no Nigeria. I draw parallel with Somaliaas many times (Somalisation of Nigeria). I am scared about that. Somalia; they are one ethnic group, one religion, Islam, but for eighteen (18) years, Somalia became so selfish, so corrupt, so undisciplined and they have wrecked the country”. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was not spared from this bandwagon when he said that,“Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”.
I cannot but classify these old men as little children still suckling their mother’s breast. Nigeria is a democratic State founded on the principles of Equality Justice and Freedom, and not a theocratic State founded on the dogmas of Ethnicity, Religiosity, and Devilry where some politicians decide that the compass of government will be operated from the North or a different section of the country. I can remember when some Northern Governors said that power must return to the North by 2015. This appears very contradictory, that I am forced to ask whether the North is a country per se. The leaders clamoring for the return of power to the North have not fully laid down their own bed. There are about seven (7) million underage girls who are out of school in the North. The highest level of poverty in the country stems from the North. The highest level of illiteracy is in the North. The slowest pace of development is also from the North and yet they say power must return to the North. The Governors of these Northern States no doubt receive their statutory allocations and other fringe benefits accruing from the States and Local Government Consolidated Revenue Account. In spite of all these fiscal arrangement, the North has remained backward and stagnant in development. I wonder how one who cannot manage effectively a small apartment, dares to think of managing a larger one. Let us not be quick to forget the diabolical statement made by Buhari after he lost out to President Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections, that “he will make this Nation ungovernable for him”. True to his words, the recent upsurge of the deadly Islamic sect, Boko Haram has left much to be desired. In their bid to eradicating Western education, a lot of Nigerians have fallen to their sword.
On the issue of the proposed National dialogue, the Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido audaciously said that the State will not field any representative in the dialogue, as if Jigawa Stateis not part of Nigeria.
No matter what these and other emissaries of rift try to speedy up the division of this nation by commercializing it to a section, Nigeria still remains one and an indivisible country where notwithstanding ones ethnic affiliations and religious denomination, any competent leader from any part of the country can via elections, ascend and pilot the compass of government. From the North, East, South and West of Nigeria, the language of unity and the air of freedom must continue to be spoken and breathe amongst our leaders and the led every moment of a passing day. No matter what 2015 holds, Nigerians continue to live not only as a geographical entity but as a united State still on the journey to her place on the world stage.