The euphoria of last weekend’s Neo Black Movement’s 77/77 celebrations on July 7 was palpable. Shortly before then was the NBM 39th convention at Calabar, donation of writing desks to schools. Then was the Soweto Day remembrance of the June 16 genocide (even if South Africans seem to forget the effort Nigeria contributed against apartheid generally as a nation), a day also recognized by the UN; and coming together of the NBM and other pro-black activists in Dodowa, Ghana on July 8. The 77 merriment dovetailing into the Movement’s 40 years anniversary should not pass without addressing germane and central socio-political issues in Nigeria and Africa, as a whole. Biafra, burning like a new sun rising from the east, is hence not negligible.
Immediately after the referendums held in the UK, the word referendum hastily became inflammable enough to rekindle Biafra. Nigeria is a huge market that if properly exploited, would become a force to reckon with in the international market. Hence, it is not a surprise if some words or phrases also swept through Nigeria like some inexorable wildfire. We should thus not be like the sheep in animal farm that gullibly swing from chanting “Four legs good, two legs bad,” to “four legs good, two legs better.”
So those calling for referendum, would like to see Nigeria divide in case it should happen? (let us still put aside the fact that our constitution is different from that of the UK, even though we might easily say Nigeria is also nations in a Nation, the constitution that putsù us together like the US rather overrides all). There is nothing wrong with Nigeria, but Nigerians. We are like a bad carpenter who nags and complains about his tools as excuses for his poor skill. Give Nigerians to the right mindset and it would indeed thrive, as it should, for to whom much is given much is expected.
The world is becoming a global village and we are retrogressively talking of fracturing and balkanizing? If ECOWAS can be achieved, led by Nigeria, without each country’s market force uniting with others to form a common market without border or currency restrictions, this new market will compete favorably with the dollars and others. In a microscopic level, Nigeria should also be a country with each states to control its resources and no restrictions, regulated by the federal government whom all states pay taxes. The argument is that some states will become more developed than others.
We should ask why our fingers are not equal knowing fully the role of the thumb in grasping is different from the role of the index finger, though also grasping. In the United States, also colonized by the UK and with whom we patterned our constitution upon – albeit poorly – there are some states that have banks so remote you will wonder if they had websites, yet in the same US are states harboring the financial giants of the world, yet it is both states in America. Ohio is not New York.
A state may be compared to a man, it has potentials waiting to be discovered from within. But most times, when we are not pushed, we likely will not push too. Like Robert Greene said in the 48 Laws of Power, plenitude makes us fat and lazy. There is nothing wrong if states like Jigawa or Ekiti look within to explore their potentials. It is hilarious that we are importing paper from Indonesia when any of these states have natural resources for a paper mill. Finance is not a problem to a government that has vision. States will have access to loans from the FG or CBN, or even internationally. It makes the government closer to the people and makes governors more responsible to the people who can vote them out.
This is a better solution to fracturing Nigeria, and yet satisfying each region. If the Ch’in Dynasty in around 200 BC had not unified what is now China, the fractured clans cannot have the colossal wealth the west cannot underestimate. State-controlling resources do not stop federal government from having its own investments. Competition breeds dynamism and Nigeria is a great nation waiting to be tapped.
Nigeria is doing more together as a nation if only we stop being sarcastic and see that Nigerians (not fractured) are the most educated immigrant community in the US, and often do better in European and American schools. Nigerians even have more college degrees than the American national average. The richest black man and woman are Nigerians, Dangote and Alakija. Nigeria has spent billions of dollars in keeping peace in West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, recently Gambia, and beyond. And there is more this country still have to do to set a pace in its hegemony and the world at large.
There are awry things in our polity but we have the duracell spirit of never saying die. Bad governance had brought us here to the Biafra agitation. Splintering the country or going to war is not the solution. It is retrogressive. A united market is what we need in Nigeria and ECOWAS, if Africa will slowly move towards achieving the vision of Ghana’s Kwame Nkruma for a united Africa. Every aspect of Nigeria has a market that can be tapped into locally by the states, and the more that is being utilized, the more resources to build a huge market force with other ECOWAS countries. A tree does not make a forest. Use the Biafra agitation to call for reform, not war. See Mosul and walk in the shoes of the people there and then know that war is not a video game or some Hollywood Movie.