Is Nigeria A True Fusion Or A Conned Fusion?

If a nation

has patiently sought and pursued peace and progress that have been largely elusive

and unattainable due to discord, dissonance and dissension among its people for

over a century, a deep reflection and introspection then not only become

necessary, but expedient to peremptorily resolve of all that has brought a

bedlam on that nation and its disparate people. 1914 was the year when the

northern and southern protectorates of the Nigerian arrangement were

amalgamated by the then Governor-General, British Lord Lugard. Over the last 100

years of the tumultuous relationship, the fusion now appears to have

metamorphosed into a grand, exacerbated excrescence as many of us continue to

comb and flip through pages of history books in an attempt to find a

justification for why Lord Lugard lorded over us a load so unbearable. It is now a known fact that Nigeria’s fusion

has brought heightening and escalating maelstrom and entropy primarily fuelled

by ethnic and tribal frightening and infernal verbal fireworks that have gotten

some of us to conclude that we might have been conned into a fusion as a nation.

There are millions of Nigerians across all tribal and ethnic affiliations who believe

that the merger was not a marriage-made-from-heaven.

PAIN ALL

OVER THE LAND

We appear

to be growing more and more incompatible, and more and more prominently pulled

apart by many overt and subterranean reasons. More people feel cheated and

desecrated by principal ethnic actors who have been in control of the jugular

of government and governance for seasons unending. Communication between the elements is

gradually grinding to a hurtful halt. The fury, anger, and distrust between all

the elements that make up poly-ethnic Nigeria is climbing up by the speed of

light into a pathetic apotheosis. If nothing is urgently done, the ship of the

relationship seems to be on its way to an inevitable titanic wreck and untold

collateral damages. There are evidences of this in every bend, curve and curl of

our political, social, religious, and economic landscapes. Pestering

pandemonium, purulent pogrom, protracted pestilence, baleful bloodletting, ethnic

intolerance, economic stagnation, metastasizing cancer-cells of poverty, disenchantment

and general malaise are now Nigeria’s bedfellows. Our troubles are multiplying

daily, our leaders are brash and brazen hourly, only a handful of people with discernible

commitment, love or loyalty to the orphan called Nigeria, and love and trust

are expressed only along ethnic and tribal line. There is an infraction in the

myocardium of the nation that requires an emergency surgery, the present

arrangement called Nigeria is in deep trouble.

HOW DID

WE GET HERE?

The history

of a nation is its DNA, and without the knowledge of it, navigating into the

future is an infantile sciamachy, and the history must be truthfully told. The

fruits we see on the Nigerian tree are the results of what was deposited as

seeds in the roots. A swift swing back to history can give us an idea of the

deep and true feelings of our founding fathers about the arrangement. According to the Amalgamation reports addressed

to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, The Right Honorable A Bonar Law,

the Governor General, wrote immediately after the fusion; “…the year 1914 will ever be a

memorable one in the annals of Nigeria, in that it opened with the amalgamation

of the two separate administrations of northern and southern Nigeria into a

single government of Nigeria… as an outlying part of the British empire in its

trade and its revenue….”. It

is obvious from this submission that the raison

d’être for the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates was

about territorial control, expansionism, and revenue-garnering adventure for

the British. In other words, Nigeria with its vast resources was business for

Britain.

A

fundamentally historical abhorrence of the fusion of the nation was largely expressed

by Northern elites whose push-backs against the idea of Nigeria’s fusion were

not subtle as evidenced by their many public utterances. In 1948 while

addressing the legislative council, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa declared in a

statement: “Since 1914 the British

Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian

people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their

religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of

willingness to unite. Nigerian unity is only a British intention for the

country.” This idea and ideology are what the terror-group Boko-Haram in

the north uses as a template for championing their senseless cause today. On

the 3rd of august 1966, Nigerian military Head of State and a northerner

said in his historical broadcast and announcement: “there

is no basis for Nigerian unity, which has been so badly rocked, not only once

but several times.”

In 1961, an

Irish man authored a book expressing how the British overlords truly felt about

the fusion of the north and south of Nigeria: “The majority of the Fulani and Hausa of the North dislike the

Southerners fundamentally. Historically the Northerners have always despised

them, enslaved them and treated them cruelly, and above all regard them as

inferiors…The memory of all this still lingers and is making the British policy

of creating one Nigeria nation out of the three main Regions difficult

enough..”.

Robert Collis in “AFRICAN ENCOUNTER: A DOCTOR IN NIGERIA”.

OUR PROBLEM IN THE FOUNDATION?

Our beginning as a nation was fraudulent, self-serving, and impudent. Neither the British imperialists nor Nigerians

themselves had any hope about the fusion. This then informs why as a nation we

take one step forward and one hundred steps backwards, why commonsense

discussions cannot take place without the infusion of tribal and ethnic

jingoism, why corrupt practices and brazen stealing are seen by kinsmen of the culprits

as an expression of their constitutional rights that somebody is trying to take

away. This may also

inform why many groups all over Nigeria are calling for the

dismantling of what they believe is a mockery and a mere effigy called Nigeria.

It is so true that our

shout and clamor for decency in government, commitment to the Nigeria idea,

love of country and patriotism, can only

be achieved by participants who are truly enthusiastic, happy and hopeful about

the future of the fusion. In the case of Nigeria, It will take more than two to

tango. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness can only manifest when we agree

to work together.

IT CAN

STILL WORK IF WE WORK AT IT

This writer

grew up in Ibadan and Lagos with people from all manners of tribal blocks who

loved each other and got things done. Nigeria is a good idea that needs a major

fine-tuning, and the hour of truth-telling is now with Nigeria crossing the 100th

year of existence line. I hope that President Jonathan’s National Conference

can offer some answers. The clamor for disintegration by many groups all across

the land is as a result of hurt and pain majority of Nigerians continue to

suffer as a result of misrule and wicked leadership that is not sensitive to

the yearnings and hope of the citizenry. No one group of people or tribe should

be made subservient to the other; there is no superman tribal block. We all

bring something to the table that must be harnessed for the greater good of

all. Greed must go and fairness and equity must rule. Whatever our founding

fathers felt about Nigeria was their opinions, but we have our lives to live. We can make Nigeria a true fusion If only we don’t see ourselves

as Yorubas, Igbos, Hausas, Itsekiris, Tivs, but one people. But if we can’t see

this, then we are saying that Nigeria is a conned fusion. And every conned

fusion gives birth to confusion untold. We have a choice to make!

Written by
Fola Ojo
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