One Nigeria: To Be Or Not To Be? (5)

by Bode Eluyera

From whatever angle one examines the loopside economic, political and military relationships between the north and the south, and the Niger delta in particular, if one is objective, one will still come to the

sad but correct conclusion that we are indeed a colony of the north. The north is the colonial master of the south! It’s just as simple as A, B, C. Calling it something else will tantamount to self-deceit on our part.

What is a sovereign country? A sovereign country, first and foremost, to me, means ‘full’ control over your resources; land, human, economic and mineral resources. Full control over how they are explored or used. Full control over how the revenues from your resources are spent. Full control over the drafting of a constitution, that best meets the political, military and economic interests of your people, without any compromise. Full control to choose or decide the best of the best among your own people that will lead you. Sovereignty means veto power. Power to veto, or walk away from deals that are not in your favour or interests. Sovereignty means freedom. Freedom to choose or decide whom you want to partner with in exploring your mineral resources. Freedom to negotiate favourable deals as regards to the terms which your mineral resources will be explored. Freedom to decide your economic, political and military priorities. A colony does not have all the above privilege or right. Only her colonial master does. Her colonial master takes all economic, political and military decisions on her behalf. The whole essence of fighting for freedom, independence or sovereignty is to have the above privileges; freedom to rule yourself and take military, political and economic decisions that meet your interests, without any compromise. Neither the Niger deltans nor the south as a whole enjoy all of the above. In contrast, the north has this freedom; all of the above.

If after October 1st, 1960, we still are not free to decide by ourselves whom to live, or form a country with, then, the bitter truth is that dejure, we may be free, but defacto, we are not. If after October 1st, 1960, after gaining our independence from the British, who invaded Africa, the respective ethnic groups that make up Nigeria still can not determine or redraw their own respective boundaries, but compelled to live within the old boundary drawn by the British as far back as 1884, what this means is that Nigeria is still a colony of Britain and the north respectively! Otherwise, how else can one explain the fact that almost 50 years after the official departure of the British from Nigeria, we are being compelled by some forces to exist within these artificial lines drawn by our former(?) colonial master at all cost? Why can’t we, for example, go back to our previous status before the greedy Europeans invaded Africa? Why is it that the north is so much worried even about a mere discussion of these issues? If Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin republics respectively, Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, were to be included in Nigeria in 1884 by the British, would the north also go to war in order to keep these countries in Nigeria? Would the north demand or insist that these 4 countries should remain inside Nigeria? So, what’s the difference then? If Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin republics, Togo, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and even tiny Equitorial Guinea and Gambia could be sovereign countries, why can’t the Ndigbos with a population of at least 36 million people; the Yorubas with a population of at least 40 million people; the Ijaws, the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria become sovereign countries? What is the logic or justification behind the north insistence that the south must remain in Nigeria just the way the British created it? Why is the north not waging war in order to annex Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin republics respectively into Nigeria? Why is it that only the north, the Hausas and the Fulanis, are the only people who are ready to pick up arms again without any hesitation, and go to war in order to keep Nigeria the way the British created and left it? Is the north afraid or worried that they won’t be able to sustain themselves without the south, most especially her rich resources? If you are sure that you can take care of yourself without the south, then what is the need of conducting pogroms or massacring innocent and armless southerners who are not asking you to give them anything, but just want to live separately from you? Is it a crime for an ethnic group or a group of ethnic groups to decide to end their unsubscribed membership in Nigeria? If the north is sure that they are not parasites, burden or liability to the south, why go to the extent of intimidating and murdering southerners so that they will abandon their desire to be free from you in order to use their own resources for their own development? Should membership in Niggeria be by force or voluntary? Definitely, there should be something in it!

It’s not only ridiculous, but equally outrageous when Hausas or Fulanis try Ndigbos or/and Ijaws for treason. Why is the north accusing people who don’t want to live with them, for one reason or the other, of treason? Treason against who? Against the country that was formed by the British? Treason against a country which they never gave their consent to when it was formed? Treason against a country that you were forced to be part of? Imagine the descendants of Othman Dan Fodio accusing Ndigbos and Ijaws of secession! Secession from Kano empire, I guess. Don’t you find this funny? I don’t know about you, but personally, I do. Perhaps, Enugu, Warri, Port-Harcourt, Owerri, Calaber, etc, were all part of Kano empire before the invasion of Nigeria by the British. Who gave the north the mandate to protect the integrity of a country that was formed by our former(?) colonial master without our consent? To the best of my knowledge, neither the Yorubas, Ndigbos, Ijaws nor other ethnic groups in the south south asked the north to help them protect the integrity of Nigeria. It’s only the Hausas, Fulanis and their brothers up in the north, who are not capable of taking care of themselves, that need the integrity of Nigeria. It’s only the north, that is not capable of fending for herself, that needs the integrity of Nigeria so that she can continue stealing the resources of the south, without any hindrance, in the name of building One Nigeria. It’s only the lazy and unproductive north, that has become a perpetual parasite, burden and liability to the south, that needs the integrity of Nigeria. It’s only people who don’t have the resources to develop that need the integrity of Nigeria. Nobody else needs the integrity of Nigeria. Only the north! But if the north that has been ruling Nigeria since independence, is really sincere about protecting the integrity of Nigeria, wouldn’t it be fair on their part to at least first of all get a ‘mandate’ from the people that they claim that they are serving through a national referendum? If Yaradua and his Othman Dan Fodion brothers want to protect the integrity of Nigeria, then let them give their intention a legal backing by organising a national referendum where we can voice our opinion. It’s only after asking us: the Yorubas, Ndigbos, Ijaws, Ibiobios, Efiks, Ogonis and other ethnic groups in the south, through a national referendum that any exercise to protect the integrity of Nigeria can have credibility.

Ladies and gentlemen, if some people have been deceiving us by claiming that they are defending the integrity of Nigeria in order to justify numerous crimes they have committed, and are still committing, then, it’s high time we understood that their actions are not about protecting the integrity of Nigeria, but about protecting the selfish economic, military and political interests of the north at our expense. They don’t have our legal backing or mandate to act on our behalf to protect the integrity of Nigeria. If we have been sleeping or have been hypnotised since October 1st, 1960, it’s high time we woke up from our slumber and get the message now! This is 2008, almost 50 years after our independence(?)! The north before spending billions of dollars of the south’s money in buying up ammunitions, training and maintaining hundreds of thousands of redundant and unproductive northern soldiers and security officers ought to have conducted a referendum among all the ethnic groups in the south. We need to be asked just one question: “Given the parasitic and lopsided economic, political and military relationships between the south and the north, are you in support of your ethnic group remaining in one country with the north? Yes or No? If an overwhelming or even a simple majority answer yes to this question, then the north is free to use any means to protect the integrity of Nigeria. Without the mandate of the south, these people should understand that their actions tantamount to treason, colonialism, robbery and holding the south hostage since October 1st, 1960. If you want to describe the economic, military and political relationship between the north and the south, you can use different words like ‘unfair,’ ‘injustice,’ ‘cheating,’ etc, however if you are looking for the most appropriate word(s) to use, then they are ‘colonialism’ and ‘legalised robbery’. If you use other words apart from these, then, you are not calling a spade a spade.

Do we have the right to ask these legitimate questions? Or is it ‘colonial mentality’ that is preventing us from asking these questions? If the north does not have any skeleton in their cupboards, then these fundamental questions should not be swept under the carpet. It’s high time we discussed them openly! They must be discussed everywhere – in the Senate, House of Representatives, our homes, offices, in the streets, on the internet, in the newspapers, on the radio, tv, in the beer parlour, at conferences, summits, meetings, gatherings, universities, etc. We must tackle these questions bravely. As I have said earlier, in a sincere and equal partnership, you don’t tell your partners that some topics or issues are ‘no go’ areas; you discuss all problems with them ‘extensively’ in order to have a complete mutual understanding and trust. If the north is sincere and believes that the relationship between her and the south is not a colonial relationship, why is she reluctant to convey a Sovereign National Conference where all these ‘burning’ issues could be ironed out? The Sovereign National Conference is the ‘litmus test’ for the north. By doing so, you show that you are sincere and care about the welfare and concern of your partners. There is just no other way about it. Why is the north manipulating the south with the Niger Delta Development Fund and Constitution Amendment which are not really meant, and can not provide the answers nor solutions to these questions and problems? If the whole problem is about the oil, the north should be bold enough to come out openly and tell us, so that we can start negotiating the terms and price for our freedom. Membership in Nigeria should not be by force but voluntary!


Based on the above analysis, one can equally conclude that the south, though dejure, may be independent from October 1st 1960, but in actual fact, defacto, is still a colony of Britain! In other words, the British handed over the south to the north in order to guarantee the continuous exploitation of the former. A perfect example of ‘indirect rule!’ Isn’t it?

Asserting that the British purposely put the south in the custody of the north in order to continue the exploitation of the former is in no way an exaggeration too. There are more than enough facts to back up this claim about a ‘secret’ alliance between the north and the British as regards to the south; of course unknown to southerners.

First, as has already been stated earlier, how does one explain the fact that after October 1st, 1960, the north will not allow neither the Yorubas, Ndigbos, Ijaws, Ibiobios and other ethnic groups in the south south go their seperate way(s) and end their unsubscribed membership in Nigeria? How does one explain the fact that the north went to war and massacred more than 3 million Ndigbos, Ijaws and other ethnic groups in the south south when they decided to break away from the north, with whom they have nothing absolutely in common with, and form their own separate country? What is the crime in an ethnic group or groups deciding to put an end to their unsubscribed membership in a country that was formed by Britain, their former (?) colonial master and a European country, without their consent or approval, after October 1st, 1960? What is the crime in an ethnic or groups deciding to concentrate their ‘own resources, and NOT the resources of the north, exclusively on their own development?

Second, in the historical and ‘unprecedented’ interview given by Harold Smith in 2007, it has now being revealed that the British purposely rigged the 1959 census result and parliamentary election in order for Tafawa Balewa to emerge as the Prime Minister and form the government. This compels us to ask another legitimate question. Why would the British, who claim so much to believe in democracy, the rule of law and flaunt it as one of her achievements rig the census result and parliamentary election in favour of the north? Did the British rig the census and parliamentary election for the north out of altruism? The answers to these questions are obvious.

You may also like

Leave a Comment