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Matilda Orhewere: Guidelines Engraved On Steel
Every call from different quarters for the Sovereign National Conference (SNC) is a boost to the new Nigeria that Nigerians deserve and have been clamouring for. It is popularly believed that ‘a problem identified is a problem half solved.’ The dissatisfaction being expressed by Nigerian political leaders is a good sign that things are moving in the right direction and in the interest of Nigeria.
There was a time that the people in position were adequately ‘provided for’ and so they did not see any reason to raise any alarm over the divisive and unprogressive style of leadership and administration of Nigeria. Now the calls are getting louder and at a more consistently increasing frequency.
The reality that the people are faced with is not pleasant as what has resulted in the mis-management of Nigeria and her resources are decay in every sector as people see every new appointment as perfect opportunity to take their own share of the national cake; insecurity of human lives and property stemming from disgruntled politicians who believe that power is the exclusive preserve of the north; a rapidly growing crime rate and intolerance among the youth. These are the most prominent and disturbing of the ugly products that building upon a ‘faulty foundation’ has produced in the Nigerian society.
Again it must be stressed that Nigerian historians and political leaders must outgrow and overcome blaming Lord Lewis Harcourt, Lord Fredrick Lugard or the entire British for the Amalgamation of 1914. In fairness to the British, they used the model by which the United Kingdom was initially designed for Nigeria. A united nation is much stronger, richer and more powerful than a cluster of many little nations that are exposed to hostile attacks from much more aggressive neighbours; a modern-day example is the appropriation of the Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroun. The UK is one country that is made of four different strong countries that have over the years fought bitter wars, opted for insurgency until the eventually worked out a common ground for making progress and co-existing in peace in the interest of the union.
Originally, Nigeria is made of too many tiny, little, impoverished nations but Nigeria was earlier divided into three major regions. The division made perfect sense to the British and to Nigerians; further divisions have brought about calls for more divisions which could lead to the dissolution of the united Nigerian nation.
Concluding the draft constitution of 1999 and prohibiting every political leader from making any attempt to amend it in his favour; instituting a college of past leaders who have ruled Nigeria who know where they got it wrong and who will be willing to raise alarm when the current leadership is taking the same wrong steps and finally convening the Sovereign National Conference will to a large extent enable the vision of building one strong economy.
If these cannot be put in place, any call for further division or autonomy must be put on hold because the implication of autonomy for one nation will bring about calls for other small nations breaking away. The truth that Nigerians never want to confront is that no two Nigerian tribes or nations so to speak can co-exist in mutual respect of one another. Nigerians like to look down on one another and they find it difficult to outgrow tribalism so for Nigerians to live in concord there must be guidelines that are engraved on steel or else it will result in mockery of what should ordinarily grow to be one of the world’s most formidable economies.
GOD bless Nigeria.