Nigeria’s Restructuring and Secession Dilemma, By Uju Obii-Obioha

I still have some doubt that the attainment of an independent Biafra or restructuring will eliminate the major issues of selfish and visionless leadership that afflicts us today. If we end up electing the same type of politicians we have always done, the problem will definitely persist. How much good will Biafra or restructuring do if the same calibre of people are elected?

As we all know, for a few years now IPOB has been strongly clamouring to secede the South-East from the larger Nigerian federation. It is a contentious issue that stirs up strong emotions in most Nigerians and fortunately the intent of this article is not to discuss whether or not I am in support of secession but rather to provoke some critical reasoning on the issue.

Many people will agree that the major issue that has hampered the development and success of Nigeria as a country for so long has been the selfish and visionless leadership of our politicians and public officials. It is also evident that at the core of the push for secession is the lack of infrastructural and economic development in the South-East. The indigenes are fed up with the lack of development and believe that the solution to the problem is to become a sovereign nation on their own, thereby taking responsibility for the required progress as opposed to depending on the federal government. Also, there is a growing number of Nigerians who believe that the restructuring of the federation will lead to a more progressive Nigeria. The overall consensus on both sides is that things are simply not working as it should and something needs to be done urgently if we want to move forward as a people.

I still have some doubt that the attainment of an independent Biafra or restructuring will eliminate the major issues of selfish and visionless leadership that afflicts us today. If we end up electing the same type of politicians we have always done, the problem will definitely persist. How much good will Biafra or restructuring do if the same calibre of people are elected? Will having a new country automatically stop the rogue politician from embezzling public funds? We must learn to shame leaders who loot and care more about themselves than the people they serve. We should stop clapping and cheering them on when we see them at public functions. We should not be enamoured of their wealth and airs, but should only be interested in their characters and ideas.

…Nigeria is blessed with a good number of capable people with the know-how to provide great leadership, however the decay in our political system has deterred a lot of this calibre of people from seeking public office. There are very many people with the desire to serve the country but who are not willing to risk their lives or soil their hands in the muddy waters of Nigerian politics.

It puzzles me that Lord Lugard once made a comment about the Nigerian that unfortunately still holds true today: “He lacks power of organisation, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or of business. He loves the display of power, but fails to realise its responsibility”. The part of the comment that stands out to me is the underlined about loving the display of power but failing to realise its responsibility. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that the majority of our politicians, regardless of ethnic origin, are so madly in love with the spoils of power that they often fail to realise that they were elected or appointed by the people and for the sake of the people. The joy of the office should be in the projects accomplished, not the entourage/convoy and adoration of supporters. Also, the masses are in love with power as well, and they keep dreaming of gaining power some day and enjoying the spoils that it confers too.

I am fully aware that Nigeria is blessed with a good number of capable people with the know-how to provide great leadership, however the decay in our political system has deterred a lot of this calibre of people from seeking public office. There are very many people with the desire to serve the country but who are not willing to risk their lives or soil their hands in the muddy waters of Nigerian politics. As a result of this sad reality, the unscrupulous ones mostly win elections because they are willing to employ all the nasty tactics available to achieve this. The real solution to Nigeria’s problem is a reform of INEC to enable it conduct free and fair elections and for the Nigerian people to begin electing capable people with integrity to run the affairs of the nation, while also stepping up to hold them accountable for the discharge of their public responsibilities.

Uju Obii-Obioha, a procurement professional and contract specialist with a US federal agency, writes from Maryland, USA.

1 Comment

  1. _*TRIBALISM AND RELIGION…*_

    _*”HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.”*_

    _Tribalism is not our problem. Tribalism and religion are artificial problems created by selfish leaders for their own personal interest._

    _There are only two major tribes in Nigeria. The Elites and the Masses. Once you make lots of money, you belong to the elite tribe. When you are a commoner or suffering, you belong to the tribe of the masses. If you are an elite, and you need more power, or elective position, you sow seeds of tribalism and religion among the masses, so as to sway their emotion for your personal victory._

    _This happens at both the national and state level. Unfortunately, after the election when they have won and joined their “sworn enemies” to drink and party, the gullible masses continue to fight each other._

    _Even smart people who belong to the masses, sometimes will sow seeds of tribalism and religion among the masses, and then the masses will carry them up until they belong to the elite class. It is a classic strategy used over 3000 years ago in the art of war. A commoner who aspires to sit with the elites, could stir up powerful tribal or religious sentiments, such wave if properly utilized either by shedding blood or destabilizing the elites, carries the commoner to the elite class._

    _But once there, he immediately mingles and makes peace with the elite tribe, and turn his back on the same masses that helped him get there._

    _Youths are the worst victim of this powerplay, they kill each other, call other tribes unprintable names, do terrible things and sometimes, even lose their life, thinking they are fighting for their right, not knowing that they are fighting for the personal welfare of someone, whose own children are probably safe in America or London._

    _So youths, don’t hope on the government. If you don’t have a job, create one. There is abject poverty in the south as well as the north, whether Ogoni or Maidugri. At the same time, there is massive wealth in Lagos, Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba, Kano, Abuja, irrespective of zone._

    _Whatever your hand finds to do, do it well and never remain idle. No job is too low for an idle hand, or else the devil will find work for you. As you become independent, and grow your capacity, do not lose hope in Nigeria. We are the largest economy in Africa and soon the world will fear us. Western powers, don’t like big economies that threaten them, America will do anything to break China, but China is wise to resist that. China has 1.6 billion people, we have only 170 million, and we are talking of breaking._

    _China has 5 major religions which are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity. Nigeria has only 2 major religions, Christianity and Islam. Yet we claim that religion is our problem._

    _America, the strongest economy is comprised of every tribe in the world, since they accept anybody from any part of the world. Yet they are united and extremely patriotic. Nigeria has only 3 major tribes, and we claim tribalism._

    _Think clearly and deeply, and you will realize that empowering yourself is the best course of action, not fighting each other. And once the youths are empowered, they can begin to take back their future from the hands of the old and corrupt generation that has been blinding Nigerians with hatred, while looting all her resources._

    _Sani Abacha’s loot is still stashed away in Switzerland, did he use it to develop the north? Those that stole billions under GEJ stashed it away in foreign banks, bought expensive toys, jets and foreign homes, are they using it to develop the south? Now the ones stealing currently, including the “grasscutters”, are looking for Ikoyi apartments, abandoned houses, and pit toilets to hide it, are they using it for the youths in their tribe? NO!_

    _Youths shine your eyes ! Don’t always fall for this tribal, religious sentiments over and over again. Nigeria is bigger than these corrupt elites. They are the problem, not the poor masses…_

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