John Alechenu takes a take a look at Nigeria’s struggles with secessionist agitations which seem to have worsened in current instances
On October 1st of yearly, Nigerians at house and overseas regardless of their socio-political backgrounds, line up a sequence of occasions to have fun or, a minimum of, mark the day Nigeria bought its independence from the British colonial masters. The nation grew to become impartial in 1960.
In 1914, the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria had been amalgamated to type a single Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria by the British colonial administration.
The amalgamation of over 250 numerous ethnic nationalities from the 2 separate provinces, with out their data or consent, reportedly led to mutual suspicions and ethnic tensions among the many numerous tribes who had been afraid of being dominated by others.
It’s worthy of word that these numerous teams had totally different identities, religions in addition to administrative techniques, which they had been all eager to protect earlier than they had been compelled collectively. Every had its set of elite who dominated the political class.
The Richards Structure of 1946 changed the faulty Clifford Structure of 1922. It was on account of the weak spot of the Clifford Structure that the Nigerian nationalists started to pressurise Sir Bernard Bourdillon, the governor of Nigeria from 1935 to 1943, to provide them a brand new befitting structure. It was Sir Bernard Bourdillon who cut up Nigeria into three areas: North, East, and West in 1939.
The North, which has the biggest land mass and inhabitants in addition, was dominated by Hausa-Fulani Muslims who practiced a feudal system.
The largely republican Igbo dominated the East whereas the extremely educated and complicated Yoruba held sway within the West. Because of the rivalry between the elite teams of those three areas, the politics of the period was largely constructed round ethnic identities.
The Motion Group held the West, the Northern Peoples Congress was in cost within the North whereas the Nationwide Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon, was the celebration of selection within the East.
The events additionally differed in ideologies – for instance, the NPC and the AG had been extra favourably disposed to a unfastened confederacy, whereas the NCNC most popular a unitary/united structured nation.
Ethnic tensions rose with the Jos and Kano riots of 1945 and 1953 respectively. A transfer by the primarily Christian and animist South in direction of independence in 1953 was resisted by northern representatives.
An elder statesman and former Presidential Liaison Officer, Tanko Yakasai, echoed these sentiments when he advised Sunday PUNCH that the North determined to reject the movement calling for independence in 1953 largely as a consequence of its worry of domination as a result of it wasn’t ready when it comes to western schooling.
He stated the North rejected the movement “as a result of as at 1953, the complete Northern Area, which had 75 per cent of Nigeria’s landmass and about 55 per cent of the nation’s inhabitants, had just one graduate, Dr. R.A.B Dikko.
“On the identical time, the South had 1000’s of graduates from totally different fields of experience together with legislation, engineering, drugs, administration, social sciences, and many others. with about 90 per cent of the general public providers manpower within the North had been made up of expatriates or Nigerians from the southern a part of the nation.
“Motion Group leaders rejected the compromise proposed by the northern legislator with the intention to allow the north to arrange itself for independence.
‘‘It’s because if Nigeria was granted independence by 1956, the North can be below the management of the civil servants from the South, a state of affairs that may put the North below perpetual domination of the South, significantly folks from the Western Area, which had the preponderance of the general public servants on the time.”
These tensions have refused to go away a number of a long time later. Nigeria first grew to become a republic in 1963, however quickly afterwards bowed to army rule, after a bloody coup d’état on January 15, 1966.
Navy officers who had been predominantly from the South-East killed a number of distinguished political and army leaders from the North and the South-West.
The chief of the coup, the late Main Chukwuma Nzeogwu, in his coup speech amongst different issues, stated, “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the lads in excessive and low locations that search bribes and demand 10 per cent; people who search to maintain the nation divided completely in order that they’ll stay in workplace as ministers or VIPs a minimum of, the tribalists, the nepotists, people who make the nation look large for nothing earlier than worldwide circles, people who have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar again by their phrases and deeds.”
The counter coup by northern officers and the pogrom of primarily jap civilians and a few army officers set the stage for a brutal civil conflict which began in 1966 and resulted in 1970 with the give up of the secessionist Biafra Republic.
Earlier than the civil conflict, exactly on February 23, 1963, a younger idealist, Isaac Boro, led his armed comrades in a 12-day armed battle in opposition to the Nigerian state.
He declared the Niger Delta Republic which he stated was now not part of Nigeria owing to what he described because the environmental degradation of the world in addition to the unfair remedy of Niger Deltans within the sharing of revenues accruing from oil exploration actions.
His rebel was crushed. Boro was imprisoned however later freed and granted amnesty by the then federal army authorities led by Common Yakubu Gowon (retd). Skirmishes with ethno-religious colourations have hunted Nigeria through the years.
An rebel led by largely poor northern youths protesting the killing of their non secular chief, Mohammed Yusuf, by safety forces gave beginning to the Boko Haram insurgency which has lasted for a number of years until date.
The militants have grown from ragtag fighters to a gaggle of well-armed terrorists with worldwide connections. They’ve elevated their listing of calls for to incorporate the institution of an Islamic republic. Designated as one of many world’s deadliest terrorist teams, the Boko Haram terrorist group has killed 1000’s and compelled a number of others to flee their properties.
Rising inequalities in addition to actions and inactions of the regime of the President, Main Common Muhammadu Buhari (retd), have given rise to contemporary secessionist agitations by Igbo youths below the aegis of the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and a gaggle of Yoruba youths led by Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho.
For the Igbo there have been complaints of systematic marginalisation in appointive and elective places of work for the reason that civil conflict resulted in 1970.
They’ve additionally taken problem with the refusal of the Nigerian state to help the emergence of an Igbo man as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Government Director of the Human Rights Writers Affiliation of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, argued that the president has nobody else responsible for the rise in criminality and secessionist agitations below his watch.
He stated, “What the President does is to observe his deep-rooted nepotism and favouritism in appointments, whereby he prefers his fellow Fulani/Hausa northern Muslims to carry such strategic portfolios as heads of the Division of States Companies; Inspector Common of Police, Comptroller Generals of Customs and Immigration; Director-Common of the Nationwide Intelligence Company and the Nigerian Safety and Civil Defence Corps.”
Onwubiko stated there was no manner such actions wouldn’t have a telling impact on the nation. In accordance with him, 61 years after Independence, Nigerians must be celebrating nationhood and integration however that the reverse was the case this time spherical.
Nevertheless, the Chairman of the Buhari Media Organisation, Niyi Akinsuji; differed. He argued that it will be uncharitable for any individual or group of individuals responsible Buhari for the rise in criminality.
He stated, “When folks wish to push ahead a story, we’ll counsel that they help them with info not sentiments. President Muhammadu Buhari has risen to the event by offering the type of management others earlier than him have been unable to supply.
“It’s unfaithful to say that solely his kinsmen have been appointed into his cupboard and different delicate positions, that is merely not true, each part of this nation is represented. For Mr. President what’s paramount is Nigeria and all his actions have been tailor-made in direction of forsaking a Nigeria all of us regardless of ethnic, non secular or political affiliation can be pleased with.”
An elder statesman and foremost Ijaw nationwide chief, Chief Edwin Clark, expressed the view that the nation shouldn’t be but past redemption.
In accordance with him, steps should be taken to deal with injustice executed particularly to the folks of the Niger Delta whose area produces oil which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economic system.
He recalled that within the Fifties and 60s, fiscal federalism, which was the order of the day, gave a way of belonging to the part models of the federation.
Clark argued that Nigeria ought to return to this mannequin.
The elder statesman stated, “You (every area) bought 50 p.c of what you produced in your space and the remaining 50 per cent went to the Federal Authorities, and different areas. This was how every area developed and so they weren’t bitter, so far as I’m involved, up until 1966 once we had the coup.
“I used to be a part of the Mid-West and the Federal Authorities from 1968 till 1975 once I was Federal Commissioner for Info. As of 1963, we nonetheless had a superb structure which was a carry-over from the Independence Structure; it mirrored the identical fiscal federalism (inherited from the British) and every area was growing at its personal tempo.”
He argued that Nigeria can nonetheless get it proper when these elected into public places of work deal with all Nigerians pretty.
As Nigeria celebrates its 61st Independence anniversary, most Nigerians pray an answer can be discovered to the mindless killings and banditry throughout the nation.
Safety below the present regime has so damaged down that killing and maiming of residents by non-state actors happen throughout the nation each day. Within the South East, criminals who’ve been tagged ‘unknown gunmen’ kill harmless residents on the streets unchallenged.
A heart-rending video of the final moments of a person believed to be Dr. Chike Akunyili, the husband of the late Dora Akunyili, former Director Common of the Nationwide Company for Meals and Drug Administration, additionally made it into public house. He was shot and killed on the streets of his house state, Anambra on September 28, 2021. His homicide was certainly one of a number of over the past couple of months.
Policemen are usually not spared as police stations and public establishments; equivalent to places of work of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee, have been targets of arson assaults. States like Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Kaduna have additionally had greater than their fair proportion of assaults by alleged herdsmen, bandits and terrorists.
In Kogi, a minimum of 240 inmates within the Custodial Centre escaped from jail after but to be recognized armed males stormed the centre and overwhelmed the safety males on obligation. A few of the escapees are nonetheless on the run months after the incident.
In Southern Kaduna, the paramount ruler of Atyap Chiefdom, Dominic Yahaya, claimed that over 50 villagers misplaced their lives throughout sustained assaults on villages inside his area over a four-week interval.
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