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Thoughts on thoughts to create new states (3)
What I presume my serene thoughts and meditations on the subject of creation of new states to be asserting from the immediate aforesaid is simply that all our people aspire to independence. All our ethnical groups want human, political, social, cultural, economic and linguistic emancipation of their respective homelands and communities. In diverse ways, they yearn and struggle for this emancipation which they believe they eventually shall get when they become self-governing through the exercise of states’ creation. They believe also that owning and controlling their respective states would enable them to do away with crippling fear, help them to rise above all feelings of bitterness nursed over the years, give them renewed confidence and trust in their Nigerianness and allow them to grasp, enduringly, brotherly and sisterly hands across and within borders of neighbouring states and their respective communities – as never before.
These are among the infallible reasons eloquently tendered by advocates of new states, and which would always enable us to conjure our political leaders to create and create states ad infinitum. Of course , my conjuration of Lord Jonathan, Senator Mark and Honourable Bankole above ought to be seen and understood from the respective premises and spectacles I have endeavoured to address here.
Yet I don’t wish to be misunderstood in the way and manner of the tendering of my account so far.
The din of questions that have spewed from my anguished and at the same time exhilarating mind – in unmistakable line with our paradoxes and contradictions as a country – ought to indicate or suggest that I speak of the Nigerian problem of states’ creation and the dreadful conundrum of our land with utmost un-delightfulness and critical devotion and allegiance to our distinctive consciences to serve truthful ends. This statement is bound to dampen the clamourous enthusiasm of many an advocate of states’ creation. But the dreadful conundrum cannot be wished away; for no workably satisfactory solution seems to be in the offing, given our present circumstances, to address and unravel the conundrum ( of clamour for states and their creation).
Who, truly speaking, among the current political class have lived their lives genuinely and fought battles, not against the poor and weak, but against oppression, ignorance, greed, injustice and power? The majority of the present political class tend to use power ingloriously against those who are not followers of their creed, wishes and sentiments. They are bereft of the art of political persuasion and are deaf to the genuine aspirations and desires of the people they pretend to govern through the odious act and art of selection.
Furthermore, the creation of new states will require the re-drawing of the Nigerian space. It will require political fragmentations and geographical and demographical reconstructions of various communal borders and ethnical boundaries and homelands. It seems to me that we don’t have courageous, just, sagacious and magnanimous enough political leaders at the national, state and local government levels who can do these in such a manner that will make even their foes and enemies recover what historically, legally and rightly belong to them.
Now, even if they were courageous, selfless and sagacious enough to give each ethnic nationality what rightly and factually belong to them and what reasonably befit them, arising from each ethnical group’s historical destiny, to justify their trust and faith in the Nigerian Federation, the hideous states’ creation tangle will ever remain. For, sooner or later, a new hostility will appear, a new hostility that will be prompted and promoted by psychological, political, cultural and economic interests. The Oyo-Osun example, cited earlier, easily comes back to mind here. But the issue of the core Yoruba States is not that which I wish to picture here to further my case.
First, I wish to draw a would-be scenario pertaining to an understanding or desire between two different or similar ethnical nationalities to be placed together in the same state to be called Anoms State, for example. One part of the envisaged Anoms State comes from an area called Ndoks or Ukwans, for example. This Ndoks or Ukwans is rich, very rich in oil and gas and other mineral resources while the other part is rich in personnel and other endowments but poor in natural wealth. Give this new state five or ten years latest, and you would hear the familiar but painfully truthful loud cry of domination and greed and accusation of resource-poaching being hollered everywhere from the direction of the demographically smaller group which, however, is the richer of the two nationalities.
Or, second, let us look at the scenario of a small or, better put, a micro-ethnic group whose desire for self-determination is granted via the creation of its own self-governing state. Give this micro-ethnical state that is supremely homogenous linguistically and culturally five or ten years latest, and you would see murderous intra-ethnic wrangling and fighting of un imaginable dimension and proportion over psychological, political and economic space and interest. And a group or section of the fighters, before we exclaim O Heavenly Father!, will begin a clamour for its own state!
And third, lump together, in accordance with their wishes, four or so ethnical nationalities equal or almost equal in terms of population, geographical mass and possession of natural resources, and create a state for them in the honest presumption that none of the ethnical groups will be strong enough to dominate anyone or the other. Give this new state five or ten years latest, and you would see each of the ethnical groups itching to go their separate ways. The reason is crystal clear. There is always in our respective communities and institutions that lurking group of persons who are ever wanting to lord it over the other group or the other person ; or who are ever envious of their neighbours. And before we know it grievances will grow, multiply and suppurate. Then clans of usually the same ethnical group would start clamours for freedom from marginalization which would eventually snowball into tumultuous hubbubs for states.
To end as we began, without in any way ending our thoughts: in Nigeria today, we need to justify our human existence through our learning to cherish each and every one, regardless of ethnical or clannish affiliations. We need to encourage and promote and respect the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity in our country. We ought to make the attainment of progressive humanism an achievable goal in our political firmament. We need to show the world that we can live together as one people.
We need leaders who ought to be committed to this creed and goal by their examples in selfless, just, humane and de-tribalised leadership styles.
Whether or not new states are created now or in the future, unless our leaders lead in such a manner that shows that politics and leadership are not about economics of self, but about the interest of all, we shall not get out of the conundrum no matter our conjurations of Lord Goodluck Jonathan, Senator David Mark and Honourable Dimeji Bankole and their loyalists.
In about three (or even less ) centuries from now, Chief Obafemi Awolowo might be worshipped as a god primarily on account of his political puritanism, astuteness and sagacity. He lived among us as an unusual political SEER and genius who never, never cornered any institution or any remarkable thing of infrastructural advantage selfishly to his home-town of Ikenne – unlike some political people of his era and even of the present time. My judgment of him is that of a Nigerian political genius who lived before and beyond his time. He needs to be followed by a band of Nigerian political disciples and apostles, who ought to dedicate their political lives to the cause of justice, compassion and the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity in this and all eras.
We need a re-awakening.
At this point, we suspend ( not terminate ) our meditations and thoughts on thoughts to create new states in our polity. We shall resume them as our political circumstances dictate to us to do.
Soon our autumn exhilarations shall cease and you will be free again to hook me up directly. Until then, please reach me by proxy via omotayolewis @yahoo.com or via 08055001746.