Nigeria: To break or not to break By Femi Fani-Kayode

Today a great protest is taking place in the Catallan region of Spain. According to the polls, 52 per cent of the people from that region wish to break off from Spain and to establish a new European sovereign state. Later this year, the people of Scotland are having their own referendum to determine whether…”
Ademola Iginla
September 15, 2013 2:45 am

fani kayode

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Former Minister

Today a great protest is taking place in the Catallan region of Spain. According to the polls, 52 per cent of the people from that region wish to break off from Spain and to establish a new European sovereign state.

Later this year, the people of Scotland are having their own referendum to determine whether or not they will stay in the United Kingdom and, again, from the polls, it is very clear that the majority of Scots wish to have their own new sovereign state and that the Scottish Nationalist Party enjoys massive support. Nobody in either Spain or the United Kingdom has insulted those people or labelled them as ‘’ethnic jingoists’’ or ‘’primitive tribalists’’ for wanting to break off from the greater whole and establish their own country.

This is because everyone respects the right of the various ethnic groups and nationalities within their wider nation to exercise their right of self-determination which is an integral and fundamental aspect of international law. Exercising that right does not turn them into villains and does not make them any less patriotic than their compatriots who do not share their views. It just means that they have a different perspective and that they believe, as many believed before Malaysia and Singapore broke up, that the interests of their various peoples are better served when and if they go their separate ways.

They opted to be friendly neighbours rather than to be compelled to remain within the same territory against their collective will. As we in Nigeria approach the 100-year anniversary of our 1914 Lugardian amalglamation and, as the 2015 elections are fast approaching with both the northern region and the south-south zone desperate to take or to hold on to power at any cost respectively, we need to begin to ask ourselves some basic and fundamental questions about our future. For example, is our interest better served by remaining as one nation or is it time for those nationalities that wish to leave the federation in a peaceful and orderly way, as a result of a legitimate and honest referendum, be alllowed to go?

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

If the breaking up of larger countries into smaller and more viable ones is good enough for India (which broke into three), the Sudan (which broke into two), Czekhoslovakia (which broke into two), Yugoslavia (which broke into 5), the Soviet Union (which broke into 15) and numerous other countries over the years, why is it not good enough for us? Again, why should those that believe that Nigeria ought to break up be subjected to so much suspicion, ridicule, contempt and insults from those that do not share their views?

Some of the questions that need to be answered are as follows- firstly, is our union working? Secondly, is our marriage a good one and is it a happy one as well? Are we satisfied with what has essentially become a country that has been turned into nothing more than (with apologies to Chief Bode George) ‘’Turn by Turn Nigeria?’’ where each ethnic group simply looks forward to enjoying its time to control the federation and all the nation’s resources from an all powerful centre? Are we not meant to be far more than this? Is this what the founding fathers of our nation envisaged?

More than anything else the recent igbo/yoruba debate over the issue of the status of Lagos state and the deportation of a handful of igbo destitute back to the east has proved to me that we as a people are very different from one another and that our interests may be better served if we are no longer bound together as one. I dare to voice this opinion even though many Yoruba share it but will not say so publiclly.

Is it not time for us to begin to accept the bitter truth that our marriage is uncomfortable and unhappy and that it may not have been made in heaven or ordained by God? Is it not clear that each region or each nationality ought to be able to develop at its own pace? Is it not time for us to have a confederation of nationalities in Nigeria and to restructure the country drastically to give maximum autonomy to the various regions and nationalities or indeed is it not time to just break up and go our separate ways?

DIFFERENCES Many may disagree but one thing that I believe that we can at least agree on is that perhaps it is time for us to be courageous enough to begin to talk about these issues openly and debate them. We must not sweep our differences under the carpet and ignore them as if they do not exist but instead we must find the courage and muster the resolve to acknowledge them and understand them. As far as I am concerned, this is the challenge of our time and these are the questions that need to be answered.

Whatever happens in 2015 and whoever wins, whether it be a northerner or Goodluck Jonathan of the south-south, I see blood on the horizon and I see disaster approaching. Stark promises from notable players such as ‘’there will be bloodshed if Goodluck is not re-elected’’ do not help and are not encouraging. There are equally strident and bellicose murmurings from the other side as well and some have threatened that if there is a repeat performance of the massive rigging that the North witnessed in the presidential election of 2011 anywhere in the country in 2015, ’’Nigeria will burn’’ whilst another key player said that ‘’both the dog and the baboon shall be soaked in blood’’.

2015 AS KEG OF GUN POWDER

These words must be taken very seriously indeed and they reflect the thinking and mindset of millions of people from both sides of the political and regional divide. Worste still, whether we like to admit it or not, religion has now become a major factor in our politics with Christians being told in their churches that it is their solemn duty to support a Christian presidential candidate and Muslims being told in their mosques that it is theirs to support a Muslim. We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder and, in my view, 2015 really will be the year of make or break for Nigeria. Sadly, in my humble opinion, it is far closer to ‘’break’’ than it is to ’’make’’.

If we wish to avoid the road to Kigali, we must change our mindset and make the necessary concessions that we need to make. We must begin to think outside of the box and be far more innovative and adventurous. For example, why is it a must in the minds of some that the PDP must field a Christian as it’s presidential candidate and why are some in the APC of the view that the party must field a northern Muslim as its own?

These hard and fast fixed positions are most unhelpful and the right thing and proper thing to do is to completely discard them and attempt to find a presidential candidate that is a Nigerian before being a northerner, a southerner, a Christian or a Muslim. And thankfully there are quite a few of such people around in the new generation if only the system will be far-sighted and enlightened enough to allow them to emerge and run. Failing that we must open up the space now and consider the unpleasant assertion that the premium that a united Nigeria attracts may not be worth paying simply because we are getting nothing but failure after failure and sorrow after sorrow as our consistent return.

I do not have all the answers and neither do I claim that I do. Indeed I may well be wrong which is why I would be interested in hearing the views of others and particularly those from the younger generation who may see things very differently. Whichever way it goes and regardless of what we all think, let us not allow this debate to be driven by the uninformed or ignorance, pettiness, hate and acrimony. Let us not insult one another or act as if any tribe or nationality are a collection of angels whilst others are nothing but demons. Let us join issues and exchange ideas in a civil, restrained and decent manner without hurling insults at one another or allowing our emotions to becloud our thinking.

At the end of the day, we all want the same thing- namely, to put in place a system that is in the best interest of the Nigerian people and to empower a new leadership that will allow them to achieve their full potentials? That is the objective and that alone. Over to you.

*Fani Kayode was a Minister of Aviation

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25 Comments

Good writeup, and also i love your unbias observation. Uncle FFK, i think i will rather support our breakup bcos from all indications and happening it shows that we are not one. We will surely do well as a seperate nations. Keep this crusade up, is a welcome idea.

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    Mumu. Who wrote this for you? The foolish funny cocaine kayode cannot write like this. He pays people to write for him and now he has exposed himself to the world, no one can ever take him seriously. Jide stop writing for FFA and get your own page like okey ndibe etc

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      Bamidele please leave FFK personal issues out of this. The man, unlike the great horde of Nigerian politicians, is surfacing the right issues. Nigeria can break peacefully or explosively. The choice is still ours now that there is still opportunity to debate and reach decisions rationally. when the keg of gunpowder eventually explodes, it will not be possible anymore to discuss.

      You should applaud FFK, not villify him.

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Well done,good rightup.

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Mr,Fanikayode,you have a very sound , reasonable and blunt thruth in your a rticle which millions of nigerians chared with you especially our so called leaders,but non of them can come out openly and chare their views the way you have done,why because that word patriotism is not existing in their dictionary,all of them are just out there for what they will put in their pocket even if the hell loose.In this part of the world we lack leaders with vissions,politics to our leaders is just a way of making money,becoming billionares overnigt,this is why many of them cannot see danger comming our way in that conutry.

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It’s sad that the country called Nigeria is approaching extinction but only few people seem to notice. Even if our country’s death is imminent, its better we break up amicably than through violence. I just wish the present government can organise sovereign national conference.

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BIANCA WILL DEAL WITH YOU – DO NOT DIVERT ATTENTION!

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FEMI AJETUNMOBI USA

THANK YOU FOR YOUR WRITE-UP. EVERY POINTS ARE WELL TAKEN BUT THE MAIN ISSUE IS LEADERSHIP WHICH IS LACKING IN NIGERIA.. I AM AN INDEPENDENT MINDED PERSON AND LIKE THE IDEA SEPERATION BECAUSE EVERY REGION HAS ITS OWN IDEA OF DEVELOPMENTS. THE TIDE AT THE BAY DOES NOT LIFT ALL THE BOAT. WE NEED TO FORGET ABOUT THE CENTER BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST AT ALL BUT WE CAN DEVELOP REGIONALLY AND HOPING TO HAVE RELIABLE CENTER IN FUTURE. WE NEED TO STRATEGISE OURSELVES ALONG THE SOUTH WEST IN HUMAN,SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS. THOSE WHO HAVE THE OIL HAVE BEEIN SAYING THAT THEY WOULD TURN THE TAP OFF WHEN THE TIME COMES. THE BLACK GOLD IS A CURSE NOT A BLESSING TO NIGERIA.

THOSE WHO WANT TO FIGHT CAN GO AHEAD TO DESTROY EACH OTHER AND WE SHOULD TRY TO SAFE GUARD OUR LITTLE ACHIEVEMENTS IN SOUTH WEST CORRIDOR. NORTH AND S WEST WILL FAIR BETTER IF BREAK UP OCCURS BUT MY FEAR IS THE SOUTH BECAUSE S EAST AND SOUTH -SOUTH ARE NOT COMPATIBLE; THIS IS WHERE THE MESS WILL BE. IF ANYONE CAN RECOLLECT THE 1999 ELECTION, IT WAS CHIEF OLU FALAE WHO REPRESENTED YORUBA ACCORDING TO THE AGREEMENT BUT OTHER REGIONS VOTED FOR OBASANJO BECAUSE HE HAS YORUBA NAME. ANYWAY YOU CUT IT, ETHNICITY WILL ALWAYS BE A FACTOR IN DEALING WITH EACH OTHER.
IT IS WAITING GAME TILL 2015 WHERE NORTH AND SOUTH SOUTH HAVE DUKE IT OUT BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE GROUND WILL SUFFER. TO THOSE WHO WANT TO FIGHT FOR THE PRESIDENCY CAN GO AHEAD TO DO SO; IT IS A CEREMONIAL OFFICE WITH FULL OF HEADACHES. WHAT DID SOUTH WEST RECEIVED FROM OBASANJO WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT? NOTHING TO SHOW FOR HIS STEWARSHIP TO THAT GOOD AXIS OF SOUTH WEST; HE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL BUT WHO IS LISTEN TO HIM IN THAT AREA. WE YORUBA ARE RESILIENT PEOPLE WE CAN MAKE IT ON OUR OWN SO THERE IS NO NEED TO FEAR THE BREAK UP ON NIGERIA. WE NEED TO PUT OUR HEADS TOGETHER TO BETTER OURSELVES IF OR WHEN IT HAPPENS.

PARDON ME IF I MISQUOTED OUR GREAT LEADER PA AWO IN THE LATE SIXTIES TO MID SEVENTIES THAT HE WAS A YORUBA MAN (FIRST), AN IJEBU MAN(SECOND), A NIGERIAN (THIRD) HE ENDED AND PERFORMED BRILLIANTLY FOR SOUTH WEST BECAUSE HE PUT INTERESTS OF HIS PEOPLE FIRST. WHERE ARE THE AKINTOLAS AND ADEGBENROS OF YESTERYEARS? EVEN, WITH THE MINORITY BEING IN PRESIDENCY, HE USUALLY HOLD ALLOCATIONS FOR SOUTH WEST FOR WHATEVER REASONS HE AND HIS ADMN HAVE FOR DOING SO. ALL THE GOVERNORS ARE PERFORMING AS THEY SHOULD AND WHY ARE WE WORRYING OURSELVES. BOB MARLEY SAID IN HIS SONG THAT (YOU CAN EDUCATE US OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES, TALKING ABOUT FREEDOM BECAUSE PEOPLE FREEDOM AND LIBERTY). CHALLENGES BRING THE BEST OUT OF HUMANITY AND THIS WHY I LIKE SOUTH WEST TO ALWAYS BE IN OPPOSITION AGAINST THE RULING PARTY BECAUSE IT WOULD TRY TO DIFFERENTIATE ITSELF (GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENTS, DEMOCRACY DIVIDEND).

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG TO BE CALLED TRIBALIST (PROGRESSIVES) BECAUSE THEY DO GREAT THINGS.

THANK YOU ALL OMOLUABI. ODUDUWA AGBE WA O. A SE

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So much of everything in the country hav bn politicized, and they are all interconnected, its shocking in columns like dis, the opinions of the north is rarely seen, regardless of their presumed excessive population, imagine if half of a quarter of that supposed number took to blogs claiming they liked the country the way it was cos of the greed for oil revenue, dat said, a lot has to b cleaned up before dis, the population stats, the corruption stats, etc inspite of the good write up FFK can’t b forming saint here while he took 1 mans comment out on the whole igbo race and even claiming their killings were merited, today he draws us back to d same reason why the same igbos wanted out..its hypocrisy at the highest form.

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@Bamidele, Jay, Man Pikin by now we should be facing the reality and not this sentiment and bias judgement against FFK as an individual. It is very obvious that all is not well with this country, so i expect a genuine debate and not insult on individuals. For me i will prefer breakup, yoruba, hausa, and igbo should go seprate ways and any other ethnics that may want to secceed should be allow without restrain. Once, again as adult lets debate this issue in a very meaningful way and not undue sentiments.

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It will be very good if Nigeria breaks, by that tribal issues and zoning or quota system will cease to exist in our respective new countries. Uncle FFK i love your write-up whether people like it or not you have make a very strong points.

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Adeogun Kabir

Boda Femi, Break up is the answer.

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All is equal to Breaking Up

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Udam Ochiaghandigbo

First time I am agreeing with fani [email protected]#$%ing Kayode. He seems to be making sence when he is not being a kiss and tell kindergartener.

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Bode Eluyera

THE YORUBA NEED A REAL LEADER TO PURSUE THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA!!!

Why are you guys wasting your time on that guy that calls himself Bamidele. The fact that somebody calls himself Bamidele on a social network does not in any way mean that he is a Yoruba man. Anybody could call his or herself anything on the internet. From all indications, Bamidele is not a Yoruba man and is just an impostor. In addition, he is very rude, insultive and unconstructive in his engagement and comments to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s article. Therefore, my suggestion is that we should just ignore COMPLETELY this impostor that calls himself Bamidele. Leave him to his folly. Don’t fall to his level. Leave him alone in the gutter. As the saying goes ‘SILENCE IS THE BEST ANSWER FOR A FOOL!.’ It’s obvious that a normal person with all his mental faculty intact will not write those rubbish that Bamidele wrote above.

Concerning the artricle written by Oloye Femi Fani-Kayode, I doff my hat for him. He has done it again. He has summoned the courage to write on a very sensitive and volatile issue that others are afraid to even touch. Suffice to say that many of my articles most especially the series ‘ONE NIGERIA: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?’ and OODUA REPUBLIC: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?'” written many years back were devoted to this topic too. Thus, personally, there is nothing new to me in FFK’s article.

Unfortunately, the major problem of the Yoruba today is that we don’t have SMART leaders who can think strategically and take the best decisions in the interests of the Yoruba nation. All we have today are FAKE and/or MEDIOCRE leaders, religious fanatics and opportunists who gate-crashed into power or were imposed on us – like ‘MANCHESTER UNITED LOVING Tunde Fashola, aka AKOTILETA, of Lagos state, who had mortgaged the whole of Lagos to the Lebanese, Arabs, Indians, Chinese, British, French, Americans and other foreigners all in the name of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). . We need a REAL leader that we can unite around and who will lead the Yoruba course without any fear and compromise.

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FFK, good morning. You have been sleeping for 45year of your God given life. Can you afford another 45years?. What about your children? Think of their future in this impossibility called Nigeria. I do not believe in National conference because those who will go there will doctor us into another form of neocolonial entity that will take us back to square one. What we need in this time is TOTAL EMANCIPATION FROM TH SHACKLES OF SLAVERY . WE NEED AMADA. FREEDOM. SELF DETERMINATION. FOR US, OUR CHILDREN AND GENERATIONS UNBURN. FFK you were on a destructive lane but I see a total turn around in you. But You still owe That ICON you”” kissed and told”” on an apology Be a perfect good guy and oblige.
Now Back to your topic. A country is formed by her citizens not by her colonial masters as is the case of Nigeria. The constitution of a country is written by her politicians and not by military opportunists as is the case of Nigeria. The fouled constitution so written has , since 1970 , been used to produce multibillionaires who now astride Nigeria like colossus and we the citizens walk under their feet like dishonorable men. The IGBOS ,YORUBAS, IJAWS, MIDDLE BELT, HOUSA FULANIS, must form their own countries before this sub-Saharan region can see real development. We all have our indigenous technologies given to us by Almighty God. We have deliberately abandoned all of these and we folo free oil money and now we are on the course of self destruction come 2015, but all the politicians like their fathers in 1966 /1967 are playing the ostrich. Their heads are buried inside the oil money while their yash is exposed to the lions. SORRY.
MY SUGGESTIONS.
Let us not allow a repeat of 1966/1967 pogrom. We must organize a peaceful demonstration like the type that took place in the ARAB countries. Citizens of the same ethnic group must stay together to request a peaceful disintegration of Nigeria so as to avoid a violent breakup. No one should be interested in the unnecessary shedding of innocent blood just because we want to continue to keep ourselves in an impossible entity put together by HER ROYAL MEGESTY THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND AND LORD LUGGARD for their economic benefits. These are not Black men ,they are not Nigerians. We must not shed our precious blood to keep their belly fool. The venue shall be in Lagos state. Each ethnic group, the igbos, yorubas, ijaws, and SS the middle belt, the hausa Fulani, all in our respective groups for the same purpose but very peacefully.
This world press will be attracted to this agitation and I believe this will be more productive than depending on those who benefit from the status quo to fashion out a way forward for us.
I stand to be corrected. Don’t you think so ?.
My brethren let us throw cowardice to the dog for the sake of our children. South Africa did it and succeeded, we can do it. It does not matter under what NAMES the respective ethnic groups want to use, be it BIAFRA, OMOODUDUWA, AREWA, BENUEPLATUE, etc REPUBLICS, what is important is that at the end of this agitations,new REPUBLICS WILL BE BURN OUT OF NIGERIA.
MAY GOD BLESS HIS WORD IN JESUS NAME AMEN.

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I love this if this those done we all will become a terrorist against political robbers bcuus I know that they hate this coment

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