By Ebele Orakpo
IN recent times, calls for Nigeria to divide along ethnic and regionalÂ lines were rife brought about by alleged marginalisation in one form or the other by different ethnic groups. United States Intelligence even said that if care is not taken, Nigeria, as we know it today, may stop to exist.
But all hell was let loose when recently the Libyan President, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Ghaddafi called for the division of the country along religious lines following the seemingly unending crises in Jos and other parts of the north
The Federal Government recalled Nigeriaâ€™s ambassador to Libya while some of our leaders called him all sorts of names including â€˜a mad manâ€™. This was the topic of discussion amongst the parliamentarians this day.
First to speak was Mr. Kingsley who couldnâ€™t understand all the hoopla about Ghaddafiâ€™s advice. â€œWhat is all the noise about what Ghaddafi said? Our leaders are behaving as if the man has spoken the unspeakable but I beg to differ. I think the man spoke the minds of most Nigerians. After all, sometimes even a mad man speaks sense.â€
â€œDonâ€™t mind them jare. When the US said something to that effect some years back, they just murmured some disapproval. They didnâ€™t recall the nationâ€™s ambassador to the US or call them mad people,â€ said Yinka.
â€œAs if you donâ€™t know why,â€ replied Joe. â€œThey cannot do that to the US. Ghaddafi is the whipping boy. If they try that with the US, most of them would not be issued visas to go for medical check up and treatment or for shopping or holidays etc. So when it comes to the US, they have to â€˜maintainâ€™ according to Area Boys.
â€œOn a more serious note, even though Ghaddafi has a right to express his opinion, but the truth is that the solution he is proffering will never work in the Nigerian context. Dividing along ethnic or regional lines would have been more tenable,â€ noted Frank. Speaking further, he said: â€œThe NorthÂ is not 100 percent Moslem neither is the south 100 percent Christian. They are all mixed up. There are other religious groups apart from Christianity and Islam and where do we place those ones?Â I have been to a small village in Kano State where the entire population is almost Christian though Kano is viewed as a Moslem state. The same goes for all the states in the so-called core north. Also in the south, there are many Moslems so if we divide along religious lines, we would be creating more problems because we would be faced with the issue of the majority marginalisisng the minority.â€
Lending her voice to the debate, Suzanne said: â€œGhaddafiâ€™s statement calls for a sober reflection on the part of our leaders. This is the time for them to heed the call for a sovereign national conference where the various ethnic and religious groups would sit down and discuss the terms of our existence as a nation. Enough of the marginalisation, enough of people being murdered in cold blood and the perpetrators going scot-free; enough of the injustice; enough of some people being treated as second class citizens while some behave as if Nigeria belongs to them alone. Enough of police/army/navy/air force brutality. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer in a nation that prides itself as the 7th largest producer of the black gold and the giant of Africa.â€
â€œThey said Libya is one of the sponsors of those killers,â€ said Yinka.
â€œHmm, I didnâ€™t hear that o. But one thing I know is that it is the oil holding Nigeria together. Once the oil dries up, I bet you, itâ€™s going to be â€˜to your tents oh Nigerians. Like Suzanne said, the solution lies in the convening of a sovereign national conference and let everyone say what is bothering them so that we can move forward,â€ said Kingsley.