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Revolution of ideas and visionary leadership

By Adisa Adeleye
All over the world, especially in the 20th century, nations have emerged through voluntary associations or by brute force. 

The old Soviet Union grew out of Lenin‘s Revolution in 1918 and the Balkan States of Eastern Europe were reconstructed after the 1st  World War following the collapse of Austrian Empire and Turkey rule.

Our Nigeria  arose from the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Provinces in 1914 by the British imperialist, Lord Lugard.  The main reason was administrative convenience.

By divine intervention (our deity), Nigeria is the only country remaining seemingly united out of the many politically contrived states of the world.  The mighty Soviet Union has split into different units after period dominated by irreconcilable differences.

Yugoslavia (created after the 2nd World War) and held together by a great leader, Tito, disintegrated (through bloody civil war) into separate nations.

The choice is always there for peaceful resolution of political differences or dissolution by forces of arms, in a situation where the different nations within a nation fail to agree to live peacefully in a united and prosperous country.

Biafra is a classical case of where the legitimate aspiration of a part of a region was suppressed by the combination of forces of other regions within the same country.

The case against Biafra as a new nation was that it contained minorities who might not support balkanization of the country.  The old Biafra was made up of majority Ibo, minorities Efik, Ibibio, Ijaw, Ogoja, etc.  The State of Biafra would have carried the seeds of future unrests and bloody conflicts by the restless – the minorities.

It is fair to acknowledge the efforts of past Nigerian leaders to maintain a semblance of political unity in an atmosphere of complete chaos.  The Biafran conflict gave rise to the creation of many states out of the former three semi_confederate Regions.

At present, the country could boast of 36 unequal, non_viable enclaves ridiculously labeled States.

The framers of the 1999 Constitution; perhaps in their palpable ignorance or through their pardonable innocence  believed that creation of States and Satellite local governments would create a sense of belonging and peaceful co_existence.  Rather, what we have at the moment are conduits of waste and deep valleys of poverty.

The recent call by notable Nigerians for bloody revolution, revolution of ideas and visionary leadership are signs of complete revulsion against the present sordid state of the nation.

To me, the option is not about hysteria or an irrational call to arms but a period of sober reflection.  It calls for a strong or collective leadership and receptive populace which would be prepared to change their basic attitudes towards new call for sacrifices and positive action

The problem is that the present crop of leaders, by their disposition, could not engender trust in the people, and many Nigerians feel that with President Jonathan as the President, there is no awareness that a new government has been put in place.

Many people view the scenario as a case of ‘do little as possible as well as they could‘ _ a case of blatant mediocrity, appearing to be conscientious.  It may not be possible or easy under the present dispensation to exert the sacrifices or innovative action necessary for unity and prosperity.

Could a visionary Leader appear on the scene to prevent bloody dissolution of the Country as it is being envisaged in different quarters?

Another idea which comes to mind is a peaceful parting of ways by the various nations that inhabit the country that goes by the name of Nigeria.

Chief Awolowo, the late leader of Action Group fought vigorously for a federal system of government for the multiple of tribes and cultures in Nigeria.  He was branded a tribalist by those who erroneously called for a unitary form of government.

Nigeria after fifty years of freedom has slipped from the lofty idea of a federal state to that of a unitary entity through the harsh experience of military rule.

Many are calling for the return to true federalism; others advocate fiscal federalism which ensures that each state takes care of its economic fortune without its officials going to Abuja for monthly allocation of federal goodies.

There is the belief that many States could produce many precious minerals to boost their economies if allowed by the overbearing federal authority.

To survive as a nation, the country has to be restructured.  Each identified nation within the country should be given recognition to develop its own pace without force.

A country of such nations like Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Ibibio, Edo, Itsekiri, Urohbo, Tiv, Idoma etc, would form a lively federal structure where each tribe‘s culture is allowed to develop without any impediment.

Britain has within its entity, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish nations without any friction.  England, Scotland and Wales compete in international sports as separate nations without any label of tribalism in United Kingdom.

At the risk of being cruelly daubed as a tribalist, I would suggest that the present 36 states could be restructured into six or more viable zones where the minorities in some of the zones would have their freedoms guaranteed.  Each zone would have its own police and other security outfits and develop to the maximum, its economic resources.  Each zone would function like the old Region of the 1950s and early 1960s

The problem with Nigeria has been lack of effective leadership.  Past leaders were either begged or dragged to rule could not be successful because it has not been their ‘will‘.  President Ebele Jonathan could prove an exception because of his goodluck, the goodwill of majority of Nigerians, his minority tribe and his intelligence and education.

As a party politician, he might fail but as a Statesman, he would certainly succeed as the expected Nigerian Leader of Vision.

President Jonathan should come out of his middle  of  the  road policy, if he has the will, to lead a restructured country otherwise, it will be a golden opportunity missed.


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