Most recent events in the nation, Nigeria have brought to fore many issues erstwhile salient, issues that may have been neglected in 1914 when the British masters brought together ethnicities to live together in a special type of “live-in” federalism called Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This federalism has stood the test of many years going through events and happenings that have tried to tear this sovereign nation apart which has instead waxed stronger; from the various coup d’états, ethnic clashes, political crisis and even religious crisis not forgetting the Metatsine crisis to the prominent Nigerian civil war of 1966 to 1970.

Nigeria has obviously pulled through these challenges to be at this present enviable position. Nigeria has been through a mirage of crisis which has failed to disseminate this giant entity.

Events similar to these also have resurfaced to remind us of this Federal entity – in the late 1990’s was the reawakening of ethnic nationality viz-a-viz militancy. Chief amongst such agitators were the Ogoni Nationalist Movement, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and most recently the Boko Haram sect from northern Nigeria.

The most recent of these sects (MASSOB, MEND and Boko Haram) have brought to question the issue of true nationalism.

Then the issue of deregulation; an interesting issue, one which has come along with lingering protests that have practically shut down the nation in the past week. The removal of fuel subsidy has become another defining issue in Nigeria’s history with nationalities, ethnicities and religions taking sides for and against the policy.

The discourse of this piece is not to weight President Good luck Jonathan’s decision or timing but it is certainly obvious that the announcement came at the wake of agitations from our Nigerian nationality sects.

President Goodluck Jonathan in a pensive mood

Just when Boko Haram was bombing government institutions, MASSOB crying for secession with renewed gusto, the federal government trying to calm the Niger Delta militants via “Amnesty” program and even the erstwhile calm OPC reawakening, Mr. President dropped the bomb!

The reception of this policy has shown the variance in our regional beliefs, the lack of national focus. When the announcement came the north in its entirety rejected the decision, a decision taken from the point of view that deregulation  no matter how earning it portends, had to be discredited as it has been taken by a southerner, one who has usurped their rightful turn at the presidency. Thus the strengthening of Boko Haram, a tool to fight this ‘evil’.

The protests also were concentrated mostly in the northern part of Nigeria with even more violence perpetrated in these parts- violence advanced at southerners and non-muslims. In short the northern part of Nigeria embraced this fight whole heartedly putting the section on total lock down, thus the consequent state of emergencies in the north.

The south and East on their part nearly have nearly not participated in the national lockdown as services are still rendered where the decision was unaccepted. The decision to abstain stemmed from the fact that the decision emanates from a Southerner, their own and thus should be commended and supported. Resulting adverts from groups like South-South Elders Forum, supporting the move in its totality.

Culminating events have shown that with the different support patterns so witnessed, northerners fleeing the south and southerners leaving the north in their numbers, as hoodlums take advantage of the protests to cause mayhem.

It is pertinent thus to add here the question; Are we still a nation? Where does the unity in our diversity start and stop?

 

 

 

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