When we discuss the problem of Nigeria and the best form of government that appears best to maintain unity, it is frequently not clear if Writers have a good knowledge of the nature of Nigeria. Often, no serious questions are asked about Nigeria’s anthropology and sociology, the conditions suitable to the desired form of government and what can be done to institutionalize the form that eventually emerges.
We must note that Nigeria is constituted by many ethnic groups or nationalities with different peculiarities. Among these nationalities, some appear major and others minor. These groups have engaged in a bitter struggle to appropriate state power since the 1950s. But in some cases, the struggle is against subordination and oppression, in others, marginalisation and yet in others, absolute neglect and exploitation. The effect of these unending struggles is that the nationalities seem incapable of peaceful co-existence. Infact, mutual distrust is rife among them and trust is the foundation of any solid relationship.
We are forced to ask the question why?
I believe that an examination of conditions favourable to stable, peaceful co-existence or what some have termed federation or confederation may point out areas where some solutions may be found.
A major condition for any form of relationship as hinted above, is a reasonable amount of trust or what amounts to the same thing. Sympathy that is mutually felt. If this is lacking, the constituent groups may pretend to fight on the same side or they may unite against foreign aggression to protect their divergent but cherished interests. Some groups may in fact, fight on the other side. A federation or whatever we may call it, is not possible in such circumstances.
© Onus Obinyan.