Sovereign National Conference (with Honesty), 2004-2005
The root-problem of Nigeria is “one-Nigerianism”—forcing different nations to try to be one country / one people, in an unconscious adoption and defense of over-a-century old colonial Balkanization imperative deliberately intended to benefit the colonialists at the expense of the indigenous peoples. This colonial policy was carried out on the entire African continent. Therefore, the root-problem of Nigeria is the extension and mirror of that original root-problem of Africa. Is it any wonder, then, today that Africa is still roiled in wars and battles, inter (and even intra) ethnic national conflicts, political instability, and other struggles of existential proportions and category?
To re-emphasize the point: Africa is one of, if not the richest and most endowed continent in the whole world—any way one looks at it. In colonial days, one would not know it, because the riches of Africa were spirited out to develop the lands of colonial masters. Only the Balkanization divisions imposed by the colonialists kept Africans from realizing what was going on, as Africans languished under colonial exploitation, wallowing in poverty and squalor, in the midst of natural indigenous riches. Now, does that not describe what is still going on today in Africa? When the colonial masters “left” Africa, what really happened? Whether the colonial masters actually left Africa or not is not even a moot point, because they are still there, somehow; but what they left behind is not in question. They left behind the legacy of Balkanization, because the boundaries they penned and the structures they created as the engine of the Balkanization process were “inherited” by post-colonial Africa.
What is Balkanization? It is the deliberate and calculated division of a region, country, or continent, with the sole intent of making it extremely difficult for the indigenes to form a cohesive opposition force against the Master(s). In fact, in a clever twist, the division-lines are purposely intended to inspire continuous conflict among the divided; of this conflict, only the Master can throttle it for precise control of the entire region. This implies that those being divided are not represented at the planning table; that natural and defining attributes of the peoples being divided are to be exploited and manipulated in such a way as to cause maximum disunity among the peoples, even among related people. Hence, natural boundaries can be ignored entirely, or blurred, while new ones are forced; originally natural populations are split off into newly created units, and so on. The peoples are thus distracted and blinded by their troubles; the Master masterfully controls the confusion so as not to let it get outrightly out of hand; the region is then first systematically and continuously looted for “raw material” and second, forced to be a paying consumer of “refined goods” from the Master’s own land. This is the full meaning and motivation of Balkanization. And, that’s what Africa has inherited, kept, and has been defending and practicing today. Now, one can understand why Africa is in the state that it finds itself in today.
It is necessary to begin Part 2 of this subject with the above introduction: we have to understand it thoroughly if we are going to be able to solve the problem that is Nigeria (that is Africa). Understanding brings courage. Courage is absolutely essential for the correct and permanent solution to a root-problem such as this. That solution calls for the dissolution of the Balkanized “country” called Nigeria, in order to release and relieve individual nations presently pressed into suffering under the current malignant structure; thus allowing them to heal and manage their own individual affairs as individual nations, including choosing their own international alliances.
Is the problem that simple? Yes; though one may argue to the contrary. Is the solution that simple? In principle, Yes. But in practice and implementation, nothing is going to be simple. Nevertheless, to allow the potential complexity and expected difficulty of implementing a correct solution deter proper action, or allow it to compel an expedient line-of-least-resistance approach, is to seal our fate: we should all then go down with Nigeria and perish; eventually, so would the rest of Africa. Recall the painful story of the “unsinkable” Titanic. When the trip came to grips its plight, the passengers had a choice: stay on the sinking ship, or abandon the ship. But, abandon the ship to what? There weren’t enough lifeboats. The water was icy cold. It was dark; “terrifying” was an understatement. Nevertheless, the only survivors were among those that abandoned the ship. No one who chose to remain on board lived. Nigeria, today, as a state-craft, is in that much trouble, and faces a similar fate. The peoples of the nations forced onto this sinking craft face the same predicament. One thing is predictable: stay on the sinking craft, and you perish. The alternative is difficult and scary; but that’s the only hope for survival.
Hence, if anyone says that the dissolution of Nigeria to allow the emergence of natural nations is the only answer, he or she is correct; but if anyone says it will be easy, he or she is likely wrong. As for what to do, there is really no other way than to do what has to be done to survive in this case, in spite of real, perceived and expected difficulties and obstacles.
Therefore, beware of those who today speak of ”going on with one Nigeria...” There is no future in that; we know its horrible past; but the clincher is the present—our current experience—which validates that it is awful and painful and unworkable. Beware of those who falsely insist that all the peoples currently living and suffering under one Nigeria are “one people.” Nothing could be further from the facts and truth: not even a make-believe exercise could make us one. It is only Balkanization that forced us into something to be mistaken for “one.” Denying that we are different peoples of different nations will not make us less different. It is hypocrisy, and only fuels the problem. Let’s have a dose of honesty. Beware of those asking for patience, to give Nigeria more time, an argument supported sometimes by saying that it took other countries hundreds of years to gel. This argument is akin to telling the passengers on the Titanic to be patient, because, if they wait long enough, the ship would right itself somehow. For, what we have witnessed and experienced is that things always get worse in Nigeria, even when it is determined that things couldn’t possibly get any worse. Hiding behind “patience,” in this case, is equivalent to postponing real solutions, and at the same time, as we have witnessed, doing exactly nothing to challenge current malicious policies and mauling activities. Patience of a million years will not make water, air, oil and sand one entity; but these natural “elements” can coexist with one another any time, each in its own nature, forming natural boundaries with the other.
We have all been indoctrinated into thinking that “nationalism” means tribalism or parochialism or “ethnicism” with a heavy accent on negative divisiveness. One wonders who taught us that. Of course, nationalism spells trouble and doom for Balkanization, because nationalism calls for minding, respect for, and restoration of natural grouping and natural divisions, because as people, we function best in our natural set-ups. Now, we have to re-think this indoctrination that nationalism is a bad thing. The most natural thing we can do is to be our natural selves. It is natural to belong to one’s natural nation. It is natural to be proud of one’s own nation. It is also natural to respect other nations. This, of course, is not to say that any and every nation is perfect, or can do no wrong, or cannot evolve, or can even survive forever as a nation. Nor does it mean that a nation is, or should be, insistently ideologically or genetically monolithic.
Africa was and remains destroyed by Balkanization. Nationalism—national identity based on well-known natural groupings and traits, national orientation, national bounding, respect for other nations, choice of international relationships and international associations—will restore the health and psyche of Africa. Nationalism need not mean, and in fact, does not mean chauvinism and intolerance of other nations. No nation can survive in a state of constant hostility against the rest of the nations. The crux of African nationalism is respect for other nations. The true nature and spirit of Africa is variety and variegation co-existing as a natural order, not conformity or uniformity, or even unity. All persons who have truly studied Africa and understand Africa will grimace when Africa is lumped together as one mass—the dark continent—and treated as such. Africa is “many and different and proud coexisting in their own uniqueness.” It is within this context that the real problem and the correct solution of the problem that is Nigeria can better be appreciated.
In this segment, Part 2, of “Sovereign National Conference (with Honesty), 2004-2005” the emphasis has been on an “Eagles view”—at once panoramic, aerial, high resolution and high acuity—definition of the problem, and the correct solution evoked. This is not a digression or an idle effort. Because, no professional Engineer sets out to offer a solution for a problem unless the latter is well understood. No Physician commits to, embarks on, and or promises a definitive cure for the patient unless the patient’s ailment is well-diagnosed and the pathology well-understood by the Physician. This segment puts everything—problem and solution—in the largest context and in the widest perspective.
We now understand how malicious Balkanization gave us a predictably troubled and unworkable one-Nigeria. We can also see how the correct solution is true Nationalism, the antithesis to Balkanization. True nationalism not only celebrates national identity, it also respects other nations. True nationalism recognizes and emphasizes choice: freedom of a nation to choose with whom and how to associate, in mutuality. Most importantly, true nationalism is in line with the real Spirit of Africa: variety, variegation, difference, uniqueness, many: yet co-existing in a natural order, each mindful and respectful of the other.
We can all live with this. We can live with it, in pride. That is our true nature. We tried living with the contrary mien accomplished by Balkanization and crystallized as one-Nigeria. It has been an ongoing disaster, a terrible, terminal nightmare from which we shall not wake up before we perish—unless we act. Unless we act now. Unless we act correctly.
A Sovereign National Conference (SNC) is one vehicle that we can use as such. Let us use it, keeping the above in focus. Keep in mind that some nations living and suffering in Nigeria have already started and or asserted their nationalism without waiting for SNC. The nation of Islam has already been established in Nigeria, although it does not respect the rights and existence of other nations residing in erstwhile Nigeria, and their respective borders, and although it does not announce itself formally as such. It does in fact function as a nation. The Yoruba nation functions under the radar, on purpose, ever ready to become visible at the next crisis in Nigeria. Biafra has declared its active pursuit of the actualization of the Sovereign Nation of Biafra, and the nationalistic organization, “Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra” (MASSOB), has openly made clear its intent, commitment, and determination to actualize Biafra using non-violent means. There may be other national efforts underway. So, in a sense, like it or not—ready or not—“...here we come.” It would be nice to ratify and formalize each nation using the orderly and planned peaceful process of the SNC. But, nobody is waiting for SNC.
In the next segment, aspects of SNC will be taken up.
To be continued...
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD.
A Biafran Citizen.