WHY NIGERIA CANNOT BREAK UP,   By Terfa Naswem
Kolawole, S wrote an article in THISDAY in 2009. January 11, p. 124. The article was titled:  IF NIGERIA SHOULD BREAK UP…. , some responses to his article in the first week of January 2009 really thrilled him. The most troubling he got, however, were the ones suggesting that the time to break up Nigeria had come. “We cannot live with these Northerners,” one reader said in an SMS. Another wrote: “It is very convenient for you to campaign for one Nigeria. If they had killed your brother in Gombe, I’m sure you wouldn’t be thinking the way you are thinking now.” Kolawole says his elder sister and her family still live in Kaduna. His aunty, cousins and second cousins are spread all over Kaduna and Kano. He hopes that there should be peace over there.


How would Nigeria break up? I mean into how many countries? Are we going to break up along religious lines? Kolawole presumes that since Christianity and Islam are the most popular religions we have, we would break up into two: the Islamic Republic of Nigeria and the Christian Republic of Nigeria. The only slight problem is geography. How are we going to gather the indigenous Christians in Kebbi, Borno, Kano, Kastina, Zamfara, Bauchi, Gombe aand Sokoto together with their Southern counterparts to form a country? How would we gather Muslims in Cross River, Imo, Enugu, Edo, Delta and the Southwest together with their Northern brothers and sisters to form a country? It looks pretty difficult.

It is the Yoruba that Kolawole says he pities most. According to him, there is hardly any Yoruba extended family that does not have Muslims and Christians. In fact, the husband may be a Muslim and the wife a Christian. It’s so common among the Yoruba. Kolawole father’s younger sister is married to a Muslim, so his cousins from that side are Muslims. He is married to a Muslim family so nearly all his in-laws are Muslims! Breaking up Nigeria along religious lines may be a bit difficult because Kolawole among others will not be ready to part with their lovely in-laws.

Okay, let’s break up along North and South. So we would have Republic of Northern Nigeria and Republic of Southern Nigeria. Sounds nice, isn’t it? In the South, the Igbo (“destined to lead Africa”) and the Yoruba (“the most sophisticated race on earth”) will then live together in peace, arm-in arm, lovely-dovey. There would be no more mutual suspicion, feeling of betrayal and so on and so forth. The Ijaw, Ibibio. Edo, Urhobo and Efik would enthusiastically submit themselves to the Igo/Yoruba-dominated country. We would all live together happily ever after. Conflicts would become history. That must be a joke.

In that case then, let’s reach a compromise Nigeria will break up along ethnic lines. Since we have about 250 ethnic groups, Nigeria would break into 250 countries! Every ethnic group would be a country, so there would be no more conflicts. We would all be speaking   the same language and eating the same dishes. We would so love each other and one another that the rest of the world would become very jealous of us. In the Yoruba Republic, for instance the Ife and the Modakeke would automatically forget their differences. If only there was a Republic of Yoruba in 1996, there wouldn’t have been bloodshed in Ife/Modakeke. There would not have been the Umuleri/Aguleri conflicts in Anambra, isn’t it? In Warri, one house would be Republic of Urhobo, the next house would be Republic of Itsekiri!  What a joke

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