I often ask myself: Should Nigeria break up, how many countries will it produce?
I am not aware that any three of its more than 200 ethnic groups sincerely agree so much as to come together in a peaceful independent state.
There is so much distrust that any major national crisis can only lead to civil wars here and there but at the end of the day the leaders will contrive a common interest and settle for a truce.
That is what I think. Breaking up is hard to do, especially so in the case of Nigeria.
I’ve met many people who say that Nigeria should break up, and I quickly tell them that the problem with Nigeria is not simply that there are too many and too different ethnic groups in the country. The bad eggs leaders are not going to go away with a breakup; they are actually going to be the ones who take over power in whatever nations are formed after a breakup.
Besides, how many countries would we have after the breakup? Many people argue along the lines of the three biggest ethnic groups. But then, in each of the three regions, there are several minority ethnic groups, and the picture that one sees in the Nigerian nation – of ethnic groups feeling marginalised because they belong in the minority – will be replicated in each of the three new nations that are formed along those large ethnic lines.
And then there is the issue of the Niger Delta…
It seems we are stuck with what we have; thinking about how to make it work is what we should be doing.
Theme song: Neil Sedaka’s Breaking Up Is Hard to Do