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Friday, February 10, 2006

In the News: Nigeria may break up, US insists
United States government is standing by its bleak assessment of the repercussions of a third term bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo, brushing aside Abuja’s complaint of interference in Nigeria’s domestic affairs.
Senior administration officials told Daily Sun that the report by US Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte that attempts by President Obasanjo to stay in power beyond 2007 could signal the eventual breakup of the country is an accurate reflection of the state of affairs in the West Africa nation.

Africa's most populous nation has always been an unusual creation, what were the British thinking when they decided to unite 250 ethnic groups into one country. Any political crisis in the country has the potential to tear the nation apart.
The Ibos still smarting from their defeat by federal forces in the civil war are ready to jump ship at the first signs of war. The ever volatile Niger delta is also waiting to jump ship the minute the 3 main ethnic groups start slaughtering themselves. The middle belt doesn't really have an agenda and just wants to go with the flow. The core north will do anything to keep Nigeria as one as it ensures it is not a landlocked country like Niger republic, while the Yorubas in the west are a bit ambivalent at the moment since they now have political power, besides they have access to the sea so they can pretty much survive as the Oduduwa republic.

In light of the US comments, i've tried to imagine a scenario where the country breaks up and i can't really see it happening because the country really has no configuration it can fragment into. The 3 main regions (north, south west and south east) separated by rivers Niger and Benue is nothing but a geographical feature. Its wishful thinking on anyone's part to think Nigeria will fragment along those lines.

The reason is simple.
Lets look at the North, you have to give it to them they know they'll be one of the biggest losers if 'Project Nigeria' ends. Not just because they will lose access to the oil and the sea, but because of what will happen to the whole concept of 'the indivisible North'.
The North as we've all seen in the last few years is anything but united. Sharia and unending religious conflicts has turned this part of the country into 'Lebanon'. I can only imagine what will happen when trouble starts, the middle belt, minority ethnic christains from southern Kaduna will definitely not want to be a part of any 'Dan Fodio' kingdom that emerges. The north will pretty much have its hands full dealing with ethnic and religious divisions for a long time.
The interesting thing is, the north, compared to other parts of the country has the resources to stand on its own - its tourist potential, unlike oil, is an infinite resource.

Lets move on to my fellow brethren in the south west. The Yoruba share a common language and religious divisions don't really matter. The problem for Oduduwa republic is that the Yorubas are not really united, they only unite when they have a common goal or enemy, take that away and the Yorubas will start bickering amongst themselves. The ijebus will either be oppressing other groups or using 'jazz' (joking of course) on them while the egbas will stab each other in the back. The eguns will suddenly remember that they don't really have much in common with the others while the edos and itsekiris will definitely go their own way. And not forgetting ife and modakeke, it would be worse than the western region crises of the early sixties.

And then our good friends in the south east, unlike the other parts of the country they've had a bit of experience with nationhood, so its just a matter of bringing out those old biafran notes from under the mattress, dusting up the old flag and hey Biafra republic is reborn.
The only downside for them is they'll be landlocked as the minority groups in the delta will not join up with them. So that means Biafra republic will have to find a way to ally with one of the many groups in the delta. It won't be easy as Cameroon too will want in on some delta action.
The Niger delta can't be a country on its own and will fragment into fiefdoms, which means there's still going to be a lot of conflict in that area because of the oil. There will be continued conflict between the different groups over the limited unpolluted farmland, creeks, oil rights etc.
Then you have the larger players like Biafra and Cameroon, they will probably encourage the conflict for their own interests. You also have the oil multinationals like Shell and Chevron, they will probably finance and support any group that gives them profitable drilling rights. The conflict could go on till the last drop of oil is removed...

To cut a long story short, there won't be any winners, no part of the old country can enjoy meaningful economic development with so much conflict in the surrounding areas.
Then what happens to all the investments each part of the country has in the other parts. What happens to the power systems, transmission wires, telephone cables and other infrastructure that we all share?
Who inherits Nigeria's international commitments, foreign assets, embassies, Abuja ????

Quote: "War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil,never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children." ~ Jimmy Carter

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posted by ijebuman  # 4:37 pm
Excellent post. I am just seeing it for the first time
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