Expiration Of The Conjugal Vow Of The Conjoined Twins Of Northern and Southern Nigeria

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Prof. Femi Ajayi

The expiration of 1914 Nigeria Amalgamation in 2014, or the extinction of Nigeria in 2015, ending the unnatural marriage among Lagos Colony, the Southern and Northern Protectorates; and the yearnings for a roundtable discussion about the future of Nigeria, has been a mind bugling issue among the intellectuals, illiterates, semi-illiterates, educated illiterates, ethnic caucuses, religious entrepreneurs, to the sympathy of lovers of Nigeria around the world.

The process of dismantling the country has been heightened by the prevailing climate of insecurity which has resulted in needless loss of lives and properties. It has drawn the attention to the popular idea of Nigeria as a ‘mere geographical expression’. Was the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates of 1914 is terminating in 2014? Are some factions working on the script to end the 1914 document by 2014, with an emerging new Nigeria in 2015? Is it going to set the country back to the pre-1914 status of Lagos Colony, Southern, and Northern Protectorates? Would these people enter a new agreement under their own terms? How would this happen in the country where differences in culture, language, religion, tradition, values, morals, education, vision and beliefs prevent people from living together?

In his Amalgamation day speech, January 1, 1914, Lord Frederick Lugard, 1st Governor General of Nigeria, stated, among others things, “….it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria {emphasis mine} that they should be amalgamated into one Government, conforming into one policy and mutually cooperating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole.”
Some scholars are assiduously working to affirm the sustainability of the secret government document that the British left after independence on the unholy marriage. Regardless the experiment of a Century for Nigeria, it has been a rocky marriage from Independence (1960), through the fourth Republic, till today, (July 2013). Will Nigeria sustain the experiment beyond 2015?

The issue between the north and south rotating the President is due to the poor approach to true democracy. Some group assume that they have the monopoly of governance and leadership, instead of assenting to the selection of virile leadership with interest of the country at heart. With over 50 political parties in the country of over 250 ethnic groups, making a mockery of the Nigeria democracy under PDP, to dictate where the President must come from is undemocratic. Nigeria must revisit the issue of the Federal Character leading to the rotational presidency.
If Nigerian political parties were established on the platform of meaningful principles, based on the challenges facing the country, either Left or Right Wings, Nigerians would accordingly ally with such party. Nigerians must discourage any group claiming to have the monopoly of governance or leadership.

The Warri-Founder of Niger Delta People Volunteer Front, NPDVF, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, declared on Sunday, May 5, 2013 that “there will be no peace in the country, if Jonathan was denied a second term”. On May 6, 2013, a former member of the House of Representatives and a member of Congress for Progressive Change, Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu, also threatened “it is either a Northerner as President in 2015, or there will be no more Nigeria.” In another development on May 23, 2013, Dokubo-Asari said that he was into, “bullet for bullet, for those who want to stop President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.”


Amalgamation Day on Tinubu Street in 1914 in Lagos


Nigeria in 1900 and the Lagos Colony, the Southern and Northern Protectorates with the Amalgamation Document May 15, 1913


It is appalling; in the modern world, that is becoming a global village for an individual, or any group for such threats. Neither of the two groups has the monopoly of violence, as they succumbed their faculty to the 1914 Amalgamation script. In addition to the projections of some world powers, especially the United States of America, that various groups in Nigeria could part their ways in 2015. Do Nigerians have to elect a Northerner or South-South candidate as the President to keep Nigeria one? On the other hand, if we do not elect a Northerner as the President, or Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015, would Nigeria be History?

The soothsayers have, unfortunately, joined the snivel from the wilderness discouraging Jonathan from contesting for the president in 2015 as it is going to bring disaster to Nigeria, as they predicted in 2011. Unfortunately, a PDP choreographer has taken his campaign against Jonathan to the Northern leaders to select a President, with another South-South candidate as his Vice for the 2015 presidential election.
In this predicament Nigeria imposes on itself, is the amalgamation marriage vow going to be over in 2014, as we were educated that the amalgamation was a fraud? All Nigerians, with the North and South debacle, would assist in terminating the fraud in 2015 using Presidential election as the fishing bait. We are of the opinion that either Dokunbo or Aliyu has the monopoly of violence. However, the dispensation of such violence depends on individual’s judgement. The Niger Delta group directs its violence against injustices to their communities; while the Boko Haram directs on religious hideout on Christianity and humanities. Whichever way each dispenses its violence, it is absolutely wrong for a real courteous solicitous human being to engage in violence as a means of redressing grievances, as violence begets violence. The issue of one Nigeria is for all Nigerians to decide, not a derelict, wheedled, and raw individuals.

Some inept politicians and community leaders, who think rulership is about rotation even without any meaningful progressive contribution to their communities, know little about nation building. Who among the chatterbox advocates of a divided Nigeria could face the battle when war is finally declared? With good intentions, strong Faith in God, Nigerians should take their threats to the 2015 polls to decide whether Nigeria should call off the 1914 Amalgamation agreement, with a new dawn at the 2015 elections.

The way forward would be for Nigerians to chitchat and reach a compromise on how, or when the over 250 ethnic groups should part their ways? Dodging the discussion is like an average Black man saying that he would NEVER suffer from prostrate cancer, High Blood Pressure, or Sickle Cell Anaemia or that he is immortal and would live for ever. Nigerians MUST talk. Refusing to talk is like wanting to avoid variance in our daily life. The more you tend to cover up your incongruity the more it will be growing in your system until it explodes. It is like the silent killer in Black genes, High Blood Pressure. An average African assumes of being healthy as he falls asleep after eating ‘swallow’ food, to wake up with protruding five-month-size tummy with the accumulation of starch causing Diabetes and possibly some kidney problems, which send him to his grave earlier than programmed.

We wonder why Nigerians are afraid to go for the roundtable discussion on the amalgamation marriage dialoguing and setting a schedule on how to live together in good harmony. Nigeria must sit together to agree on the common ground. The mannequin approach to the 1999 Constitution review, where there has been agitation for about 61 States, is a chicken-way-out in getting working document for Nigeria. The 1999 Constitution needs to be expunged and replaced with a brand new Constitution.

Most Nigerians do not trust the imposed members of the Legislators at all levels of governments in Nigeria to do the job. A high level of patriotism, with unblemished individuals, to champion the course will create the road path for the Nigeria future. Many perks being enjoyed by the current set of politicians would prevent them from doing a good job on the Constitutional review. Many Medical Specialists have prescribed Sovereign National Conference as a treatment of all ailments affecting Nigeria and as an antidote against future ailments. No right thinking Nigerian opposes convoking any conference to discuss issues affecting the country. However, an average Nigerian is sceptical about the much hyped magical prospects attached to the so-called Sovereign National Conference.

Ironically, the clamour for convocation of a national conference to discuss the state of the Nigeria nation has once split the House of Representatives maintaining dissenting positions. Nigerians would be wasting their good time if they place their hope on the National Assembly to come up with partial, even not full, support for the dialogue or roundtable discussion among Nigerians. Most Nigeria current politicians are opportunists who are self-centred, representing ‘do or die’ politics of the later Day Saints. They would consider whosoever comes up with the SNC as enemies of the chop-chop incubators of corruption we call the National Assembly that is full of all sorts of human specimen of the underworld, courtesy of the revelation from Senator Nuhu Aliyu.

It is pertinent to ask the following questions: What makes a national conference sovereign? Who has the power to convoke the conference? What will be the status of the President, State Governors, National Assembly, and House of Assembly members upon convocation of the conference? Who will select the delegates, and what will be the criteria that will be used, to select the delegates? Who will implement the recommendations of the conference?

Alternatively, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has urged Nigerians to drop lingering clamor for national conference, saying it is no longer necessary in view of emerging democratic liberties. In place of the conference, he called for regional groupings, which would begin to “act the national conference” by taking their destinies into their hands. Possibly regional economic and developmental integration in the context of cooperation under a Nigerian national umbrella would be the way to go.

We should note that ethnicity, clothed with corruption, is an impediment to the national unity and progress, if we may add.
Another prescription to prevent the disintegration of Nigeria is for the country to derive its legitimacy from the people as lack of political vision at the centre and the various ethnic crises and security challenges, among others, call for the need for Nigeria to be recreated. Ironically, Nigeria is still operating the colonial and pre-colonial scripts; despite the involvement of Nigerians running its affairs as post-colonial governance, it is still, ‘alien and predatory’ like the colonial system. In effect, Nigeria’s existence beyond 2014 or 2015 is a decision of Nigerians at a roundtable to air their interest and aspiration for the future.


Awo, Zik, Bello as champions of Nigeria Independence

The predictions that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015 should be a challenge to an average Nigerian astuteness ensuring that all prophesies do not become self-fulfilling. The Nigerian Media, Intellects, stakeholders should join hands together in sharpening the mindset of an average Nigerian on this alarming news about Nigeria problems. Nigerians should agree that the country is precious enough to be saved, while revisiting the principle of federal character, admitting past mistakes, better approaches into implementing policies, developing a new mindset, and admit that an average Nigerian must make sacrifices for the survival of the country, with the fear of God at everyone’s mind, Nigeria will survive.

Nigeria should be a country you can live peacefully, practice your religion freely, and hold a political post without considering your ethnic or religious affiliations.

As a Prophet of Hope, despite the challenges facing the country today (July 2013), Nigeria is not breaking up. With caution, it is going to be a United Nigeria till eternity.

So help Us God!

Femi Ajayi is a Professor of Policy, Management & Conflict Resolution, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State

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