By Wale Giwa
Today, Nigeria doesn’t seem to be moving forward. Why is this? Is it because of our corrupt leaders? Is it because Nigerian youths are mostly idle when it comes to political matters? Should we blame the British for creating Nigeria by amalgamating three major tribes into one territory? Yes, the British should be blamed for the woes of our so-called Nigeria. Even though our leaders have a share in this blame, the British should take most of the blame. Perhaps a concise look at the early history of Nigeria, will give us a clue as to why the British should be blamed for the woes of Nigeria.
Historically speaking, the three main tribes; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, were amalgamated in 1914 to form a single territory. Later on, this single territory became known as Nigeria, translated to roughly mean “people living around the Niger area”. Why were these giant tribes amalgamated? The answer is simple. These tribes were amalgamated to simply fulfil a business deal. Let me expatiate on this. After the Napoleonic wars of the late 18th century and early 19th century, the British established trades with Nigeria. At this point, the British made a business deal with the Royal Niger Company(RNC), formerly called the United African Company(UAC). Eventually, the RNC came under the total control of the British government in 1900, and the British used this medium to expand its control over the three main tribes. In 1901, Nigeria became a British protectorate, and the three main tribes were eventually amalgamated in 1914. Here, it becomes obvious that Nigeria was simply created in order to fulfil a business deal, made by the British and the RNC in the early 19th century. The British had no idea they had just made a huge mistake.
Due to the incessant and brilliant efforts of Nigeria’s finest intellectuals, Nigeria (a conglomeration of the three main tribes; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba), became an independent territory. Indeed, the founding Fathers of independent Nigeria included; Jaja Wachukwu, Adedoyin, Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe, just to mention a few. Despite the intelligence of these fine men, they had a deep mistrust for each other. During the first republic, Awolowo felt that the Yorubas should be the ones in power, and was also unhappy as the leader of the opposition party(AG). Azikwe also felt that the Igbos were more fit for the crown, and was also unhappy to form a coalition with Tafawa Balewa, as Ceremonial Head(a role similar to that of the Queen of England). Infact, Azikwe only agreed to this because Chief Festus Okoti-eboh forced him. Thus began the disunity in Nigeria.
The North’s general hated of the Igbos, further exacerbated the issue. In the North, the Igbos were being mercilessly massacred. Even Col. Ojukwu(leader of the Eastern region) feared this turning into genocide. It was for this reason that he(Ojukwu) announced a breakaway from Nigeria, which led to the Civil War. At this point, the level of disunity rose to another level. To further worsen the issue of disunity, the British also made a huge mistake by creating a Northern region which was by far larger than the other two Regions. The two regions which contain the major tribes Yoruba and Igbo, felt very intimidated by this. At this point again, the level of disunity rose to a much more higher level. An Hausa man would always want to favour another Hausa man, likewise the Igbos and Yorubas. This disunity eventually led to the problem of nepotism, corruption, greed, and so on, which has continued to dug Nigeria till date.
My point is this, as a result of this disunity which has given birth to other problems, the best way forward is a consensual and mutual breakaway of the three major tribes; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The Hausa region should become an independent Nation, ruled and governed by an Hausa man. Likewise the Yoruba and Igbo region. Afterall, each region has its own peculiar natural resources to sustain it. When this done, the level of disunity will be reduced to the minimal, likewise its descendants (corruption, nepotism, greed, and so on). At this juncture, it is important to emphasise that a consensual and mutual breakaway, should not be confused with an “Enemy-like breakaway”. When the three main tribes eventually become independent Countries, they should still relate with each other as neighbouring Countries, just as how Togo today relates with Benin Republic and Ghana, as neighbouring Countries.
In all, the unity of Nigeria has been pinned since its creation by the British. Nigeria is where it is today due to disunity, which has given birth to the problem of corruption, nepotism, greed, and so on. To tackle these problems, we need to tackle disunity. The best way to tackle disunity is to correct the mistakes of the British. The only way to correct this mistake, is by embarking on a consensual and mutual breakaway. Thus, a consensual and mutual breakaway Nigeria, is the best way forward.