The famous French soldier, Henri Barbusse once said, “Two armies that fight each other is like one large army that commits suicide.” No truer words have been said about wars than this and when the younger generation forget their history as a nation, wars are treated like mere shouting matches. Nigeria as a nation is clearly divided with a palpable fear of another civil war as the country is obviously sitting on a ticking time bomb unless something drastic is done. As a nation, we can’t afford another civil war as we are yet to heal from the first, and not healing is what is fueling the second war. The political leadership in the country has helped in no small way in fueling the crisis of division.
One now begs to wonder why is the division so glaring now or were there no North and South divide before now? For someone who just got to know about Nigeria you would think the amalgamation happened in 2015 but sorry to burst your bubble, 2015 actually made it 101 years. The northern and southern part of the country was joined by Lord Lugard who never considered the division between these two sets of people who were culturally and religiously divided. Only a miracle can make Nigeria stay as one if true federalism is not quickly practiced as the forced union has hit the rocks and no amount of counseling would solve it. With the added failure in leadership as currently being experienced under this regime, it would really need that miracle to work.
India/Pakistan and Sudan/South Sudan both had similar problems like Nigeria as they were almost evenly divided in terms of beliefs and religion which are key things to how we live especially in a religious nation like Nigeria. In most countries around the world, the two major religion/belief usually split 80-20 percent and when you have it almost equal like Nigeria, then you know you are sitting on a bomb that is not ticking yet but when a leadership failure arises like the case in the nation, then the bomb really starts ticking.
The division has always existed but events tend to amplify it and with the growing younger generation who know little or nothing about the civil war, they are not scared to call for war since there is ineptitude with leadership. Regional groups have been formed across the country all with the sole aim of promoting their regional interest as we now have Afenifere, Ohanaeze indigbo, and the Arewa group which form the largest in the country. These groups have only helped in furthering the divide as every issue is treated with sentiments as they never truly call the excesses of their region to order.
There is clear marginalization in the country, from the quota system to resource control and revenue sharing formulas. We can’t all be called one Nigeria when an Aminu can become a graduate with three O’level credits while a Seun and Okafor must have five credits, a region would destroy alcohol but would collect revenue from alcohol being sold in other regions and a governor whose state contributes 0.01percent to the national revenue is paid the same salary as a governor who contributed 5percent. The appointment into sensitive positions should always reflect the way the country is divided, every region should feel a sense of belonging, and to be honest, the eastern region has no reason to feel like Nigerians. These are fundamental issues that need to be fixed, let every region develop at its own pace, you don’t have to drag the nation back or have to be faster than the nation. Control your resource like it’s done in the American constitution we copied, generate revenue, and spend it for your people, this would make everybody wake up and the fight for the center would be reduced. Everybody wants the center because it controls everything but when that power is withered down, there would be change. But with an understanding leader, mitigating through this division would be easier than it is right now in the country.
Finally, the current Buhari administration has done nothing in curbing the divide and has instead amplified it with nepotic statements, appointments, and all. When you see comments on social media, you see the divide in the country and the ease at which everyone wants war. Seeing comments online only makes you realize how the education sector is a joke in this country as the younger generations were never thought their history. If they were thought, they would know the millions that died in the 30-month long civil war and be really scared of it happening again. The failure in leadership has contributed greatly to this present call for division and unless something is done drastically and immediately, we might just be heading for a peaceful breakup or the second Nigeria civil war.