2023 and the future of Nigeria By SAM ADZEGEH

Night Pen Chant By Sam Adzegeh

From all indications, 2023 promises to be a major turning point for Nigeria and its 220+ million people. It is a year that should decide so many issues in this crudely welded entity of so unlike minds.

2023 will prove beyond a doubt if the British in fact made a mistake in amalgamating the northern and southern parts of this geographical expression into what, since 1914, has been known as Nigeria.

Before today, many have indeed viewed that adventure as a shrewd business investment that has only benefitted (and continues to benefit) the Britons and their other ever willing ‘Oyinbo’ brothers in the mindless looting of the territory. To those who share this trend of thought, the ‘independence’ purportedly granted the patch-work called Nigeria was only a parting gift to the ‘loyal’ northerners to enable their take-over and subsequent (eternal) control of the nation’s political, and thus, economic affairs. After all, they must have reasoned, ‘the economic line-up follows the political line-up’, a dearly held catechism of theirs.

The Britons however forgot one thing: that the most vital asset in development is human capital.

On their part, thus ‘gifted’ the nation’s vast economic wealth by their friends the departing imperial masters, the northerners, followed up on their departing friends’ miscalculation. Wallowing in a false sense of security given political control, they went to sleep and neglected to develop a versatile education sector.

It thus comes as no surprise that, even with the awesome number of years that northerners have held sway at the political centre, the region has not enjoyed appreciable modern development and a better life for the vast majority of its citizens, which owes largely to that fatal neglect of quality education. In primary schools in most States in the north, automatic promotion to the next class was the norm; it didn’t matter if a pupil scored 0% in all subjects, such a pupil ended up being promoted to the next class along with all the others. Thus in many cases, children passed out of primary school without even knowing how to spell their names!

Meanwhile, in the southern part of the country, quality education was being imparted to millions of pupils yearly. In the western part of the country especially, the free education policy ensured that majority of children passed out of primary school with sound western education. This accounts for the early domination of the top echelons of the Federal civil service by people from the southern region, a major factor which aroused the inferiority complexes in their northern counterparts and helped in stoking the fires that finally burst into the three years civil war.

It is against this background that, on assumption of political power mostly though military coups and willfully manipulated population censuses (which enabled doctoring of electoral figures and processes), the northerners moved to balance the equation by planting their people into leadership positions across the land.

It is this political dominance and the assumption of numerical superiority that have finally led to the arrogance of a Moslem – Moslem Presidential ticket heavily backed by the Arewa North in the build up to the 2023 Presidential elections.

But do Muslims from the north, with a smattering of others from other parts of Nigeria especially Tinubu’s South-West, actually have numerical advantage over the rest of us Christians, pagans, traditionalists, animists and assorted goombahs in the country? This appears to be the essence of Bola Tinubu’s courageous gambit. 2023 promises to birth an answer to that long-hanging question.

Yes! 2023 is important because it is indeed a year that may herald the very end of one Nigeria as we know it. Fall-outs from the elections will truly test the suitability or not of this country continuing as one or breaking up into separate entities, probably along the fault lines of the six widely recognized geo-political zones. Unravelling events would appear to support such an analogy.

Not long ago, Prof. Wole Soyinka, one of Nigeria’s brightest, intrigued many with a deeply curious postulation that, “You can never defeat Biafra”. Most undiscerning individuals interpreted Soyinka to mean a physical pulverization on the field of battle, a total annihilation in a ‘winner takes all’ encounter. How wrong they were!

The famous Nobel Laureate however, later came out clarify the statement, explaining it to mean that once an idea is conceived and entrenched in a people’s minds, it becomes impossible to get rid of it and that nothing can stop such an idea from becoming reality at the appropriate time.

As earlier stated, 2023 will decide if Nigeria continues as one indivisible nation or do a ‘to your tents…’

For one, the people of Nigeria’s South-East have long ago attempted secession from the entity called Nigeria. That idea is deeply rooted in their minds and continues to violently manifest across the region, sustaining vigorous agitations for independent Biafra. They may realize their dreams next year, for good or bad.

It is also a known fact that the Oduduwa Republic (long formed in the people’s psyche but lacking courage to tow the Biafran example), merely needs the slightest nudge to take off. The Republic has all it needs to sustain itself – a thriving seaport, an international airport and a most willing populace with a robust business acumen. 2023 provides ample opportunity to make that life long dream come true.

Pushed beyond the wall by the monkey-de work, baboon-de-chop arrangement in the country, as well as the non-development (in fact despoilation of their lands through oil exploration), people of the South-South (Niger Delta), have, since Isaac Boro’s revolution, held and continue to agitate for independence through Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and other off shoot organizations. The region is also raring to go.

In the so-called North, it is no secret that only the Middle Belt (mischievously and cunningly named North-Central), is keeping things from falling apart. However, with a rapidly growing consciousness among its youth and intelligentsia, moreover against the backdrop of concerted invasions in vain efforts to take over their homeland, as well as confidence in the region’s diverse natural resources – vast fertile land and hard working population as well as extensive solid minerals deposits – people of the region are all clamouring for self-determination. It’d take little in 2023 to make their dreams come true.

If the above scenario unfolds, the North-West and the North-East will have no option but to face their individual futures in their arid deserts and land-locked barren territories. The year 2023 will decide.

All told, next year is pregnant with very interesting possibilities.

(Readers reactions are welcome).

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