YORUBA AND IGBO MUST REMAIN DIVIDED TO KEEP NIGERIA ONE

Farouk Martins Aresa

When Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was taken to task to explain why he passed on Awolowo's offer to become the Prime Minister. He simply said it might have led to the breakup of Nigeria if the North was isolated. Either by design or omission, the logic still stands today but the reasoning and supporters of that logic may have changed. Actually Tafawa Balewa was unmoved by the so called Southern union, vowing to be Opposition Leader.

There has to be some positive spin to the division in the South. There is also division in the North but it is not as pronounced. No matter how you take it, no part of the Country can clearly delineate agreeable people within one region. Biafra has other ethnic groups that do not consider themselves part of the Nation. The same is true of the North Central. The Hausa that form the majority in the North are controlled by minority Fulani. Even the Yoruba, in spite of common lingua-franca, can only boast of Diaspora union.

Therefore, as long as the Country stands as Nigeria, Yoruba and Igbo will always fight for political dominance and the Hausa will always come to their rescue so that they do not destroy our Country. Whenever you hear intellectuals and theorists debate about separation as a mere geographical expression; amuse yourselves. Listen if you can with guguru and epa to grace your precious time. They cannot agree on their base, yet they want Nigeria to split. Split into what?

If you are one of the frequent visitors to internet sites, you get some of the point here. We have young men and women born after the War going mercilessly at one another as if they were there. Even more disturbing, some of these young people have never been on the Nigerian soil. Needless to say, you know who is feeding them with venom about the Country on different version of their novel history.

The Igbo are well known for their adventures within the Country into various ethnic groups. You cannot but wonder why many call for separate nations more than others as if they would rather ask for visas into these separate nations in Nigeria. But we need to understand their frustration if at any little provocation in the North, they get the worst brunt of the mayhem. Indeed, they are safer in other parts of Nigeria.

Igbo in other parts of Nigeria have called on those in the North to come home or stop going back to the North after each clash. It is very difficult to heed such calls unless the foot is in the other shoe. No one wants to start all over after spending so much of their effort building a comfortable nest outside. The same is true of other ethnic group in the North as the Yoruba and others refused to come back home. Actually some of the ethnic groups within the North have no other home. So why call on Igbo?

The Hausa recently told Boko Haram to go to blazes, they are not moving out of Lagos. Every ethnic group feels comfortable in Lagos, some as a second home and others as the only home they known. So why would anyone in his right mind leave Lagos where they make their money and live peacefully to go anywhere else in Nigeria they do not feel as safe beats anyone's imagination.

It will be hypocrisy if the feelings of other ethnic groups regarding settling amongst the Igbo are not shared here. Some think they are not as tolerable as they demand from others outside their base. May be if the gesture of tolerance is reciprocated in Igbo land, we will see more accommodation in the Country as a whole. It may be wishful thinking. But it is better to separate than kill off one another living together. Except that we cannot. So after each crisis, Nigerians will always return to where they can make a living.

Igbo also have their grievances against "Yoruba diplomacy". They claim you cannot hold Yoruba to a deal without expecting them to betray you. So the suspicion is mutual on both sides. No matter how we view the suspicion, it has served Nigeria well and held the whole Country together. Imagine the Yoruba and the Igbo as political ally, they would oppress the rest of Nigerians; and where is the President going to come from?

Let us be fair, Yoruba and Igbo do not always go after one another's chin. After all, they dine, play, work and sleep together. But when it comes to politics, it is a no-go area. Their most recent encounter was the leadership of the House. As usual, they contested for it until the North came to the rescue. Some level headed people from each ethnic group have wondered if the Yoruba would support the Igbo for presidency in 2015.

Of course some Yoruba would support Igbo for presidency. Whether they are going to get majority of the Yoruba support is sheer speculation at this point. There is time to kiss and make up. Some Igbo have even said it publicly that they would cross that river when they get there and there is nothing to be worried about right now. Whatever each ethnic group can get right now is fair political game. After all, they always fight and make up.

However, some Nigerians are wondering if it makes any sense to be rotating presidency between North and South. They postulate that we should allow the most competent man rule, no matter where he comes from. By now, we have had every region in the Country rule by hook or crook, by coup or militia. So do not be surprised to see potential presidential candidates coming out from every party regardless of their regions vying to be the Vagabond In Power. They are not different once in office.

Don't you forget, the incumbent have not made any concrete promise to any party, region or cabal that he was not going to seek a second term as a matter of right. Nigeria is not the same country as South Africa and what may hold in that country does not necessarily hold in Nigeria. Indeed, some members of MEND are already warning others to stay clear. What we cannot predict is if Ebele will get votes from every region as he did before.