OGBONNA, ADEBOYE AND NWAKANMA DIALECTICISM
“…breaking up a complex, dysfunctional country into more manageable units is actually OKAY. It doesn't mean that you hate others. It doesn't mean that you will not be your neighbor's keeper. It doesn't mean that you will not patronize their beef and carrots, or sell them access to the ocean if need be. It doesn't even mean that your outlook is parochial and provincial…”- Ogbonna
"Why not a true federalism in which the more manageable units are the natural ones each of which has independent past, and can work for a glorious future in an arrangement free of the predator/prey mentality."
“…there are core natural units in Nigeria called Anga, Edo, Fulani, Hausa, Gwari, Ibibio, Igbo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Yoruba, etc. Are you denying that fact? What data do you have that says that they did not occur in their present location...?-Dr. Adeboye
“…I think the strategic possibility for a new generation is to rebuild the progressive nationalist network that has been supressed by the fascist politics and rhetoric of radical difference over the years, as the new platform for national regeneration. Is it possible? Yes, it is...” Obi Nwakanma
Thanks to Mr. Dominic Ogbonna for bringing this subject up for debate and thanks to Mr. Adeboye and Mr. Nwakanma for joining. Please permit me to add a few words. I promise that I will be polite and not castigate any of you or others joining in the debate for their positions or call their ethnic groups names as some have started to do.
Mr. Ogbonna introduced the more manageable units concept into the discussion for which he received a “high five” from Mr. Adeboye. I was initially at a loss by what he meant until Mr. Adeboye wrote the second and third quoted paragraphs above. I am inclined to think that manageable units’ (relying on Adeboye’s example) means ethnic units of which we have possibly 300 of them. If so I see major problems with the concept. Mr. Nwakanma has pointed out some of them and there are more:
- The sheer number of manageable units (perhaps over 300) some numbering just tens of thousands
- Establishing the boundaries (as Nwakanma pointed out)
- The mechanism for dividing the existing resource to the over 300 units
- The ability of some very small units to function or even enter into a credible negotiation with the much larger, and stronger units such as Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa. Ability as used here includes human and material resources.
- There are more but let us stop here.
There is no doubt that a person who follows the recent developments in Nigeria would be seriously tempted to see things the way Ogbonna and Adeboye see them. The cries of marginalization; the levels of looting; the bombings; the religious and ethnic strife’s; the ideological and political disagreements; the incivility; etc; would make the call for dismemberment of Nigeria a timely call. It could be seen as timely because if we do not disengage peaceably we may do so after a dangerous conflagration.
A look at the challenges listed above suggests that while the disengagement looks attractive it could not be implemented. It will also not prevent the disastrous conflagration. In fact it could advance it. This leads me to Nwakanma’s assertion “…I think the strategic possibility for a new generation is to rebuild the progressive nationalist network that has been supressed by the fascist politics and rhetoric of radical difference over the years, as the new platform for national regeneration. Is it possible? Yes, it is...” Obi Nwakanma as the more logical approach and the safer route on the long run. I will come back to this but let me digress a little to say that there is a question: what would happen in the interim before we reach the long term? It is a question for another day(?).
I come back to Nwakanma’s assertion with a question: how does a new generation rebuild the progressive nationalist network that has been suppressed by the fascist politics and rhetoric of radical difference over the years? Nwakanma is silent on this. Will he give the suppressors a leave of absence while the rebuilding is taking place?
I posit that the rebuilding effort is already taking place imperceptibly.
- The worst advocates of fascist politics and radical differences are the old men and women in North, West and East.
- Listen to the Arewa Youth forum for example and you hear sensible suggestions. Their peers in the West and East sound similar themes in there writings. Here in Boston we have a Youth Forum where the kids meet and speak the same language as opposed to what one sees or reads when Val Ojo or Zubbie Ekwueme writes. Back in Nigeria we have not seen or read about wars in Youth Service Corps’ dormitories or on campuses where they study and work. The youth who own the country want a one united country.
- There is increasing acceptance of our differences in religion and ethnicity. The concept of one north can be described as dead and buried just as the concept of Eastern Nigeria or Yoruba solidarity. People who knew Awo or Zik and their rivalry and promote it are now aging vice chancellors.
But the interim is still dangerous as long as the aging politicians of Buhari kind, of Clark kind and other kinds in the same mode are alive.
But time is not on their side.
Is it possible that the new platform for national regeneration can be built? Mr. Nwakanma says yes it is.
I might even add that there is no other way. A break up might look attractive on the surface but it will not solve any of the existing problems.
And even when it is fully implemented it would more likely create the condition most feared by Adeboye: a glorious future in an arrangement full of the predator/prey mentality. The big boys would quickly swallow the little ones and nobody would notice. The little ones have security now because enough of them can form a nucleus that offers them protection.
That is why Jonathan is in Aso rock and not Buhari or Nnamani or Tinubu.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
August 16, 2012