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Opinions of Monday, 10 May 2021

Columnist: Kayode Emola

Can Nigeria break without a war?

A map of Nigeria A map of Nigeria

Over this last week, I have been asked this question by several friends and family members. But when I got asked yesterday by renowned journalist Bob D, I knew that this issue must have been burning on the minds of so many people far beyond my own circles, both at home and abroad.

Firstly, I must say that this piece is my personal and honest opinion, not intended to support either one side of the argument or the other. I will only present the issues critically and analyse them based on the available facts.

After the second World War in 1945, there were only 74 sovereign countries in the world. Fast forward to 75 years later, the number of independent countries has risen to 195: more than double the countries in existence prior to the two world wars.

The number of countries in existence today does not truly reflect the nationalities in the world. We must not forget that, before the present dispensation of nation building, the usual system of governance was of kingdoms and domains under a ruling monarch, some of whom also took on the role of military commander. However, today, those kingdoms have been coalesced, often by external powers and often by force, to form what we now refer to as independent nations.

Returning to the issue at hand: the situation of Nigeria. It behoves us to look back at our history and examine how we arrived at this present situation. We are not a country that has been immune from tribal wars: these have marred our history through both the eras of the transatlantic slave trade and of colonialism, and still persist today despite our independent status.

It should be noted that, whilst our independence was gifted to us after the second world war on a platter of gold, the same may not be envisaged today when the many nations that form this 21st century Nigeria seek their own sovereignty. One might have expected that, after acquiring ‘civilisation’, we would have been better placed to discuss issues of national import and those raising serious concerns. Yet the last 60 years of independence have demonstrated that this has not been so. Indeed, we would appear to be a no less barbarous society than we were before the slave trade.

Whilst we may want to douse the tensions of war and downplay the current situation on our hands, the truth is that we are already at war. A few weeks ago, someone shared with me a link about the insurgencies in the South East, which are all too reminiscent of the 1967 civil war. The link may be found at:

Even as many seek to minimise the significance of the South East insurgencies, the violence in the North from Boko Haram is increasing exponentially. Despite the implementation of Sharia law in all 12 of the Northern states, Boko Haram has declared war on Nigeria since 2009, fighting for the total Islamification of the entire country.

Boko Haram are now actively taking over several military formations in Nigeria, including in Borno, Adamawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger and several northern cities. This, coupled with the recent threats of invading the National Assembly and several VIP locations in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, this would appear to back up the claim that Nigeria is already at war with itself.

Many Yorùbá people may feel unconcerned about this, considering the fight to be confined solely to the North or the East of Nigeria. However, I believe the current situation is at imminent risk of degeneration into a full-scale war. We need to urgently begin the dissolution of Nigeria before this occurs, as it would be devastating, not only for the local inhabitants but for the entire global population. It would present challenges unseen in any previous war, with casualties too numerous to bear and the resulting refugee crisis too devastating to control.

It is my hope that we can all work together for the peaceful dissolution of Nigeria, thereby ensuring that lives are saved from the impending doom awaiting us.

A word is enough for the wise. Oodua a gbe wa.

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