By Babs Onabanjo
SIR: Nigeria is operating a unitary system while claiming to be Federal Republic of Nigeria at the same time. What an irony? The time has come to stop the deceit, restructure or break up the country into regions or nations.
My hypothesis is that it is too late for restructuring. I hope I am wrong in my assumption because at the moment, Nigeria can no longer guarantee life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Citizens are being killed, raped, kidnapped, and robbed on a daily basis.
The government appears to have lost control. The international community refers to Nigeria as a state waiting to collapse and disintegrate sooner than later. There are agitations from the Southeast, Southwest, South-south, and North-central which have fallen to deaf ears for so long. Instead of the government responding to the voices of the people, it has used brutal force to suppress the will and agitations of the people.
The assault on Sunday Adeyemo’s house is reckless, dangerous. Likewise, the abduction and arrest of Nnamdi Kalu, if not handled carefully, may snowball into a greater crisis. It is time for dialogue and diplomacy and international condemnation of the Nigerian government.
Civil disobedience, protests, and many peaceful expressions of the right to protest must continue until positive change, civility and restructuring can be achieved. Perhaps the hope of the people lies in the hands of the impartial judicial system and the legislative branch of the government. We must not discount their influence. We believe that in good conscience, fairness, and pursuit of the truth, they will rise to the occasion by listening to the voice and understanding the mind of the people and hopefully prevent Nigeria from disintegration.
The culture of domination is no longer acceptable; the institutions must rid themselves of marginalization, nepotism, corruption, violation of human rights, abuse of power, inept officers of the law, arbitrary detention, state-sponsored killings, kidnapping, rapes, and other vices.
Nigeria needs economic growth and development through investment in agriculture, technical education, and entrepreneurship. These activities cannot take place in the environment of insecurities caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.
It is time to address the structural problem and change the constitution. We can no longer pretend that all is well when the nation is on fire. The nation must be restructured with regional autonomy or risk separate ways, peacefully.
There are lots of broken hearts at home in Nigeria and in the diaspora. We have a lot of broken hearts to heal through open dialogue and conversation on how to heal the nation.
However, healing the nation requires trust; trust requires vulnerability, transparency, and seeking the truth.
Are we ready to change the system, commit to the truth and build a new nation?
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and to teach history in our educational system about events and our people. Knowledge is power! Dr. Martin Luther King stated that there is nothing more dangerous than ignorance and conscientious stupidity whether it is willful or cultural ignorance. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and to educate those who oppress us. Nonviolence is a powerful catalyst for transformation, substantive change, and moral conscience. Grace, humility, empathy, understanding, knowledge, and truth are the foundation for moral courage and social change.
- Prof. Babs Onabanjo, USA.