These, indeed, are trying times for Nigeria. There is no gainsaying that the nation has precariously hanged on the precipice for some time now.
If it is not the marauding murderers called Boko Haram that has been ravaging the North East, it would be the Niger Delta militants and their nefarious activities that have brought the nation on its kneels.
There are also the problems foisted on her by cattle rustlers, the seemingly intractable Fulani herdsmen and farmers clashes that appear to be spreading all over the country.
Then there is also the issue of cries for self-determination from various ethnic nationalities, who feel short-changed in the national scheme of things.
Recently, the Nnamdi Kanu led Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) called out a sit at home order in the South East region. To say that the order literally shut down the entire region is only stating the obvious.
Perhaps, as a direct response to IPOB action in the South East, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum met in Kaduna and issued an October 1, deadline to all Igbos living in the North to quit the region.
Expectedly, the indiscretion of the Arewa group was roundly condemned by many Nigerians except for some like Ango Abdullahi, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) spokesperson, who, given his age and experience many would have thought would have applied wisdom, choose to further fan the embers of discord by sanctioning the action of the Arewa youths.
Between then and now it has been either one threat or the other and the presidency has been holding meetings with various stakeholders to address what is clearly a distraction, at a time when the nation’s recession is gradually and steadily decimating the ordinary citizens.
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in his various meetings with concerned groups has also stated clearly that the nation’s unity is non-negotiable, while also warning to deal with anybody or group that plunges the nation into any crisis.
Since assuming responsibility as the head of government following the health challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo has shown leadership, wisdom and maturity in most of his dealings.
He also has shown that, perhaps, if handled differently, many of the tensions around the nation, since the coming of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government, would probably not have arisen in the first place.
Easily the most common discussion today is project Nigeria. To be or not to be?
However, the general consensus is that Nigeria is better together than apart. For the average Nigerian on the street, this is not his problem. He is consistently worried by the fact that he can hardly put food on the table for his family.
That the Nnamdi Kanus are celebrities today is as a result of the injustice and inequality that permeate the nation. Address the problems and all these agitators would be out of jobs.
On June 14, the Senate called on Professor Osinbajo, to forward the report of 2014 National Conference report for appropriate legislative action.
According to the Senate, deliberations on the recommendations of the conference will be the way forward for the country, even as it harped on the nation’s restructuring as a way out of its numerous problems.
The request for the 2014 confab reports followed submissions made to that effect by senators, mostly of All Progressives Congress (APC), during debate at plenary
The senate should be commended for making this bold step. The issue as to the unity of the nation is not debatable. However, there is an urgent need to address some of the problems that have held us back as a nation.
There is the need to reduce the unhealthy concentration of power at the centre, at the expense of the federating units that make up a federation. We need to also ask why a child of a minister from Borno who scored 50 at the entrance examination into a unity college can gain admission, while that of a peasant from Lagos or Delta that scored 120 cannot, just because he is unfortunate to come from a part of the nation derisively referred to as educationally advantaged state.
How can a nation that cannot conduct a simple routine exercise as census, as a result of parochial interests attain greatness?
The obvious lopsidedness in the recent recruitment into the Department of State Services (DSS) also highlighted the fault lines that have been the bane of Nigeria.
The half-hearted explanations by Lawal Daura, Director-General of the DSS, further justified the worry by other ethnic nationalities of planned northern domination.
For as long as we continue to look at national issues only through parochial lenses, we would continue to grope in the dark. The time to discuss Nigeria is now. A Nigeria where federal character will be based on merit and or not on mediocrity. A nation where we consciously play up those things that unite us more than those that divide. A nation where a leader elected at the centre sees the nation as his constituency and not areas where he got more votes. Anything short of these would continue to throw up more Kanus and Dokubos.