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The part of the geographical area of West Africa that is today referred to as Nigeria came
up as a result of the amalgamation of the formal residents of the place by their British colonial
master, Lord Fredrick Lugard in 191! This has an implication that before 191, the geographical
area and land mass presently referred to as Nigeria ne"er e#isted$ it %as not in the map!
The 191 amalgamation %as a colonial intention to unite the protectorates and peoples of
this area to form a nation under a single go"ernment, although, sometimes after the
amalgamation the protectorates, northern and southern %ere administered separately under the
different go"ernments!
The British colonial policies made the people to see themsel"es as strangers! Before the
amalgamation, some form of ci"ili&ation flourished in these areas and the peoples of this area
before 191 %ere not strangers to themsel"es$ they related %ith each other as autonomous
communities on the basis of trade, inter'marriages, %ar, land disputes, etc! the aim of the
colonialist(s decision to amalgamate this people %as to unify them and administer them as one
under one go"ernment %ith a common goal! But the )uestion here remains, *%as the
amalgamation of the t%o protectorates in 191, in fa"our or to the ad"antage of a particular
protectorate %hich %ould imply it is to the ad"antage of the other group+,
The British by accident of history, under the influence of their colonial administrati"e
po%er, amalgamated the people of the area presently kno%n as Nigeria %ithout the people(s
concern and tagged them *Nigeria,! The name Nigeria as gi"en by Flora -ha% %ho later became
lady Lugard %as influenced by the place(s location across the ri"er Niger basin, con)uered by the
royal Niger company!
There is emphasis on the )uestion of fa"oritism after the amalgamation! As it could be
practically and clearly seen that all the policies and other%ise of the amalgamated people is to
the ad"antage of the northerners! The British argument for fa"oring the north more than the rest
of the groups cannot sur"i"e the test of logic and critical political analysis and scrutiny because
e"en if they did it under the basis and consideration of population, one can still argue against
them because the southern protectorate that %as further di"ided into east and %est are not of the
same population the ans%er to this )uestion still remains on the negati"e! .ust as a political
philosopher %ould say, the indi"idual %ills are submitted to a so"ereignty not to be on the
ad"antage of a particular people but to the ad"antage of all but if other%ise is the case, then the
purpose of the state is defeated!
Who kno%s, if it(s the case that the British %ere trying to re%ard the north for their
faithfulness to the British policy of the indirect rule and to punish the rest for their resistance to
the policy! /f this is the case, then there is a great need for Nigeria to deconstruct and reconstruct
the British structure of Nigeria %hich they ha"e configured to fail, conse)uently built on
in0ustice and pre0udices!
This ser"es as an introduction to the main concern and interest of this term paper, *%ould
you agree %ith the "ie% that there is no basis for Nigeria(s unity,! This is a )uestion of *to be or
not to be,! Before proceeding to the main concern of this term paper %hich %as introduced in
this paragraph, it %ould be of rele"ance if / make a conceptual clarification of terms as they are
used and to be understood in this piece of %ork!
/n this section of this paper, / intend to clarify conceptually the terms as they are used and
to be understood in this %ork! The )uestion1 *%ould you agree %ith the "ie% that there is no
basis for Nigeria(s unity+, one needs to ask some fundamental )uestions that %ill thro% more
light to his understanding of the formal )uestion! The )uestions could be, %hose "ie% is it that
there is no basis for Nigeria(s unity+ What do %e mean by Nigeria, a part of the country or a
holistic perspecti"e of its geographical land mass+ What do %e mean by unity+ These )uestions,
if pro"ided %ith an ans%er %ould be of help to the discuss of this term paper!
When Nigeria is used in this paper it implies and connotes not a particular group or
culture in the country but the %hole of its people! /t therefore implies that am taking a uni"ersal
"ie% of Nigeria and not a particular "ie% of it! Unity: the concept of unity here implies the state
of being in agreement and %orking together$ bonded to form a single unit! This is a )uestion,
begging for ans%er to kno% if there could still be a reason for the peoples amalgamated in 191
by the British colonialist, to still remain together as one or is there a need for separation!
This )uestion / %ould say is tetra headed because it can be looked at from different points
of "ie% but one needs to stick to a particular "ie% point !This is not a )uestion of a yes or a no
because it re)uires a series of debate before one can come to a conclusion of a yes or a no!
Nigeria, ha"ing been united, fa"oring a particular group calls for deconstruction and
reconstruction of the British structure in order to still retain the unity as a nation, and to sa"e the
country from the great perils and dangers of partiality and in0ustice!
Nigeria as its structure and default organi&ation is today is a configuration of failure! 2ne
may be interested to kno% %hy / said so$ for instance, the Nigerian coat of arm contains four
capital "alues or "irtues as the case may be! The "irtues are unity and faith, peace and progress!
3"en %hen these four "irtues are there, / still stand the ground on my feet to say that the "irtues
are incomplete %ithout 0ustice %hen it comes to the administration of a nation state! This is 0ust
an implication that because of our )uest for unity, %e are sacrificing justic %ith all our !"it# on
the altar of $"c all in the name of making $%&'%ss( Let me pose this )uestion, ho% do the
leaders administer the nation to be united in faith for peace and progress %ithout 0ustice+ Faith is
necessary here because %e need to belie"e in the strength of our di"ersity$ there is unity in
di"ersity but there cannot be peace if there is no 0ustice and this implies that the possibility of
progress is on the negati"e because %e cannot progress %ithout peace! /t is our faith that %ith
peace there is unity and united %e make progress but there can(t be peace %ithout 0ustice!
As a matter of fact, one cannot build something on nothing and e#pect it to stand! The
structure of Nigeria today is sinking up in contradiction %ith %hat it is meant to be! 4isregarding
the po%er of 5od as the ultimate creator, / can say that the British did create Nigeria instead of
5od, and this %as done on their o%n moti"es %ithout recourse or reference to the peoples
in"ol"ed! Nigeria is an arbitrary creation of the British! Truly Nigeria %as amalgamated in 191
but %as not integrated! /s it a case that staying together for close to 166 years implies there is
unity+ The ans%er to this )uestion, for me is no because it is a pitiable thing that e"en at the e"e
of our centenary 7191'8619, Nigeria is still in search of Nigerians$ it is still a )uestion of to be
or to depart!
/ belie"e that it is a case that if problems, disputes and misunderstandings %ere not
encountered on the long run, there %ould be no basis on %hich one %ould be posing the )uestion
*%ould you agree %ith the "ie% that there is no basis for Nigeria(s unity+, these problems are
mostly encountered in the social, political and religious endea"ors or %ings of our nation! These
problems ha"e triggered many )uestions begging for ans%ers!
S&ci"+ $%&,+-s &! Ni'%i"
/t is absurd to say that Nigeria is being marginali&ed by Nigerians! The social problem of
this nation state called Nigeria is on the basis of %ho %ould gain more ad"antage, %ho %ould be
gi"en preference o"er the other! /nstances of this could be seen at the educational sector of the
country! Why should a northerner be gi"en more chances and granted educational amnesty o"er a
southerner e"en %hen the latter is better! For e#ample1 t%o candidates applying for a course in
the uni"ersity, one from the north and the other from the south! After formal e#amination, the
t%o got the same mark and the northerner is granted admission at the e#pense of the southerner!
No% the argument for this is that the northerner is educationally disad"antaged, but the )uestion
is, %as it a cause of the southerner+ Why the northerner should be granted educational amnesty
o"er and against the southerner e"en %hen the formal education system is the effort of a
%esterner, 2bafemi A%olo%o, coupled %ith the effort of :hristian missionaries!
The e#ample abo"e is one of the issues that call for the )uestion of if there is still a basis
on %hich the country should remain united$ is there a need for separation+ There are similar
issues at the political backgrounds of the country!
P&+itic"+ $%&,+-s &! Ni'%i"
/n the political administration of Nigeria, the first and ma0or problem is that the
politicians practice politics %ithout ethics! There is no morality or it is on the minimum in
Nigerian politics! Ac)uisition of seats in offices is all about %ho rigs out %ho! /t(s tearful and
"ery shameful that the most freest and fairest election 7.une 189 in the country %as annulled for n
0ust reason! This is %hat / %ould prefer to call electoral and political tragedy$ in0ustice in the
strict sense and malpractice of the highest order! The )ualified and those %ho merit different
seats in administrati"e offices are rather not getting it because of the political idea and concept of
;god'fathernism( in the country!
No% regarding to the upcoming 861< presidential election, the northerners under the
instrumentality of Boko =aram are threatening brimstone and fire, there %ould be bloodshed if
.onathan should contest for the election! /s it a case that .onathan is not eligible for the seat or
that he did not meet the re)uirements of candidacy for presidential election! 2n the contrary, the
Niger delta people are also gi"en their condition for peace and that is if and only if >resident
5oodluck .onathan must emerge the president in 861< presidential election! These are people
speaking as if they ha"e the monopoly and franchise of "iolence! These are the kind of
statements that cannot help in nation building! These are the things that %ould not let Nigeria
%ork! No% %here are %e, %hich stand do %e take %hen threat is coming from different
dimensions of the country+ :ome to think of it, po%er has stayed in the north for ?9 years out of
the <? years of Nigeria(s independence!
/n the distribution of resources, it seems the %hole re"enue generated from the resources
are been taking to a particular part of the country! Nigeria is a country of ?@ states$ 19 of these
states are in the north %hile the remaining part of the country shares 1A states! The country has
AA local go"ernments %ith the north ha"ing 19 %hile the remaining t%o parts of the country,
the east and the %est shares ??<! / can still go further to bring it to the fore that there are 1?@
seats in the country(s house of representati"es$ @B of these seats %ere gi"en to the north in the
times past as a condition to still remain in the fold of Nigeria %hile the rest groups share @B
making it ? seats for each group, the east and %est! This is %hat / %ould simply like to refer to
as the @B, ?, ? e)uation! /f this is the case on %hat basis %ill they not %in if they make a
proposal in the assembly+ Their proposal %ould al%ays pass as far as they all supports it!
When it comes to distribution of resources and re"enue funds, it is been done based on
land mass and population! There is deliberate falsification of results and facts in order to fa"our a
particular place for e#ample, Cano a state in the north of the country and Lagos a state in the
%est %ere said to ha"e the same population density in the time past! A state, .iga%a %as further
created out of Cano and Lagos has al%ays remained as it %as! 3"en after the creation of a state
out of Cano, it is still taken to be a fact that Lagos and Cano are of the same population density,
taking reference from the population result of the last census! Who is fooling %ho+ This is a pure
and deliberate falsification of fact in fa"our of the north! The British configured e"erything to the
ad"antage of the north by granting them double of anything the rest of the group gets and this has
been the %ay things are since 191 till date!
This is a political in0ustice and an administrati"e malpractice1 Why should the
go"ernment mine the crude oil from the Niger delta and %ent ahead to build the largest
7nonfunctional9 refinery in the north, Caduna! De"enues are a%arded to states based on land
mass and population and it is crystal clear that almost half of the country(s land mass is attributed
to be north and they are said to be the most populated under the basis of falsified facts of
population census result, and for this reason they are gi"en the higher re"enue funds e"en %hen
these re"enues are not generated from resources mined from their territory! The northerners are
being gi"ing undue pri"ileges! -haria police in the north destroyed thousand bottles of bear in
their territory and at the same time, they collect more of the re"enues generated from the "alue
added ta# gotten from the sales and consumption of alcohol! These are the things that are not
letting Nigeria %ork!
EEE -okoto state once chose their acronym to be *born to rule, though this is altered at
the inter"ention of other groups, but the mentality and philosophy behind the coinage is still
P%&,+- &! !.%"ti&n
4espite the fact that the people of Nigeria %ere amalgamated under a common political
authority by the British in 191, the north and the south de"eloped une"enly! At independence,
Nigeria %as shot through the feelings of suspicion1 northerners feared domination by the more
ad"anced southerners, %ho in turn feared domination by the larger north! As at then, the three
main political parties deri"ed their strength from the region each one of the controlled! The
federal system of go"ernment could not contain these fears of domination %hich %ere
compounded by the absence of effecti"e national political parties committed to national
1 Sally Dyson (ed). From the pages of DRUM magazine. Nigeria the birth of Africa’s greatest country,
volume . spectrum boos limited! "badan. 1##$.
R+i'i&us $%&,+-s
There is freedom of %orship in the country in the sense that one is free to 0oin a religion
of his choice but some religions are imposing there practices upon others for e#ample the /slamic
religion, the Fuslims %ho think they ha"e the monopoly of "iolence that in e"erything they
%ould be treating people %ith "iolence!
A ma0or problem here is that religions are interfering %ith the go"ernment! Foney are
been taken from the state bag to send people to holy lands like /srael and Fecca! As / kno%,
religion is meant for the state and not the state for the religions! Deligions no% are carrying out
their pro0ects through the instrumentality of the state and all in the name of the state! A typical
e#ample of this is the merging of t%o missionary schools of different religions together, %hich
may be as a result of one religion trying to suppress the other!
There is a base for Nigeria(s unity and / e)ually agree %ith the "ie% that there is a basis
for Nigeria(s unity! This is 0ust a matter of accepting and appreciating our different cultural and
social difference as a result of our di"ersity! There is unity in di"ersity! For the fact that the
country is made up of different cultures and peoples that are "ery di"erse in their backgrounds
and orientation, and for the "ery fact that the country has been mal'administered in the past taken
its root from the colonial masters, does not call for separation! This "ery problem that has its root
from the colonial Nigeria must be brought to the present conte#t and an ans%er and solution
must be pro"ided to the )uestions and problems respecti"ely! We need to look beyond our
differentials and cultural di"ersity in order to see the fundamental bond of unity %ithin us!
We should learn ho% to li"e together, focusing on ho% people from childhood can be
taught ho% to disco"er people, and ho% education can instill in them the lo"e for di"ersity, the
need for tolerance and respect for the right of others! Additionally, it %ill help us to achie"e
common pro0ects and a team spirit as a nation! There is e)ually a need to reform the
administrati"e system of the country! /n reforming the administrati"e system of the country, it
%ould re)uire a comprehensi"e reform package that %ill include political restructuring of the
country, economic independence of the states and a di"ersification of the country(s sources of
generating re"enue and funds for the economy!
/t is not the case that Nigeria is not %orking because of the di"ersity she has! Nigeria is
actually %orkable and there is e)ually a sense that one can talk about a Nigeria before 191 and
this is based on the premises of the robust inter'group relationship that bet%een the people that
formed Nigeria before the colonial era, although they related %ith each other on the basis of
autonomy! Nigeria(s e#istence is not predicated on any fundamental 0ustice and this is %hat is
making it not %orkable$ but that is not to say it cannot %ork! There are things that differentiate us
and there are e)ually things that unite us, so %e need not to focus on the things that differentiate
us but let us concentrate on the things %e ha"e in common, the things that unite us!
There is a need to correct the fundamental defect of the British colonial and
amalgamation policies %hich %ere rooted in in0ustice or our hope for a better future Nigeria %ill
remain 0ust a hope! Deforms need to be taken seriously or Nigeria %ould be heading to 5olgotha
for crucifi#ion! We must not li"e in denial of the fact and reality of history but there is urgent
need to correct these defects and to do this, %e need to come together and discuss the terms
under %hich %e could li"e together! We need to con"oke a council and ha"e a sincere and fair
dialogue on ho% best to li"e together! This is not a conclusi"e issue, the country is at the "erge of
e#ploding and if nothing is done, %e may not be able to re"erse the time of disintegration!
Amalgamation as a concept is needful in a situation of di"ersity %here there are di"erse
people but should and must not be done under the premises of in0ustice and preference! The
political history of colonialism and the circumstances of amalgamating Nigeria %ere not
"oluntary! The amalgamation %as not done on the basis of e)uality or mutual respect of
relationship! The formal people of the place Nigeria %as depri"ed of the opportunity of %illingly
coming together and this is the ultimate problem resulting from the Berlin conference!
% &aul '. "riefe. Why Nigeria is not working: the predicament and the promise. (raft boos limited!
Sango "badan! 'yo state! )igeria. %*1+.
To keep Nigeria united is a task that must be done! 2ne may ask on %hat basis+ .ustice
must be done and this is %hat is lacking!
The differences in culture, religion, language and other aspects of life of the Nigerian
peoples ha"e made it difficult to form a country of one ideological orientation! This is 0ust a
matter of managing and utili&ing our di"ersity! /t is pitiable that e"en after staying together as
one country, Nigeria, for close to 166 years, %e are still referred to as the peoples of Nigeria!
2ne can still pose the )uestion %ho is a Nigerian! Nigeria does not kno% %ho Nigerians are yet
e"en as %e are still young as an independent de"eloping country! / %onder if it(s %hen the
country reaches menopause that these issues %ould be addressed!
The peoples of Nigeria in the pre'colonial era had nothing much in common$ they %ere
not united, by culture, religion or ideology and for this reason they became strange bed fello%s
%hen they %ere brought together by the British "ia the amalgamation of 191! As a result and
effect of the principle of di"ide and rule other%ise kno%n as the indirect rule system, the people
of Nigeria %ere not closely administered together and this brought about local particularism!
=ence after the nation(s independence there %as and still the difficulty of reconciling the peoples
to be united in ideology and orientation as they are from different backgrounds, but this does not
call for separation$ a solution should be pro"ided to the problem rather!
1! >aul 2! /rikefe! Why Nigeria is not working: the predicament and the promise. Craft books
limited, -ango /badan, 2yo state, Nigeria! 861?!
8! -ally 4yson 7ed9! From the pages of 4DHF maga&ine! Nigeria the birth of Africa’s greatest
country, volume. -pectrum books limited, /badan!199B!
?! Fichael 2moI Certificate history of Nigeria.
! 166 )uestions on %est Africa!