The 2014 Nigerian National Conference: Facts Nigerians Must Know, By C.D. Orike

Before January 1914, there was no COUNTRY in the world called and known as NIGERIA.

The Northern territory of what is now known as Nigeria was inhabited by different independent ethnic nationalities, kingdoms and some socio-economic formations.

The JIHAD brought about the imposition of Islamic religion on the people of the Northern territory.image

Similarly, the Southern territory of what is now known as Nigeria was inhabited by different independent ethnic nationalities, kingdoms and some socio-economic formations.

The advent of the British Colonial masters brought about the imposition of Christianity and Western education on the people of the Southern territory.

In the year 1900 the British government took control of the Trade territory belonging to the ROYAL NIGER COMPANY which was under the leadership of Sir George .T. Goldie.

In the year 1901 the British government made the territory a British protectorate and a part of the British Empire.

In the year 1914, under Governor General Lord Fredrick Lugard, the British government formally united the people of the NIGER AREA as the COLONY and protectorate of NIGERIA. This exercise was known as the Amalgamation. But administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Provinces and LAGOS Colony.

The Amalgamation exercise was done without a Referendum or Plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people.

It was, therefore, a FORCED Union which remained so until October 01, 1960 when Nigeria gained independence regardless of expressed fears of domination and demands for self-determination by various minority ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.

It is a truism that the modus operandi of all Imperial governments and Colonialists is the use of force to conquer and subdue the people of the Colonies. That achieved, they proceed to loot, plunder, and confiscate the people’s Assets for their home governments. They are usu ally no different from an Occupation Army in a conquered territory.

The ‘NIGER AREA People’ (NIGERIA) given as the name of the Country after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern territories is merely a geographical description. It is in the same manner that they named Gold Coast (now GHANA) and IVORY COAST by geographical descriptions. There is therefore nothing sacrosanct or even sentimental about the name NIGERIA.

Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was therefore correct in saying that Nigeria was “a mere geographical expression’.

If our Nation, Nigeria, had a common ancestry or heritage, perhaps, we could have just before or after independence changed the name –NIGERIA. Like individuals, nations also do seek identity. Accordingly, some Nations before or after the attainment of independence change their name in an effort to preserve their history and rich heritage. Northern Rhodesia changed to ZAMBIA and Southern Rhodesia changed to ZIMBABWE.

Gold Coast changed its name to GHANA. The Ghana name change caused some misgivings.

President Kwame NKWRUMAH’s political opponents contended that Ghana was not a vocabulary of any of the languages of the ethnic groups in the country. They contended that President Kwame NKRUMAH who was popularly called “OSAGYEFO” (The MESIAH) was too ambitious and was planning to make himself synonymous with the Nation. As a logical sequence of their reasoning, they contended that GHANA was a coinage of President Kwame NKRUMAH which meant – ‘GOD HAS ACCEPTED NKRUMAH ALREADY’. – G – H – A – N – A.

But this is not true. Rather GHANA is reminiscent of the source of the name GUINEA and Ghana sits upon the Gulf of Guinea. The French called it GUINOVE and used to refer to the West African Coast of Ghana as the Gulf of Guinea.

Ghana was adopted as the legal name for the area covering four separate Constitutional positions, namely:

The Colony of the Gold Coast
The Colony of Ashanti
The Protectorate of the Northern Territories, and
The Trust Territory of Togo land (under British administration)
The British Minister over seeing Ghana’s independence Charles Arden-Clarke (Lord Listowel) confirmed that the name GHANA was chosen in accordance with the wishes of the local people.

Historically, an ancient empire once sprawled over the areas of Ghana, Mali, to Guinea. This must have informed Kwame NKRUMAH’s formation of the Ghana – Guinea – Mali Union. KWAME NKRUMAH just like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, always played broker politics and never played ethnic politics. Both men had their university education in the United States of America. Their politics must have been influenced by the American education.

Dr. Azikiwe after his studies in the United States of America returned to Africa and lived and worked in the Gold Coast (Ghana) in the mid – 1930s with great men such as the elder States man Dr. J.B. DANQUAH – the Doyen of Gold Coast politics who unfortunately in his later life was detained by the Nkrumah government and thrown into the notorious dark underground Prison called NSAWAM. That is the other side of African politics! During the military regime in Nigeria we had our own version of the South African’s notorious ROBBEN ISLAND (where MANDELA was in prison). That of Nigeria was at ITA-OKO Island off Epe, near Lagos where people were ferried to and detained.

Truly, man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands weep. We all forget that life is short, and what is more, it is very uncertain.

Kwame Nkrumah was himself over thrown from office while he was abroad on official visit by a Military Coup code named “OPERATION COLD CHOP” led by Field Marshal AKWASI AFRIFA on 24 February 1966 – One month and Nine days after the Nigeria first military coup of Saturday 15 January 1966.

On October 01, 1960 Nigeria gained independence and became free from British rule. This meant that the BONDAGE had ended. It also meant that their ownership of the Assets and the Mineral of the people of Nigeria had ended.

But our political founding fathers Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Late Ahmadu Bello and Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo failed to undertake some crucial initial political tasks of holding a National Conference to determine –

Whether they should go their separate ways – Nnamdi Azikiwe to the East, Sir Ahmadu Bello to the North and Chief Abafemi Awolowo to the West. After all, that type of arrangement was made for South West and North West parts of the Cameroon which were part of Nigeria. In 1961 (one year after our independence) a plebiscite was held to decide whether they will remain in Nigeria or join the French speaking Republic of Cameroon. The uncertainty surrounding what will be the outcome of the plebiscite caused the people of both countries ominous feelings. The result of the plebiscite was as follows:-
The North Western part of Cameroon opted to remain in Nigeria (within the North Eastern part of the Northern Region of Nigeria). When the LAMIDO of Adamawa, at the ongoing Nigerian National Conference spoke of having where to go to if pushed out, (of Nigeria), he knew what he was saying. And he was absolutely correct.

The South Western part of Cameroon opted out of the Eastern region of Nigeria.

The result created population in-balance between the North and South of Nigeria.

The result also specifically reduced the population of the Eastern Region of Nigeria.

The result affected the name of my political party- the C.N.C. (National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons). Since the South Western part of Cameroon was no more part of Nigeria, and as they and their leader Dr. ENDELEY had joined the Republic of Cameroon, the name Cameroon in N.C.N.C had to be drooped.

However, to retain the initials N.C.N.C which was popular with the Nigerian electorates, the new name became National Council of Nigerian Citizens – the same N.C.N.C initials.

But out of mischief, our political opponents and detractors called us N.C.N.C – NO CASH, NO CO-OPERATION! They probably believed that enough lobbying was not done to persuade the people of South West Cameroon stay with the Eastern Region of Nigeria. Others attributed the loss of South West Cameroon to marginalisation or unfair treatment they alleged to have experienced in Eastern Nigeria.

The point here is that a similar exercise should have been done for the North and South of Nigeria to determine their wishes.

(b) Whether they should stay together, and if so, under what clear terms and conditions which should have been reduced to structures and institutions.

Rather than do this, they assumed UNITY as a given. The failure to undertake that initial crucial political exercise amounts to what Professor ALI MAZURI called “a truncation of politics” in other words, they turned politics upside down.

Had they done this exercise at that time, Nigeria would have been saved from all the troubles it has had since independence including the civil war, and there would have been no need for the 2014 Nigerian National Conference.

This is why the 2014 National Conference should have been courageous enough to undertake surgical operations and not just paper over crucial and fundamental national issues. Admittedly, the hands of the Conference members were tied by President Jonathan’s directives on ‘No Go AREAS’ for discussion.

Much as it is mandatory that the President should always be ‘Politically correct’ I am not so sure that the President has the power to gag and determine the destiny of Nigerians when he is not a DICTATOR or a Military President. Past Nigerian Presidents have always taken an aloof position of not tackling what they regard as ‘the delicate and risky task’ of re-structuring Nigeria. They fear that such an exercise may lead to the disintegration of the Country. They therefore say that Nigeria will not disintegrate in their time (tenure).

Very well said, but if it is not in their time, in whose time will it happen? Is it a case of after me, the deluge? It is an unpatriotic and uncharitable attitude. The issue is not, and should not be, that of whose time (tenure), but whether such outcome is the ONLY solution that would be beneficial to, and in the best interest of the Majority of the people now living, and of generations yet unborn. Surely, it is more preferable to serve the interests of those majority of Nigerians than the interest of one man’s desire. The interest of the whole country should be paramount. Infact Nigeria’s history will be kind to a bold and courageous Nigerian President who re-structures Nigeria to the point of stability and durability.

Only courageous and bold individuals build Nations. Examples are Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

Our political founding fathers also made a great mistake in not undertaking the exercise of examining all the British Colonial Laws imposed on Nigeria and its people for the benefit and interest of the British Crown and government.

Such laws that expropriated the people’s lands and Mineral Wealth for the British Crown should have been expunged from our laws because the British Colonia Master had gone and the succeeding Nigerian government was not a Colonial Master.

Nigeria should have borrowed some lessons from the United States of America. On attainment of independence in 1776 from British rule, it abrogated all obnoxious British legislations, and rejected the British system of government. It declared itself a Republic with freedom to all citizens (except Slaves) and right for all citizens to own and hold Real Property, Mineral Wealth and Moveable Property.

Even General George Washington rejected the offer to assume office as the king of America preferring to be a President instead of king.

In keeping with the policy of the United States government, land and Mineral Wealth belong to the owners of the land and not to the United States government.

Rather than undertake such an exercise, the succeeding Nigerian government erroneously thought it was the heir and successor to the departed British Colonial government and accordingly had the right to inherit all the lands and mineral wealth of the people of Nigeria in the same manner as the British Colonial government did. Ofcourse the Nigerian government has no such right to do so. The British Colonial government did so because Nigeria was a colonized or conquered territory of the British and accordingly the British government owned all the Assets and Wealth of Nigeria. The Nigerian government is not in the same position.

Sir Ahmadu Bello on his own part should have taken a proactive step in the interest of the Northern territory. It is clear that the Northern territory and the Southern territory were never one country until the Amalgamation of 1914. It is also clear that the Northern territory had embraced ISLAM as its Religion long before the Amalgamation, and the Southern territory had also embraced Christianity, long before the Amalgamation.

Sir Ahmadu Bello, as leader of the Northern territory should have borrowed from the precedent set by INDIA.

Before the 14th of August 1947 the country, INDIA consisted of PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH and INDIA. The three countries made up what was INDIA before 14th August 1947.

The North Western part of INDIA was predominantly MOSLEMS while the rest of the Country was predominantly HINDUS.

There were several other smaller religious groups. The Moslem North Western part led by Muhammad Ali JINNAH demanded from the British government that independence be granted to them separately as an ISLAMIC country. The demand was granted. On the 14th of August 1947 independence was granted to the North Western part as PAKISTAN while the rest of INDIA had their independence the next day 15th August 1947.

Had Sir Ahmadu Bello, knowing that the Northern territory was predominantly Moslems, and knowing that the Northern territory and the Southern territory were never one country any way, borrowed the precedent set by INDIA which had their independence from the same British government thirteen (13) years before Nigeria (1960) the British government would have granted. It would have amounted to a mere de-amalgamation of the 1914 amalgamation. Had this been done, there would have been no need for the 2014 Nigerian National Conference. There would have been no need for BOKO Haram whose desire is to establish an Islamic Repulic of Northern Nigeria in line with what late Colonel Gaddafi of Libya had always advocated.

It appears that by demanding an Islamic Rebublic of Northern Nigeria, they have gone beyond their brief by their sponsors to destabilize the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. This is an utter astonishment for their sponsors.

Our political Founding Fathers chose not to go their separate ways after independence on October 01, 1960. Sir Ahmadu Bello also did not demand independence separately for the Northern territory of Nigeria.

It is rational to assume that there must have existed an implied voluntary CONSENT to stay together in the spirit of the SOCIAL CONTRACT theory which is based on the understanding that individuals or groups in a polity voluntarily agree to give up some of their rights and freedom to the Ruler or the State in return for Protection to be given to them by the Ruler or the State. Consequently, the Ruler or the State acquires and reserves the monopoly right to acquire and possess the instruments of coercion within the polity with which to use in maintaining law and order and provide the protection it had undertaken to provide.

Individuals can only acquire such instruments of coercion by licence or permit from the Ruler or the State. In return for the protection given by the State, individuals pay fees (ie. taxes) to the Ruler or the State. The State uses the taxes paid to pay for and maintain the protection operations and other State services.

Modern States employ Ideological State Apparatuses to build good societies and good citizens within their polity.

However, because of the possibility that some people in the polity could be contumacious, the State also employs Repressive State Apparatuses to maintain order in the polity.

The State does not usually receive more than the tax from the individuals for the protection services.

Accordingly the State is not entitled to expropriate the Lands, Assets and Mineral Wealth of the individuals because of the protection provided. As a matter of fact the State protection covers the protection of the individuals and their Assets.

Since the staying together of the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria is by implied voluntary consent in the spirit of The SOCIAL CONTRACT and not by conquest, it is therefore strange and indeed an anomaly that the Nigerian State expropriates the Lands, Assets and Mineral Wealth of individuals and groups and re-distributes the wealth expropriated like a Communist regime. This is legally and morally wrong.

The only government entitled to expropriate the people’s assets is an Imperial Colonial government such as the British Colonial era before October 01, 1960. Under that regime even ourselves were like British property.

We were either British subjects or British protected persons. The country’s assets belonged to the British government. Today, we are Nigerian citizens, not subjects, and our assets belong to us or should belong to us.

Another type of government that is entitled to expropriate people’s assets is an occupation Army. If another country defeats Nigeria in a war, it will be entitled to occupy the territory, loot and plunder our assets. The Israeli-Arab seven days war entitled Israel to occupy the territories they had over-run and captured.

The Nigeria State has never defeated the ethnic groups in Nigeria to warrant its rights to expropriate the assets of Nigerians.

Since the decision to stay together was by implied voluntary consent and not under duress or coercion, it means that groups could advocate for self-determination if they are not satisfied with the union. In any event, the United Nations Charter and the Africa Union Charter provide for Self-Determination.

Nigeria is a signatory to both Charters. Groups could seek their self-determination under United Nations Resolutions 1514 and 1541.

Some countries make provisions in their Constitution for any of their constituent part to opt out from the Union if dissatisfied. Ethiopia is one such example.

Unfortunately for Nigeria, the people of Nigeria have never made a constitution for themselves. The Nigerian government has always made a Constitution for the people. This is very wrong.
A nation’s constitution is and should be a product of the people and never a product of the government. Just as a company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association is a product of the Shareholders and Subscribers of the company and not that of the Board of Directors of the company so also is the Constitution of a nation the product of its people and not of its government.

At the end of President MUBARAK’S regime, a new constitution was proposed for Egypt. The people of Egypt had to vote to give approval to the proposals for the new constitution. Even Ghana which gained political independence on 6th of March 1957 had a Constitutional Referendum in 1960. The lesson to be learnt from that exercise is the Ghana government’s recognition that the ultimate power of deciding which way to go rests with the people and not with the government.

But in Nigeria, the people are never given their right to make their constitution.

The preamble to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 begins with “WE THE PEOPLE of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HAVING firmly and solemnly resolved:……………..” “DO HEREBY MAKE AND GIVE TO OURSELVES the following Constitution”. This is pure political Poppery. The people of Nigeria have never made a Constitution for themselves. As long as our system is based on falsehood, so long will we end up in contradictions and irregularities.

The State, NIGERIA established for us by the British is a multi-national State – one State, many nations, which by its very nature is fundamentally problematic because there is an in-built instability which was created by The National Question. The problem of the National Question is bound to occur in a multinational State such as Nigeria. A multi-national State like Nigeria cannot be governed in a UNITARY system under a democratic setting.

Since May 24, 1966 when General IRONSI promulgated Decree No. 34 which stated that Nigeria shall cease to be a Federation but shall be a Republic, Nigeria has been governed de facto as a Unitary System but de jure it is a Federation. This is one of the greatest undoings of the Nigerian State. Administering Nigeria as a Unitary State was said to be one of the major reasons for killing General IRONSI on 29th July 1966 and over throwing his military government.

Yet, since then every successive government in Nigeria has been administered as a Unitary System.

A multi-national State like Nigeria can only be governed in a Unitary System under a Military regime or under a Dictatorship.

Multi-national countries like Nigeria in a democratic setting can only be governed by a system that gives complete autonomy to the different units.

Whether countries like Nigeria can survive as a Federation is doubtful, unless ofcourse, as a true autonomous fiscal federation. The Harvard University Encyclopaedia on Ethnicity supports this view point.

A thorough study of These Two quotations (A) and (B) will throw more light and reveal the true picture of the Nigerian situation.

(A) “Assuming that the impossible were feasible that this collection of self-contained and mutually independent Native States, separated from one another, as many of them are, by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethno-logical, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers, were indeed capable of being welded into homogeneous nation- a deadly blow would thereby be struck at the very root of national self-government in Nigeria, which secures to each separate people the right to maintain its identity, its individuality, and its nationality; its own chosen form of government, and the peculiar political and social institution which have been evolved for it by the wisdom and by the accumulated experience of generations of its forbearers.” Sir Hugh (Hugh Clifford), former Governor-General of Nigeria.

(B) “Nigeria has actually pursued the politics of ethnic, religious, and regional cleavages to the point of violent, bloody and disintegrating civil war. In a way, Nigeria represents the most troubling and most complex aggregation of all the structural problems in African politics today… Nigeria deserves special mention. Since independence, Nigeria has witnessed chronic elite and communal instability, ethnic riots, rebellions, several coups d’etats, ethnic pogroms, and a thirty-month bloody civil war. The country was in grip of chronic disintegration forces from 1962-1970. Of all countries in Africa, Nigeria is unique in its special combination and convergence of chronic regionalism, ethnic exclusivity and intolerance, religious polarization; and political organization power drives within a structure of ruthless, even banal competition” (Raymond .L. Hall).

Quotation (A) is a speech by former Governor – General of Nigeria Sir HUGH (HUGH CLIFFORD). It is undisputable that the speech is an unbiased, non-subjective and most objective xray of the Nigerian nation. It does not admit of any debate to say that Nigeria is made up of different autonomous ethnic nationalities that are not related to one another by culture, language or religion and accordingly should not be welded together and administered as a Unitary System.

Quotation (B) is a commentary on Nigeria by RAYMOND .L. HALL. It is a true account of Nigeria. Every sentence, every word contained therein is true. Since the Amalgamation of 1914 to date, the relationship between the people of northern Nigeria and the people of southern Nigeria has been rough and bumpy.

As far back as the mid-1950s when Late Chief Anthony ENAHORO moved a MOTION in Lagos at the Legislative Council, calling for Nigerian’s independence from British rule, the people of northern Nigeria reacted very violently against it. They went on rampage slaughtering in cold blood southern Nigerians resident in northern Nigeria like rams.

This took place mostly in the city of KANO. Since then, periodic slaughtering in cold blood of southern Nigerians resident in northern Nigeria is a common place. We donot have evidence of such periodic slaughterings occurring in southern Nigeria amongst the ethnic groups of southern Nigeria.

The HATE CRUSADE is limited to northern Nigeria versus southern Nigeria.

In our own time, we are witnessing another violent resistance from northern Nigeria – daring to tear down the country because Dr. Goodluck JONATHAN is president of Nigeria and must be removed from office by all means. If I may ask – Did majority of the Nigerian electorates not vote for Dr. Goodluck JONATHAN in the year 2011 and if we no longer want him, is it not the normal democratic practice and process to ensure that we donot vote for him again? It is certainly not by planting BOMBS and killing of innocent people. President JONATHAN should be allowed to remain where GOD, the People of Nigeria, and History have put him. We did so for Presidents Aliyu Shehu Shagari in 1979; Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007.

Let him that is houseless today not pull down the house of another, but let him work hard to build one for himself and by example ensuring that his house will be free from violence when built.

The most explosive micro variables for ethnic discord in the Nigerian State are POLITICS RELIGION and ETHNICITY. The political problems of Nigeria cannot adequately be solved without drastically dealing with those three explosive micro-variables.

Nigeria owes its holistic existence up to this day to the Nigerian Army for drastically dealing with the delicate issue of States creation. From 1960 to date, Nigerian civilian governments created only ONE State – The Mid-Western Region in 1963 fearing that creation of States will destroy Nigeria, even though they knew that autonomy to the various ethnic groups was needed to keep Nigeria and Nigerians quiet and together. A similar scenario is what is playing out now in the issue of re-structuring Nigeria so that the CRACKS do not lead to the collapse of the huge edifice called NIGERIA.

We need experienced Political Structural Engineers “and not otherwise” to do the job. Nigeria’s political sickness is a Dangerous one and requires a Dangerous medicine to treat it. A doctor will not treat an Ebola virus patient with Panadol, and he will not treat a Breast Cancer patient with Aspirin – unless ofcourse the doctor’s intention is to let the patient die! Those who are treating Nigeria’s political sickness with Panadol and Aspirin want Nigeria to die.

We can look at countries with multi-national composition such as Switzerland (4 different groups) and Canada (2 different groups) and make necessary adaptations.

Accordingly there are three viable options for Nigeria, namely:-
A Mutual Separation. A referendum or a Plebiscite is necessary for the people to decide whether or not to separate.
Czechoslovakia’s mutual separation has been hailed and famously referred to as the ‘VELVET DIVORCE’. It provides the world with a lesson to emulate.

Several important and great nations like Nigeria have gone through that process e.g. The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics- Sixteen Republic in all) have broken up. Yugoslavia (once under President TITO – President for Life) has broken up. So also CZECHOSLOVAKIA, INDIA, and the SUDAN. In human associations, these break-ups do occur and will continue to occur. Civilizations do emerge and sometimes disappear. Empires rise and fall. With the Nation as with the Individual and other living things, a Hero can perish, and even a Sparrow may fall. But the world moves on ad infinitum. There is hardly anything new on Earth.

In September 2014 the people of SCOTLAND will go for a Referendum in which they will vote to break up from the United Kingdom – a union that was entered into in July 1708 (306 years ago). So, even the Britain that forcefully united Nigeria is breaking up. Separation appears to be the trend of the modern world.

After many years’ experience, these countries must have found out that human-beings joining together by CHEMISTRY what GOD has put asunder does not work out satisfactorily.

In such unions there is truly no common vision, no common interest, and no common objective.

Within the nationalities making up the Union there is common interest, vision and objective. But within the Union itself as an entity interests are diverse and divided. And that is truly the case in Nigeria.

In 1966 former Military Head of State Lt. Col. Gowon (as he then was) said that the basis for unity in Nigeria does not exist. He was absolutely correct. As it relates to Nigeria UNITY is an illusory concept. A separation now or in the near future may be the ultimate solution.

One could even argue that UNITY is an essentially contested concept as it relates to the Nigeria situation.

A Confederation in which all the States will be the confederating units. The units will be similar to the Status of member countries of our regional or sub regional organization such as ECOWAS

A true autonomous fiscal federalism with the federating units contributing equally to sustain the services of the Central government.

The Author’s first choice from the above three viable options is OPTION (C). The second choice is OPTION (B) and the third choice is OPTION (A).

What really is desirable and feasible in a multi-national State like Nigeria is co-operation and collaboration amongst the various Units making up the country. The Units do not necessarily need to be united to achieve co-operation and collaboration. Different friendly countries do easily achieve co-operation and collaboration among themselves without necessarily being united.

The demand for a true autonomous fiscal federalism presupposes that Nigerians have agreed to stay together.

Nigerians should therefore be allowed to decide whether they want a true autonomous fiscal federation system now in practice.

A REFERENDUM should be held to determine what Nigerians want. If we fail to undertake this exercise now, we would be making the same mistakes our founding fathers made immediately after our independence in October 1960.

The aim of the above proposals is to destroy the centralized and unitary system currently practiced in Nigeria. If that is achieved, we would have also destroyed the do or die type of competition to grab power at the centre.

What Nigerians need most is the development of the country – manpower development, economic development and infrastructural development. These cannot easily and quickly be achieved under a centralized system. Only a decentralized system with autonomy and a lot of money to each of the States in Nigeria can achieve them.

The development of Nigeria is measured in the thirty six (36) States and in the Seven hundred and seventy four (774) Local Government Areas and Area Councils, and not in Abuja. This is why Nigerians have hailed State Governors that have performed well in the development of their States – such as Governors FASHOLA of Lagos State, AREGBESOLA of Oshun State, MIMIKO of Ondo State, AMAECHI of Rivers State, AKPABIO of Akwa-Ibom State, CHIME of Enugu State, SHEMA of Katsina State, LAMIDO of Jigawa State and some others.

Nigeria can be easily developed with our own economic and man power resources if we as a matter of deliberate policy decide to do so. Most projects such as six to eight lanes inter-State express roads; railways and commercial agriculture can be undertaken by way of under Public-Private-Partnership arrangements. Specifically, large scale commercial agricultural plantations should be undertaken. To add value and obtain better prices, and to provide employment, the produce from the plantations such as tomatoes, maize, rice, groundnuts, spices, cassava etc should be warehoused in temperature regulated silos after harvesting, and from there to processing factories.

Solar Energy Panel farms could be established in some of the northern States. The northern States have more re-newable natural resources than the southern States. In addition the northern States have a variety of solid minerals. There is likelihood of the existence of crude petroleum in BAUCHI State and in the CHAD Basin. Nigeria as a country is blessed. There is no part of Nigeria that is dependent on the other. The problem of Nigeria is the people themselves. If we make up our minds to live together in peace, we can. Notwithstanding the fact that the black race is presently grappling with the problems of how to effectively manage People, Money and Time, I dare say that Nigerians are endowed with many rare qualities.

I believe that if we make up our minds to develop the country, we can move it from third world to second world country within thirty (30) years’ time.

There is no prototype system of government or administration that is made in Heaven for us to copy. Only fools contest over the forms of government in the same manner as graceless zealots fight over forms of religion. The rational thing is to design a system that best suits our peculiar circumstances. We can make not only a National Development Plan but also a National Syllabus of Projects. Certain Projects from the Syllabus such as Education, Health, Agriculture, Power and Roads should be compulsory projects for every State government to execute.

Other Projects from the Syllabus should be optional projects for State government to choose from according to their special needs. Projects should be people oriented in order to take care of our teeming population and thereby avoid the possibility of revolt by the masses. China and India with large populations are good case studies.

It is, therefore, up to Nigerians (and not the government to decide for Nigerians) to decide whether after one hundred years (1914-2014) of staying together we should continue or separate. Nigerians ought not to be gaged in a democracy. This is why a Referendum should have been necessary for Nigerians themselves to decide because they are involved.

Ambassador Chief C.D. ORIKE

August 2014


Ambassador Chief C.D. Orike is a lawyer. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales on 27th June 1961.

He obtained an Honours Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and a Masters degree in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London). He was an elected member of the Nigerian House of Representatives in 1964. Ambassador Orike was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Uganda with concurrent accreditations to the Republics of Rwands and Burundi.



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