Recently, the former governor of Osun State and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was honoured at a public event in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State.
He used the occasion to deliver a ‘master’ submission on why Nigerians should not think of balkanizing the nation.
Those present took away two lessons from the politician’s profound literary offerings: the first was taken from what he said about the mistakes in Nigeria’s two National Anthems.
According to Aregbesola, the two musical productions alluded to Nigeria as either ‘father or mother’. The former governor begged to reject the notations. He said Nigeria is neither a mother(land) nor a father(land) but a ‘baby’.
“This country is our baby that must be nurtured and cared for. If we succeed in effectively carrying out this function, then, we will all enjoy it. There will be peace, justice and tranquility.
“So, calling for war or something like that is not the solution. From all studies I am familiar with, welding together a heterogenous people with disparate cultural and historical background is a long and tortuous process that can suffer colossal reversal at any time, irrespective of the progress already made, if the actors are not careful,” he noted.
He alluded to countries like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Senegambia, Ethiopia, the Soviet Union and others that have to go their separate ways after living together as one nation for decades.
Aregbesola then came up with the ‘onion theory’. According to him, “we all know that a typical onion has many coats. So, if we start removing the numerous coats of the onion, we will continue to remove layer after layer until there is nothing more to remove”.
He said the case of Nigeria can be likened to this because Nigeria has too many tribes and by the time the Northerners leave the federating unit, that is when it will dawn on them that the North is made up of other tribes apart from Hausas and Fulanis.
According to Aregbesola, the same thing applies to the South East and the South West where Ibos and Yorubas respectively and presumably live. It is already on record that so many other minority tribes are in these regions too.
The former governor then went ahead to say that the move by some groups to champion ‘separation’ or war is not what is needed now.
“The best way to go is to do away with the mindset currently at play that Nigeria is a lie and therefore must be balkanized. We are truly a diverse nation. But the strength in our diversity is immeasurable if only we would unite in its recognition. Nigeria’s destiny and purpose are very clear and they are divine,” he submitted.
Those in authority no longer need to search further. The National Orientation Agency and other parastatals charged with similar duties need to work harder to ensure that Nigerians are re-orientated and educated on the need to work, walk and live together in peace and in love.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!