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Points Of Law: NIGERIA’S UNITY UNDER SIEGE

Unity cannot be imposed on a people, peace can never be forced on parties. Even when a court of Law grants leave to parties before it to settle out of court, settlement can break down if parties are allergic to shifting their grounds. Where this is the case then the court can go ahead to assume jurisdiction and determine the case.
Couples who want to divorce or if any of the spouses wants to divorce based on grounds stipulated in the Matrimonial Causes Act, the court cannot force an artificial unity or peace on them.
They should be allowed to go their separate ways rather than the court or a party insisting on a chequered unity.
Without mincing words the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 by Lord Lugard was a marriage forced on the people without their consent given whether expressly or impliedly.
The people were afraid to dare the Whiteman who was more of a subtle dictator and demigod to an innocent Blackman.
It is true that the various peoples that now constitute Nigeria were living in peace like good neighbours exploiting their commercial potentials save the expected grey areas that led to quarrels at intervals but not always. Ofcourse, the expansion of territories were the major grey areas then. Even America and Great Britain or Rome have this kind of history. Hence it is not unexpected.
However, the marriage of 1914 is the cradle of the troubles of Nigeria. A curious conglomeration of over 350 ethnic groups of which majority of these groups now become subservient to the whims and caprices of the three majority ethnic groups. This is a problem. A big one if not bigger. Infact, the number of languages and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria is not certain. This is because if a scholar writes today to say the figure is 350 another writes tomorrow to contradict that figure by saying it is either less or more. The confusion and controversy even begins with the uncertainty of its peoples. The uncertainty of its population has also defied science and technology. There has never been anytime its census figure has ever been nationally accepted. In the early 1960s it was controverted. In 2006, its controversy especially the agitation by the Government of Lagos state that its population was under counted is still unresolved to this day.
The various ethnic groups have never agreed at any point. This is understandable. These ethnic nationalities have their cultural differences even in states forced together by the so-called natural boundaries of water, roads, hills or mountain or other considerations by the National boundaries Adjustment Commission.
Another area of controversy is the two major religions in the country. The volatile nature and preaching of some religious sects have heightened unbridled crisis in the country.
Finally, the way Nigerian elites play their politics of bitterness; always blowing the embers of sentiment and drumming for political war each time they lack political patronage is destructive.
Right from 1960 when the Whiteman left the shores of Nigeria tribal politics have been displayed in the open markets of the nation’s politics. The politicians only pretended that they were freedom fighters and nationalists only for them to send-off the Whiteman only to start sharing what they called “National cake”. The moment the Whiteman left, tribe was used in political campaigns, native languages were the centre piece of parties manifestoes as parties were organized on tribal sentiment and were ethnic based.
The names of the parties and membership did not hide the intentions of parties faithfuls and founders. It was thus obvious that three ethnic groups where used to fight themselves at the pools by ethnic based politicians who pretended hitherto to be nation builders and nationalists and freedom fighters.
Indeed, with due deference to them (all of blessed memory), all they hunted for was self and ethnic recognition and aggrandizement without more. Very few of them actually intended national unity in the main.
That was why somebody who wanted to run for the presidency or prime minister would only campaign in his own region and whip sentiment, using his own language. The campaign was entirely calumnious characterized by fighting, quarrelling, discord, acrimony, voodooism or jujunism, witchhunting and killings. Surprisingly, most of these politicians trained in Europe and America where political contest is based on what one can deliver and the campaign is an intellectual debate. Unnecessary sentiments and other irrelevant considerations were and are non-existent in the Western nations.
Corruption soon attended the polity and politics. Favouritism, nepotism, ethnic considerations, religious jiggery pockery and all sorts of domestic considerations were imported. The coupists of 1966 claimed this to be the bases of their coup de tat. The rich were getting richer and the poor were dying in penury. Despondency and impunity were dancing naked in public view.
The killing was reportedly lopsided and a particular ethnic and religious group felt challenged. A counter-coup was staged and the execution was daunting and overwhelming.
A discussion and agreement was reached in Aburi in Ghana when parties could no longer meet in their country (Nigeria) to talk.
It was reported that instead of adhering to the tenets of the Aburi Accord a certain politician, economist and Lawyer advised Gowon to ignore the Accord of a confederation and create states to weaken Biafra (this advice was political). Gowon did so and ended up in a genocide saga (a 30 month war). There was colossal human and infrastructural loss and psychological conclusions which culminated in the establishment of the NYSC. Its intention was to create national unity and integration. ####

Barr. Gideon KpooBari Girigiri
08036784327

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