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Rhythm of Thought

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Assessing the crises of governance in Nigeria, Larry Diamond in his book “Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria” posits that “over the last half century, no country in Africa has appeared more promising of greatness, only to have fallen into the abyss of ethnic conflicts, political crises, governance failure, military coups, and between 1967 and 1970, a ghastly civil war”. 

No wonder Ambassador Oladapo Fawowora, in the essay “The challenges of Democracy in Contemporary Nigeria” states that Nigerian politicians emerge as leaders “with little or no commitment to a democratic culture and nuances.”
Fafowora acknowledges the challenges of mass poverty, public corruption, and lack of accountability. He recognizes Nigeria’s flawed federalism and the weakness of its democratic process.
It is in these challenges that one contemplates the character of the state.

Let me draw your attention to an essay written by Fred Onyeoziri entitled
“Federalism and the Theory of the State”.
His argument is profound. He is of the view that the problem of Nigerian federalism is as a result of the character of the state. By the character of the state he means what the state is, what it does, how it operates, the structure it uses to organize itself and where it draws it legitimacy from.

Onyeoziri argues that in a defective environment “true federalism” is not capable of resolving all the conflicts arising from the interaction of the different identities of the state. His position is that state infrastructures like major institutions, its capacity, personnel and operational assumptions are the determinants of the efficiency of a country’s federalism.
The bottomline of his argument is that the state comes before federalism, therefore “worries about the character of the state should come before worries about the character of the given federal arrangement”. 

On this premise, I argue that the amalgamation of 1914 was a deliberate structural arrangement that gave birth to a Nigeria with a dysfunctional nationalism. 
Dysfunctional in the sense that it pitted its peoples against themselves, resulting in the construction of rigid ethnic configurations that take turns to shoot at the heart of the country. 

The country was not founded on a principle of genuine integration, the reason it has no founding principle. Admittedly, the colonialists came to pursue their national interest and they defined the country to suit their objectives. 
What about us? 
We keyed into the exploitative philosophy of the colonizers and descended even more brazenly on ourselves, creating various centres of powers to perpetuate the exploitative tendencies behind the colonial scramble.

This is what needs to be redefined. 

Until we achieve the integration that makes us Nigerians above our ethnic persuasions, the foundation of the structural amalgamation will continually go through shocks that threaten the unity of the state. 

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