Last week we pointed out that to amalgamate (a•mal•ga•mate) is to combine into a unified or integrated whole; to unite. And that, because the word originated from chemistry, we were under an illusion that merely pronouncing, in 1914, that the territories have been merged that should actually create us historically, and it would then lead to our becoming one, politically, socially and in every other way. Nation building however is much more complex than merely blending two or more metals into an alloy.
In reality, we found that the adminis-trative step taken was just one in a long series of processes that had been going on in the area north and south of the Niger and Benue rivers, below the Sahara Desert and Lake Chad and west of the Cameroon Mountain range. Colonial agriculture, commerce, the railways and other emerging infrastructures were also other “amalgamating” forces. So were the colonial and post-colonial civil service, the electricity and postal monopolies, the schools, and political parties and workers associations that were coming up. Later, you also had the armed forces and the police, the National Youth Service Corps. We even fought a Civil War to remain together. Amalgamation should thus be seen as multifaceted and on-going phenomena. All these have left their marks on our lives, our psyche and our dreams.
However, even if we transcend the rejectionists who would deny our very existence as a nation we must come to terms with the vocal few who insist that, for a myriad of reasons, Nigeria is “not working” and is “destined” to break up. Some even give a date for this coming end of Project Nigeria. The most controversial projection, which was actually misunderstood because those who made it were not really saying Nigeria will break up, but just playing war games, were the Americans. Let us recap what happened, according to some reports:
“In May 2008 the United States military had conducted a war games test called Unified Quest 2008, to ascertain how its military might respond to a war in parts of Africa including Nigeria and Somalia. According to an article written by Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC and Guest Columnist of AllAfrica Global Media, Daniel Volman the Nigerian scenario was predicated upon a possible war in 2013.”
“In Nigeria the North, currently the power holding block, which is majorly Muslim, and lacks petroleum resources will almost certainly be turned into an Arab aligned, possibly terrorist ‘axis of evil’, nation. While the US will according to experts defend and instil puppet rule over the resourceful South, which it is believed it will assist in secession if a breakup war occurs. A breakup will certainly be bloody and cause years of internal wars, disability and suffering. Nigeria’s North is the food basket of the Nation, providing vegetables, cereal and beef, while the South is the industrial capital.”
“The US will likely favour such a breakup for obvious reasons- the current leader of Nigeria (Umaru Yar’Adua) thumped his finger in the US nose, clearly rejecting the installation of US AFRICOM military command in Nigeria. Nigeria’s government has also of recent signed deals with Russia and Iran for major resource, military and power (Nuclear generation) mutual ventures. This alliance possibly does not sit well with the US. In addition, Nigeria has been promoting development, not by serving US interest but by cooperation’s with nations like Brazil and China.”
“The 2013 war date was a test of how AFRICOM could respond to a crisis in Nigeria in the event that rival factions and rebels fight for control of the oil fields of the Niger Delta and the government was near collapse. Among scenarios examined, Volman said, were the possibility of direct American military intervention involving some 20,000 US troops in order to “secure the oil,” bearing in mind that Nigeria is a major supplier of US oil needs. Also, the question of how to handle possible splits between factions within the Nigerian government was tested.”
“As the game progressed, according to former U.S. ambassador David Lyon, it became clear that the government of Nigeria was a large part of the problem. As he put it, ‘we have a circle of elites [the government of Nigeria] who have seized resources and are trying to perpetuate themselves. Their interests are not exactly those of the people.”
Well, President Yar’Adua died. Despite Boko Haram the North is, not and never will be, part of any so-called “axis of evil”. A 2013 war never materialised. The problems highlighted, and many more, still remain but as John Passaro said; “A diagnosis is not a prognosis unless you let it be.” That one is seriously sick does not necessarily mean that the person must die from that ailment. Our future lies with us. Or, to quote from a 2010 American 3D computer animated superhero action comedy film Megamind, which I watched only recently, “destiny is not the path given to us, but the path we choose for ourselves”.
While it is true that a small circle of elite is raping the country and is using any and all methods available to it to perpetuate itself in power this is not unique to us alone, nor is it recent. This has been going on for quite a while, only that the rape is getting more and more blatantly shameless and the methods of control more crudely despotic. Still, there are democratic and popular forces challenging this and the outcome is not predetermined.
The greatest danger however is in what appears to be an even narrower group seeking to push President Goodluck Jonathan along a very narrow and dangerous path of “ethnic” zero-sum” game which they know they cannot get the majority to agree to, but which will give them an excuse to start the process of breaking up the Federation. Their hope is that with the arms they are amassing, the hold they think they have over the armed and security forces, and other current advantages they think they have could force all of us to succumb or else they make the country so ungovernable that the Americans would be forced to side with them so as to protect their oil and gas interests. We shall discuss this and its ramifications next week, God willing.