It takes no particular analytical prowess for anyone to conclude that with the rate at which things are falling apart in Nigeria, its collapse as a corporate entity is just a matter of time unless the persistently escalating threats eating away at its existence are eliminated.
Also, notwithstanding the passionate prayers against that eventuality, as long as those existential threats are left unchecked, they may culminate in the break up of the country sooner or later.
However, while its collapse per se may not necessarily spell doom for any of its geopolitical zones or its federating states, the circumstances of the collapse will determine the ability or otherwise of each geopolitical zone to stand on its own feet and transform into a viable sovereign state.
Contrary to the unrealistic assumption of those underestimating the repercussions of the disintegration of a huge country like Nigeria with such enormous, accumulated and complicated challenges, its chaotic disintegration would certainly trigger uncontrollable anarchy within all the geopolitical zones.
The unrealistically romanticised post-united Nigeria picture painted and promoted by ethno-religious or regional bigots that their respective geopolitical zones would, in no time, develop into a Dubai of a sort once the country disintegrates, or the assumption that once a particular geopolitical zone(s) is cut out of the federation the country would thrive, is just wishful thinking devoid of realistic considerations.
Besides, even in the event of each geopolitical zone transforming into a sovereign state, it would still end up a mini-Nigeria with the same or even worse challenges, for, after all, the same power elite who have mismanaged Nigeria would end up the same power elite in their respective geopolitical zones.
Yet, while that does not necessarily mean that the geopolitical zones lack the potential to thrive as sovereign states in a post-united Nigeria, it depends on how and under what circumstances the country ceases to exist as a corporate entity; as it indeed depends on the proactivity and efficiency of each geopolitical zone in dealing with its peculiar challenges in the aftermath.
However, the unrealistic recklessness and growing desperation of separatists, secessionists and other forces hell-bent on ending Nigeria’s corporate existence anyhow suggest the absence of any consideration for the probable repercussions of the country’s chaotic disintegration. This is obvious from the activities of the groups that have adopted terrorism to achieve their respective agendas in this regard, e.g. Boko Haram, IPOB and the Yoruba Nation agitators. Even the supposedly nonviolent campaigners against the continued corporate existence of the country e.g. the purported proponents of restructuring are equally too reckless to consider those probable repercussions.
Despite its serious deficiencies, the Nigerian state has luckily kept in check a great deal of deep-rooted ethno-religious, social and other underlying tensions in all the country’s geopolitical zones. This is largely thanks to the tacit elite conspiracy to ignore their ethno-religious and regional differences when it comes to benefitting from the prevailing culture of nepotism, impunity and corruption in the country.
Therefore, a chaotic collapse of the Nigerian state against that backdrop wouldn’t only trigger interregional conflicts among the geopolitical zones for resource control but would also trigger intraregional struggles within the zones themselves not only for resource control but for tribal, ethno-religious and other motives.
It’s in that context that some Southwestern academics including Prof Lai Olurode of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), and Prof Akanmu Adebayo of the Kennesaw State University in the United States recently warned “against the clamour for Oduduwa Republic”, saying the old wars and rivalry among the micro-Yoruba ethnic groups would be revived, which might lead to catastrophe.”
Equally, an impulsive dissolution of the Nigerian state will plunge the South East into perpetual struggle for power and resource control. After all, the zone’s political elite are already the most divided compared to their counterparts in the other geopolitical zones. Besides, the IPOB terror campaign for secession is already increasingly growing into a full-scale war.
Likewise, while amid the ensuing turmoil the zone’s secessionists would attempt to annex the neighbouring Niger-Delta, which they have always been obsessed with for its massive crude oil resources and strategic location, the Niger-Deltans would have already been enmeshed in their own struggle for power, resource control and tribal hegemony. Moreover, they would at the same time continue to resist the South Western secessionists’ desperate attempts to annex their land.
Also, given the particularly delicate ethno-religious composition of the North Central, its particular notoriety for the worst ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria, and its persistently fragile peace, the zone may react to Nigeria’s unplanned break up with a spontaneous breakout of uncontrollable communal confrontations.
Similarly, Nigeria’s chaotic disintegration, which necessarily means the sudden collapse of the entire security agencies would plunge the entire North West and North East into overwhelming chaos under the reign of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists, kidnapping gangs and other organised crime syndicates, with each group grabbing as many cities, towns and villages as it can while fighting one another for further territorial expansion.
In a nutshell, a disorderly break up of Nigeria would precipitate uncontainable chaos across the land. And while the overwhelming majority of Nigerians would end up trapped in the hellish situation struggling to just cling to life, the extremely tiny elite minority along with their families would escape to their respective alternative bases in the UK, US, Dubai, etc. from where they would be appearing on international television channels to “analyse” the situation at home and proffer “solutions”.
To avert that looming eventuality, therefore, a peaceful dissolution of Nigeria should be considered on the platform of, say, a national conference or any other mechanism that would lead to the amicable and systematic dissolution of the country.