As a way of proferring solution to the political logjam in the country especially in respect of the Jos mayhem, Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi, suggested that Nigeria should be divided into two nations between Christians and Muslims. According to him, it is the only thing that can put an end to the bloodshed in the country reasoning that since the model, which took the lives of millions of Hindus and Muslims, worked for Pakistan, it will work for Nigeria.
But aside the fact that Nigeria is a religious heterogenous, complex and multicultural society, an attempt by the people of the South East Nigeria to secede in 1967, culminated into a civil war that claimed over three million lives. The Tide on Sunday, therefore decided to find out from a cross-section of Nigerians if it will be wise to apply this “historic radical solution as posited by Gaddafi.
Mr. Lawson E. Hayford:
I think the hue and cry over Gaddafi’s statement is very unnecessary in my own opinion. Gaddafi, the leader of the Libyan government has a right to express his opinion even though he is not a Nigerian but as a president of a country, he showed concern about what is happening to his neighbour country where Libya has certain interest.
Nigeria, if it must be split, it should be spilt into six regions according to the already existing regions in the country. These are the South-East, South-West, South-South, the North-East, North-Central etc. Nigeria is already too large to be ruled by one president under one government, and that is why we are having so many crises because the country is too large for one individual.
If we decide to part ways according to the regions, I am sure we will even be bigger than some countries already existing as a nation. So I think that Nigeria, if we must split, we should go according to the regions, not necessarily North and South. If we split according to North, South, definitely the issue of religious differences will still be there.
As it is now, we have a number of Christians in the North and a number of Muslims in the South. If we do it according to Gaddafi’s suggestion it means that in the Northern country you will have more Muslims than Christians so the friction may not be there and in the Southern country, you will have more Christians than the Muslims, the friction may not be there too; of course we have never had such religious friction here in the South. It is only in the North, I don’t know if Quoran teaches them to be violent; may be the more you kill, the higher you go in hierarchy in getting to see their leader.
It is madness. Gaddafi aired his view because if there is war in this country it will affect so many other countries. And that is why the leaders of various nations are crying out that there should be peace in Nigeria. There are so many injustices in this country. Look at the Niger Delta Oil, there is no impact of it on the Niger Delta. We suffer fuel crises here even more than the North. The Northerners are even benefiting in the sharing of the oil blocs than the Southerners. A case of the hen that lays the golden egg. It is very sad and painful.
Barr. Benjamin Alabi:
Touching Gaddifi’s suggestion, I tend to agree with the senate’s president that it is not a correct statement for a reasonable person to make, considering the nature of Nigeria. He doesn’t seem to understand the country because if he does, he will not make such a statement. Nigeria is not such a country that is divided, as it were, on religious grounds. And in fact, we have several religions in Nigeria. Apart from the Islamic religion, we have those that are Christians and some other religions in Nigeria whose rights are equally protected by the Nigerian constitution.
If you now say Okay Nigeria should now divide on the bases of Christians and Muslims, what will now happen to those people who are practising other religions. It means their rights will be trampled upon. Moreover, Nigeria cannot even divide on religious ground in the sense that in the South, we have a lot of people who are good and practising Muslims as well as in the North. Is he now talking about a situation where you will move people from their geographical locations to another place on the grounds of religion or what? I mean there is no sense in that suggestion at all and it is completely impracticable in the Nigeria context.
Engr. Kingsley Onyejekwe:
Gaddafi’s comment on Nigeria can be said to be an advice that will make the unity of Nigeria uncompromisable. It goes to buttress that our country is great and indeed envied by other countries. Otherwise one would be wondering why Mr. Gaddafi did not bother himself with issues concerning his own country which he has continued to sit tight undermining the principles of true democracy.
Nigeria is a great force in Africa and the world at large. We have the population, resources and the political attitude to assume a leadership role in Africa. May we use and believe in the phrase of our former national anthem’ “though tribe and tongue may differ but in brotherhood we stand”. May we demonstrate this in our character and promote the spirit of nationhood in all our dealings. Doing this will surely prevent religious killings in the North, marginalisation in the East and South-South etc.
Gaddfi’s statement on Nigeria is a call for reflections in our national building. We msut show the world that we are good people and great nation. Nigeria must not be divided, we should embark on projects that will show-case our resolve to leave as one and shame anti Nigeria like Gaddafi and co.
Barr. Etukomeni Emmanuel:
To me anybody is entitled to his opinion depending on the angle the person is looking at it. Generally speaking, you are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine but at the end of the day what is the reasonable opinion to the subject matter at stake? So if anybody is suggesting that Nigeria should be split, I think it is a wrong opinion. Right from when Nigeria was amalgamated; we agreed to live together either by implication. Even if people are saying there was no consensus as to whether we should live together and because of that it was a mistake. I also look at it as their own opinion. I think that what is on ground now as Nigeria; it is a nation ordained by God, if it is not the will of God that we should come together and answer the name Nigeria; I think It would not have been possible. So Nigeria will never split. I don’t belong to that school of thought irrespective of the trying times we are having. Any nation can have a trying period.
Whatever crises we are having are all political assertions. Nigeria is a nation ordained by God. Even if it is a mistake that we are merged together, the mistake is a genuine one.
Mr. John Austine:
The Libyan leader, Dr. Gaddafi has just stirred the hornet’s nest by his recent call for the division of Nigeria into two. This call has always been made by some Nigerians while others do not want to hear such. Sincerely I think the division is necessary and long overdue. It may not have to do with the Jos incident and the likes but for the sake of administrative convenience and progress. One can argue that the land mass and population of Nigeria is too large for comfort and of course, control by a single government. We are too large and complex.
Oil politics too should not be a factor in considering the call for division. I support such sharing but it should be done peacefully and not through force or war. It is believed that opportunities for people will double just as the span of administrative and political control will reduce resulting to efficiency in the management of each of the economies. This stresses the need for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) which will create a platform for negotiation. This, if done, will decide whether Nigeria should be split or be left intact as a multiethnic society called Nigeria.