Doyin Okupe, former senior special assistant on public affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, says there are many reasons Nigeria should disintegrate but that it is not in the destiny of the country to break up.
There has been tension in the country lately over rumours of an impending coup d’état.
Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, had issued a stern warning to officers accused of meeting with politicians for “undisclosed political reasons”.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in the UK undergoing medical treatment, has not been heard from, further heightening the tensed atmosphere.
There have been calls on the president to resign, but some northern leaders have vowed to retain power in the zone in the outcome of any eventuality.
Commenting on the development on his Facebook page on Monday, Okupe said there were factors that make the break-up of Nigeria possible, but that it would not happen.
“Yes, again and again there are drums of war, rumours of coups and heightened cries for separation. Yet Nigeria will not break. I repeat as God liveth Nigeria is not about to break-up,” he said.
“Those who rely on what is seen physically and those who are not too knowledgeable about life may want to hold this assertion in derision. Yet there is more than meets the eye in matters that controls the affairs of nations and men.
“True, all the ingredients required to justify a dismemberment of our union are fully present: inequality, injustice, nepotism, corruption, deception, sectional neglect and lack of inclusivity, mutual distrust etc; fortunately or unfortunately it is not in the manifest destiny of this great Nation to disintegrate.
“To anyone who is discerning, it has been crystal clear that God has shown His guiding hand in the affairs of Nigeria since the June 12 debacle. God does not act in vain but for a purpose. It will be preposterous to assume that the purpose of God’s intervention in the affairs of Nigeria in the past 25 years is to lead us to a break-up.
“In truth the Nigerian experiment or marriage is grossly imperfect and obviously not working.
“The Nigerian union presents some of the outstanding features of a dysfunctional marriage.”
Okupe said there was sustained anger, mutual contempt and distrust, lack of openness and poor communication among the component parts of Nigeria.
“In recent times the health of Mr President has been a source of concern to all. But more importantly, the north is more apprehensive in view of the previous experience with late President Yar ‘Adua. But they are not willing to discuss this openly. Official handling of the situation suggests sectional protectionism rather than presenting a national problem seeking for a national solution. After all this is a president loved and voted for by nearly fanatical nationwide followers. Why should his adversity be born and protected only by a section or just a few disciples?” he said.
“On the other side are those, mainly southerners who gloat over the president’s health challenges and cannot wait for power to be handed over to the vice president and for the latter to actually assume the full status of the president, almost immediately. They rely exclusively on the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, totally ignoring the main and the central abiding political philosophy of power sharing in Nigeria.”
The former presidential aide expressed worry that there were serious and genuine fears across the divide, but that nobody was “ready or willing to discuss these fears openly or even within leadership caucuses”.
“What we then get are heightened calls and counter calls for breakup of the country, calls for restructuring and official rumours of coups,” he added.
“This is not the way to develop a great nation. There is need for a unity of purpose, an abiding faith in the unity of the nation. There is an urgent need to develop a national platform from which we can nurture the emergence of an elite political consensus from where we can always look at our problems as national problems and bring about unified national solutions. Then and only then can our nation be on its ultimate journey to its divine destiny of greatness.”