The State of the Nigerian Nation and the Way Forward
Keywords:Ethnic Debate, Restructuring, Nigerian Federation, Ethnicity
Debate on restructuring the Nigerian Federation has lasted for decades without a consensus. Failure to secure agreement among major contenders has delayed this noble intent. This paper examined the debate to analyze major arguments and proffer a workable option for a headway. The study is, typologically, qualitative as well as descriptive and relied on documented evidence as a source of data. Claude Ake political economy of development in Africa served as a framework for explanation. Findings showed that the colonial concentration of powers at the central authority in Nigeria was reinvigorated by post-independence regimes. Northern oligarchy found favour in the system and gained collaborative allies in the South to consolidate its hold on Nigerian state power and resources. Thus, the monopoly of economic and political powers by the oligarchy created stringent living conditions for most Nigerians and they found identity and expression in ethnic associations as channels for demanding redress. Agitations that followed presented themselves in form of calls for restructuring Nigeria. Regimes’ violent responses to agitations escalated rather than save the situation. Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt region favoured restructuring while the North stood against it. Thus, the argument for and against restructuring became an unending tussle. Presently, Nigeria requires mutual understanding to make headway. Further disagreement may not go well for the country. Political education and dialogue are workable options to bridge the gap between the two contending forces.