LEVERAGING ON TRIBAL AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN NIGERIA: A PANACEA TO UNITY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
BEING A LECTURE DELIVERED BY NUREINI SOLADOYE JIMOH (SAN, ficmc) ON 29TH MAY, 2021 AT THE FEDERATION OF OYO STATE STUDENTS’ UNION (F.O.S.S.U) BUK KANO CHAPTER DURING F.O.S.S.U CULTURAL DAY 2021.
1.01 This paper seeks to consider the various cultural groupings in Nigeria before 1500, the history of Nigerian in the 1500-1800 era and timeline of Nigerian history showing territorial changes and political events in Nigeria which formally brought together various ethnics groups into what is now the modern Nigeria.
1.02 Nigeria is currently confronted with myriads of challenges which is rapidly stagnating the development and progress of her core productive and sensitive sectors. One of the most piercing problems is that of insecurity; in fact, this problematic question has gone beyond disorganizing the domestic environment, it has succeeded in labelling Nigeria repulsively in the international community. However, till present, government efforts toward this challenge has not recorded substantial outcomes; it is within the premises of this condition that this paper considers a more propitiatory means of achieving sustainable national security in national integration. While the paper is conscious of the preceding efforts toward integration in the country, it still beholds untapped resources in it for sustainable security in Nigeria. Hence, the paper strongly advocates a New Crusade on National Integration (NCNI) which will immensely guarantee unity, peaceful co-existence and security in Nigeria.
Key words: National Insecurity, National Integration, Peaceful co-existence, Nigeria
2.01 Modern Nigeria existed in various different contemporary ethnic group before 1500 (15th Century) the pre 1500 has many early ethnic groups such as:
Yoruba ethnic group including the kingdom of Ife and Oyo
Igbo kingdom of Nri – Igala kingdom
Benin or Edo Kingdom – Hausa States
Nupe kingdom – Nok Culture
2.02 The groups/kingdom concentrated on expansionist agenda, smaller states were conquered and either displaced or absorbed e.gLake Chad was absorbed by KanemBorno (western province of Kanem) became independent. NOK culture that produced life-sized terracotta figures and other sculptures like heads, human figures, animals, and smelt iron vanished. This is where, it is believed, that the bronze figurines of Ife and Bini to have evolved.
Bronze casters in Igbo Ukwu of Nri kingdom also diminished
Nri people influenced Southern Igala and Benin kingdom.
The various centres of spirituality, learning and commerce were greatly affected.
AroConfederacy and Ohafiapeople were all affected
2.03 THENCE CAME the slave Raiding Empires i.e. the 16th to 18th century. This is the pre-colonial era where various West AfricanKingdoms or Empires such as Oyo Empire, Islamic KanemBorno Empire, Igbo kingdom and variousHausa-Fulani kingdoms reflects vast advancement in cultural expression a rare and special civilizations at the time. These groups CLASHED.
2.04 The trans-Sahara slave trade and Atlantic slave trade grew due to the great demand for slaves by the European colonies. There was what was called“scramble for Africa” which include British protectorates of Northern and southern Nigerian in 1900.
2.05 However during thenapoleon period, the Western powers gradually abolished slavery.
3.00 The Conceptual Framework of National Integration
3.01 Nation-building or national integration has long been seen as an important focus for postcolonial Africangovernments. Comfort AdenikeOnifade in her paper toward National integration in Nigeria jumping the hurdles published in Research on Humanities and Social Sciences at Vol. 3 9, 2013 (www.iiste.org) and others have advocated for national integration as a policy to promote state building in a continent nownotorious for and rife with political instability and economic throwback.
3.02 As Ifeanacho&Nwagwu (2009) observed, Nigeria’s efforts at achieving national integration have remainedlargely unrealised. In their words, the history of democratisation in Africa, in general, and Nigeria, in particular,has remained the history of national disintegration. Thus, the integration crisis facing Nigeria is manifest in theminority question, religious fundamentalism and conflicts, ethnic politics, indigene-settler dialectic, resourcecontrol, youth restiveness and militancy and the clamour for a (sovereign) national conference or conversationabout the terms of the nation’s continued unification. The status quo has convulsed the productive sector, limitedthe impact of government’s economic programmes on the people, threatened food insecurity, complexified socialinsecurity, deepened the deterioration of physical and social infrastructures, distressed the living standards of avast majority of Nigerians, militated against the educational system and resulted in the ostracisation of thegenerality of Nigerians and their exclusion from the political and economic space, among other glitches. Theentire social matrix in Nigeria is characterised by inter- and intra-community, inter and intra-ethnic, and interandintra-religious strife. Some of these conflicts are as old as the history of the Nigerian nation.
3.03 Like India, a federal state with its pluralised ethnic, religious and cultural status, Nigeria is a deeply divided andplural society (Ojo, 2009). Many scholars have tried to put a figure to the number of ethnic groups within thepolity at well over 250 (Attah, 1987; Onwujeogwu (1987); Kirk-Green, 1969:4; Otite, 1990; Suberu, 1998). Ojo(2009) contends that “Nigeria has a unique problem not experienced by any state in the world past or present.The problem is that of achieving solidarity in action and purpose in the midst of hundreds of ethnic nationalities each exerting both centrifugal and centripetal forces on the central issue of the nation, bound in freedom, peace and unity where justice reigns.”
3.04 Although the British colonialists and the Nigerian elite that succeeded them used ethnicity to perfect theirpolitical strategies and notch up some socio-economic and political gains, as Emelonye&Buergenthal (2011) observed, poverty and ineffective governance in Nigeria today have further sharpened ethnic divisions leading to misunderstanding between ethnic and religious groups who see themselves as rivals that must be surpassed by any means, thus hampering national integration. They add that because the Nigerian state is beginning to loselegitimacy and authority, the fear of uncertainty has increased to the extent that citizens now resort to self-help,Research on Humanities and Social Sciences www.iiste.orgISSN 2222-1719 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2863 (Online)
Vol.3, No.9, 201376seeking security and solidarity in their own ethnic, religious or regional affiliation and identity. Thus, a newdimension to Nigeria’s ethno-religious violence is the increasing recruitment and mobilisation of ethnic andregional militias, vigilantes and other armed groups: the Oodua People’s Congress in Yorubaland, the ArewaPeople’s Congress in the north, the Bakassi Boys in the east, the Egbesu in the south, and the emergence of asupercilious army of terror merchants who represent contending interests to Nigeria’s detriment. The implicationof these hydra-headed conflicts is that national integration suffers, there is increasing insecurity of citizens andproperty in the country, foreign investment is deterred and economic development is stymied.
3.05 This paper looks at the issue of national integration in Nigeria, highlights programmes aimed at achieving it andexamines innate challenges that frustrate the process of integration in the country. This paper contends thatachieving national integration, which also means addressing existing challenges in its path, is critical to realizing economic transformation in Nigeria and for Nigerians.
3.06 National Integration is the unity of the various ethnic groups in thecountry or nation in such a way that they see one another as brothers and sisters devoid of tribal sentiments, nepotism and all other vices that bring polarization of the people (Usara 2001). This means the coming together of Nigerian citizens, to speak with one voice, appreciate the circumstances of their nationality, contribute meaningfully to the development of their country and jointly protect the sovereignty of their country. It is a sort of action that UJAH Special Edition, 2017 361 means a collective responsibility to swim and sink together in a genuine spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.
3.07 National Development is the possession of adequate human and natural resources, the availability of capital, industrial, expertise, technological know-how and an educated labour force for better living standards. Social Studies Education is a value-laden and value-free subject in the Nigerian school system which studies man’s behaviours and activities in an integrated fashion (Kazi 2002).
4.00 Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis
4.01 Terms used for national integration have included national cohesion, national unity, nation building or national integration (Bandyopadhyay& Green, 2009; Ojo, 2009). According to Duverger in Ojo (2009), national integration is “the process of unifying a society which tends to make it a harmonious city, based upon an order its members regard as equitably harmonious.” Jacob &Tenue in Ojo (2009) describe it as “a relationship of community among people within the same political entity… a state of mind or disposition to be cohesive, to act together, to be committed to mutual programmes”.
4.02 Defining national integration as a process, Morrison et al. argue that it is “A process by which members of a social system (citizens for our purpose) develop linkages and location so that the boundaries of the system persist over time and the boundaries of sub-systems become less consequential in affecting behavior. In this process members of the social system develop an escalating sequence of contact, cooperation, consensus and community.” (Ojo, 2009). Etzioni (1965) has argued that a community can only be considered cohesive when it meets the following touchstones:
- It has effective control over the use of the means of violence;
- It has a centre of decision making capable of effecting the allocation of resources and rewards; and
- It is a dominant focus of political identification for a large majority of politically aware citizens.
4.03 Ojo(2009) rightly observed that these viewpoints have not answered the questions such as, how would we recognise an integrated polity? How much cohesion and which commonly accepted norms denote an integrated political or social unit? How would an observer identify integration or is it dependent on some other manifestations (such as conflict) to demonstrate a lack of integration? And what institutional form will an integrated unit take? Will it be democratic or authoritarian? Would it be a centralised organisational entity with full sovereignty or would it be a loosely federal unit? Or are institutional forms irrelevant to integration? These are fundamental questions which may not be easily resolved in this study as doing so may mean a sharp digression from the focus.
4.04 Without going into the convolutions of what makes an ideal definition of this concept, in this study,national integration is seen as a process that produces an omnibus of initiatives put in place by a state, its representatives or institutions guided by respect for the unique traditions and cultural backgrounds of ethnicities sharing the same polity with the goal of harmonising all interests through a form of dialogue and representation and addressing differences that may be divisive and conflictual using the instruments of fairness, justice and equity in the sharing of resources, benefits, opportunities and responsibilities in order to guarantee stability, longevity and prosperity of the polity as long as the inhabitants decide to remain within the polity.
4.05 A conclusion that can be drawn from this discussion so far is that national integration is made possible when ethnicities within a political entity achieve integration by consensus, social structure and function in society which brings about social order. This position is supported by the theory of social functionalism. As a rule, this theory also referred to as functionalism tries to explain how the relationships among the parts of society are created and how these parts are functional (meaning having beneficial consequences to the individual and the society) and sometimes dysfunctional (meaning having negative consequences). It focuses on consensus, social order, structure and function in society. Structural functionalism sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability; it states that social lives are guided by social structure, which are relatively stable patterns of social behaviour (Macionis, 1997).
4.06 Social structure is understood in terms of social functions which are consequences for the operations of society. All social structure contributes to the operation of society (Imhonopi&Urim, 2012). Terms developed in this theory include: order, structure, function (manifest or direct functions and latent or hidden, indirect functions), and equilibrium. Structural functionalists ask pertinent questions such as: what holds society together? And what keeps it steady? Similarly, the structural functionalist theory pays considerable attention to the persistence of shared ideas in society. The functional aspect in the structural-functionalist theory stresses the role played by each component part in the social system,whereas the structural perspective suggests an image of society wherein individuals are constrained by social forces, social backgrounds and by group memberships.
5.00 Factors of Disunity and Underdevelopment in Nigeria
5.01 Ogunsaya (1990);Onu (1992);Ezema (2002); Bello (2003) identify religious bigotry, bribery and corruption, poverty, lack of legitimacy, unhealthy cleavages, wrong conception of political parties, lopsided development, marginalization, ethnic religious conflicts, low level of political sophistication, distrust of leadership and poor followership are factors of underdevelopment. Stretching the list of vices in Nigeria where these scholars stop are drug peddling, smuggling, political dishonesty and thuggery, winner takes all syndrome, certificate racketeering, advanced fee fraud called “419”, hired assassins, bomb explosions,studentsrampage, workers strikes, examination malpractices, cultism and threats ofdisintegration amongst others. All the above are manifestations or indicators that all is not well with Nigeria as a nation. It implies that there is the total absence of civil values orvalues-dispositions as democracy, responsibility, acceptance, cooperation, tolerance, loyalty, discipline, rationality, consideration, independence, freedom, diligence and integration toname but a few which a subject like social studies can play a positive role to promote in the citizens.
6.00 Major Hurdles towards National Integration in Nigeria
6.01 While it is easy and very tempting to blame the colonialists for all of Nigeria’s woes, history and recent events inthe country have revealed the covert selfishness, hunger for power and primitive accumulation exhibited by the political elite. Much worse than this, many political leaders exploit ethnicity for personal advantages.
6.02 Consequently, the first hurdle in the path of national integration in Nigeria has been a regenerative breed of selfish and greedy political gladiators who seize power through the barrel of the gun or through stolen electoralmandates. As they competed for power, prestige and associated benefits, the political elite in a bid to secure the support of members of their own ethnic groups accentuate ethnic differences and demonize members of other ethnic groups. The brutal killings of youth corps members in the North following the declaration of the results of the presidential elections in 2011 speak volumes of the naked thirst for power and political position which brings out the beast in political leaders.
6.03 Secondly, corruption has so permeated the entire fabric of state that the issues that cause disaffection among ethnic nationalities in the country such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy and its attendant limited opportunities,unemployment, marginalization, infrastructural decay, homelessness and lack of access to quality healthcare are products of corruption. Rather than look to the West to find solutions for corruption, Nigeria should begin tolook to the East (Asia) where capital or severe punishment is meted out on corrupt state officials. Skewed federal system as it is being practiced in Nigeria today is another challenge for national integration. In their verythorough study on the failure of the federal system to address the question of unity, local rule and development in the country, Imhonopi&Urim (2012) argue that federalism as it is presently practiced in Nigeria suffersbecause of lack of fiscal federalism, over-centralisation of power at the centre, laidback or non-viable states, absence of state police, among others. More importantly, federalism in Nigeria has failed to guarantee national integration on one hand and yet fails to guarantee local rule on the other hand. According to them, although Nigeria does not have a better option for democracy, it cannot continue to administer the polity based on the existing federal arrangement.
6.04 The fear of losing control by the ruling class is another issue standing in the path of national integration in Nigeria. For many years now, the people of Nigeria have continuously canvassed for an opportunity to hold anational conversation to address the present political configuration called Nigeria all to no avail. Building on the scholarly work of Nnoli (1979), Ifeanacho&Nwagwu (2009) have contended that the ruling class in Nigeria inherited a state structure and has left it without any form of modification or moderation up until now. According to them, instead, the ruling class is preoccupied with the use of state paraphernalia for accumulating surplus without producing this surplus. The resultant contradiction is an institutionalized myopic and visionless ethniccentredleadership with separatist and particularistic political outlook (Nnoli 1979). Lastly, lack of political will to do the right thing by the political leadership has remained one reason the country has continued to flounder in the sea of confusion and tottering the precipice of ethnic division.
6.05 Another hurdle to realizing national integration in Nigeria is the existence of weak institutions of the state. It seems these institutions are kept weak to feather the political and economic fortunes of the ruling class. InNigeria, it is criminal to be honest and honest to be criminal. Such weak, embryonic, sterile, insensitive and amoral characteristics of state institutions have further tilted Nigeria to the precipice. Lastly, lack of fairness, justice and equity in the country with regard to resource allocation and distribution, power sharing, enjoyment of fundamental human rights and punishment of criminals who hide under political umbrellas or bunkers created by the ruling classes takes the country backwards with regard to national cohesion.
7.00 An Examination of Programmes Aimed at Promoting National Integration in Nigeria
7.01 Knowing that Nigeria is a host to unwilling and variegated partners, efforts have been put in place starting from the colonial era to create systems, institutions and programmes of government aimed at promoting nationalintegration. Citing the scholarly works of Ojo (2009), Bulama (n.d.), Akpan (1990) and Ugoh&Ukpere (2012), some of these have been identified below:
Firstly, the colonial administration in Nigeria in 1954 using the instrumentality of the Lyttleton constitution introduced federalism into Nigeria as an integrative mechanism. The colonialists must have been swayed by the opinion that such a system of government was necessary to preserve both integration and stability in a deeply divided society like Nigeria. As Osaghae (1987) observed, whenever events seemed to demand that acompromise be effected between the necessity for unity and co-operation on a wide territorial basis on one hand,and the need to accommodate the legitimate claims of sub-national groups for self-rule on the other, “thetemptation is to proffer a catch-all management formula such as federalism.” While federalism has beenapplauded as a silver bullet to the ethnicity problem in Nigeria, the skewness and perversion of this typology ofgovernance has frustrated the benefits it could have provided the nation.
7.02 Secondly, the creation of states and the land use decree were put in place to strengthen Nigeria’s unity.
Research on Humanities and Social Sciences www.iiste.orgISSN 2222-1719 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2863 (Online)Vol.3, No.9, 201378
7.03 Immediately before the Nigerian Civil War, as a way to strengthen the reversion of the country to federalism,General Gowon resorted to the creation of more states in a bid to keep the country united. Gowon felt theproblem confronting the operation of federalism in the three regions was that:“The regions were so powerful asto consider themselves self-sufficient and almost entirely independent. The federal government which ought togive the lead to the whole country was relegated to the background. The people were not made to realize that thefederal government was the real government of Nigeria.” In order to strengthen the federal government, theregions were taken to the slab of sacrifice resulting in the creation of 12 states in 1967. Subsequently, thecreation of states curtailed the domineering tendencies of the major ethnic groups and secured some measure ofautonomy for the minority groups. Members of the major ethnic groups now find themselves as minorities insome new states, while those who have hitherto been minorities in the old states now find themselves asmajorities in some new states.
7.04 As Bulama (n.d.) noted, the old regional hegemony by the three major tribes in
their respective regions is now a thing of the past. Between 1960 and 1996, creation of states within the federalsystem comprised 3 regions (1960), 4 regions (1963), 12 states (1967), 19 states (1976), 21 states (1987), 30states (1991) and since 36 states in 1996. The Land Use Decree on its part vests all land in a state in theGovernor of the state that holds the land in trust for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians. The rationalebeing that the Governor can allocate land to any applicant irrespective of his or her state of origin. However, inreality, Nigerians are discriminated against from buying certain pieces of land because of ethnic and religiousconsiderations.
7.05 Furthermore, the National Youth Service Corps was conceived as another policy that could help unite thecountry. Created by Decree No. 24 of May 22, 1973, the National Youth service Corps sought to enhance theinteraction among the nascent educated elite in the country scattered in different parts of the country byproviding them with the opportunity of living and serving in some developmental capacities in states other thantheir places of origin so they could better understand the cultures, perhaps the language and general lifestyle oftheir host communities. Thus, while helping to develop different parts of Nigeria through their one-yearcompulsory national service, young educated Nigerians were to also understand more about their other “brethren”living in other parts of Nigeria, their strengths and challenges. This was to be useful for these young ones whenthey assume leadership position because they would be able to proffer solutions to the challenges other Nigeriansare facing and be guided and inspired by the strengths of other Nigerians. However, the scheme has been fraughtwith ethnic consideration, favoritism and cronyism in the posting of corps members, exposure of these youths tosecurity risks as was seen during the 2011 General Elections where many corps members of Southern descentwere butchered by some angry northern youths, corruption and misappropriation of funds. As Ojo (2009) noted,another dimension to the problem facing the thriving of the NYSC in Nigeria is the problematic nature ofcitizenship, indigeneship and settler status in Nigeria. In this sense, many Nigerian youths have experiencedmore of frustration rather than integration because after serving in a particular state other than theirs, they do notexpect to get jobs where they have thanklessly undergone the NYSC programme because in many cases, theywould be tagged as non-indigenes and will be forced to go back to their states of origin to avoid beingdiscriminated against.Even when they are employed, it is on a contract basis.
7.06 Another nation-building policy was the Federal Character Principle initiated by the government. The aim of thepolicy was to achieve the fair and effective representation of the various components of the federation in thecountry’s position of power, status and influence (Ugoh&Ukpere, 2012). The federal character principle waslater enshrined in the 1979 Constitution of Nigeria with the goal to accommodate the diverse linguistic, ethnic,religious and geographic groups in the decision-making, socio-political and economic apparatuses of the state.
7.07 The policy also aimed to foster unity, peace, equal access to state resources and promote the integration of theless advantaged states for better improvement and good conditions of living in the country. Nevertheless, aslaudable as the policy was there was a yawning gap between intent and actual practice of the policy, thus makingit counterproductive. The policy has been criticised for introducing crass mediocrity into the public service, weakat fighting ethnicity, cronyism and corruption and has been politicized. It is thus seen as engendering instabilityrather than integration.
7.08 The movement of the Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to Abuja was seen as an integrative policy ofgovernment to further unite Nigerians. As Bulama (n.d.) observed, tribal-related problems formed part of thereasons that led to the choice of Abuja as the new Federal Capital Territory. According to Bulama, theunderlying tribal considerations were vividly enunciated in the Report of the Committee on the location of theFederal Capital Territory. The report stated inter alia that:
There is no doubt that Nigeria is a federation, consisting of a large number of ethnic andlanguage groups with differing culture and traditions. Now, Lagos is within an areatraditionally belonging to one of the major ethnic groups, namely, the Yoruba … In our view,the circumstances of Nigeria demand that the capital be not situated within a city the type ofLagos with strong connection with one of the major ethnic groups.Research on Humanities and Social Sciences www.iiste.org
7.09 In contrast, as Bulama writes, Abuja was chosen upon the following considerations that:
It is our belief that one way for forging the idea of unity of this nation is by building a capitalcity which will belong to every other Nigerian, where every Nigerian will rest assured that hehas an opportunity to live in parity with every other Nigerian, and where no Nigerian will beregarded either in law or in the facts as a “native foreigner.”
7.10 As Ojo (1998) argues, both the politics and administration of the new federal capital territory have not beenhelpful. The arrangement is so haphazard that the Chairman and some members of the committee thatrecommended the new capital have openly lamented that the essence of the new capital has been jettisoned. Thewhole essence of the concept of a new federal capital territory as a symbol of unity and nationhood has beencompletely put into abeyance. In a nutshell, it appears Abuja is organised as “a revenge project” because somenorthern elements see it as belonging to the north.
7.11 Another effort was the introduction of the revenue sharing formula which aimed at addressing the violencetaking place in the oil rich delta, Nigeria’s golden goose, and was a response to quell the agitation for resourcecontrol. For instance, the 1999 constitution allocated 15% to those oil producing states via the derivationprinciple. Although it is early to judge the impact the policy will have on the overall socio-economic frameworkin the South-South, evidence of growth spurts is beginning to be seen in such states as AkwaIbom, Delta andeven Bayelsa. As long as the governors of the oil rich delta states eschew kleptocracy, funds earned throughderivation could be channelled towards addressing environmental degradation, infrastructural decay and thevicious cycle of underdevelopment in existence. Beyond increased revenue allocation, the Niger DeltaDevelopment Corporation (NDDC) was established to initiate development strides for the region. The unifying National Policy on Tertiary Education is another factor that Akpan (1990) considers to be aimed atnational integration in Nigeria. In this sense, Akpan argues that Nigerian universities were seen to “serve asinstruments for fostering national unity”. Quoting the National Policy on Education, Akpan asserted that foruniversities to serve as effective instruments for cementing national unity:
(i) The quality of instruction inNigerian Universities would be improved with a view to further enhancing objectivity and tolerance; (ii)University development would ensure a more even geographical distribution to provide a fairer spread of highereducational facilities; (iii) Admission of students and recruitment of staff into universities and other institutionsof higher learning would be on a broad national basis; (iv) Universities would be required to develop teacher andstudent exchange programmes to improve both inter-university communication and knowledge of the country; (v)And widespread ignorance among Nigerian groups about each other and about themselves would be remedied byinstituting a compulsory first year course in the social organisation, customs, culture and history of the nationsand its peoples. The award of degrees is to be contingent upon passing this course. However, Akpan rues thefailure of higher institutions in the country, especially universities to be an integrative tool because (i) mostuniversities in the country have exceeded the 30% quota for the ‘locality’ criterion favoring individual stateswhere the universities are located more than other areas; (ii) universities recruit most of their students from theirimmediate geo-political and cultural environments. The proportions range from 34% for the University ofCalabar to 65% for ABU Zaria. Interesting exceptions are found in the University of Ilorin, though located in theNorthern geo-political region but draws 2% of its students from the North as compared with 51% from theSouth-west, and the University of Benin which though located in the Mid-West geo-political region drawsalmost twice as many students from the South-east; (iii) there exists a clear distinction in the pattern of studentrecruitment between the Northern and the Southern universities. The percentage of Northern students enrolled inSouthern universities is extremely low. In the East, it rarely exceeds one percent, and in the West it varies fromtwo to seven percent. On the contrary, the percentage of Southern students enrolled in Northern universities isquite substantial, ranging from three percent at Bayero University, Kano, to fifty-seven at the University of Ilorin.
7.12 To make the universities an instrument of integration, more needs to be done to address challenges. Other measures taken by successive governments over the years to meet the yearning for national integration inthe country have been:
- The introduction of the principle of National Integration by the 1979 constitution, which was adeliberate effort to tackle the problem facing the practice of a true federalism. The constitutionalapproach to national integration recognizes the diverse and plural nature of the Nigerian society. Theconstitution is therefore directed towards combating what has been described as the “parochialism ofIgnorance’19 that breeds suspicion and distrust among the various ethnic groups.
- Establishment of unity Schools run by the federal government tends to promote unity in diversity.
- Introduction of a uniform Local Government system in Nigeria is yet another measure.
7.13 Apart from the aforementioned, several other mechanisms have been staged up to achieve national integration in Nigeria such as; the national language policy as proclaimed in the Constitution as amended in Chapter V, Part 1, Section B, Sub-section 5 that “The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in English, and in Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba when adequate arrangements have been made thereof” (FGN, 1999). The object of this is to integrate the various ethnic affinities that constitute Nigeria. In addition, the 1991 relocation of the federal capital territory from Lagos in the South, to a more geographically central region (Abuja) in the North is to encourage common ties and discourage ethnic bias. It is discouraging to discover from the above discussion that virtually all the mechanisms adopted for the integration of Nigeria has not been tailored adequately toward achieving its purpose such that Nigeria keeps going through fragmentations at the expense integration.
7.14 What factors will serve to prevent the further fragmentation of Nigeria? Because attempts to promote unification by structural means have largely failed, an alternative and more effective approach seem to be necessary (Adebola, 2006)
8.00 To the Youth
8.01 The elders in Nigeria owe you a huge debt of plea. They have failed in uniting and fomenting the seal of development.
8.02 Please succeed where they have failed.
8.03 Every adult from South West, South East, South South, North West, North East, North Central or FCT has failed to speak with one voice, one heart and have been divided by our faith, tribe, languages, politics and other selfish sentimental and worthless reasons.
8.04 Please youth, continue to inspire us to hold strongly together, united in ideals of national development, common goal and defeat the enemies of unity amongst you.
8.05 Recently, the Governor of Kano State speaking through Alh. Murtala SuleGaro urged us to promote unity and peace for the growth of the state and Nigeria at large.
9.00 Conclusion and Recommendations
9.01 Even though, Nigeria has over four hundred ethnic groups with a great variety of cultures and languages (Olukoju, 1997). The possibility of national integration is not bleak as many suggest. Considering the current menace of insecurity in the nation, it is necessary to voice out that the activities of our security outfit (Nigerian Civil Defence, Police Force, SSS, Army and JTF) coupled with heavy fiscal support from the government can never procure Nigerians the desired enduring security, peace and tranquillity. Instead, it would only suppress the problem on the surface in preparation for more overwhelming mayhem of violence, insurgence, crime, armaments and fundamentalism.
9.02 Since the attainment of social order, peaceful co-existence and national security is exclusively a collective responsibility; all and sundry irrespective of ethnic, religious and ideological affinity should arise to the challenge of creating a society void of fear, tension and disruption. This could only be achieved on the basis of a cohesive psychological orientation which will only be infused through a proactive approach to national integration. Notably, the defiant outcomes of national integration processes in the past in Nigeria are coiled to lack of vigour and loss of focus in the IJAH course of implementation. Nevertheless, frantic efforts should be taken to redirect all existing structures, schemes and policies channelled toward national integration in Nigeria.
9.03 In all, this paper advocates the adoption of a New Crusade on National Integration (NCNI) obliged with the objects of propagating and expanding the ideology of collective responsibility in tackling insecurity across the nation; propelling a redirection in the actualization of national integration through exiting schemes and structures; developing and implementing new mechanisms on which national integration and national security will be achievable; preaching the creed of patriotism, tolerance, impartiality and honesty, as well as discouraging all vices capable of engendering terror and disruption in the society. In addition, the New Crusade on National Integration (NCNI) should capture the involvement of all strata (Bourgeoisie, Middle class and Proletarian) and groups (Religious, Cultural, Unions, Clubs, Parties, etc.) of the society. On these criterions, hopes are alive that national integration and national security will attain reality in Nigeria.
9.04 As Oyeyemi (2002) rightly observed, Nigeria is a multicultural society, a conglomerate of nations with different peoples and cultures, a basket of different religions and world-views and a country with the diverse expectations of its people. As a recipe for Nigeria’s growth and development, and by extension cohesion, he recommended the need to recognize that none of the ethnic groups, big or small, shares a uniform dream about Nigeria. This is because the ethnic groups’ worldviews are completely different such as their expectations from their leaders, their notions of government, their moral standards, their perceptions and understanding of religion, their ideas of how to live and regulate their lives and their goals and missions as ethnic nationalities.
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