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Neo-Colonialism: Nigeria must look inwards to survive

By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu

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The persistent socio-political instability manifest in the Nigerian polity since independence is a clear indication that our system is very sick. When a patient visits a hospital, the doctors carry out a comprehensive medical test to diagnose the cause of the ailment before treatment.

As a socio-political analyst, I have examined and re-examined the cause of the continual socio-political and economic instability in Nigeria and have come to the  conclusion that the problem of this country is traceable to the alien political system inherited from the British who colonized us.

In addition to this is the fact that we have continued to allow the British and other developed countries to interfere in and manipulate our internal affairs to the detriment of the people and to their own benefit.

Granted, it is not unusual for nations to relate, but that relationship must be symbiotic, fair and balanced. The situation whereby we allow foreigners to set our nation ablaze while there citizens are having fun in their own country should be eschewed.

Nigeria was granted independence on October 1, 1960. A new constitution established a federal system with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic. Azikiwe became president of the country, although as prime minister Balewa was still more powerful.

After a brief honeymoon period, Nigeria’s long-standing regional stresses, caused by ethnic competitiveness, educational inequality, and economic imbalance, again came to the fore in the controversial census of 1962–63.

In an attempt to stave off ethnic conflict, the Mid-West region was created in August 1963 by dividing the Western region.

Despite this division, the country still was segmented into three large geographic regions, each of which was essentially controlled by an ethnic group: the west by the Yoruba, the east by the Igbo, and the north by the Hausa-Fulani.

Conflicts were endemic, as regional leaders protected their privileges; the south complained of northern domination, and the north feared that the southern elite was bent on capturing power.

In the west the government had fallen apart in 1962, and a boycott of the federal election of December 1964 brought the country to the brink of breakdown.

The point of no return was reached in January 1966, when, after the collapse of order in the west following the fraudulent election of October 1965, a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the federal government, and Prime Minister Balewa and two of the regional premiers were murdered. A military administration was set up under Maj. Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi.

Thereafter followed a series of coup d’etat and even the civil war which manifested the latent political malaise of the country contracted from our colonial masters. The country survived the civil war, howbeit, with a heavy price.

And in 1979 and under military rule, the British parliamentary system of government was abrogated to make room for a presidential system modelled after the American system of government. And this system we have practised till date without any better coming out from it.

The fact that Nigeria had practised both the British and American style of government without achieving any positive result should be enough reason for us to look inwards and device a political system suitable for our peculiar circumstances.

It is crystal clear that countries who have developed ahead of Nigeria include the ones that practised systems peculiar to their culture and socio-political terrain.

The likes of China, Russia, Taiwan, Ethiopia, USA, etc all operate political systems familiar to their societies, culture and tradition. That is why they have continued to forge ahead inspite of the various challenges they had encountered in their political life.

Based on the foregoing, one doesn’t need a soothsayer to know that the problem with Nigeria is not the people but the alien political system practised in the country. It might interest one to note that Nigeria is not the only heterogeneous nation in the world.

The US and even the UK are also heterogeneous but they succeeded by devising a workable political system peculiar to their needs. In the UK the operate a parliamentary and regional system. That is why Ireland, Scotland and England are independent nations under the Queen of England.

In the US they have 50 States who are strong federating units with almost complete independence from the central government. If that is the case, why can’t Nigeria also device a workable political system unique to its society?

The ongoing #ENDSARS protest and it’s attendant huge collateral damages has once again brought to fore the socio-political malady that has eaten up the cells of this country.

To ignore this symptoms would mean political suicide. It’s about time that our leaders disconnect themselves from foreign interference and look inwards to urgently address the present political system that has failed to deliver the dividends of democracy.

We can’t afford to play the Ostrich at this critical time because an Igbo adage says: imi bewe, anya ebewe (the nose cries with the eyes). The problem we fail to address today due to selfishness, corruption, negligence and foreign manipulations may end up consuming all of us. May God forbid such!

Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.
Socio-political Analyst and Legal Practitioner

Citations: Independent Nigeria (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

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