The Historical Challenges Of Nigeria’s Amalgamation/Religion And The Way To Peace (Part II)

By: Abdulrazaq Oyeabnji Hamzat

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We always condemn colonization,but what we condemn mostly is the colonization of Africa by whites,but that is wrong in my opinion because there was colonization of Africa by Africans long before the white colonization. If we fail to condemn the colonization of Africa by Africans,we must be hypocrites to condemn the colonization of Africa by whites.

Continuation of A speech delivered at the National Debate on PARADOX OF FASLE MARRIAGE OF OPPOSITE IN PERPETUAL CONFLICT: NIGERIA IN PERISCOPE, at the Ikorodu Local Government Banquet Hall, on the 10th of August, 2012, Ikorodu Lagos.

THE FORMATION OF SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN PROTECTORATE OF NIGERIA

Both north and south of Nigeria were victims of evil colonization, The North and south were formed separately and before the protectorates emerge, several mergers had occurred. We shall consider some of such merger before we have the two protectorates which constitutes the North and Southern protectorate

SOUTHERN PROTECTORATE

in 1862, Lagos Island annex became a colony of Britain and Mr. H.S freeman became the governor. 31 years after then, (1893), Oil river protectorate that was renamed to be the Niger Coast protectorate with Calabar as the capital. In 1890, British reporter (Flora Shaw) who later married Lord Lugard suggested that the country be named Nigeria, after the Niger River. Then in 1897, British overthrew Oba Oronkanwen of Benin, one of the last independent West African kings. All the events stated above occurred in the late 19th century, then in the 20th century, 1900, Niger Coast, formerly Oil river protectorate was merged with the colony of Lagos and the protectorate of Lagos was named the protectorate of southern Nigeria.

The Yoruba’s and Igbo’s and close to 200 other ethnic groups were of different ethnic groups, having different culture, norms, and values, but they were merged into the southern protectorate by the British in their own understanding and discretion to form the southern protectorate. I only heard few people asking questions about the merger,when it was very clear that the ethnic and value are different, yet what we hear much noise on is about the amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates.

The merging of Niger Coast and Lagos Colony was a clear merger of different culture and value, but because of the African spirit which is love and unity, it is easy for us to live and live harmoniously. This gesture of our inheritance as Africans does not stop with the Niger Coast and Lagos Colony alone, but extended to southern and northern protectorate of Nigeria.It even extend beyond that,it extend of every part of Africa as a whole.

NORTHERN PROTECTORATE

In 1885, Niger district protectorate was under African company and Niger Delta protectorate was under royal Niger Company. In 1900, both protectorates were added to some part of Niger territory to form the northern protectorate.

Recall, that in 1900,British took over what it named the northern protectorate from the royal Niger company, they originally divided the area into eleven province, which were, Bauchi,Bida,Bornu,Kabba,Kotangora,Lower Benue,Ilorin,Muri,Sokoto,Upper Berma, and Zaria, but in 1903,6 more province that were captured were added to make it 17 province. But it was later reduced 13 provinces after merging some together.

In 1914,both southern and northern protectorate were amalgamated to form what is today known as Nigeria, Remember that all the colony and protectorates were captured independently at first, it was after capturing several towns, cities and villages that they were all put together to form the province, colony and protectorates that were later amalgamated to form the today’s Nigeria. At that time, the purpose of colonizing Nigeria was strictly for business purpose, it was initially done by companies as business, companies such as Royal Niger Company, African company etc. those companies were working in connection with countries to sale their product, just as we have Dangote group of companies owning several lands, that is how those companies claim ownership of our town and the people after they were captured, when they acquire the land, they may decided to use it as they deem fit or some times sale it to make profit.

Some people may be wondering why it is so,but i must say that it was the situation at that time. Though, i strongly condemn this act,but i do not just condemn the colonization of Africa by whites,i also condemn the colonization of Africans by African long before the white colonization of Africa.

Let me make a little clarification here..

We always condemn colonization,but what we condemn mostly is the colonization of Africa by whites,but that is wrong in my opinion because there was colonization of Africa by Africans long before the white colonization. If we fail to condemn the colonization of Africa by Africans,we must be hypocrites to condemn the colonization of Africa by whites.

The Oyo empire in the 16th century colonized many states,towns,cities including the Dahomey Republic now known as Benin republic. I believe that if the power of the Oyo empire continues to grow as it continued then from Oyo to as far as Benin republic and some places in present day Togo, the Oyo empire if it had the power would go as far as colonizing Britain. If Oyo had the power and colonized Britain at that time,does that make colonization good? No.. Since it is Britain that had the power to come as far as Africa to colonize us,that shows they had power over those at that time.

we must see the evil not just from Britain,but that of other colonizations as well.

In 1951, British in searching for how best to make effective use of their colony, grant Nigeria internal self rule, following an agitation led by NCNC. Dr. Azikwe’s political party. Also in 1954, the position of governor was created in the three regions, west, east and north.

That was the case of amalgamating Nigeria; it was at their own discretion for economic purpose, just like every other colonization. We must remember that British didn’t capture all part of Nigeria on its own, they bought some parts from some of the companies.

In pointing to the right direction,those who claimed that Nigeria’s amalgamation may be responsible for our present and past challenges or to those who constantly claim that without the separation, we cannot move forwarded.

I hereby present a comparative situation for our esteem audience to ponder.

The history of America mostly told is that of its independent and glory, but a careful look at the American history would place it side by side with Nigeria in term of amalgamation and merging done by Britain. The merging of province or protectorate does not just begin in Nigeria; it has always been Britain’s pattern in most of their colonized areas. If we, Nigerians claimed that amalgamating southern and northern protectorates means falsehood in itself, if we claim that the amalgamation is the cause of our past and present challenges, if we claim that the only solution to our present situation is separation,if we claim that we can not forward with the beautiful union, this must be the greatest joke of the 21st century. It does not only portray us as intellectually lazy which of course I know we are not, but also portray us as untruthful and insincere with our self.

Using the U.S as a model, when the U.S was under British colonization, British captured America and with time divided it into 13 colonies, the 13 colonies were the colonies on the Atlantic coast of north America, founded between 1607(Virginia) and 1733(Georgia), they Americans revolted in the American revolution, starting in 1775-1776 and declared their independent from the British empire and formed the new nation now called the united state of America.

The United state of America can be said to be a great nation today, not just a great nation, but the most powerful nation as far as the world is concerned as at today. This implies that if I use the U.S as a model of comparison, it would not only be suitable, but would also be a perfect match.

We often hear the story of U.S’s victory and success, but none cared to know the story, this is why I say that before you envy the glory of the U.S,pls,try to know the story.

The United state was colonized by Britain in 1774, when Britain conquered many of the town, cities and villages; they made them into 13 colonies. The 13 colonies were Delwwere,Pennysylania,New jersey,Georgia,Connecticut,Massachusettsbay, Maryland, South caroline,New hempshere,Virginia,New York, North caroline,Rhoda island and province plantation. Each colony developed its own system of self Government at first under British rule. Other division prior to 1730 was, the dominion of new England, created in 1655 by the decree from king James II that consolidated Maine, new hemspere,massachusett bay colony, Plymouth colony, Rhoda island,Connecticut,province of new York, east jersey and west jersey into a single larger colony.

King James merged the 13 province of America together to form what is today known as United State of America. after the merging, the middle colony of America was characterized by a large degree of diversity, religious, political, economic and ethnic. It was the same 13 province of America that was merged that later revolted and formed the today’s U.S.

They were initially not together, they were merged by Britain and are characterized with so much struggle of leadership hiding under self determination and ethnicity, they fought their own civil war and after which they came to an understanding. The American Civil War (1861–1865), in the United States often referred to as The Civil War and sometimes called the “War between the States”, was a civil war fought over the secession of the Confederate States. Eleven southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America (“the Confederacy”); the other 25 states supported the federal government (“the Union”). After four years of warfare, mostly within the Southern states, the Confederacy surrendered and slavery was abolished everywhere in the nation. Issues that led to war were partially resolved in the Reconstruction Era that followed, though others remained unresolved.It was the result of their understand that we see today and envy. If they had separated in their illusion of incompatibility and struggle for leadership,ethnicity,religious dominance and so on which even made them to fight a civil war just as Nigeria did, what would we call the great United State of America of today that we envy?

ABOUT THE NAME NIGERIA

Some people find fault in the name Nigeria because they perceived that we were given by the whites, but that is not true.

What is the meaning of Nigeria, some people would say it’s derived from Niger Area, but what is the meaning of Niger? Example of the meaning of Niger can be said to be a Yoruba lady bearing the name Wura which means gold, upon coming in contact with the whites, the white ask what her name his and she said Wura, but a little inquiry by the white about what Wura means reveled that it means gold. Instead of calling her Wura which is little difficult for him, he decided to call her gold. With time, she became popular with the name gold that her real name Wura was not known.

The Niger is called Jeliba or Joliba which means “great river” in Manding; Orimiri or Orimili “great water” in Igbo; Egerew n-Igerewen “river of rivers” in Tuareg; Isa Ber “big river” in Songhay; Kwara in Hausa; and Oya in Yoruba. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied only to the middle reaches of the river, is uncertain. The likeliest possibility is an alteration, by influence of Latin Niger “black”, of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen, which is used along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu. As Timbuktu was the southern end of the principal Trans-Saharan trade route to the western Mediterranean, it was the source of most European knowledge of the region.

Medieval European maps applied the name Niger to the middle reaches of the river, in modern Mali, but Quorra (Kworra) to the lower reaches in modern Nigeria, as these were not recognized as being the same river. When European colonial powers began to send ships along the West coast of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Senegal River was often postulated to be seaward end of the Niger. The Niger Delta, pouring into the Atlantic through mangrove swamps and thousands of distributaries along more than a hundred miles, was thought to be no more than coastal wetlands. It was only with the 18th century visits of Mungo Park, who travelled down the Niger River and visited the great Sahelian empires of his day, that Europeans correctly identified the course of the Niger, and extending the name to its entire course.

The modern nations of Nigeria and Niger take their names from the river, marking contesting national claims by colonial powers of the “Upper”, “Lower” and “Middle” Niger River basin during the Scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century. In the entirety, the name Niger can simply be said to mean, the great black river.

The British colonization and our eventual emergence as a nation is a design by the creator, According to the Quranic teaching, some actions may be carried out by your oppressor for their benefit, even if it hurts you, they wouldn’t care provided it is to their benefit, but God made it possible because it’s a design to comfort you at the end, when it manifests, you would then realize it is indeed a blessing.

To relate this to our situation, Ladies and gentlemen, I would like us to reason historically, the fruits man eats grows naturally. Man eats the fruit and dumps the seeds. After some times, the combination of dumped seeds around the environment is seen as unbefitting, it litters the surrounding. Man then decided to hide the seed in a place that would be hidden. It is in the quest of comforting man that the idea of burying the seed under the ground emerges. Man didn’t bury the seed because he wanted it to grow and produce more fruits; he did to suit himself at the expense of destroying and killing the seed. But after some while, the same seed buried to rot, rose from the ground and brought out fresh flowers and with time, produces more beautiful fruits.

The buried seed is Nigeria which was buried to hide its glory. It was buried for the comfort of its oppressors, but not the master can prevent it from re germinating and producing beautiful offspring’s.

Nigeria is like a seed crop, not one seed can germinate from the ground, two or more seeds is to be sowed to germinate and grow abundant harvest, Our oppressors were used by God to sow the upcoming great nation ,comprising the Yorubas’,Hausa’s,igbo’,ijaws,idoma’s,Nupe’s and so on. Before these seeds were made into a nation, they have stood individually comfortable, but after being sowed together to grow, none can stand alone ever again. If any part is removed after it has been buried, the whole of the seed would be destroyed. Until we realized this, we shall continue to struggle.

If the seed buried is not allowed to germinate for the betterment of all, it would be destroyed for the benefit of none.

Coiled from my previous presentation titled THE TRUTH ABOUT NIGERIA.

2. THE CHRISTIAN VS MUSLIM SYNDROME: – Religion is the most difficult topic to discus today in our society; It could easily lead to misunderstanding and crisis. It is also the greatest gift to lead human through a peaceful and fulfilled life and could also be the greatest tool to Molestation of human heart and cause violence. Religion at some point of understanding has created peace and at other times bring war for lack of understanding.

What do you understand by religion became the question in my mind? Some would claim to be defending their religion based on ignorance and lack of knowledge; they create chaos and condemned others who even understand God better than them. Many would come up with different position on religious matters, but one thing i know for sure is, no man can defend his or her religion. Religion would always be here with or without you, so it does not need you to protect or defend it.

Fear God, Be kind, Love and respect, say good words and never take life. This is what every religion preaches irrespective of yours, why violate this guidance in the name of protecting your religion? It’s obvious that you are wrong and practicing your religion in the wrong way if you abuse someone because he had different view from your religion, not to talk about killing him or her.

Dear Compatriots, in reality and fairness to our two most dominant religions, there is nothing like Christians vs. Muslims contest, until the introduction of faith politicism of our respective religion, if I may use that word, where the supposed religious leaders see their influence on the people as a tool to bargain with Government and politicians for personal gain.

It was in the course of this, that our religion which should ordinarily connect us with our creator now became a source of our disconnection with God. Many people today see their Imam and pastors as representative or guide to God, but that would have been the case, not until the religious leaders sold their heart to materialism, where life is their only goal. A situation was recently reported here in Nigeria,Taraba state were two religious leaders, One Christian Reverend John Simon Jatutu and the others are Muslim clerics Alhaji Inuwa Usman and Alhaji Chindo M. Bose, they collided to divert part of the funds approved to the Muslims and Christian council by the state government for the purpose of celebrating the 2010 independence anniversary and the country’s Golden Jubilee.. Both leaders united when it comes to a common evil to cheat, but we would hear them condemn each other’s religion in their individual capacities in public. We would hear the Reverend who collided with Islamic Cleric to steal claim Muslims want to Islamize Nigeria, why the cleric would also claim the Christians were conspiring against Islam. Yet, both were united to steal. But despite this clarity that our so called religious leaders are not what we see them to be, neither are the things they say worth any dime except for few exceptions.

My dear great people of Nigeria, I have said it before and I am still saying it again, God will not come down to educate us and free us from our ignorance, we have to search for for our own freedom from the bondage of self constrain and imprisonment of the mind, because a freedom given to man can never make him free, he may only be free from his previous worries and be re-enslaved by his new savior. If we allow any pastor, imam, and scholar or what so ever to mislead us into thinking we can justify our religious ignorance’s by accepting their position on our religion, we would no doubt be disappointed on the final day when God hold us accountable for our actions and inactions.

Let me make this clear once again, there is nothing like Christian vs Muslims in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, we only have sincere fools and the wise evil, the lazy to seek for knowledge and the hard working to mislead, the intelligent criminal and the educated illiterate. These are the kind of challenges we have, but unfortunately, the wise evil have handcuffed million of victims. The victims of this faith politicism of religion now perceived the other religion as opponent or rival, whereas; they are collaborator in the ways of the Lord. Both are preaching righteousness, love, unity and peace.

3. THE ISSUE OF NORTH VS SOUTH: – the issue of north vs. south is a plot, mythically conceived a long time ago by those seeking regional power and control, since they feel that the national power will be too competitive for them to capture easily, they feel that the only guarantor of their political power is to find away to use their most immediate people in their region against the whole nation.

I would rather speak the truth and be wrong than tell lies to be right, I would be patient with my right to maintain peace than be aggressive to bring war, I would rather be a spectator to analyze events truthfully than be a participants deceitfully without impact, I would prefer to be a follower and make positive influence and contribution than be a stooge leader who takes order from someone else, I would rather say no and accept my lost than say yes when the answer is name would remain a Nigerian struggling to get the country to the right place than sell my loyalty for a piece of cake to the damnation of the grater majority” I would work for the general benefit of all rather than deceive and manipulate the people I am supposed to love in my immediate environment. The issue of south Vs north is a strictly political struggle between sphychophants and opportunists, it is a similar situation like that of religion, but it could also be used to make peace reign. In a situation where power struggle would be the case between the 2 regions, a simple quota for both would ensure peace and stability. This would mean that a minority region is guaranteed of power when due, they would not be perceived as less in the union. In all, North and South cannot be an issue in the midst of truth, it can never be a problem when both are sincere, and the only concern in the Nigerian context is the untruthfulness and insincerity of both regions. The United State of America that we all thought are free from North vs. south is not real, According to Jack Simons, a U.S public commentator and analyst

A significant problem the U.S has with our schools and the Union -Democratic Party orientation towards rewriting history and preaching a Socialist-Entitlement philosophy.

Also, in conflict resolution, it is tough to get a citizen to bring a peace symbol to a knife fight with an illegal alien. This is much like the North-South–religious problems in Nigeria. What you call nation building we call stopping murder and genocide. Without going into this often heard argument, I will leave to the historians the US treatment of defeated nations.

The only difference between Nigeria and USA in term of North Vs South is the understanding and accepting the difference as well managing the situation sincere. The North vs. south cannot be a preventer of progress if both party involve are truthful and sincere, but this sincerity is not only needed to manager north vs. south, it is needed in every aspect of human engagement, be it with your family or friends. To sustain your friendship and family union, you need truth and sincerity, if that is the only requirement to maintain the North Vs South syndrome, it is not a demand too high. But my position on this issue is clearly more stated in a presentation I did titled THE TRUTH ABOUT NIGERIA. It was published by the Road Map news paper and available on news portals online.

4. ETHNICITY AND PERSONAL SECURITY

According to definition, Ethnicity is defined as a social formation distinguished by the common character, language and culture of their boundary. It could also be defined as the contextual discrimination by members of one group against others on the basis of differentiated system of socio and cultural symbol.

Why ethnic group is an issue in Nigeria can be traced to the fact that, in time of personal and political issues, ethnic ties are more meaningful to most people than reasoning beyond the ethnic difference, this is because the sense of security derived from ethnicity, the feeling of security that it gives in event of getting into trouble, it is believed that only their ethnic group will rally round them to rescue them. You can’t take people away from such. Example can be seen in a world competition, when Nigeria is eliminated, Nigeria turn to support other African countries remaining in the competition. Why is it like that? It is simple because we feel that we owe them the support as Africans. But in time of clear conviction, you would ignore your ethnicity to support another ethnic group.

Example of that situation was in 1999 when Olugegun Obasanjo was voted for massively in the northern part of the country. Another example can be seen in Spain in a foot ball match between Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2006. Real Madrid was the home team and Barcelona is the visiting team, but when the Barcelona team undoubtedly outshine their Madrid counterpart at home, the home team was clam and depressed, but upon a spectacular display of Ronaldinho, a Barcelona players, the home supporters could not ignore their admiration for such superlative performance by the a Barcelona player, they praised him even in their home against their team.

Fellow people of my dear Nigeria, Ethnic group is seen as a guarantor of personal security, when it is threatened, the members are threatened in a personal sense, but when the ethnic group members see a superior quality outside their member, they are forced to show solidarity to an outside ethnic member against their own. Though, most of us find threat towards our ethnic group as a fundamental threat to our identity and security.

This implies that ethnicity is defined as the individual perception of and relationship to political or secular issues. Since this is the case, it is easy for politicians to use this in time of politics to first secure the support of their ethnic group against others.

But According to Pastor Olumide Adeyinka, a Nigerian pastor living in the united state, he said and I quote, Let me shock you by telling you that the so-called ethnicity and sectional loyalty is in Nigeria a BIG LIE. None of these guys making the rounds for breaking up have any loyalty to anything. When the land breaks, then you will see them promoting village loyalty and town solidarity. Even within their small village, they will still advocate for family loyalty until they themselves rule.

In Conclusion, I believe that Nigeria’s problem is so empty like the giant Goliath, it only take a small mighty Nigerian David’s to step in and do the right thing for our success.

We are the worst country, even smaller nations are doing fine, I think Lord Lugard caused the problem by amalgamating us and splitting would be the best option. These and many more questions and queries have been expressed by people on several occasions, but according to Ralph Marston:

“With every ending comes also a new beginning.

With every disappointment comes a new opportunity for success.

With every mistake comes a new and valuable lesson to be learned. With every setback comes a new position from which to move forward.

With every frustration comes the energy to move to a higher level of achievement. With every challenge comes a new strategy for taking action.

With every time of darkness comes the chance to make a real difference by shining your own special light.

With every sadness comes a deeper appreciation for the joys that life can hold.

With every difficulty comes a new level of strength to be gained.

With every loss comes an increased determination to win.”

Though life has many pitfalls and problems, there is a positive side to every one of them. Choose to see and live that positive reality and no problem will be a problem for long.

This I believe is a way to confront the several challenges we face in our dear nation, Nigeria.

Without overcoming the challenges, there is no way to achieving success.

Yes we have challenges to overcome, but the only way to overcome it is by looking at the positive side of the problem. If all you see is negativity, you cannot come out with a positive solution; this is why we must be sincere in our pursuit for a fair, just and equal state. We must be accountable and responsible -Don’t blame the problems on others; don’t always believe that you are always right.

Ladies and gentlemen

how many times have you been disappointed by the Nigerian leaders and the country itself? I guess it all happen usually every day, what positive side can we see is in our problems? The fact that it has made us know what is wrong and right is a gain, it has helped us to know the bad side of a wrong choice and if we eventually overcome this problem together, we would have no worries to manage our glory like the United State of America.

Let me round up by saying, a union such as the Nigerian entity is like a marriage and some people say that the best form of union is a covenantal unionsm, but realistically, a productive and everlasting union is never based on covenant, it is rather built on understanding. Though, Partners do build union on covenant, but a covenantal union never helps union to grow, it only helps to hold it together temporarily before one party or all the parties in the union decided to break the covenant. In my opinion, A union built on understanding is the best form of union, because understanding lock and unlock relationship.

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