Date: October 30, 2020, 02:57:26 AM
Negotiation, a must: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum
In his fascinating biography of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the defunct Northern Region of Nigeria, John Paden recounted an oral traditional story of a meeting between Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Premier of the Eastern Region and the Northern Premier. Ever open and urbane, the Eastern Premier approached his Northern counterpart and said, “Let us forget our differences… “ But the Sardauna replied, “No, let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian and an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country.”“By understanding our differences”… that is from where the task of “making Nigeria one” begins. Mistrust and bad faith stand firmly at the borders of our differences today, keeping us no nearer now than we had been, at least, some seven decades ago: that was when some Igbo inhabitants of Lagos went about arming themselves with machetes and sticks to defend themselves from the indigenes that never caught up with what was going on.It was the same good old Zik who preached good sense to his people, by explaining that the Egungun masquerade, which some Easterners found repulsive, was not staged to frighten or harm them in any way. It stopped the tendency of some Igbo men preferring to live on the Mainland, instead of the Island.The clamour for Biafra has risen from the level of a negotiable demand to the pitch of another armed confrontation. As we once pointed out on this page, contending groups are now developing within that demand, though they are, all the same, joined by the common issue of resource control. But there are other pressing issues which cover a wide area of perennial interests, like the National Grazing Bill, the uneven choice in federal appointments and the persistent stifling stricture of a unitary control against a federal fiscal procedure.Not negotiable? The unity of this land has to be negotiated.Time out.