By Richard Mammah
As the #Restructuring debate continues, more details are emerging. Said the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar at the NLC forum on Wednesday: ‘We need to reflect on our history; who we are. we didn’t just fall from the sky, we came from somewhere.’
Indeed, at the heart of the Nigerian national crisis in the view of commentators are three realities. The first is cultural and religious, the second is educational and the third has to do with grand ideals or the lack of them.
On the first, and as has been variously observed, the jihad of Othman dan Fodio was a veritable game changer that has continued to affect the political fortunes of the region, north of Nigeria and indeed all of the country.
On education, while the first modern primary school in Southern Nigeria, the St John’s, Aroloya, Lagos, was established in 1816, its counterpart in the North, the Bishop Crowther LGA Primary School was established in Lokoja in 1865.
On its part, the CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos, the oldest secondary school in Southern Nigeria, was founded on 6 June 1859 while its Northern counterpart, Katsina (Barewa) College was established in 1921.
As Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello considered this situation as intolerable and virtually ran ‘a race against time’ to boost the educational infrastructure of the region, including setting up the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
And then 1966 happened, the Independence/1963 Constitution was scuttled, military rule was introduced, ‘might became right’ and we have not recovered till date.
We really ‘must understand our differences,’ and continue to probe our history, while proceeding further with the task of building the truly great nation that we can yet have.
And this is where the third point comes in. We need bigger ideas and greater ideals to power a more ennobling vision of the nation we must have. And at this, I will charge the NLC to return to the drawing board and properly re-calibrate the political association it spawned, the Labour Party, so that proper, nobler Labour ideals can be put on the national front-burner.
Pan-Africanists also should look in that direction to do more to drive the Nigeria Project beyond the present Sisyphian muddle of inter-ethnic competition to one of more ennobling continental development and assertion. Some of these interventions, added to a restoration/modification of the 1963 constitution are what we need and should have now.
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