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Crude Induced Euphoria
Southern Nigeria needs to grow up and actually take on the challenge to fight for their respective interests without capitulating to the wishes or violence of the North.
Recently Nigerians had a moment of euphoria, a moment which may leave outsiders bewildered. If you know Nigeria, you will have a deep appreciation for this hope which was kindled.
In Northern Nigeria, after decades of intense longing and fighting against all odds, finally, the discovery and exploration of crude oil were achieved. Oil is neither new to the geographical territory of Nigeria nor is it a find that attracts fervour and envy as it did once upon a time. Rather, it brings emotions of pity and joyful celebrations for not being one to suffer such a curse anywhere you go in Africa.
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Regardless of how the rest of humanity feels, the core Northern Nigeria is ecstatic at this moment. Either feasible or not by expert opinion, regrettably perceived reality is all that matters to a people, especially in relation to achieving a long-held dream.
As another step in their long-held desire, they are now able to accomplish their dream to return fully to their Islamic roots and build a prosperous Islamic Nation in the likeness of Saudi Arabis, Iran or Qatar. Because now they have a source of wealth that is comparable to those found in the South of the country such that they will not have a need to fear its economic hegemony and influence anymore.
Looking ahead into the future while adding this new consideration, the following are the likely developments to prepare for:
Nigeria’s Geopolitical reality is Nonnegotiable: politics in Nigeria for all its intrigues have been especially for those in the South lacking in relevant consideration informed by the contradictions - historic, contemporary, civilisation, economic, etc - of the country. This discovery coupled with historic and contemporary realities in addition to recent events will contribute to escalatory actions from all spheres of the country. Adapting to this reality swiftly will help to minimise the coming consequences and excesses of certain groups within the geographical expression.
North-South Economic Balance: the relevance of the oil-rich South which has been a feature in contrast to the political and power balance has been technically neutralised. The fear of the North has always been focused on the possible economic prosperity of the South. The effects of Buhari’s disastrous economic decisions in addition to this discovery have whittled away the economic supremacy of the South. The North will in exaggeration, flaunt this possible economic prosperity to checkmate the South and reduce its influence.
Unity of Nigeria is now negotiable: for as long as the fear of renegotiating Nigeria’s existence has existed so has the collective understanding by virtually the whole country that we are all here because the North is not ready. Here today, the common hope is maybe finally the north is now ready to let the rest of us go. A look ahead at how this will be achieved preferably amicably though it must be noted all evidence point to the contrary.
The Norths Tran-Border Desires: The North is preparing for eventualities beyond Nigeria. Like most African countries, Nigeria is unlikely to survive the implications of a multipolar order. In addition to the rooted desire for an Islamic Civilisation in that region, the north and beyond have effectively laid the groundwork for a nation of their dream by utilising Nigeria’s state resources.
The West Divests Interests: the West may well be drifting its interests away from North to South due to certain realities which have become evident in recent years. The North breaking away from Nigeria will set them on a path of alignment with the greater middle east which based on multiple factors will play into the current global geopolitical trend and bring relevant consequences to bear.
The South’s Scattered Alignment: due to the lack of a collective overriding ideology in the South, there will be a series of alignments in the South which will play quite well into the hands of the powers conflicting currently in the globe. But it should largely be a relatively stable region as long as pragmatic realities are respected.
Islamic Terrorism & Insecurities: there is a continuous rise in Islamic terrorism in the Sahel and parts of West Africa. Jihadist groups and others have a strong foothold in the part of Nigeria where this discovery was made. Like such cases we can observe across the world, the fate of the North will likely not be that much different based on today’s reality. Unless they parley with these groups which is a possibility, excesses of their actions will spread across other parts of Nigeria and neighbouring West African states. If Nigeria does not adjust to relevant Nation states in the coming decades, the South is likely to end up in a hyper-apartheid scenario in an attempt to protect itself from the excesses of the North and its deepening reality.
2023 & the Resulting Cries: 2023 may lead staunch believers in the “One Nigeria” ideology into becoming disillusioned as the big three pull the country apart in an attempt to achieve their differing interests. Whatever the outcome, those that lose out will face a series of crises that will further escalate the fractures due to Nigeria’s contradictions.
Return to Regionalism or “Restructuring”: if Nigeria can be this pragmatic, it may as well be dissolved. Not much to say here except any such initiative without a corresponding regional or restructure “Security Infrastructure” is void as Nigeria will find itself back on the path of coups and unitary in a decade or two.
50%> Oil derivatives for Oil Producing Region: while this is an ultimate gain for the Niger Delta, one cannot ignore the sense of defeat that comes with it. Like all other desires of different groups in the South, it once again takes an expression of the North’s desire to change the situation. One may be tempted to view Nigeria's North-South divide as a master-servant relationship.
In all this, for all his woes across all indices and the impatient desires to move past his presidency by the South, Buhari has achieved in 8 years an age-old cherished desire of his people and will go down in the history as one of their many legends of his relevant constituent. It shows once again how the north is able to manipulate power to its advantage irrespective of other parts of the country.
We will do well to learn a few lessons from this. Such instances have been repeated throughout Nigeria’s history with this simply the latest instance. Also, Southern Nigeria needs to grow up and actually take on the challenge to fight for their respective interests without capitulating to the wishes or violence of the North. Reciprocity is the order of the day in diplomacy and geopolitical relations.
Adapt or be consigned to history.
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