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To describe the ongoing agitation for OODUA Republic as a tragic comment on the assumed Integrity, Intelligence and Enlightenment of the people of the region is for want of better words to describe the distasteful drama.
It is unthinkable that a race reputed as the most educated in this contraption called Nigeria will choose miscreants to fight their cause, appoint an erudite Professor as Prime Minister before asking for the republic through rallies. While the miscreants can be forgiven for not knowing that a project such as this is a mirage, the Professor and the elite cannot be pardoned. It is a mirage for two reasons. One, it is ill-timed and, therefore, ill-fated. Two, it is in violent clash with enlightened procedures which the educated people of the region should know even if the miscreants could not learn from the recent experience of fellow Nigerians.
It is not now that people of good will are beginning to question the apropriacy of a region always being used to install tyranny and always being the victims that we should be asking for a Republic that will compromise our chances in the next dispensation.
We cannot afford to divide before a battle with our enemies. Not now that our political structure is at the weakest and our politicians are most vulnerable. Not now that some great minds are beginning to objectively appraise the merit of true Federalism and the value of unemotional restructuring. NOT NOW.
The miscreants could be forgiven for not knowing that to create a Republic from an existing one requires two popular methods especially where there are no Secession Clauses in the Constitution:
1. Universal Referendum procedure for which may take several years.
2. Unilateral Declaration otherwise known as Secession.
Either way, nothing good will come to the South West People. The first one will take our time , energy and resources while the rest of the World will carry on ignoring our grumblings.
The Second option will be suicidal. The remaining part of the country will jump at the opportunity to crush the arrogant but envied race. They have done it before.
They will want to “Keep Nigeria One” as usual and , in the process, move over and level the region. At the end of the day, the rich miscreants and their sponsors would run away to their Masters to leave the poor masses to sulk as they often do.
The Foreign Powers will pretend they are officiating/mediating while they sell their weapons.And that may be the end of the race.
The bitterest setback would be if there is counter rally on October 1st and we are further divided along sectarian sentiments.
If the traditional rulers, the Governments and the enlightened people of the South West are not in support of this imminent bloodbath and self annihilation, they should speak up NOW or declare their supports so that ordinary people will know who to hold responsible.
We are watching and while doing so, we would hold our rulers and Governors responsible for every drop of the precious blood of our people from this moment on.
Taofiq Adesina Azeez
Professor of Communication
Department of English. University of Abuja
September 14, 2020