• Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:

In my earlier treatise, ( far before the NBA and El-Rufai’s “search” for the true Nigerian), I had made attempts to dispassionately look at the possibility of one thinking Nigeria first before Tribe and its stultified tributaries.

It is on the basis of this that I would like to search further, the many contending angles that seeks to assuage and unconsciously eulogize and emphasize ethnicism above the nationalistic ethos of being a Nigerian.

One of such interesting but intricate angles is what is often referred to as ‘True Federalism’. This popular concept has been ignorantly and selfishly adduced as the panacea to our crises of identity and horizontal citizenship.

While those who equates true federalism with the equal distribution of national opportunities in order to douse the fire of micro- nationalism are drumming for support; those advocating for “Unity in Diversity ” are emphasising the need for corporate recognition of the rights of sub-nationals and the annexation of such diverse strengths for collective advantage and advancement.

These differing positions within the comfort of the construct of what true federalism is or should be, helped in no small measure, to further complicate the already cumbersome search for who the true Nigerian is.

As partisan and controversial as this concept of True Federalism is, it is rather unfortunate that the general perception still remains that of pacifying the centrifugal tendencies to keep us solidly glued together to the centre by an equal distributive means of enjoying the national cake.

‘True Federalism’ therefore, becomes a tool to accommodate the rising tongues of dissenters and secessionists agitating for self determination within the present arrangement. The other flip side of a possible exploitation of our diversity for a collective advantage is frowned at.

While I will not allow the issue of federalism to ‘ distract’ my focus especially against the fact that it doesn’t directly impact on the possibility of thinking Nigerian, it must be noted, too, that denying someone the opportunity to express himself as he wants nationally can force one to look inward to primordial tendencies for a succour.

The popular argument that true federalism is the solution to disunity, chaos, poverty, unemployment and inequality is gradually becoming perpendicular to the real issues of the well being of the teeming masses of the downtrodden.

This is because the much talked about federal character, revenue allocation et cetera is purely elitist and therefore can only settle and solve the problem of the elites. The majority poor population is excluded, as always, in the scheme of things.

How do we imbibe a culture or an attitude that unconsciously jettisons the inherent ethnic persona in us to quickly embrace our Nigerianess in our daily transactions among one another?

I mean making permanent, that temporarily feelings of patriotism when a Nigerian team filed out against the Brazilian counterpart in that crucial soccer game? This, truly, is my search today.

  • Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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