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If Nigeria Cannot Stay Together, We Should Go our Separate Ways – Former Minister, Prof Ango Abdullahi



Professor Ango Abdullahi

Professor Ango Abdullahi 

A former Minister of Education and former Presidential Adviser, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has said that Nigeria’s unity is negotiable, adding that the “wish of being one is Utopian”.

According to THISDAY, the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria suggested that if the amalgamation of the country by Lord Frederick Lugard in 1914 was a mistake, it would be best for each region to go their separate ways.

He made this known during the launch of two books by Dr. Hadiza Isa Wada titled, ‘Boko Haram: The Charade vs. Reality’, and ‘The Life and Times of Umaru Turakin Bauchi’.

He argued that no region is afraid of secession, and that if the country cannot stay together, then each region should go their separate ways.

He said:

The batures (Hausa for white people) have brought us together. They tried what they could before they left in 1960 to see whether this country could become a political unit that is stable, because without political stability it is impossible to stabilise any aspect of our socio-economic development.

They succeeded up to a point, but they were very lucky because they had our forefathers and founding fathers who were honest.

We might not be one, in terms of language or in terms of geographical location or in terms of customs or in terms of history or in terms of religion and so on, but as a people put in one country our first job is to understand one another.

Let’s understand one another. Understanding one another will be the basis for working together. This wish of being one is Utopian because if you look at examples of other parts of the world there’s a lot to learn from.

Take for example India that got independence in 1948, yet one or two years later Pakistan was created, and in another one or two years, Bangladesh emerged out of Pakistan, because there was insufficient basis on which India would stay together in the first place.

We are responsible for the conditions we’re experiencing today and that we have experienced over the years. This is the basis on which we have made slow or no progress in our development and I think we can accept this as a fact, or continue to pretend and go round and round and round in circles and at the end of the day come back to the same spot.

What are we hearing? We’re hearing about the restructuring of Nigeria. We’re hearing about secession, we’re hearing all sorts of things and who are the promoters of this rhetoric?

This is coming from the elite of the country. They’re right to speak their minds, but they should also leave me to speak my mind when the time is right because we cannot continue, because I remember in the last four or five years, particularly when we were headed towards the last elections. We saw all that and then I said it was time.

If Lugard made a mistake in 1914 let’s correct it now. Why not? If Nigerians cannot live together and allow peace and development to reign, then let’s go our separate ways and to our different places so that we can concentrate and develop our children and grandchildren in peace.

There’s nothing wrong with that. So many countries have gone through that before. So I don’t believe in all these emotions and sentiments that Nigeria is indissoluble.

Take Great Britain, they’ve been a model for 1,000 years of democracy and then a year or two ago Scotland that had been in the union for about 350 years opted for a referendum to get out; same problem with Ireland.

The Soviet Union was a super power many years ago, today 12 or 13 countries were created from it.

So what is so special about Nigeria? If we find truly that we cannot develop and guarantee the welfare of our people as a nation and the solution is to go our separate ways, why not?

So you see this is the thing we have to always discuss at all times honestly, especially if we put into context the history of Boko Haram.

On the Boko Haram Terrorist sect, he said the ‘ragtag boys’ who were fed up with the things happening to them became members of Boko Haram.

“You ask the question where did Boko Haram got their sophistication and articulation from? No doubt from external connections, but external connections can only thrive if they have internal connections in the country itself.

But then came robberies and Boko Haram was blamed, then came in political interference.

Bombs were also put in churches and mosques and they were not entirely put by Muslims but by both religions. But the real offence was people who knew and should have spoken out did not do so.

Some of us including my teacher and I went to see (Goodluck) Jonathan to discuss it. Some days later, and we heard there was going to be some dialogue, but then two weeks later a state of emergency was declared and Boko Haram was banned.

So the question is who are you dialoguing with if you have banned Boko Haram? These are some of the contradictions we saw, which were clearly political.

We the northerners were taking the brunt of it. And those who ought to have said something stayed quiet. It was Murtala Nyako who came out and said something was going on and before you know it he was on exile,” he added

Abdullahi, who condemned the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) as ‘economic terrorists’, asked the federal government to deal decisively with the militia group, in order to end vandalism in the oil region.

“In the Niger Delta, for example, people who come out openly and say they are avenging something and that they are fighting to avenge something, they’re worse than Boko Haram. So if you (federal government) are not going to fight the Niger Delta Avengers then stop fighting Boko Haram,” he said.

Photo Credit: THISDAY


  1. Seriously

    August 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    This is a distraction from important issues affecting ALL Nigerians not just a specific tribe. People suffering is not just one tribe, ones enjoying is not just one tribe, so the separation idea is a waste of talk. This is my opinion. Boko haram is an extremist terrorist group mainly causing trouble in the north. Take their weapons and destroy their base. Capture the ring leader. Niger Delta is an economic and territory issue. They feel cheated. The government can come to an agreement where some percentage of the oil revenue is given back to the state instead of them only sharing among the rich and their friends. Biafra is also another group fighting, listen to them, ask what exactly do they want, give then referendum. This is not necessarily ethnic war bcos these groups don’t represent every person in their tribe. It’s like saying the whole America should turn gay since LGBT is an organization fighting for their own rights.

    Every Nigerian is suffering from economic recession, poor healthcare accessibility, low employment, failed education system, security issues not just Boko haram, robbery, kidnapping all of these affects ALL Nigerians. The government should focus on working on issues affecting the country as a whole. You think Nigeria has problems now, divide and let’s see how much it will be in shambles.

    • Nuna

      August 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      But Niger Delta already have 13% derivation

    • Uberhaute looks

      August 31, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Would have loved your comment a million times. Prof. Ango no be today. Ango and Junaid both have questions to answer. They just grant interviews before election in 2014 and you imagine the kind of profanity coming out from their mouth. They have started again; we are waiting for Junaid to grant his

  2. Naijatalk

    August 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    NDA worse than Boko Haram? Your professorship should be withdrawn. Look at all these Boko Haram sympathisers. You’re finally coming out to say this because FG is drilling for oil in the North ba, and you lot seem to know something the rest of the country does not know. It is well

  3. Agada Oche Anthony

    August 31, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Nigeria remains a united nation,the existence of Nigeria is not subject to individual opinion.Nigeria is greater than any one of us and it must be noted that Nigeria existed before Nigerians since most ethnic groups in Nigeria can trace their descent across the border.”Together forever,forever together” this is my message.

  4. Confuzzled

    August 31, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Why are northerners especially afraid of restructuring? Nigeria is greater than the sum of its parts so the smaller countries that would emerge after a split would be desperately poor and insecure. Decentralize power and increase regional autonomy. A lot of the agitation we are experiencing would diminish. Restructuring is the answer.

    NDA worse than Boko Haram? I don’t think so. There are a lot of BH sympathizers out there and he’s just outed himself as one of them. Despicable and inhumane.

  5. Prince

    August 31, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I see sense in some of the things he said. I think its time we actually go our separate ways and develop our region and country that we find ourselves.
    This one that some people are living at others expense. Let us go our ways and build a better and greater future for our children and childrens’ children.

    • person

      August 31, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      I agree jor! Let Nigeria be restructured- Southern Nigeria- also known as Sou9ja. Nothern Nigeria= Nor9ja and Eastern Nigeria- E9ja. etc
      each country should have a passport/ anthem/ president.
      Then to fly internationally, just gum ur naija international passport to your new restructured passport. Finish.

  6. Mr.A

    August 31, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    A proverb says “What an old man sees sitting down, a young man cannot see standing up”. This is not the case here. Some very dumb statements made by this supposed professor. It is not surprising seeing the state our country is in presently and perhaps for the foreseeable future (tufiakwa) when it can be said that a former Minister of Education shares this views and also some government officials . While Its agreeable that the unity of our country needs to be re-evaluated, all other comments are so ridiculous, how can you openly sympathize with a terrorist group? Please infact media organizations should stop interviewing some of these people who held one position or the other, a lot of the, are probably senile and are of no use to themselves or the world!

  7. Darius

    August 31, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Nigeria will be united and prosperous if Buhari implements the recommendations that were proffered during the National Conference. The only region clamouring for cessation is the South-East, and to be fair enough, I don’t blame them. They have been politically marginalized. Since our democracy is still in its infancy, the presidency should rotate amongst the six geo-political zones until such a time when Nigerians are educated and rational enough to elect their leaders based on the policies they espouse, not because of the religion they profess or the tribe they belong to. Nigeria is workable if we put aside religious fanaticism( I am talking to our muslim brothers. They are responsible for all the religious crisis that has erupted in Nigeria in the past. I am not saying this because I am a christian. It is the gospel truth). The government must be swift to take action and prosecute offenders in cases such as: sectarian unrest, fulani herdsmen attacks, inter-tribal conflict,etc. People would stop asking for Nigeria to break up if they know that their lives matter and that the president will always work for their interest even if he professes a different religion. Let’s learn to respect one another. If Nigeria breaks up, we would lose our position as the most populous black nation and the clout that comes with it. If we can come together to create a billion dollar industry, Nollywood, we can iron out our differences. If we can create a vibrant music industry, we can definitely iron out our fifferences. What will happen to Nollywood and other projects that we have built collectively if Nigeria breaks up?

    • Darius

      August 31, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      ….clamouring for secession…

    • artklub

      August 31, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Ok lets take Nollywood as an example: something initiated in the South from enterprising individuals, caught fire and brought attention to Nigeria throughout Africa and the world. Then when it came time for for budgeting support for films from this Northern led government, where did they allocate the funds to for Nigerian filmmaking? To the North – Kannywood! If it were not for the Imam (Gosh bless his soul) who was so nuts as to rubbish their plans, they would be building filmmaking complex in the North right now, not in the South where it originates from who built from ground up! You want to have a 1 Nigeria in a place where things are so unfair? No matter what? I am utopic and idealistic too but there comes a time when enough is enough, and self respect and dignity takes priority! There is no way to spin this, if you want 1 Nigeria, South must submit to North and will never be considered equal, and will be fought tooth and nail! Things will happen naturally sha…I hope for things to fall where they may in the way that is best.

    • nnenne

      August 31, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      @ artklub… Thank you.

      Certain rdgions are afraid of restructuring because they hold a lion’s share. Thanks to the military.
      Sadly the region that make the most, get
      hand outs.
      Can this oil dry already?
      Am sure we all can survive without it.

  8. I_I

    August 31, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Honestly, I have been preaching this at work for a while now, unless one chooses to be blind, the signs are clear, Everybody is identifying strongly and fiercely with their own tribe now; we all need to go our separate ways.

  9. artklub

    August 31, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    What is this person saying? There is no reasoning with him and his ilk. Bye Old fart!

  10. Mary

    September 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Ok Sir.

  11. Mary

    September 1, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Nigerians have been tolerating each other for years now.
    There is no equality when it comes to governance, we are still existing as ONE by God’s grace.

    And to make matters worst, our LEADERS are not helping matters.
    they keep on inciting the populace against each other, and the sad part of it is that, many of us accept whatever they feed us with hook line and sinker.

  12. yunusa Zakari Ningi

    September 1, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I always have a the opinions of either we understand ourselves or we go our separate ways instead of all this sentiment and name calling

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