Separatism: Political elite benefit more from Nigerian problems – Don

By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti

A Professor of Political Science and current Dean, Faculty of Social Science at Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, FUYOE, Prof. Azeez Olusola Olaniyan said the political elite benefit more from the myriads of problems facing the country.

Speaking on the the theme: ‘Nigeria and the Undying Spirit of Separatism’ at the 11th inaugural lecture of FUOYE, Prof. Olaniyan noted that peace, development, and stability will be difficult to achieve because of the forces that hold the country.


According to him, it is in the best interest of the political elite for Nigeria to hang in the balance and remain on a shaky rope where factors such as ethnicity, regionalism and state incapacity thrive.

Prof. Olaniyan went further to suggest that the spirit of separatism and its negative manifestations can be curtailed by inclusivity, equity and justice, welfare, state responsiveness, among others.

“The two forces of centrifugal and centripetal are almost at equilibrium in Nigeria. This explains the presence of tension in the land. It also explains why separation is a big task to accomplish. Let me explain. The forces that are pushing Nigeria apart and those that seek to pull it together are almost of equal capacity. Such factors as ethnicity, regionalism, state incapacity, long military rule constitute the centrifugal forces.

“These are what trigger counter-coups, the civil war, inter-religious conflagrations, brazen annulment of national elections and exclusion, which in turn fuel the spirit of separatism. However, these are being counterpoised by history and long social interactions among the Nigerian people and vigilance imposed on one another, particularly by the “big three” – Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo ethnic groups.

“As it is, Nigeria hangs in the balance. It is neither falling nor standing well. Based on my reading and engagement with the study of the Nigerian state, the political elite seem to benefit more from the balancing of these two forces than allowing either of them to prevail.

“A collapsed Nigerian state is useless to them while a strong one will be difficult or almost impossible to plunder. So, it is in their best interest for it to remain on this shaky rope, neither fallen nor standing. And if the status quo remains, peace, development, and stability will be difficult to achieve. This is the Nigerian dilemma.

“So far Nigeria is still standing. Mother luck has been on the side of Nigeria. The country has suffered self-inflicted injuries countless times and still endures. The country has been taken to the precipice several times, but refused to take the plunge. But for how long will the scale hold for Nigeria? Should there not be a limit to pushing one’s luck? That is the million- dollar question at the heart of this talk.

“It may not be possible to exorcise the spirit of separatism from the state, because it is part of the nature of the state; yet the basis for it can be neutralized and its negative manifestation greatly curtailed by some of the suggestions highlighted in this lecture.

“These include; inclusivity, equity and justice, welfare, state responsiveness, constitutional engineering, purposeful leadership, good and critical followership.”

Kindly share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *