(By Charles Adegbite)
Elder statesman Sir Olaniwun Ajayi has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against taking steps that could cause the country to go the way of the former Yugoslavia, a balkan confederation that violently split up in the 90s into smaller nation-states over ethnic conflicts.
Ajayi, a political associate of the late nationalist leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, while reacting to the on-going agitation in the Niger Delta and Eastern Region, said the President should not reject the persistent calls for the restructuring of Nigeria by well meaning Nigerians across the south.
“Yugoslavia has about 6, 7, 8 nationalities. They’ve done all they could to make sure that every nation in that country went his own way, but their leaders said no all the time up to the time of Josep Broz Tito in 1980.”
The nonagenarian lawyer noted that between 1980 and 1990 Yugoslavia tried to stave off disintegration, until tensions came to a boil in 1991, when the state began its split into Croatia (1991), Slovenia (1991) Macedonia (1991), Serbia (2006), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992), Kosovo (2008), and Montenegro (2006).
He noted that Nigeria should be ran along the existing six geo-political zones and let every zone develop in accordance with its own pace.
“We are not a one monolithic country. We are a federation of different nations as a result of our nature, from the point of view of our ethnic nationality, our languages, culture. And if we are so different we should be managed according to our nature and culture.”
He pointed out that there was no way the president or any leader could think he could force a multiethnic country like Nigeria to live same way, saying the ideology and ways of life of Fulani and Igbo are not the same as that of the Yoruba and Kanuri, for instance.