From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Chairman of Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker in the Humanities, University of Texas, Austin, US, Toyin Falola, has told agitators for the break-up of Nigeria to stop the campaign for disintegration of the country, saying they should rather seek greater autonomy for each region to control its affairs.
He disclosed this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the sixth Joseph Ademola Atanda Lectures and Conference, with the theme: ‘Yoruba Culture and Society’, at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.
The programme was held in honour of former chairman, Ibadan School of History, J. A. Atanda.
Falola said the clamour for autonomy, self-determination, restructuring and independence sometimes get people confused as they were often mistaken for attempts to create another country.
He said every part of the country; region and every group is angry at something.
“The Igbo are angry, Yoruba, Ijaw are angry. So, how to minimise or reduce that level of anger is what we should be talking about,” he said.
He said there have been several secessionist movements in Africa with success recorded only in Eriteria, Sudan and South Sudan.
“The boundaries of Africa, inherited after the colonial rule, have remained. In the case of Nigeria, Biafra started it and did not succeed. That’s secession, which is a new name and a new boundary.
But you can have devolution of power, decentralisation, which means you will remain in Nigeria, but the centre will severe powers to the various regions. That was what we had in the First Republic. At this time, the best advice one can give is decentralisation, and greater autonomy to the various regions. I don’t think creating a new country, with due respect, may be the best way to go. But seeking greater autonomy for each region to control its affairs may be the better option,” Falola said.