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    Sokari Bob-Manuel

    The discourse by the erudite professor of history has eloquently covered a one sided presentation of the viewpoint of northern elite. While there are many truths there are also some half truths and distortion of facts.
    Let me confess that I do not have the pedigree to challenge the professor in his own area but as a Nigerian of Ijaw extraction from the southern part of the country there is a need to add my voice to correct some misconceptions and present a narrative that would move us as a nation towards unity.
    1. 1978 and 1999 constitutions have unfairly sought to give advantage to the north in the political process in Nigeria . Such arrangements midwifed by the northern controlled military governments are seen to be unfair but northern elements wish to maintain this disparity at all costs.
    2. Both constitutions have introduced increasingly sharia governance into Nigeria not minding the objections of southerners.
    3. A disproportionate proportion of wealth derived from the south has been appropriated to the north using all manner of legislation. The current PIB bill is a case in point.
    4. False and unfair manipulation of population demographic is being used to corner most of our common wealth. Additionally all institutions of state have been corned and used exclusively for northern domination not minding legislation put up by the military to catch up with the south through national representation.
    5. Political appointees once carefully managed to show a semblance of national spread are now parochial and tribal in composition without any regret or remorse. Your argument of nation building falls very flat under this government.
    Indeed lack of concern for the feeling of others and disregard for inclusion of all Nigerians is a fuel for the feeling of neglect and marginalization.
    It is this growing disregard for the south that has necessitated the clamor for separation.
    Finally we have noticed the strong bond of fellowship between the core northern states and our Sahel neighbors in Niger and chad who are places far ahead of southerners in the scheme of priorities.
    We do mot have the desire to be second class citizens in our own country by the schemes of others . If we should be one people then we must be equals , respected and appreciated.
    As you pointed out earlier, the shoddy treatment of the minorities by the ibos of Biafra caused them to be unwilling members of that country. Indeed it is exactly so in the Nigeria of today for the average southerner.
    The clamor for separation will not cease unless the offensive insertions and inequities in the 1999 constitution are removed.
    For the good of everyone a proper federation is a a panacea for peace and a reconstituted security forces to reflect national demographics is critical to the feeling of unity. The Hausa-Fulani group and the north must think up inclusive ways of re-engineering the country for growth or they will continue to encourage the embers of bitterness and conflict that will ultimately make us a mockery among others. Let’s go to Rwanda and learn vital lessons for nation building. That’s the only way forward.
    Sokari BobManuel

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