Seventy-two percent of Nigerians are in favour of disintegration as a way forward for a better Nigeria while twenty-eight percent want restructuring. This fact was established in an opinion poll conducted from October 6th to 13th, 2020, by the Youth Ethics and Anticorruption arm of the Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE).
Out of the 185 persons interviewed, 153 persons wanted a disintegrated Nigeria while the remaining 52 persons wanted a restructured Nigeria. This accounts for 72 percent and 28 percent of the total respondents respectively.
The respondents in favour of disintegration would love to see a Nigeria that is broken into the following major ethnic groups: Republic of Biafra, Oduduwa Republic, Arewa Republic, Niger Delta Republic and the Middle Belt Republic.
The age demographics and percentile of the respondents were categorized in the following order: Young people aged 18-44 accounted for 55 percent of the respondents. Middle-aged adults aged 45-54 made up 32 percent of the total respondents while older citizens aged 55-64 accounted for 21 percent. Two percent of the respondents did not fall into any of the predefined age categories.
For the 28 percent that preferred a restructured Nigeria as the way forward, on a scale of 100%, 41 percent of them desired that restructuring should be done on the model of devolution of powers with resource control to the 36 states of the federation. The same percentage was also recorded for devolution of powers with resource control to the 6 geo-political zones. The remaining 18 percent of the respondents favoured a restructuring model that involves the devolution of powers with resource control to the original 3 regions that made up Nigeria.
The poll followed a public debate on Nigeria’s unity held on October 1, 2020 by CSAAE. The debate brought together youth representatives from major ethnic pressure groups in Nigeria including: the National Publicity Secretary of the Supreme Forum for Yoruba Youths (Comrade Balogun Ridwan Fasasi); Biafran Agitator and Legal Practitioner (Simon Ekpa); the National Youth Coordinator of the Middle Belt Forum (Comrade Adakole Ijogi); the Public Affairs Analysts and Spokesperson for the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (Darlington Nwauju); the IPOB Global Youth Coordinator (Armstrong Onozogie Omijie) and; the General Secretary of Arewa Youth Forum (Ahmed Usman).
On Nigerian unity, the Niger Delta Youth representative upheld the notion of one Nigeria blaming poor leadership as the cause of the Nigerian problem, while his Middle Belt counterpart argued that for there to be a better Nigeria there should be restructuring of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones. The Yoruba Youth representative agreed with the Middle Belt representative on restructuring with emphasis on devolution of power with resource control to the 6 geopolitical zones. The IPOB youth delegates argued that there should be complete disintegration of Nigeria into 4 nations (Arewa, Biafra, Oduduwa and the Middle Belt) insisting that the contraption called Nigeria is the first problem of Nigerians. The Arewa Youth representative disagreed with everyone insisting that Nigeria should remain the way it is. He agreed that states should control their resources but insisted that the police should be controlled by the Federal Government.
The debate was moderated by Rev. Fr. Dr. Godswill Agbagwa, the founder and executive director of CSAAE. In his closing remarks, Fr. Agbagwa, assured representatives of the youths that their voices and yearnings would be channeled to the appropriate authorities and that more steps will be taken to garner and collate more views of the Nigerian youths on the way forward for Nigeria as he called on youths to embrace their roles as critical actors in building a better Nigeria. Watch the full debate on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/ScPR66GMoWA
It should be noted that CSAAE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people build great careers, cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship, become effective leaders and embrace their roles as critical actors in building a better Africa. The Centre pursues its mission through 3 programs that share the common goal of creating positive social, economic and political change one person at a time. A Career Building and Entrepreneurship Program (CBEP) that helps young people get the education they need, secure employment or initiate enterprises that contribute to the development of Africa; an Effective Leadership Program (ELP) that nurtures leaders committed to the development of Africa. A Youth Ethics and Anticorruption Program (YEAP) that raises the consciousness of young people to the importance of good governance, rule of law, human rights and anticorruption towards the development of Africa.
By Sr. Roseline Reuben