ONE HUNDRED years past and gone, just like yesterday, and Nigeria is still in transition. Created on the vagaries of British imperialism, Lord Frederick Lugard, on January 1, 1914, unilaterally stitched together, two diametrically opposed Northern and Southern parts of the Niger bend to form an entity he called NIGERIA. Since then, Nigeria has remained changeless but with severe internal contradictions that threaten the shaky foundation on which it was formed. By the amalgamation of 1914, Nigeria marks her centenary in 2014 – a century that reverberates 46 years of colonial domination, which set the agenda for political instability and internal conflicts; 29 wasted years of incessant bloody military coups and dictatorship, and 25 years of incoherent democratic governance.
Echoes of a Century discusses fundamental issues in Nigeria’s loose federation as well as unresolved national challenges in the past 100 years. It also examines the issue of leadership and its ceaseless manipulation through zoning, federal character, demography, ethnicity and religion that revolve around individuals against national interests; the politics and illusion of oil wealth that has become the nation’s albatross; endemic corruption and societal decadence that negate her growth and development, and the clamour for a national conference to renegotiate the country’s future.
Could Nigeria have done better as two separate entities as it were, before the amalgamation of 1914, or better still, as three separate nations as envisaged in 1957, against the encumbrances of its present structure, where trust is lacking, and confidence progressively eroding among federating units? With visible cracks on its bonds of unity, rising cases of religious bigotry and fundamentalism, ethnic chauvinism and exclusion, it is argued that should Nigeria eventually survive as one united nation, it may not develop beyond the status of a third world country.