By Dr. Prince Charles Dickson
The North-South Dichotomy is not a subject within the shores of this nation that one talks about without understanding, it evokes a lot of passions from the heated debates, and arguments which it generates, everyone holding dear to their views, values, idiosyncrasies and what not. A lot has been written, on old perspectives likewise new viewpoints…more are still being penned down. Onyedikachi Ponfah
I have written quite a sizable on this topic on the Nigerian subject matter, and as we continue in the celebration or otherwise mourning of our a non existent statehood. It is important I revisit the topic; given the false impression by both eggheads, and generation X dudes who live under the fans pretense that just break Nigeria and all will be well.
Every nation has one dichotomy or the other, if it is not the north vs south, it is versus blocs or religious or even ideological dichotomies. There are several reasons why such dichotomies exist. Sometimes it is a function of creation like we have in the Nigerian case, and in another it evolves.
In our sensational North South dichotomy, we have in every sense approached most problems sectionally thereby creating all kinds of unnecessary petty-culture-ethnic parapoism and bourgeois mentality in dealing with our national issues. Dichotomy is one that is used by political apologists as a socio-economic weapon. Apart from the positive, the dichotomy has been used to exploit and bamboozle the masses without major consideration being given to the dynamics of the law of development which in essence deals scientifically with the unity and struggle of opportunities and opposites.
Another musing on the issue of the North South Dichotomy is that in truth only a social revolution can solve our problems, be they political, economic or social. In this sense we need more than a free, fair and credible election, what we need is the progressive element (Sadly that progressive element today is largely on paper) to come together as a striking force. Because they have a revolutionary duty to this nation to help in striking a balance in the North-South Dichotomy, to disabuse the thought pattern that has been built.
Like it was at independence, the problem still persists, the North/South dichotomy borrows a lot from bourgeois theories, which essentially is directed at confusing our intellect, like we try to argue within the parameters of “anti-class theory”, “theory of undevelopement”, “take off theory”, “theory of cooperation”, “theory of external push”, “end of ideology theory”, “convergence theory”, “the theory of the periphery in the periphery”. Wonderful sociological concepts that do very little in helping us shift in the way of progress because only few theories work for us…”theory of corruption”, “theory of bad governance”, “chop I chop theory”, and “killing for god theory”, or the ideology and theory of hatred, one that continues to sweep across the nation.
Like I said there is hardly any nation that you do not find a form of dichotomy. But when not managed it only retards conscious development of the people, creates inter ethnic hostilities and allows for continued exploitation from and management of political power. In neighbouring Sudan, it is the same, it does exist almost everywhere, but the question is what keeps them in check. In all cases however only the haves in the society allow the dichotomy to yield chaos. Professor Edna Bonacich does something in this vein; it is called “A theory of ethnic antagonism.
The North/South dichotomy denies us of one thing and it is the national question. What is a nation? We cannot fully understand the implication of the North-South dichotomy without answering the national question scientifically in relating this phenomenon to our socio-political economical development, it is important to look at the historical development of the national question. And ask how we can practice it as a people.
The national question “is a question of solving vital national problems of social development, abolishing national oppression and inequality, eliminating obstacles to the development of peoples, including achievement of factual quality and internationalism in national relations.” Under what we have, the national question cannot be answered because we propagate false national chauvinism and ethnic hatred, sow inter-tribal hostility and organize armed clashes and conflicts, which always negate socio-political programs and techno-economic development.
Nigeria has not defined national will and like, both Max Savelle and Peter Haslett hold strongly that “a nation is just a metaphor”, Nigeria is a metaphor, and so do we break it as the only solution?
The concepts “national character”, “national culture”, national consciousness”, “national philosophy and psychology” are often used and discussed without carefully and critically understanding their contradicting class nature in antagonistic societies and their relative independence.
Nationalism anywhere is the ideological requirement of society for the formation of nationhood. In turn, the formation of nationhood is the reflections of more profound changes in the socio-economic structure of a country. These changes in turn should be necessary, and bring about the dialectical integration of all various ethnic groups, a new form of socio-political unit. When this state of affairs is established, the development of community production relations occurs. Greater exchange among the various sections of the nation also occurs and truly, there will be the destruction of ethnic chauvinism and parochial relations. When this goal is achieved, there will be the enablement among the various ethnic groups or classes in the country of new economic relations on the basis of positive nationalism and true democracy. This situation in the final analysis, gives rise to the various ethnic groups towards greater realization of cultural togetherness, peace and stability for all.
The above is not found in IPOB, MASSOB, AREWA, ODUA or any of the dandalilos masquerading as separatist movements, in Plateau there are 58 selfish nations, no one Plateau ideology yet…and it is the case, Catholics vs Protestants, sects vs sects, young vs old, elite vs…we and them…a long list of dichotomies I dare say.
I therefore warn and challenge Nigeria on the basis of what I have outlined; it is only fair and fitting to direct our critical analysis of the Nigerian political climate in the form of serious warning to the reactionary forces in the country. At the same time, we shall only be performing our historical function if we alert the progressive force in the country about the most urgent need for a collective approach and prompt action against elitist domination and exploitation of our national affairs and national resources. We cannot abdicate our responsibility to do and say what is right.
This is the only way we can continue to be right. We are seriously warning the reactionary force to come to grips with realities of the moment, which point to the inevitabilities of the future, because time is running out, at us to initiate a wind of hurricane of social revolution.
In the last 60 years we have tried, it may not be as fast as we had wanted to go, its been largely a mess but we have made progress, the fact that the military has not struck and will not for now is a legacy we are building, we are equally slowly but steadily evolving; but real questions remain unanswered, such as, is there a Federated Nigerian Republic, with functional federating states, are ethnic nationalities free and happy and developing, the answers—only time will tell.