Opinion

Perspective | Reflections by Orient Harmony – 01

By Orient Harmony

Hello people of South-East and South-South Nigeria, this is your best friend Orient Harmony. I, Orient Harmony, am an ideology that is for all the ethnic nationalities among us. This ideology is about showing brotherly interest, brotherly concern, brotherly kindness, and brotherly care among ourselves. This is a good ideology, is it not? That is why I am your best friend! I bring good into your life! Ha ha ha!

Before I say any more about myself, I think it will be good for me to define a few terms that some of us may not be all that familiar with. Firstly, none of us chose the names South-East and South-South, they were given to us. So when we want to talk about our people together how do we do that? I like keeping things as simple as possible so I refer to our people together as SESS people, SE and SS together – get it? Ha ha ha! There is another more formal way to describe our people together. It is by going to a map of our area that was made by cartographers at the time that Europe was dividing Africa up for themselves during the Berlin Conference in Germany from November 1884 to February 1885. They produced an ethnolinguistic map showing how our various groups are unified by both a shared and common ethnicity and language, and our current SESS area was at that time called the Lower Niger area. So, just as we were not consulted before being called South-East and South-South Nigeria, so we were not consulted when called Lower Niger area. However, it is just a matter of time, and it looks like one day, the ethnic nationalities within our area will be able to decide how we want to be referred by. But, until that time, when we hear of either “people of the Lower Niger bloc” or “SESS people”, we now know it refers to us all, TOGETHER.

I think there is something important that we can gain from that Berlin Conference in Germany in the late 1800s. Fourteen European countries plus Turkey (Ottoman Empire) sent their representatives to this Conference but those that were key in owning parts of Africa were, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Britain, Italy and Portugal. What I think we should learn is that new countries can be created without a single gunshot being fired, and without war. Those European powers got their new countries in Africa without having to go to war among themselves! Think about it!

Back to Nigeria. Today it looks certain that Nigeria will not remain the same. There are calls by Unionists for Restructuring. There are also calls by Non-Unionists for Dissolution. As I consider what is going on, it is seeming more likely that our Yoruba neighbours will not remain in this Union for long. They have had enough of it. Yoruba in Nigeria and in the Diaspora are now looking for their Exit. It is their right, and they want what is good for them. A key principle of the United Nations is that any people in their ancestral land have a right to self-determination, and Yoruba want that.

So what of us, the people of the Lower Niger bloc, are we awake? Here are some questions we should think about. Those Unionists among us who want a Restructured Nigeria perhaps should now be thinking about it without the Yoruba South-West region? Our bloc is more or less a Christian bloc, so what will it mean for us to be in the same country as Arewa that took up self-determination through Islamic Sharia? Will Middle-Belt that is facing a Sharia-supremacist genocide for their ancestral lands to be grabbed, still want to be in this Union? 

These are important issues we must consider. Whatever we do, we should remember that dialogue and negotiation are the best way to bring good to ourselves. That Berlin Conference created a new Africa without any European country going to war to get the lands they wanted. So we should be on the lookout for any platforms out there already working for the good of us SESS people, check them out well, and then key into that one among them that is AUTHENTIC and TRANSPARENT.

Until the next time, this is Orient Harmony signing off!