There is a popular scapegoat among Nigerians that we love to pencil down as the genesis of our problems: the British!
Many argue that if the North, and the South, had not been amalgamated by Lord Luggard, that we would not be in the mess we are in now!
As arguments go, it is neither here, nor there!
It is, in my own opinion, a faulty crutch we seek to lean on, to excuse our self-induced abysmal failure!
For the sake of argument, let us ask a “stupid” question, if we had not been amalgamated, would each ethnic group have succeeded in becoming an independent nation on it's own?
And if they had all attained “independent independence” as opposed to the collective one we all got, would they have gone on, as individual nations, to become world class economies, and societies?
To take the theory up a notch, if, as it could have happened, the Yorubas had actually gained independence as part of Benin Republic, or the Igbos as part of Cameroun, and the Hausas, as part of Niger Republic, would their lot have been better, or worse?
If one were to consider these hypothetical scenarios, one would discover that, geographical location plays a small part in determining if a nation would be great, or not! Rather, it is the adoption, and pursuit of policies, and values that engender greatness!
Policies like the rule of law, the pursuit of an open society, reward for hard work, honesty, equity and hard work, and many others, are the building blocks of great nations!
The British excuse, sounds hollowly shallow, and lacking much in substance! It is also eerily similar to the excuse given by some of the animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in an attempt to vilify Snowball!
Many acts of misdemeanor by other animals were attributed to him, in one instance some goats came forward and confessed that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream, and convinced them to urinate in the pool from which they all drank!
That is how silly our blaming the British sounds!
So our argument would be, the military overthrew a legitimate government in 1966, who do we blame? The British of course!
Nigerian politicians loot the treasury, while pauperizing the entire nation, who do we blame, the bleeding British!
Our refineries are criminally compromised, to ensure that a cabal continues to import petroleum products, who do we hold responsible, the British!
We killed our rail system, to enable the trailer cartel from the North get good haulage business; did I hear you say the British?
The British originated educational system that they handed to us at independence is no longer fit for purpose, because we refused to invest in infrastructure, and human capital, it was the British, they did it, they murdered our education!
We hold elections where the number of ballots cast, is twice the number of registered voters, the British sowed the seeds!
When a man leaves his lane, on a dual carriage way, and decides to drive against traffic, because he is impatient, the British put him up to it!
How about when we reward thievery, fraud, dishonesty, and skullduggery, with national awards, it is a British tradition that we copied!
The list of national malaise goes on, and on, and we can only blame the British!
Ghana, our fellow British colonized neighbour, has been quietly forging a solid path to greatness in a very determined fashion!
They have done so, to the admiration of the rest of the world! Our children now school in Ghana, because we have no educational system to point to!
Our businesses are relocating there too, because of stable power supply!
They discovered oil some years ago, and one official there said, “we will show Nigeria how to use oil money”
And you know what, they will, because they have shown us how to do other things, the proper way!
The day we decide that we are our own problem, and not some amalgamation which neither reduced, nor diminished us, we will begin our march to greatness!
Until then, we should leave the British alone, because they have left us these past fifty years to get our act together!