AMO­SUN AND AR­TI­FI­CIAL BOUND­ARIES

THISDAY - - EDITORIAL -

At the Mon­day, July 24, 2017 summit of the South West gov­er­nors (now West­ern Nige­ria Gov­er­nors’ Fo­rum) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State helms­man, Sen­a­tor Ibikunle Amo­sun, rued the par­ti­tion of the old West­ern Re­gion in the fol­low­ing words: “In­stead of build­ing bridges, some of our peo­ple are dig­ging trenches for pro­tec­tion against their own brothers and sis­ters.” The ar­ti­fi­cial par­ti­tion of Africa, a prod­uct of the 1884/85 Ber­lin Con­fer­ence, has had the same cen­trifu­gal ef­fect on the land­scape of Africa. Time and time again, brothers who had lived to­gether in peace for cen­turies, have had to meet at the abat­toir of mu­tual an­ni­hi­la­tion in de­fence of ar­ti­fi­cial bound­aries and res­o­lu­tion of oth­er­wise com­mu­nal dif­fer­ences.

Wrote Soyinka in The Man Died, “It is bet­ter to be­lieve in peo­ple than na­tions... And any ex­er­cise of self-dec­i­ma­tion sorely in de­fence of the in­vi­o­la­bil­ity of the tem­po­ral de­mar­ca­tions called na­tions is a mind­less trav­esty of ide­al­ism. Peo­ples are not tem­po­ral be­cause they can be de­fined by infinite ideas. Bound­aries can­not.”

“And to fur­ther worsen the sit­u­a­tion,” ob­served Gov­er­nor Amo­sun, “some of our peo­ple are also mak­ing them­selves avail­able as in­stru­ments of di­vi­sion be­cause of their self­ish po­lit­i­cal gains. The con­se­quence is that our peo­ple be­gin to see them­selves as a peo­ple of one state or the other rather than as a sub-unit of the Yoruba en­tity.”

He there and then coun­selled: “We can­not al­low ar­ti­fi­cial bound­aries such as ge­og­ra­phy, re­li­gion, pol­i­tics, etc. to hin­der our joint devel­op­ment. We should ex­plore the com­mon her­itage in cul­ture and tra­di­tion as a spring-board for the devel­op­ment of our dif­fer­ent states and the entire re­gion as a whole.” I be­lieve the mes­sage of the Ogun State gov­er­nor is most per­ti­nent and has the same ap­peal to the peo­ple of Nige­ria, es­pe­cially at this time of so­cio-po­lit­i­cal ag­i­ta­tions. Soy­ombo Opeyemi, Abeokuta

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