Endless Circle of Self-Determination Rumbling: When the Stick-and-Carrot Strategy Fails, Is Nigeria’s Collective Journey Still Non-Negotiable?

Abstract – Agitation for self-determination is as old as the Nigerian State. On a large scale, it has led to a civil war, and subsequently, a pocket of ethnic insurgencies across all regions of the federation. The Federal Government strategy has often been oscillating between wielding the stick of force through military engagement in combating the often militant agitators and pacifying them at other time with a round-table carrot via monetary inducement, contract awards or superficial bogus amnesty package. These strategies have always served an interim purpose because the gamut of trigger-root causes for further agitation has not been fundamentally addressed. Even series of National Conferences organized by successive administrations were often necessitated by political exigency with a Nigeria’s-Unity-not-Negotiable caveat for the handpicked conferees. This essay seeks to interrogate those artificial and natural variables that may have held the country together since independence in 1960 in the face of violent agitations and the prospects, or otherwise, of its continued inseparableness amidst wobbling strategies and seemingly exclusive governance. In this essay, I explore the essence/thesis of self-determination in the current wave of ethnic militancy in Nigeria and argue that political decentralization which has been successful in reducing ethnic conflict and secessionism in some democracies has proved otherwise in democratic countries like Nigeria. Thus, the need for state-organized referendum with a view to giving all aggrieved ethnic groups the opportunity to determine their status within the Nigerian State.

Keywords: Self-Determination, Agitation, Fragile Union, Federation, Stick-and-Carrot

[Cite as: Omilusi, M. (2020). Endless Circle of Self-Determination Rumbling: When the Stick-and-Carrot Strategy Fails, Is Nigeria’s Collective Journey Still Non-Negotiable? Diverse Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, Vol. 2, Issue 2, Pages 45-58.]

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