Nigerian village_chiefSeveral meaningless borders continue to divide Africa. Africa today is like a termitarium but with so many tunnels leading to nowhere. We all pray for a united Africa. Why? Because, there is power and strength in unity. Unity breeds understanding and understanding breeds hope. Unity breeds trust, power and love. With unity, even the impossible becomes possible.

Just imagine all the 54 or so countries in Africa coming together to form one big community. Imagine a "United States of Africa" and imagine the power and strength such a unity could bring. Imagine Africa without all these meaningless borders and imagine Africa whereby goods and services flow freely from one corner to rest. Imagine the economy boom and prosperity such a unity could bring.

Anytime I hear about a "United States of Africa", I remember Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (the first president of Ghana) and the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana preached about a "United States of Africa" and worked very hard towards it. In fact, he was one of the main founding members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which is now the African Union (AU). Unfortunately however, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was assassinated even before he could say it loud and clear.

Also, despite the numerous war crimes in his name, the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was another great believer in this idea of a "United States of Africa". Although he couldn't do much to achieve this goal, he believed in it and preached about it at least towards the end of his reign.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and a mini "United States" of its own with about 36 different states under its government. As I mentioned above, the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was a great believer in this idea of a "United Africa". In other words, I thought Muammar Gaddafi would love such a "unity" in Nigeria. However, somewhere in March 2010, Muammar Gaddafi made a very strange suggestion. According to Gaddafi, Nigeria must be divided into two separate countries. What on earth could make such a great believer in African unity say such a thing?

There are now two "Sudans" in Africa. It used to be one big Sudan not long ago. Sudan separated into two countries (North Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan) in 2011. Now there is a border between North Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

The numerous peace agreements did not solve the problem (clashes between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south) in Sudan. The numerous peace talks were almost a waste of time in Sudan's case. The political and religious talks in some cases, even worsened the situation in Sudan. We all know what happened in Darfur. The Darfur genocide in Sudan did not happen overnight. Several innocent people continued to die for no fault of theirs at all. So, at the end of the day, there was no other option than to split Sudan into two countries with Muslims in the north and Christians in the south.

There is a similar situation in Nigeria today. Throughout history, there've been several clashes between Muslims in the northern parts of Nigeria and Christians in the southern parts. And anytime such clashes arise, 100s if not thousands of innocent people lose their lives and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, greater part of Nigeria's wealth lies in the south and dividing Nigeria into two countries would be rather unfair economically to most of the northern areas of the country. In other words, the northern parts of Nigeria remain some of the poorest areas in the country and separating the poorer north from the richer south would rather worsen the already bad situation in the north. On the other hand, considering the fruitless outcomes of the several peace talks, non-governmental and government initiations, etc., if the southern areas of the country desperately want their peace, religious, political and economic freedom, then they have very little to no choice than to at least consider Muammar Gaddafi's advice.

As most of you know, the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and several other terrorist organizations continue to operate in the northern areas of Nigeria. These terrorist organizations continue to kill and destroy several lives and properties without much repurcussion. They target mostly women, children and people of other faiths (especially Christians). They burn down entire villages and towns, rape and abduct women and school children and commit several other horrible attrocities all in the name of their religion. Sadly, most of the religious and political figures in these areas of Nigeria continue to keep a blind eye.

Someone may ask, "what exactly do Boko haram and those other terrorist organizations want?". Well, according to the spokesperson for Boko haram (which means "western education is evil"), they need an independent northern state. In other words, Nigeria must be divided into two separate countries (with Muslims in the north and Christians in the South just like in Sudan) and Boko Haram has sworn to continue fighting until they achieve their aim. Thousands of innocent people have lost their lives since the beginning of this year. Several homes, cars, factories, etc. have been destroyed in the north and other areas of the country by these terrorist organizations, and it is not the first time this is happening in Nigeria. This has been going on for decades. 

Division is never the best solution especially in these modern times. However, in situations where there seems to be no other available option, maybe division shouldn't be treated as such a bad idea. Since the religious and political leaders of Nigeria continue to keep a blind eye to some of these economic and social problems facing the country, maybe division shouldn't be treated as a taboo subject.

Although not yet the most populous idea in Nigeria today, division continues to gain roots in the hearts and minds of the people who are already sick and tired of these several economic, political and social problems. And you cannot blame them because everyone deserves the right to live in peace and achieve their full potentials.

It is true quality education is the answer to most of our questions. It is also true quality education is the key to solving most of these problems. However, until good government policies flourish and good education gains roots in the hearts and minds of all Africans, division will always remain a viable option in Africa.

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