Musician and social activist, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, speaks to OLADIMEJI RAMON about the prospect of Nigeria’s continued existence as one country and his recent call on the Igbo to take their destiny in their hands by withdrawing to their region
The oneness of Nigeria is increasingly being questioned because the aspirations of majority of citizens are not being met and the masses are finding it difficult surviving. Some are calling for the different regions to go their separate ways but others are saying Nigeria is better as one. Which of these sides are you?
Nigeria can’t be better as one country. They say to see the end (of a thing) you look at the beginning and our beginning and our foundation are so faulty that it is really not a wonder why we have this kind of problems that we have – the injustices, the oppression, etc. In the beginning, it was by the British. Nigeria was not just a geographical expression, it was seen as a transaction, starting with the British. Initially when they came down here, the South fought them hard but they found the people up North, especially the Fulani, quite easy to get along with. And in the beginning, it was just the South that wanted independence; the North wanted to live their normal nomadic life but the British saw in them a people that they could easily manipulate. So, that was when they started to use them and got them into the contraption called Nigeria and aided them to do what they are doing now. Therefore, when you have a building, for instance, and already the foundation is faulty, you can’t start talking about putting floors upon floors. It’s not going to work. If you have a marriage and the spouses don’t respect each other, the marriage will not last.
The only time Nigeria had a semblance of working and that things were seemingly okay was when we had regional autonomy and the regions contributed to the centre. But that is not the case now. Another scam is the constitution, because it was the handlers of Nigeria that helped these people to figure out that kind of constitution that does not work for everybody. So, there is no way this union can go forward except we come to the table and talk about it and except we go back to the way we started, that is regional autonomy.