At independence Nigeria became a federation and remains the one country. Soon afterwards the battle to consolidate the legacy of political and military dominance of a section of Nigeria over the rest of the federation began with bigger passion. More than 45 years ago Nigeria was nearly divided by the bloody civil war that broke out on July 6, 1967, and led to the deaths of over a million people.
Below are the five people who are fighting for the soul of Nigeria with the central government at the expense of millions of residents who just want an opportunity to live their lives quietly.
5. President Buhari
Buhari makes the list only because he is the leader of the nation and his actions or inactions could push Nigeria over the edge or become the messiah, as many predicted, and save the country from the imminent disaster posed by the people mentioned below.
The president’s manner of tackling the controversial prisoners of Nigeria could go a long way to define if the situation would be worsened or buried and forgotten.
However, if Buhari wants to keep Nigeria united he should ensure that the rights of these men are protected while also figuring out the ways on how to stop the conflicts in the country.
For example, Nnamdi Kanu is both Nigerian and British, and the UK has already rose questions over his continual detention. Sheikh El-Zakzaky has Iran’s support because he preaches their type of religion, the Shia Islam.
4. Tompolo (Government Ekpemupolo)
Tompolo was a prominent figurehead in the Niger Delta militancy that besieged the oil-producing country in the mid-2000s.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is currently accusing Tompolo of corruption.
The arrest warrant for the former Niger Delta warlord coincided with the resumption of attacks in the region.
Armed with more money than ever to purchase even more weapons than before, Tompolo could pose a real danger to Nigeria quickly should the situation deteriorate any further in the South South.
Before the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, his name drove fear into the hearts of many as he and his cohorts terrorized the creeks of the South South region.
3. Goodluck Jonathan
Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan has left the power as the national hero. He is currently getting many awards from the global community, recall his recognition in the USA and in Switzerland last month. Jonathan has been visiting many strategic pro-democracy institutions where he had been invited to share his experience in office as the promoter of democracy and the advocate of good governance in Africa.
However, his government left many questions unanswered. For instance, the biggest scandal that currently rocks the country is fake purchase of the arms to fight the deadly Boko Haram sect.
The further anti-graft agency digs into the scam, the more Jonathan’s men are implicated and indicted.
These fake deals reportedly caused thousands of deaths in the country in the hands of terrorists.
What Jonathan decides to do next – to stay the hero or to reclaim the power by all means – will determine his role in the unity of Nigeria.
2. Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky
Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, is another powerful man with his finger practically on the activation button. Shiites’ leader was the one who introduced the Shia Muslim practice into Nigeria from Iran over 30 years ago. Before then, Nigeria had only Sunni Muslims.
He controls a part of the Muslim population in the north and is so powerful that his religious procession or convoy has right of way above anyone. He could not even be controlled by law enforcement agencies. Residents of Kaduna state, where El-Zakzaky used to be based, has many times lamented about the disturbances the sheikh and the members of his sect cause.
While at the moment, his location remains unknown after a bloody clash with the military in Zaria on December 12-13, which left hundreds dead his followers wait for his return patiently.
1. Nnamdi Kanu
Of all the people on this list, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group and the director of the Radio Biafra pirate radio station, Nnamdi Kanu, is, perhaps, the most influential at the moment.
Nigeria’s secret police arrested Kanu, on October 17. He lives in London but often travels to Nigeria and was reportedly apprehended in Lagos. Kanu leads the IPOB, a secessionist group supporting the revival of the Biafran state and independence from Nigeria. Since his arrest, pro-Biafran protesters have organised marches in southeastern Nigeria, demanding Kanu’s release and calling for the independence of the Biafran territories.
Kanu is calling for the people of the South East to mobilize and fight for the creation of the state of Biafra. He argues that the Igbos are not properly catered for by the federal government.
While at the moment the protesters have been peaceful and recorded cases of deaths happened only when security forces attacked them, the agitation clearly is on the rise in the South East, as Nigerian leaders wonder what to do, and anything could deteriorate the situation.