Quo vadis Nigeria?

In a 1992 lecture, American political scientist Sam Huntington theorised a Clash of Civilisations and argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures.

Sam Huntington divided the world into cultures. Nigeria is one of what he called “cleft countries”.

He expanded this in a 1996 book and named Nigeria as one of the battleground countries. There was a lot of argument, as naturally happens in the (social) sciences, but three decades on, and it appears that Huntington was indeed on to something, and today’s Sharia court ruling in Kano calls for a serious and unsentimental discussion.

Looking at the current state of play in global geopolitics, it appears that the man was correct, probably with the exception of Poland which appears to be headed back into the orbit of Russia (even if the Poles themselves will strongly disagree with that).

As per his prediction, Sudan has broken up.
As per his prediction, Turkey has abandoned its quest to be accepted into Europe and is beating a path back into the Islamic world.
As per his prediction, the US has ensured that Latin America is for generations to come seen as distinct.

It begs the question: what is Nigeria’s future?

One of our ‘founding fathers’ said, “Nigeria is a mere geographical expression.”

Another referred to “the mistake of 1914.”

If those men asked those questions, then who are we to avoid them?

We have knocked our heads together for so long, but it is clear that Nigeria isn’t working. It is clear that the worldview of the man in Gusau is completely different from that of the man in Uyo. Are we mature enough to have differing worldviews but make a country work?

Personally, I maintain the opinion that we can be much more than what we are. But, for that to happen, there must be honesty about who we are, where we are, and where we each want to go. Again, just our geography and our geopolitical realities mean that a split will be awful.

Is it not much better for us to find a way out of this entanglement than to endure another century of mutual suspicion, distrust and bloodshed?



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Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.