Gaddafi, the Libyan leader and current head of African Union (AU) recently called on Nigeria to split on religious lines, Christians and Muslims, in order to address the endemic clashes that have claimed many lives. This call has engendered mixed reactions from many Africans, Nigerians in particular. While many think it is a welcoming panacea to the Nigerian crisis, others, including myself, think otherwise.
A religion-inspired division of Nigeria (a federal government) would never resolve the cause of the recurring clashes; neither would it miraculously heal the symptoms. It looks appealing and easy to suggest division and to presume that it holds the prospect for peace. Divide Nigerian on no grounds other than Islamic and Christian ones and you invite xenophobic attacks, deepen blatant hatred and intolerance and set a bad precedent for Nigeria in particular and Africa as a whole. If Islam and Christianity, which are imported religious belief systems, are formidable forces, potent enough to split Nigeria, anything else, be it political dissent, ethnic differences can equally split any African state or justify further balkanization of Africa.
It is important to note that, Nigeria’s oil, which contributes about 90% of its GDP, is mined in the South, where Christians predominate. Enugu, Lagos, Onitsa and other prominent cities in Nigeria with huge public infrastructure, all built from Federal coffers, from both the North and the South, are all located in the South.