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.

As a prominent figure in African Union, Gaddafi’s shortsighted solution is the greatest leadership failure on his part. It dilutes and contradicts the zeal behind the drive to African unification, where free movements of people would be a permanently entrenched right. As a leader, and a champion of Pan-African ideals in modern day Africa, his utterances ought to epitomize unity not disunity, tolerance, not intolerance. The infamous divide-and-rule tactics employed by the colonialists against Africa has done the continent no good in any way. It has rather divided us as a continent against our unity and ourselves. That must not be repeated in any form today.

What Nigeria needs is a way to peaceful co-existence based on respect and tolerance as the Bible and the Quran that they claim to be ardent followers… clearly postulate. It is hypocritical and ironic on the part of Christians and Muslims to continue killing each other in order to find favour with God.

Africans must come to the conscious awareness that their African identity precedes their religious affiliations Christianity or Islam. Their ancestors in pre-colonial Africa were Africans and human beings long before the advent of Islam or Christianity. It would constitute a shameful gesture to bequeath posterity a legacy of intolerance, conflict and division based on an imported heritage. As Chinua Achebe put it explicitly, “… He came quietly and peacefully with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Many things bind the South and the North together than those that supposedly separate them. It is better to think of unity, and explore costly solutions that would last, rather than cheap ones that would not.

By Kwame E. Bidi



  1. Even the strongest amongst us will sometimes go astray.Ours is to pull the by the ear & bring them back inline.

  2. I agree,a religious separated Nigeria or any other country in the continent will put Africa on a vulnerable position of explotation by non-Africans ie.mineral exploiters,foreign security egencies under the guise of aid workers and all those who don’t have Africas interest at heart.This is the time we have to do it on our own and we are well capable without any foreign aid.Africans must realise that they do not need any aid from overseas we have it all.Izwe lethu!

  3. gaddafi wants to take us back a thousand years. he is defeating his own purpose of a pan africanism which is to unite the african continent. african unity is an absolute necessity for our collective survival. when the late egyptian leader gamal abdul nasser’s project of an arab nation from the nile to the euphrates failed, gaddafi was aggitated along those lines but also failed. he recently wanted to be the leader of a c continental african state and clashed with former president thabo mbeki. now hhe wants to balkanise nnigeria alalong religious lines. tthat is the silliest statement i ii have ever heard in the year 2010. i don’t want to waste time on gobbledygook.

  4. gaddafi blundered like that political nincompoop who leads the congress youth league who insulted Sobukwe. i think payco should not led up and attack him in the media for the whole year. look at his blunders. take him on until he forswears the blasphemous utterances he spewed.

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