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National Integration

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Over the past several decades, Nigerians have sought to build a stable nation multi-ethnic nation. However, the nation building process has been largely complicated by Nigeria’s tremendous ethnic diversity and uneven distribution of resource.

Since independence in 1960, the geographical expression called Nigeria has striven without success to bring together the diverse ethnic nationalities into a single nation. There has been the need to integrate the divergent ethnic nationalities, cultures and people of the geographical expression called Nigeria. This was important because at independence in 1960, the first indigenous leadership of Nigeria which saw Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe as President and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister was a marriage of two strange bedfellows. There was distrust and suspicion among the major ethnic groups which was geared by the military coup d’etat of Jan 15 1966, which, though unsuccessful, brought about the killing of many politicians, most of whom were of Hausa extraction. Because the coup was thus perceived by many northerners as an attempt by the Igbo people of the east to dominate the federation. This engendered a successful counter coup led by northern soldiers six months later and ultimately resulted in a thirty-month civil war which left the nation, especially the east, wart-torn and devastated, General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian from the middle belt, who emerged as Head of State, however declared that there was no victor, no vanquished. He went ahead to implement a programmed of reconstruction, reconciliation and rehabilitation. This was the first conscious attempt at national integration since independence and civil war Nigeria.

Several efforts at national integration have since then been made such as the application of the federal character principle, boundary adjustment policies, and revenue allocation formulas. For relevance sake, one of such effort at nation building stand shoulder high above the others, and that is the formulation. In the National Youth Service one year of service by each Nigerian immediately after graduation from university or other institution of higher learning. The scheme was designed to foster unity among Nigerians as youth corps members were made to serve in states other than their states of origin.

In a nutshell, it has been seen that the Nigerian federation has been plagued by political instability and social unrest. There is no gainsaying the fact that at the heart of the Nigerian problem is the complex ethnic configuration of the country. There have been coup d’tat, threats of succession, a civil war, and numerous outbreaks of ethnic violence. Despite these setbacks,Nigeria has not disintegrated; This is due to the invaluable sacrifices made by noble compatriots of the nation. Gowon made an acronym of his name Go on with One Nigeria. Unknown soldiers have laid down their lives by the iron, sweat and blood. It is in the spirit of nationality that cold shivers run our national anthem. What are you ready to do for the survival of our fatherland? Say it! The national flag listens!

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