The Sovereign National Conference (SNC) Tower of Babel

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Last week, we caught a whiff of the deep-seated delusion embedded in the unceasing call by a section of the elite, mainly from Southern Nigeria, for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) of the “tribes” making up Nigeria. The Tower of Babel of SNC, well almost, finally hit the ground in Lagos, rather like a distressed ship arriving at the Apapa port.

A two-day conference organised by the National Summit Group, which carried its own contradictions about sponsorship, offered the opportunity for the “believers” in SNC to make a show of their conviction at the banquet hall of the Sheraton Hotel and Towers.

Some of the earliest ‘converts’ to the ‘new creed’ (Fela might call it follow-follow), of SNC, can ‘proudly’ date their conversion to the year 1990, when SNCs were held in the small Francophone West African nations like Mali and Benin.

It was appropriated by the Nigerian ‘converted’ and turned, appropriately enough, into the bludgeon to threaten secession, if the ‘tribes’ of Nigeria did not gather, screaming and kicking, to agree to the demand of the handful lot, but without doubt, loudest shouting (with a remarkable media presence!) for a ‘restructuring’ of Nigeria and the enthronement of ‘True Federalism’!

Abolition of states

Some others want ‘Fiscal Federalism’ and yet others want the abolition of states and creation of regions, a relapse to the 1960s! Even some of the clowns wanted a clause in their “People’s Constitution” to allow any ‘tribe’ so willing to freely secede, because according to the comedian in question, the Ethiopian Constitution guarantees Ethiopian ‘tribes’ such a right. Never for them an original thought or idea, which takes into cognizance the complex realities of our own country!

It followed that the first sod of the Tower of Babel of SNC or a clone of it, was finally turned last week. From what transpired, the foundation being laid isn’t likely to be better than the historical one! I am very curious just which “tribes” individuals like Frederick Faseun, Ndubuisi Kanu, Ayo Opadokun or Wole Soyinka will represent at their SNC. And given just how lightweight these gentlemen and others of their clan are politically, I have also been wondering how they will achieve such representation.

It certainly cannot be by election, since they are unlikely to get a look in. And just as day follows night, if such a Conference ever holds, without the presence of the noise-makers-in-chief or there is a defeat for ‘restructuring’ and ‘true federalism’, then the nation can be sure of new rounds of agitation. For many of these individuals, agitation has taken a life of its own and they live on and by it!

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