Alhaji Samaila Muhammed Mera is the Emir of Argungu, a first class monarch in Kebbi state and foremost traditional ruler in Nigeria.
In this exclusive interview conducted by OLANREWAJU LAWAL of The Sun Nigeria, warned that Nigeria risks another devastating civil war if the calls for the country’s break up are not halted. He said the nation is better off as one entity.
He said: “Whatever restructuring would take place in this country, my sincere advice is that we are better off to remain one Nigeria than divided into pieces.
“I keep on telling my friends in the South- East, South-South regions of Nigeria that it will be a sad day for me whenever any one of them would have to collect visa before they could visit me. There is strength in number, unity. We are over 150 million now in term of our population and there was a forecast that before end of this century, Nigeria’s population would exceed 300 million making us the most populous nation behind China and Indian.
“If you look around the world today, the most successful nations are those with highest population. Like I said, our problem is that we are not patient with our leaders.
“Just imagine, if Igbo break away, how many land space do they have? The same thing with Yoruba, the same thing with us in the Northern region.
“Every part of this country has something to offer to other regions. We are better the way we are now. Whatever our grievances are, let us embrace dialogue and address our differences. Whenever I hear our people are agitating for Biafra here, another region calling for break up, I feel sad.
“We must not forget what happened to Albania, Yugoslavia, and others when they separated into seven nations. Their country was the most vibrant nation in Europe in term of economy. But today, they are small nations with inadequate resources to cater for their citizens. This should be a big lesson to us.
“If we break up, all of us would suffer for it, because we have many ethnic groups and tribes across the country. If we were separated today, each of these ethnic groups would start rising against each other, waging supremacy war. May God forbid, that would be the beginning of civil war. Instead, we should continue to pray for our leaders, unite for the country’s survival and development.
Speaking on how to put to an end, the agitations in Nigeria, the monarch said:
“We need to fully tap our potential. We were made to understand that Zamfara state is the richest state in Nigeria in term of gold deposits. Have we fully utilized this potential? Also Kebbi state is blessed with gold and other mineral resources. In fact, each state across Nigeria has two or more natural resources that could change the economy of this country for better.
“We were also told that there are large deposits of gas in the Northeast. Let us bring all these potentials out, utilise them and I am optimistic that all these threats of breaking away, restructuring and others would be history in our country”.