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South-South and South-East can Only Win when They Unite – Olisa

*Unity between South-South (SS) and South East (SE) For Political and Economic Emancipation*

I’ve read alot of write-ups stating how the unity of the former Eastern region (South South and South East), can lead to an important political and economic bloc in Nigeria. But few have an idea on how this can be possible.

We should understand the importance of unity in achieving any aim. A wise man said “a house divided against itself cannot prosper.” That is the plight of what the former Eastern region faces – unity. They’ve been held back for far too long, due to lack of integration within their midst, which is chiefly caused by *POLITICS*. The Ijaw man is sceptical of the Igbo man. The Ikwerre man fails to accept his historical Igbo background and so on. What this says is that the strengths of these various units can’t be harnessed into a formidable force, owing to disagreements. And one way to heal and unite these competing forces, that share more similarities than differences, is through culture and cultural integration.

People underrate the aspect of culture in indices of peace, unity and development. Russia think the way they can absorb their former colonies is through aggression, have created more harm than good. The British knew that, trade or politics wouldn’t be enough to subjugate Nigeria, they introduced their culture – language and religion into the strategy, and Nigeria is still tied to Britian after several years of freedom. China after opening their borders to world trade, knew that for them keep and make sure that the Chinese people, who’ll travel abroad, come back and develop China, did this by injecting into the understanding of Chinese citizens the culture of Chinese. So, anywhere a Chinese man is he thinks home. We’ve had a semblance of that with Obiano’s _Aku ru uno_ campaign.

Trade and commerce doesn’t unite people more than what culture does. When I speak of culture, I mean an uncontrollable bond, that goes beyond physical understanding. That same bond that happens between a mother and her child, that goes beyond breast-feeding, happens between a people and the state through culture.

South South and South East are completely individualistic in nature, which presupposes the lack of cohesion. But with culture, and strengthening those cultural ties between the South South and South East, will result to an unbreakable bond. Let’s understand that, what unites the SS and the SE is more than what separates them. Their food and the way they cook is related. Their love for justice is the same. Similarities in tonal deflection and linguistic writings. Love for alcohol and relaxation. Their love for innovation and creativity. Their distaste for authority figures and so on are all bearing similarities.

It is left for our cultural Chiefs, Queens, and Kings. Our Obi of Onitsha, Olu of Warri, Oba of Benin, Omu Adas, Omu Chiefs, scholars and academics to remind us of what unite us and educate their citizens on various cultural similarities of the old Eastern region.

Olisa Isama.

Political scientist.
GGM ambassador.

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