In a groundbreaking move, the Foundation for Peace Professionals (PeacePro) has urged the Nigerian federal government to consider renaming the country’s six geo-political zones to better reflect historical and cultural identities.
The think tank argues that such a change would play a pivotal role in addressing underlying issues fueling regional solidarity, often exploited by non-state actors.
Speaking on behalf of PeacePro, Executive Director Mr. Abdulrazaq Hamzat stated, “The current labels for Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, such as North West, South West, North East, South East, North Central, and South-South, lack political significance. We need a more politically conscious approach to bridge regional divides.”
Hamzat emphasized that renaming the zones would align with the desires and aspirations of the people. “People across Nigeria already identify themselves with specific names and descriptions, and denying them these political identities only reinforces a sense of entitlement,” he noted.
Highlighting the importance of this change, Hamzat explained, “Non-state actors exploit these identities to mobilize support for their divisive causes. By adopting official names for the zones, we can disarm these actors of their tools for creating division among our citizens.”
As part of their proposal, PeacePro recommended the following name changes: South West to be renamed Oduduwa Region, North West to be renamed Arewa Region, South East to be renamed Biafra Region, North East to be renamed Kanem Borno Region, South-South to be renamed Niger Delta Region, North Central to be renamed Middle Belt Region.
Hamzat emphasized that these name changes carry political implications, as they remove the non-state actors’ ability to manipulate regional identities for divisive purposes. Instead, they promote a sense of unity and shared cultural history.
The proposal by PeacePro represents a novel approach to addressing regional tensions in Nigeria, potentially opening the door to a more inclusive and harmonious national identity.
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