My original title of this article, "The Nigerian Watchmaker", seemed an incongruous title since we Nigerians are neither known for our respect for time nor for any expertise in the manufacture of precision instruments like watches. But I invite the reader to stay with the idea for a little while.
It was on 7 July 1998 that Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola forfeited his life. That was the price he was made to pay for insisting on his right, as a "fellow Nigerian", to hold on to the presidential mandate that the people of Nigeria had given him, in the face of opposition from those who claimed a divine right to rule, or at least to determine who should rule, Nigeria and their collaborators.
Many thought that the stand of principle that he was taking ended with his elimination in custody but they clearly misread the warning signs; not least in the meaning of his name "Kashimawo", which translates as "Let us continue to watch".
And so 13 years on from when this accidental, and most unlikely, hero told the world to watch this space, what have we seen?
We have seen the same group, who preferred to see Abiola dead than to be president, show a preference for President Yar'Adua continuing in office, even though dead, rather than his southern deputy Goodluck Jonathan taking over.
And when that deputy eventually did take over, having won what was considered a free and fair election, we saw a number of Youth Corpers, male and female, made to forfeit their young lives in acts of wicked retribution and the mass evacuation of their colleagues from parts of what they had been brought up to believe was their own country. Meanwhile, Boko Haram's murderous attacks, via car bombs, have taught those who were saying that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) consisted of madmen, that, whether or not their assessment is correct, there is a hierarchy amongst the "mad", and their "madness" is growing.
Now, as the cracking noise in the Nigerian edifice gets louder with each passing day, all we hear from the proponents of the indivisible and indissoluble "nation" is Kashimawo.
But there is a positive in all of the madness that has been unleashed within the Nigerian political space since the audacious arrogance of the 12 June 1993 annulment.
It is to be seen in the move towards the politics of issues at the national level such that it is now possible to discern two rival schools of thought: the Federalists and the Unitarists. The Federalists say the best way...