2014 – Two New Countries

Somewhere, deep within the Chad Basin, in Borno State, a light began to flash on a console. The technician monitoring the console blinked, unable to instantly process what he was seeing.

He looked at the console again and frowned, trying to make sense of what he saw. Then he picked up the intercom attached to the deck and pressed the number for his supervisor’s quarters.

“Sorry to disturb you, Sah, but I think you need to come and see this.”

Three minutes later the supervisor climbed into the cabin, red-eyed and smelling distinctly of Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapps. “Wetin?” he asked.

The technician pointed at the console. The supervisor looked and saw what was going on. “Impossible…” he said, tapping the dials to see if they were faulty. When there was no doubt in his mind as to what he was seeing, he unlocked the steel cabinet under the console and pulled out the satellite phone stored in there. With an incredulous look on his face, he placed a call to his boss in Abuja.

Six thousand miles away, in Langley, Virginia, USA, the head of the CIA was in bed with his wife and their Yorkshire Terrier, Hoover, when his phone rang. It was 3:46 am. He groped for his glasses and put them on, then answered the phone. “This had better be good,” he said into the phone.

“Sorry to disturb you, Sir,” the voice on the other end said. “It’s Nigeria. They’ve just discovered more oil reserves in huge commercial quantities.”

The head of the CIA sighed, his eyes still closed. “And you’re waking me up with this because…?”

“The discovery was made in the northern part of the country, Sir.”

The CIA director’s eyes snapped open and he was instantly fully awake. “When was this?”

“Hours ago, Sir. They haven’t made a formal announcement yet.”

The CIA director was already getting out of bed. “Wake everybody,” he said.

“Everybody?”

“Everybody.”

The official announcement came a full ten days later. There was a big press conference starring the Honourable Minister for Petroleum surrounded by a supporting cast of lawmakers, high-ranking NNPC officials, and prominent northern politicians. Conspicuously absent, however, was the President.

They had found even more oil. A lot of it. Prospecting had been intensified all over the Chad and Benue Basins. More discoveries were expected.

Watching from his tiny living room in Ogui Layout, Enugu, Ikebudu Nwokafor got up from his chair and began to dance Atilogu.

His twenty-one year old daughter Onyinye watched him, puzzled. “Why are you dancing, Papa? All the oil we have had all this time, they didn’t use it to help us. Why should this one be any different?”

Pa Nwokafor stopped dancing and smiled at his daughter. “Our people have a saying,” he said, “…that what an elder can see sitting down, a child cannot see even from the top of a Mango tree.” Then he laughed to himself and began to dance again.

In Minna, Niger State, a group of twelve men sat in a tight circle in a living room the size of a lawn tennis court. The chandelier above their heads was made of fine crystals and real gold. There was gold leaf relief art hanging on the marble walls and gold on the door handles. The finest Persian rug that money could buy covered the entire floor from wall to wall, and all the furniture in the room had been handmade by the finest craftsmen that could be found in Italy. In the midst of all this splendour, though, the men were disagreeing with one another.

“It is not that simple!” one of them exclaimed. “Everything we own is tied to the existing fields! And these fields are in the South!”

“We need to tread very carefully,” said the oldest of the group. “Let us be wise in our decisions. Allah rewards those who act with wisdom, both in this world and in the hereafter. Let us not do anything rash.”

One of them, who had been sitting quietly and observing the others until then, cleared his throat and the others fell silent. He was one of the most powerful men in the country. Even among this group, which both secretly and openly controlled almost 75% of Nigeria’s crude oil exports between them, he was unmatched in power and wealth.

“Brothers,” he began, “Change is inevitable. It is how prepared we are for it that matters. Instead of waiting to be swept along by change, we must determine its direction.” He paused and looked around the room. “If I can count on your trust and support, then we will fulfil what is already predestined. Don’t worry, our interests will be protected. Trust me.”

Another wave of violence started soon after. A church was bombed in Bauchi, killing nearly forty people, twenty-five of them Igbo. Furious traders in Onitsha razed all the mosques they could find. A mob of angry youth went on a rampage in Zaria, burning houses and slaughtering non-northerners. A lorry carrying fleeing northerners was intercepted near Benin and brutally attacked, killing everybody on board. All southerners still brave or foolish enough to remain in the North were then given one week to vacate the area once and for all. A similar ultimatum was subsequently issued to all remaining northerners in the South East and South South.

The debate began on Facebook. Somebody set up a page named ‘Must We Continue in This Loveless Marriage?’ Within one week there were over two million comments on it. Muslims and Christians, northerners and southerners, everybody aired their opinion. There was name-calling, insults traded, and stereotypes perpetuated. But there was also intellectual discourse. International news outlets began to monitor the page, and both CNN and BBC News ran feature stories on it. It was heralded as an accurate gauge of the disposition of the Nigerian populace.

Then Boko Haram declared a brand new objective. They wanted an Islamic Northern Sovereign State. Nothing more and nothing less.

In Virginia, six weeks later, the head of the CIA placed a call to his boss, the President of the United States.

“Good Evening, Sir.”

“Hi, Brad. How’s Nancy?”

“She’s good, Sir.”

“And the kids?”

“Very well, Sir.”

“Good. What have you got?”

“It’s almost certain to happen, Sir. Both sides seem to want the split.”

“Without a civil war?”

“Without a civil war, Sir.”

“That simple?”

“Not simple at all, Sir. There’s a lot of heavy negotiation going on behind the scenes. It’ll take a while. But they’re definitely going ahead with it.”

The President considered this for a few seconds. “And the terrorist threat?”

“Deactivated, Sir.”

“Deactivated?”

“The objectives of its puppet masters have changed, Sir. Evolved. They’ve been reigned in.”

The President sighed. “I see.” He paused. “Should we be worried about this new country?”

“There’s two new countries, Sir. They’re both starting afresh. You mean Northern Nigeria?”

The President shrugged. “Yeah. Whatever. Should we be worried about them?”

The CIA director shook his head, even though the President couldn’t see him. “It’s still very early stages, Sir, but I don’t believe we should.”

“Okay,” the President said. “Just keep an eye on the whole situation. And make sure we’re in position to deal with both governments when they’re announced. There’s a whole lot of crude involved, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you.”

“Yes, Sir. Of course not, Sir.”

“Good. Anything else?”

“No, Sir. Good night, Sir.”

The line went dead.



34 thoughts on “2014 – Two New Countries” by obinwanne (@obinwanne)

  1. This did not exactly excite me. I hope there is a sequel.

    If not..well.

    1. @seun-odukoya, I don’t blame you at all. My heart sank when I saw the title. It was just supposed to be called 2014. This title has the reader coming in with preset expectations. Basically tells the whole story before you even start reading. Changes everything.

      Oh well…

  2. Well!
    But I like the way you wrote it.

    Then there were about two typos;
    There’s two new countries, sir.(There’re…)

    It’s still very early stages…(something is missing)

    1. Thanks, @babyada. I did “There’s two new countries…” on purpose, though. Oyibo people no sabi speak Oyibo again. Many of them talk that way.

  3. This narrative is creatively crafted.sCi-fi stories thrill me cus one has to b witty to achieve d structure.Things will surely change if oil is discovered in d North.WITH DIS,U DID WELL.I just hope Nigeria doesnt experience war if we are to divide.LORD AV MERCY.

    1. Eshe, my brother. War no be our portion, IJN.

  4. hmmm….

    This story started very well but became poorly crafted from the paragraph “Another wave of violence…” all through to the boko haram incidence. I mean, the disconnect was too sharp and the summary unpalatable.

    You managed dialogue very well.

    This story has the capacity to be very very interesting but I think you underestimated its value. The title might have hampered your intention to create suspense but I think it’s the story itself that robs itself of suspense.

    Nice one.

    1. @chemokopi: My Oga. Thanks, o. I admit the part you highlighted was the hardest part to write. How do you chronicle the breakdown of a nation’s unity in 300 words or less? It would have taken a writer much more skilled than I to pull it off successfully. God dey, sha. I’m still learning.

  5. Story of the month. This is awesome. I like the minna scene. I like everything. You write good.
    But, i am not sure CIA would be THAT interested in oil in the north.

    1. Awesome? No!! Stop with the flattery! ;-) Thanks a lot, @kaycee. You’d be surprised what the CIA would be interested in, actually. But the premise for this was that they had anticipated that oil being discovered in the north would cause Nigeria to split. So they had a contingency plan in place for that, seeing as we’re the sixth largest oil producer and they’re the chief consumers, etc etc…

  6. Obinwanne, Chineke gozie gi. U have foresight & this is superbly written. Wellest done o! And believe it or not, what u’ve pictured here will happen but maybe not in 2014. *winks*

    As for Admin, pls tell them to change d title back to “2014” as u had originally intended or at least “2014: NEW NATIONS”. I’ve previously queried them about this their “over-sabi” editing of works.
    *shakin my head*

    Meanwhile, hav u read my THE LAST PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA? U’ll like it. *winks* Abeg make sure sey u continue this story o! I dey wait for part 2, 3, 4, 5 if necessary. And u must also remember that when Nigeria eventually breaks up there’ll be BIAFRA, ODUDUWA, AREWA & NIGER-DELTA REPUBLICS. This is d century of SELF-DETERMINATION. This is d century of FREE NATIONS.

    1. @koboko, i cho ichiputa m ukwu n’ilo! You wan’ make I cry for public? Thank you, bro.

      I tire for the name changes, o! They could at least consult the author first and see if it works for them. As far as I’m concerned, the title of any piece is an integral part of the package. They might as well rewrite the whole thing for me while they’re at it.

      I’m off to read THE LAST PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA right now! THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED!!!

    2. @ King kObOkO long tym no talk nd write sir.I tot as much as I read tru this story dat smthing similar has bn done by an NS MEMBER.ur story about d last president of Nigeria is smthing to chew on.@ obi keep ön d good work.

  7. I like it. I am doing a similar story, about the impact of crude oil discovery in North Eastern Nigeria. the issues are different, and my conclusion is different. I hope you post parts 1,2, etc. Well done.

    1. Thanks, @duleno. I think it’s an interesting subject, what would happen if oil is discovered in the North. I think it’ll change everything. Looking forward to your take on it.

  8. Nice one. Good piece. Bring on the other parts, you are onto something man. Lets have it!

    1. Thanks, man. But don’t hold ya breath for any other parts, sha!

  9. 2014….I just hope when the year finally arrives, that we won’t be too disappointed with the outcome…I love the way U wrote this, the ‘disconnect’ wasn’t so bad cos i still enjoyed it…Well done..

    1. Thank you, thank you, @sibbylwhyte. Oh, and congrats on Member of the Month!

      1. Thanks obinwanne..I appreciate.

  10. @obinwanne, I enjoyed this story, and I felt it was an entirely realistic rendering as to what could happen, especially the reaction of the US and the northern elite.

    The only part I didn’t feel worked was the the part about the violence. Why should there be retaliation all of a sudden for the violence in the North? As ineffective as the government is, would it just stand by while violence escalated and people were issuing orders for southerners to quit the North?

    Anyway, like I said, it was good enough to deserve 25 points from me.

    1. Thank you very much, @TolaO. As I said before, that part was the most difficult to write. The rest of the story flowed out in minutes but that paragraph took almost two days.

      I think I relied too heavily on implications instead of explicit connections. For example, critics keep talking about a disconnect between that paragraph and the previous one, but it was supposed to imply that the 12 men were pulling the strings for everything that happened from that point. Initially, their leader had ended his speech with “I have a plan.” but I removed it cos it seemed too obvious.

      Anyway, that paragraph was weak, sha. I confess. But that’s what’s good about NS. You keep learning.

      1. Oh, and @TolaO, you don’t live in Nigeria, do you? Because in the last few months there’s been both retaliations in the south for violence in the north and orders issued for southerners to leave the north or else…

        1. @obinwanne, I don’t live in Nigeria, but I do follow the goings on there, and I am aware of violence in the North against southerners.

          However, as far as I am aware, only in very few instances have there been retaliations in the South… and if there have been orders issued for southerners to leave the North, they have not been made by influential people or people in authority.

          Your supposition in the story that violence in the North can be orchestrated to achieve a desired effect is interesting, but it still relies on the southerners retaliating and being willing to move, though. What would convince me more would be if the act of violence was particularly horrific, for example, the killers sending a video of them laughing while the hacked off the heads of women and children, execution-style.

          1. Ah! You just exposed another hole in the narrative to me, @TolaO. After I read your comment I read that paragraph again, and I can see it doesn’t give any clues as to who issued the ultimatum.

            I guess it’s because we’re never really told who’s doing the issuing, in real life. All we ever hear is that “they’ve” said… And “they” have allegedly issued that exact ultimatum a couple of times in recent months.

            Nevertheless, I should have made it clearer, I think. That paragraph, man! Na wa o.

  11. I think you started a brilliant discussion here; the discovery of oil in the north and its implication on Nigeria (as we know it).

    1. Thank you, bro. I personally think it would be the saving grace for all of us if they found oil there.

  12. This is some serious thinking though……… I guess the division is basically inevitable but…….
    Well written though.

    1. Thanks, dude.

  13. Once again you have proved that writers at times can be the eye of the future and can create history before it dawns…our imagination has the potential of etching out the possibilities of the future. You have rendered it realistically with this story. I love the way you handled the dialogue, it was believable and the possibilities of the whole thing is vivid.

    People have talked endlessly about Nigeria splitting apart….you have shown gone ahead to show it.

    The only thing I wasn’t so sure of was the voilence part. Was it really necessary?

    All the same you try no be small!

    1. Thanks, @afronuts! I thought the violence was necessary at the time I was writing it, o. As in, those men set it off again to push their agenda. But e be like say I fail small for that section. No wahala, sha.

  14. u did well…needs more flesh tho

  15. Your mind is crafty indeed and filled with enough conspiracy theories….good one

    1. Thanks, @enoquin! Theories? This na korokoro tings o! Be watchful.

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