Why has Nigeria never split like Sudan into Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria?
To know why it hasn’t split - One has to know why it was united in the first place. For all the cultural/religious ties they may share, who deemed it necessary to unite the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, some of Africa’s largest ethnic groups, into one country? What did the people within these borders have in common with each other, that they didn’t have with the Yoruba population in Benin, or the Hausa up north in Niger?
Well, they had a colonial power in common. From initially only controlling Lagos in 1861, the British gained more territory through a series of conquests - Eventually declaring the Niger Coast Protectorate.
For whatever reasons, the South developed faster in terms of economy and education - The Western kind of education of course, as the north, while previously more literate, leaned more towards Islamic teaching. In a western dominated World, western teaching gave you a head start, as Kemal Ataturk duly recognized.
The discovery of non-commercial oil deposits in the south just before Independence(1956) definitely was a game changer. Prior to that, the country mostly relied on agriculture.
Its worth noting that at the time of Independence(1960) the Northern part consisted of 3/4 of the landmass and more than half the population.
This means that given the ethnic voting patterns prevalent in many African countries, a centralized system with a popular vote would favor the north, as they had the numbers to win every election - While the south would likely favor a decentralized system, that would allow regions/states to keep more of the income they earn (The Indian and German political systems come to mind here)
The political system the newly independent Nigeria had was a compromise, but shorn of the one thing that kept its leaders united, the fight against colonialism - The cracks were quick to surface.
To actually answer the question, Nigeria hasn’t split because:
It took two DEADLY world wars and mass deportations at the end for Europe to fix the mess that drawing countries on a map created - I sincerely hope African countries won’t have to go through the same.
1. No major power really wants that to happen -Well maybe France, but then the western powers respect each other’s spheres of influence (You’ll never hear about a British intervention in Cote D’Ivoire for example, not even in the event of a civil war - But if it’s Sierra Leone…). Plus, Nigeria has an anchor in the Ecowas region. Disturb it, the whole field starts burning.The day the terrorism problem becomes too big though, or China and the U.S. start a new Cold War, you bet that’ll change.
2. Nigerians, especially the younger ones, have a lot more in common when matched up against their fore-bearers. From soccer, food, to a shared disdain for the corruption - We Y’all about NEPA, and Y’all will criticize the hell out of a Super Eagles player for missing a penalty, regardless of whether his name is “Ikechukwu Uche” or “Rashid Yekini”.
That’s in stark contrast to some of the elders I’ve met, who didn’t hold back in praising their own ethnicity even as they called others “thieves” or “uneducated idiots”.
There might just be some light at the end of the tunnel…