By Ayo Akinfe
Nigerian troops boarding a train in Kaduna in 1914 ahead of their deployment to Douala to seize Western Cameroon from Germany. During that war, Britain and France seized all of Germany’s African colonies including Cameroon, Togo and Namibia.
Unfortunately, Cameroon was split between Britain and France, with French troops advancing through Congo to seize the eastern half of the country. If only Britain had insisted on having all of Cameroon, Nigeria had the troops to take over all of the country.
Just imagine the giant we would be today if we have seized all of Cameroon in 1914. We are no longer in the 19th century so Nigeria cannot march her troops into Cameroon, Benin Republic, Niger Republic, etc and build a massive empire as did the likes of Ghengis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Pharaoh Ramses but we can negotiate a merger with them.
The historian in me will always make me love the power of a huge empire. Ultimately, this is something Nigeria needs to do as by 2050, we will be the third most populous nation on earth with a population of 402m people, so will need what the Germans call Lebensraum (living space) in order to survive.
As we celebrate our 59th anniversary, let us start thinking about 2050. Our landmass of 923,768 km2 will be inadequate for the responsibility of greatness that beckons.
If you look at the other large nations we will be competing with, India has 3,287,263 km2, the US has 9,833,520 km2 and China has 9,596,961 km2. America envisioned this problem so in 1867 bought Alaska and in 1845 acquired Texas. We need to think likewise!