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Monday, January 22, 2018

Restructuring Nigeria: We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist.

  • Hausa/Fulani's rejection of federalism is a demand for dismemberment
  • Northern leaders list terms for restructuring, want Marshall Plan
  • We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist
  • What restructuring means in practical terms by ABC Nwosu
  • It's time to restructure Nigeria, says Babangida
  • Beyond restructuring or secession: My fear for Nigeria
  • 'Why north is uncomfortable with restructuring'
  • How Nigeria was de-structured
  • Road to recovery: A case for restructuring Nigeria
  • Restructuring and its benefits for all
  • Restructuring: Let's go our ways in peace -Rufai Hanga
  • Restructuring: Who lopsided Nigeria in the first place?
  • The clamour to restructure Nigeria
  • Why Nigeria must be restructured
  • Who's afraid of restructuring?
  • The restructuring rhetoric
  • Nigeria: Formed by negotiation, will forge by negotiation
  • Osinbajo commits political apostasy

Hausa/Fulani's rejection of federalism is a demand for dismemberment

Written by Rotimi Fasan
~vanguard Nigeria. Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

IT'Simportant to enter a caveat from the beginning in the light of the title of this week's piece. Nigeria's greatness lies in its remaining one country that is made up of diverse ethnicities. That is one lesson to be learned from the present arrangement of the world. In spite of the tension of division and tribalism that has been created in Donald Trump's America, the fact remains that America's greatness lies in its diversity. It's the reason for the existence of many of the regional economic and political groupings around the world. It's the logic behind the decision of those European countries that have elected to remain part of the European Union despite differences. It's the reason they are unhappy with Britain and would quickly want to close the chapter on its breaking rank and choosing to exit the EU. Nigeria's situation cannot be different from the rest of the world. We can't be thinking of breaking up while others are finding ways to resolve their differences in a bid to remain or come together. It's not too likely that any of the component parts that make up Nigeria will do better alone than they would collectively as one country.

This is the reason we must be clear-eyed about the way we relate with one another and be determined to correct the injustices of the past rather than insisting on keeping them. Yet, it would appear that some self-deceived Nigerians cannot separate their self-interest from the interest of the whole. They fail to see the wisdom in relating to others on the basis of fairness and equity. This is where we have found ourselves as a country with the debate over the skewed nature of our federalism and how to correct it. The Yoruba have a saying that there are boundaries even in farmlands jointly owned by a father and his children. No matter how close we are, we still need some personal space for self-actualization, some room within which to operate and be able to function as individuals. It does not mean we are no longer one or have become enemies by such recognition.

While it's great to keep Nigeria one, we must do so on the basis of fairness not at the expense of others. The struggle to make Nigeria a truly federal state has taken different forms under different names which some claim now makes the whole issue confusing to them. But really there is nothing confusing or mystifying about the matter except we want to be deceptive. The whole issue boils down to the same old debate about whether Nigeria is truly being managed according to the tenets of the federalised state it claims to be. Otherwise, why is everything run in the fashion of a unitary state? Why should the centre interfere in the life of the states that are the basis of its existence? Why should politicians from the north, actually the Hausa-Fulani elite that controls the region, insist Nigeria must remain the way it is as a twisted federation that is managed along unitary lines?

In identifying opponents of federalism one has to be sure not to lump every section of the country above the River Niger and River Benue together as one and the same even when some people from the said parts for personal gains pretend there are no differences. Not even all the peoples to the east of the far north can be lumped together as one with the Fulani any more. Thus, when senators from the north under the aegis of the Northern Senators Forum rose from a recent retreat with the advice to President Muhammadu Buhari not to accept reports of the 2014 conference commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan, they were in effect saying they reject any talks about addressing the grievances of the other units in the country. Those grievances addressed by the confab border mostly on the nature of our federalism. The various demands by the delegates from the south are about ensuring fairness in the sharing of resources which is best done under a properly run federal structure. This is at the core of the ongoing debate about 'restructuring' the country. That some people will arrogantly dismiss the outcome of such an initiative is unacceptable. And what are their grounds for this? Simply because President Buhari did not initiate the conference!

Indeed the reason proffered by the senators shows not just the emptiness in the thought processes of our so-called leaders but also why this country has failed to move beyond a certain level of development-why we continue to move without making progress- 'perambulating' as Fela would say. What the northern senators are saying in effect is that every leader that comes into office must set about re-inventing the wheel, doing all over again what others before them have done and concluded. By this thinking whatever policy or decision Buhari initiates today can be flung into the waste bin of history as soon as the next occupant gets into Aso Rock without thoughts for the merits or lack of merit of such policy/initiative. The matter is that simple for our distinguished honourables in the NSF. We can see how such simple-minded take on grave issues are operationalised in the different policy somersaults perpetrated by various regimes in Nigeria, past and present.

We see it in the management of our education policies where the country has shuffled forwards and backwards with the so-called '6-3-3-4' and '6-5-4' systems and where one administration reaches an agreement with academic and non-academic unions of tertiary institutions and another administration takes over and says it knows nothing about it. One state governor leaves office owing workers many months of salaries and another is elected who washes their hands off any talk of backlog of unpaid salaries or pension- as if government is not a continuum. We see it in the management of toll gates across the country: one moment the gates are removed and the next they are being returned with the fervor with which they were removed only to be returned again. How can a country move forward in this situation?

Those who, like these northern senators, reject talks about running this country along truly federal lines are beneficiaries of an unfair and unjust system. Let the north remember that what it enjoys today by way of majority of states and decision makers were made possible by years of northern domination of the military. Nigeria like the rest of the world has moved beyond that era of domination by might and those who insist on keeping an unjust system in place are being foolish. They cannot see where their interest lies: they are making the break-up of this great country a matter of time.

Northern leaders list terms for restructuring, want Marshall Plan
~The Guardian Nigeria. Thursday, December 14, 2017.
The Sultan urged politicians to improve the lives of Nigerians,
berating those who merely use the electorate to win votes.
He also called on government at all levels to implement
programmes that could move the country forward.

• South East, South West insist on regional govt

• Middle Belt Youth Council vows shift in 2019 vote

The North is not intimidated by calls for restructuring of the nation and is ready to discuss the issue if the right cards are put on the table.

This was part of submissions following a two-day retreat by the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) in Katsina State yesterday.

According to the Forum, the region was not afraid of any "sensible and meaningful arrangement, provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians".

It described the matter as ambiguous, even to "proponents, without clear terms and directions on how to go about it", adding, the North would, at a later date, take a "well articulated, firm and common position" on restructuring, in collaboration with other northern members of the National Assembly.

The Forum also resolved to map out a Marshall Plan for development of the region, saying the proposition would be carried out in partnership with critical stakeholders, its House of Representatives counterpart and the Northern Governors Forum.

A communiqué signed by NSF chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the Plan would be all embracing.

The retreat discussed "the huge infrastructural deficit" in the North, noting that this challenge has weigh down socio-economic advancement, hence "the need to design an all embracing Marshall Plan for the development of the region".

The NSF said: "The insecurity of lives and property and the lack of capacity of the state to adequately guarantee the most fundamental of rights are the most critical challenges facing the region in particular and the country in general.

"The prevalent ethno-religious crises in the region are politically motivated and have little or nothing to do with religion. The alarming statistics of out-of-school children and the number of learning institutions in the region explains why it is educationally and economically backward, in addition to poor budgetary funding and bad governance."

Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki had declared the retreat open on Tuesday, with the governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Borno and Sokoto in attendance, alongside Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, former Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Coomasie, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Dr. Usman Bugaje and others.

Speaking earlier, the Sultan urged politicians to improve the lives of Nigerians, berating those who merely use the electorate to win votes. He also called on government at all levels to implement programmes that could move the country forward.

Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba social-cultural organisation, however insisted Nigeria needs a devolved structure and return to a parliamentary system of government.

The group's national treasurer, Chief Supo Shonibare, warned that the country could not survive as a united entity amid monumental infrastructural challenge.

In a phone call with The Guardian, he said: "Afenifere welcomes urgent actual actions on our prescription that we need to not only conceptualise. We have been doing that for years, but also engage in practical actions on the discourse on the necessary structure able to resolve the agitation for devolution, and the need to increase our ability to reduce the costs of running government.

"It is good to want to increase the country's agricultural produce and explore the idle mineral deposits in the North, one however needs a structure able to allow those in the North make the necessary economic decisions without a 'quango' at the centre determining issues of licensing and legal framework (but) able to assure investors of speedy resolution of contact disagreements within the region where these activities will be carried out."

He described the Federal Government as an unwieldy wasteful entity, absorbing 70 per cent of the country's expenditure with very little to meet infrastructural deficit requirements and education.

Also, Second Republic politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, said each state or zone should be given responsibility as it was during independence so that each state would take up the responsibility of its children, workers, education, agriculture, industry and infrastructure.

"If the country is restructured, the economy will rise. At the moment, the economy in the Northern and Southern states are only growing by one percent. That is why there is a lot of criminality in the country and lots of hunger such that people are now selling their children for a bag of rice. It is something that has never happened in before. With a restructured Nigeria, there will not be a do-or-die affair of who wants to become president."

The Middle Belt Youth Council meanwhile has said, "After extensive consultations among the youth and with our elders, (we) have come to the conclusion that it will be a disservice and disaster for Nigeria to elect either of these tired old men," referring to President Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

"We, the determined youth of the Middle Belt, hereby reject both Buhari and Atiku in the 2019 presidential elections. We shall identify and promote a more competent, compassionate and cosmopolitan leader who would rise above tribe and religion to foster unity, justice and equity across the country. Nigeria needs a new leadership free from the pride, prejudice and baggage of the past to take the nation to the next level," said president of the group, Comrade Emma Zopmal, in statement yesterday.

He added: "Both of them have nothing new to offer Nigeria to turn around our situation. Their desperation for power is a result of past personal frustrations and desires to settle scores. These men can only worsen the ethnic and religious conflicts bedeviling the North and the rest of Nigeria. We need to look beyond these two. The two men are experts in unkept promises. Atiku's false support for restructuring is just a vote catching bait. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived again."

The statement called on Nigerians, particularly the youth, to join hands with the Middle Belt body to rescue the nation.

We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist

Written by Taiwo Adisa - Abuja
Nigerian Tribune. Sunday, July 16, 2017.

Leaders from the Southern part of the country and their counterparts from the Middle Belt, on Saturday, in Abuja, insisted that Nigeria must be restructured now, just as they demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

Rising from a joint meeting, they declared that restructuring remained the only panacea for ending the rash of ethnic agitations in the land.

In a communiqué issued after the meeting convened by an elder statesman and leader of the Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark, the leaders cautioned against the danger of allowing the agitations to persist.

The leaders, who came from all the three zones in the South: South-South, South-West and South-East, as well as Middle Belt, included Chief Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana, Idris Wada, retired Commodore Dan Suleiman, Mr Labaran Maku and Mr Yinka Odumakin, who read communiqué at a press conference.

According to him, the meeting was meant to find realistic solutions to the mounting agitations for a fair, just, equitable and balanced restructuring of the federal system.

He said the leaders affirmed their loyalty, love and support for the country as one entity, but that they believed that the existing federal structure was “unbalanced, unjust, unfair, over-centralised, unstable, anti-development and therefore unacceptable.”

He added: “Accordingly, we firmly our support for the demand to restructure the federation in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

“Recommendations to restore the country to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Independence Constitution negotiated by our founding fathers. For the federation to function properly in the interest of the constituent parts there should be fundamental devolution of powers and functions to the federating units.

“This is important so that each federating unit can effectively serve the development interests of the people. This is the central essence of a good federation, not the current over-centralisation of powers and functions in the central government.”

Odumakin said that as a logical derivative, “Nigeria must work out a new fiscal formula that would move the country away from the current overdependence on oil and gas revenue to a diversified economy; a diversified economy where all federating units are encouraged to develop their abundant natural human resources for regional and national development. The federating units shall remit agreed percentage of their revenue to the federation account.”

He said the leaders urged the Federal Government to take appropriate and urgent steps to ensure the full implementation of the resolutions and recommendations contained in the 2014 National Conference report.

Written by Rev. Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji - Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic priest. He lives in Rome, where he is professor of missiology (mission theology) in the Pontifical University.
“Watchman, what of the Night” (Isaiah 21:11):“Nobody pays attention to what we say. No – one listens to us. We are there to wait at their door. Those who have papers pass in front… taken care of … for us nothing.” (Jean-Marc Elain the epigraph in his book, “L’Afrique des Villages” (1982).
The above citation from “L’Afrique des Villages”, the immortal work of Jean-Marc Ela, a Catholic Priest and African theologian from Cameroun, is a fitting introduction to the theme of this article. It is a bird’s eye view of the lamentations of African masses against their so-called political leaders and elites who have been operating since independence in 1960s with constitutions not approved through referendum or popular votes.

In traditional African society, any decision taken from top or rather by a selected privileged few, which has not first been discussed and approved at the grassroots level, the African palaver popular assembly discourse (L’Afrique des Villages), is not binding on the masses and therefore, does not elicit any obedience or respect from them.

Have we ever asked ourselves the following question: Why, in a modern African nation state, such as Nigeria, anybody can disobey and disrespect the constitution without any qualms of conscience? Even our elected officers, politicians and elites have no respect as such for the constitution. Nobody questions them when they disobey the constitution or law of the land.
Why do our political leaders and elites behave as people who are above the law and constitution? Even when laws are used to pursue any of them, it is often selective, just as a witch-haunt against a perceived political opponent by those in power, and not as respect for the rule of law.

Why are all these? The answer is not far-fetched.
Since the time of its amalgamation till date, Nigeria has never been ruled or rather governed with a referendum-approved constitution. In other words, Nigerian people have never been called to vote in referendum to approve their nation’s constitution.

The Nigerian nation-state has been operating till date with constitutions fashioned either by those with continued colonial interests in the country or by their spinoffs, the elites and politicians dominated by members from the most favored ethnic and religious group in the country. This means that Nigeria is yet to fashion a constitution that is approved by majority of its citizens through referendum, a constitution founded on the will of the people. Nobody can dare disrespect or flout the laws of people-oriented, referendum-approved constitution and go free.

A Historical Perspective

We should not forget that modern African states were direct products of the Berlin Conference, 1884-1885, and the Berlin General Act through which European powers partitioned and divided up the continent of Africa for their selfish economic interest and political domination. Prior to the Berlin arbitrary partitioning of Africa, traditional societal organizational structure was intact.

However, with the backing of the Berlin “Act”, colonial administrative structures began to emerge. Right across Africa, frontiers were drawn without any reference to the ethnic and religious differences of the people. There was no reference to the people either. They were simply ignored. Many African peoples or ethnic-groups were spilt as the new and often arbitrary boundaries drawn by the foreign powers came into effect.

The new decree issued by the colonial masters meant in principle, that henceforth people must beg for permission if they wanted to cross frontiers to visit their relatives. Thus, began the colonial policies and the disorganization of the traditional pattern of societal organization in Africa.

In most cases, many African ethnic-linguistic groups sharing the same language and culture were often separated into different countries, and those with different cultures and languages were often merged with fractions of dismembered groups. This was the case with Nigeria, where three large and powerful ethnic groups (Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba) that had been hostile to one another were merged together with other neighboring minor ethnic groups.

The consequences were the Igbo pogrom in Northern Nigeria in 1966/1967, the three year Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970), many years of military dictatorship, coups and counter-coups, rule of the generals from dominant ethnic-group as well as the present political tensions and endless instability of government in the country.

In other words, the colonial boundaries have continued to be a source of tension and fighting in various African nation states that came to be after the Berlin Act of 1885. Unfortunately, after political independence in 1960s till date, African leaders instead of addressing the arbitrary colonial boundaries have decided to maintain them at all cost.
This is the root of Nigeria’s present predicament. It is the background for understanding the Nigerian situation. It would seem that for our political leaders and elites, the arbitrary colonial arrangement that created Nigeria as a nation-state, is ‘a no go area.’ In spite of millions of lives of our people that have perished in Nigeria because of the arbitrary colonial arrangement, our political leaders and elites have remained dogged in insisting that we shall continue to live under such a colonial “letter bomb” in our land.

However, the insistence of those who advocate that we must continue to live under the present post-colonial arrangement in Nigeria is not because they love the country. Neither is it because they want to build-up Nigeria as a truly democratic modern nation-state. It is not also because they want to promote shared values among Nigerians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds for a new nation we all can call our own to emerge. No. None of these is their intention!

Rather, it is because Nigeria as it is presently structured favors their selfish interest, their continued looting from the Nigerian oil wealth in the Niger Delta and the entire former Eastern region of the country. Petroleum and gas, the ‘black stone’, mineral and natural deposits in the Atlantic Coasts of former Eastern region of Nigeria were the major driving force behind the Federal Government slogan during the Civil War, “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.”

In other words, Nigeria is conceived and maintained till date as a ‘unified’ entity not because we have values we share as one nation or that we intend to promote such in the nearest future. But, rather because there is oil in the Atlantic Coast of the former Eastern region of the country to loot. Period! The refusal to accept this naked truth is part of the Nigerian narrative and Calvary without redemption.

Our political leaders and elites are yet to know that they are constantly being confronted with the choice between ‘oil and people’, in nation-building. Whichever one they have chosen, is the direction they want the country to go.

A Country Never Ruled with a Referendum-Approved Constitution

In the book of Exodus we learnt that even in divine arrangement for the birth of the nation of Israel, the people had to ratify the covenant, which Yahweh made with them through Moses:

“Moses went and told the people all Yahweh’s words and all the laws, and all the people answered with one voice: All the words Yahweh has spoken we will carry out.” (Exodus 24:3).

Apart from the biblical testimony, ancient Greek thinkers have helped us to appreciate the significance of popular sovereignty in governance with the term “democracy.” Democracy, a term coined from two Greek words – people’s role, means ‘popular sovereignty.’

In modern times, democracy is defined, first by Daniel Webster in 1820s as “People’s government, made by the people and answerable to the people.” Abraham Lincoln in 1963, appropriating Webster’s definition, defines democracy as “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

It is for this reason that the preamble to constitutions of modern nation states begin with the expression: “We the people of …” (name of the country). However, this preamble has meaning only in those countries where the citizens, from first day of preparation for the writing of their nation’s constitution to its conclusion at the Constituent Assembly, are fully involved and carried along at every stage in the formulation and approval of each article of the constitution.

This is why Britain recently had to vote in referendum for Brexit from European Union. Italy also voted in referendum to change from bicameral parliamentary system to mono-cameral, the German style. In each of these cases, the government-in-power pursuing the change-agenda failed in the referendum. The popular sovereignty carried the day.

There was a referendum in these countries, because the matter involved in each of those cases, touches on an article in the constitution, which passed through referendum before inserted there. They were not in the constitution simply because the parliament had approved them into law. There were articles of a referendum-approved constitution. Therefore, to change any of these articles of constitution, the people must vote again in referendum to say ‘yes or no.’ That is how democracy works.

The first involvement of the people in the drafting of their nation’s constitution begins with their participation in voting to choose their representatives for the Constituent Assembly for the drafting of the new constitution. This must not be confused with voting at the political elections, which are partisan in character. It is for this reason that the National Assembly parliamentary exercise in whatever guise (be it Constitution Amendment Review or whatever), cannot substitute for the function of the Constituent Assembly.

While the former are mainly partisan politicians with partisan interests, the later (Constituent Assembly), is made up of individuals not drawn from political class with partisan interests only, but rather, mainly from those hardworking and sincere individuals in the society, judged and voted by the people because of their outstanding integrity, principle of life and people-oriented interest.

It is expected that through the Constituent Assembly representatives, government mobilization and information departments, the people at the grassroots in their various constituencies would be kept abreast on daily basis about the happenings in the Constituent Assembly. The issues discussed and articles approved at the Assembly, at the end of it all, are subjected to popular vote through referendum at the grassroots level.

The constitution becomes law only after it has been approved through referendum, the popular vote. Otherwise, it remains as a non-binding document in the eyes of the masses. This is democracy. It is what guides and justifies the preamble to authentic constitution, “We the people of … give to ourselves this constitution.”

This indicates that sovereignty belongs to the people. The constitution is theirs and they are prepared to defend it and hold their leaders accountable if they go against the constitution in governance.

Unfortunately, we have been using the expression in the preamble to the Nigerian constitutions, “We the people of Nigeria give to ourselves …,” without having really produced any popular constitution since independence, indeed, from the time of amalgamation in 1914. This means that we have been arrogating to Nigerian constitutions, what really they are not. We do not yet have popular constitution in Nigeria. Nigeria has never approved its constitution through referendum. Even the so-called amended articles of the current 1999 Constitution never passed through referendum after the parliamentary votes.

At independence, British colonial authorities never provided the people of Nigeria an opportunity to vote in referendum, either for independence as a unified nation or for the constitution fashioned for the new nation. They just invited 106 Nigerian delegates drawn from the ethnic nationalities at a conference in 1958 in London. That conference yielded the 1960 constitution that ushered Nigeria into the ‘façade political independence.’

In 1963, with the departure of Southern Cameroun from Nigeria, some elites and politicians fashioned the 1963 Republican Constitution without referendum. The military intervention of 1966 abrogated the 1963 constitution. The Constituent Assembly of 1977 of Murtala/Obasanjo Military Junta produced the 1979 constitution (also without referendum) that returned the country to civilian rule, until Buhari-Idiagbon Military Junta abrogated it in 1983. In 1989, General Ibrahim Babanginda Military Junta set up a Constituent Assembly that produced (without a referendum), the short-lived 1993 constitution. After the ‘June 12’ saga and the Abacha Military Junta adventure, General Abdulsalami Abubakar Military Junta produced the current 1999 constitution, also without referendum.

With the coming on board of civilian regime in 1999, there have been some attempts for political reforms through organized National Conferences and constitutional amendment exercise, first under Obasanjo (which came with the hidden agenda for Obasanjo’s alleged quest for Third Term).

Under President Jonathan, the 1999 constitution was amended twice but the clamor for restructuring have continued unabated. Jonathan organized the 2014 National Conference to address these issues. Unfortunately, the present Federal Government of President Buhari has resolved never to touch the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. This is where the country is today!

Between Restructuring and a Referendum-Approved Constitution

It is very interesting how none of those currently propagating the ‘gospel of restructuring’ had never raised the question: “when will Nigeria ever be ruled with a referendum approved constitution? “You first secure the land before looking for a mat or which position to spread it”, says an Igbo proverb. The fact is that, the issue of a referendum-approved constitution, should first be settled before any talk on restructuring could be meaningful.

Again, as the Igbos say, “Those who do not know where the rain began to beat them, do not know when their body got dried.” The fact that Nigerian state since its creation by the colonial masters has never gotten a popular constitution through referendum should worry all of us. Because this is at the root cause of the nation’s present political crisis and predicament.

Therefore, before restructuring, we need a working document, a people approved constitution through referendum. The new referendum-approved constitution will define the way forward for a “New Nigeria” that may emerge. Putting the issue of restructuring first before a referendum-approved constitution in Nigeria today is like putting the cart before the horse.

There are many reasons for this assertion. One of which is that immediately after political independence in 1960, Nigeria practiced the type of restructuring that is being proposed these days by the exponents of that theory. But how many years did it last before its demise in 1966?

Again, after the Igbo pogrom of 1966/67 in Northern Nigeria, we should not forget that at the “Aburi Accord” in Ghana, the two parties, represented by General Gowon, the then Nigerian head of state, and Ojukwu, the leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra, all agreed on that type of restructuring based on confederation.

However, on returning to Lagos, Gowon reneged on the “Aburi Accord.” Why? He made nonsense of the whole issue of restructuring and confederation by creating immediately after the “Aburi Accord”, twelve states of the federation and launching a full-scale military offensive in Biafraland. The rest is now history.

Moreover, we should not forget that the North and APC, the present ruling political party, refused to participate in the 2014 National Conference organized by President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Why? Because of their misgivings that Nigeria if restructured as desired will no longer favor the North as it has been doing since independence in 1960. It is therefore, not surprising that till today, northern politicians and elites have not changed their position even when their colleagues from other regions are clamoring for restructuring.

All these mean that the so-called restructuring will not put death nail on the Nigerian political impasse as we have it today. The problem of Nigeria is deeper than the clamor for restructuring.

We have not asked ourselves the simple question, ‘what will Nigeria look like when restructured today?’ In other words, what kind of Nigeria will the restructuring produce?

The question is, ‘what are the values we share as a nation that will drive Nigeria when restructured?’ As E.O. Eke once wrote, ‘a nation is built on shared values not on ethnicity or religious affiliation.’ Shared values make a nation. What are the values we share as Nigerians that will continue to sustain us for many years to come as “One Nation under One True-God”, when restructured? (Apologies to the Americans).

The fear is that the restructuring many are clamoring for in Nigeria today is one that is driven by ethnicity and religious differences, not by shared values. For instance, when the twelve states in Northern Nigeria declared their region Islamic enclave by adopting Sharia (Islamic legal system) during the regime of President Obasanjo in the early 2000s, were they driven by civil values or sectarian values?

Again, when 15 states out of 19 states in Northern Nigeria only permit the teaching of Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) in schools and recruit teachers for same, without corresponding gestures for Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) and Christian students in those schools and states, what values were driving their intention? Mind you, these are teachers paid by the government through common treasury, federal government revenue allocation to states and tax-payers’ money.

Furthermore, when today, we hear representatives of our famous ethnic-based Pan-Socio-cultural Organizations (such as Arewa, Afenifere or Ohaneze, etc.), those who masquerade as federalists but are actually, ethnic nationalists, speak of restructuring or one Nigeria, what actually, do they mean? Is it not a clamor for an ethnic nation made up of people of their ethnic group, in two nations at the same time?

Again, when we hear politicians of different political parties, PDP or APC, speak of restructuring (to which Governor Rochas Okorocha has added ‘repackaging’), what actually do they want? Perhaps, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba has the answer to that question. According to him, “the call for restructuring is a political calculation by the elites to grab power in 2019.”

Putting it poignantly, Fani Femi Kayode, in the same direction, says: “The truth is that the answer to Nigeria’s problems is not just in restructuring because too much innocent blood has been split and shed by the Nigerian state over the last 57 years.” This is because, if the sources of Nigeria’s problems are not named, examined, and taken away, restructuring has no meaning.

In other words, a referendum-approved constitution is needed to usher in a new Nigeria. The new constitution will help to determine which form Nigerians want to exist as a people under one nation-state. It will determine also what type of restructuring they want in the new Nigeria!

In whichever case, if Nigerians want to continue to exist as one nation in any form at all, the new constitution should make it clear that they should be prepared to subsume a degree of their ethnic and sectarian religious identity, under a Nigerian identity and that every Nigerian is secured in every part of the country. That is what it means to be a modern nation-state. It is where every citizen is protected, equally taken care of by the state, irrespective of one’s place of origin, ethnicity or religious identity.

The new constitution to be approved through referendum, should determine which values should henceforth guide Nigeria. It should choose between the present reign in Nigeria of Caliphate sectarian constructs and values under whatever guise – born-to-rule mentality, unchecked activities of Islamic terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen militia, or the values of modern secular states, which the country is yet to imbibe.

There is not enough being said yet, or done to ensure that the proposed restructuring will go beyond either religious or ethnic identity. That it will not continue to promote discrimination and propagate hate against the other person based on our differences in ethnic and religious identities. The bitter truth is that Nigeria cannot survive in its present form, either as a federated ethnic regions (or states) or unitary government.

Another bitter truth is that there is no difference between the person who hates and discriminates against you on the basis of religion and the one who hates and discriminates on the basis of ethnicity. Both are prejudiced against you because of who you are and given the chance, both will treat you the same way. They both harbor evil prejudice against you.

This is a fact most of those clamoring for restructuring are yet to address. In Nigeria today, hate and discrimination based on ethnicity and religious identity are institutionalized norms of the country and its governance. The question therefore, is, how do we ensure that the new restructured Nigeria as being proposed today, is one that will usher in the values of justice, freedom, equality, patriotism and brotherly love?

Perhaps, Nigeria may need to borrow a leaf, in this regard, from its former colonial masters, the Great Britain. Britain is a federated nation, where significant powers are devolved to the regions to develop at their pace, address their common problems such as issues of injustice and marginalization. They respect the ethnic and religious identities but do not overstretch them.

In Britain, what matters most is British identity. The Scots, English and Welsh are all proud of their British identity. All have equal rights, freedom, opportunities, and sense of justice. There are English Scottish independence. But in spite of that, these people have risen above the type of ethnic nationalism, hate, religious bigotry and prejudice, which are destroying Nigeria inside out today. Britain is a free society, which Nigeria, unfortunately, cannot claim to be.

India, a former British colony like Nigeria, is another example of how a committed leadership and government could establish a free multi-ethnic and multi-religious democratic nation state, where every citizen is proud of being a part of it. In fact, in India, the law is made in such a way that the most vulnerable, the ‘untouchables’ of India (Dalits) – victims of discrimination and hate, receive the highest protection of any government in power.

Any nation state, be it mono or multi ethnic, where people find reason to justify discrimination and hate on the basis of ethnicity or religion, would be problematic. Wherever ethnicity or religion becomes the construct on which people and government segregates, as is the case in Nigeria today, such a country will never progress.

This is the bane of Nigeria. It is the original sin of those who declared Sharia Law in Northern Nigeria and practice nepotism at the center of government.

In other words, in Nigeria today, it is necessary to recreate our essence of being a nation-state through recreating a socio-political system of justice, freedom and equality founded on those values we share as a people, the African cultural matrix (“L’Afrique des Villages”) that operates from bottom-top instead of the present-day system of top-bottom.

This is a call to begin to govern Nigeria with a popular constitution, approved through referendum.

What restructuring means in practical terms by ABC Nwosu

Written by Johnbosco Agbakwuru
~Vanguard Nigeria. Monday, July 17, 2017.

Prof ABC Nwosu
PROF. A.B.C Nwosu, academic turned politician was a First Class Commonwealth Scholar, who entered the political arena after he was appointed Commissioner for Health in Anambra State in 1986. He subsequently served four other military regimes in that capacity. At the onset of civil rule he was a leading contender to be governor of Anambra State but found his footing after President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as his Political Adviser. He was subsequently appointed as Minister of Health before the end of Obasanjo's first term.

Nwosu in this interview speaks on the contentious issue of restructuring the country. Excerpts:

There is the clamour for the restructuring of the country, what is your position on restructuring?

Restructuring of the country is imperative. We have no choice in this matter. We will either restructure, or we cease to exist as Nigeria, it is an existential threat. Restructuring is not new. Post-January 15, 1966, one of the study groups set up by General Ironsi was on structure. When Gowon took over in July, remember we had a conference which broke down; one of the things then was about structure. Aburi was nothing except structure. When President Babangida came in, it was structure, when Abacha came in, in the conference attended by Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, it was structure. When Obasanjo set up his own political reform, it was about structure. When Jonathan set up his own, it was still about structure.

When something is not working, you change it, you redesign it to work, and that redesigning is restructuring. We have no choice in this matter. If we don’t understand it, it will explode in the face of our children and our grand children, and it will be a shame if we want something that will really consume our children and our grand children.

There is the fear that restructuring may lead to disintegration of the country, what is your reaction?

People are free to fear anything. My belief is that when something is inevitable, we should then try and speak with the same language. The danger I am seeing now is that we are speaking different languages on restructuring. Some think that restructuring is about regionalisation, it is not. Some think that it is about the break-up of the country; it is not. Some think that it is so that you will deprive them of the money they come and collect at the centre illegitimately; it is not. It is about making sure that all governments in the country, federal and the states work optimally. Therefore in my view, the key thing in restructuring is the devolution of power and greater autonomy to the federating units.

The Federal Government collects about 52 percent of the national revenue, and this is wrong. Even if you divide the country into the original four regions, the four will be unviable because the bulk of the money, 52 percent has been pocketed by the federal government. It is very wrong, and it cannot be more wrong than that. The Federal Government in an ideal situation should not have more than 35 percent of national revenue and if that is done and all the theft, most of which you see is at the federal level, and not at the state level.

Whether you recover forty something houses, so many billions of dollars from safes and private buildings, they are not being recovered from states; they are being recovered at the federal level. There is too much money at the federal level. Even if you had policemen in Nigeria with hundred eyes and whistleblowers with hundred whistles, they would not be able to catch 52 percent of what is being stolen in more than four hundred ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals. You can’t catch that. If you remove it and make it 35 percent, most people will go back to their states to help develop their states, and there will be less money at the centre given to foreign affairs, defence, immigrations and all those functions the federal is performing.

Not sinking boreholes etc., and therefore, you will find that there will be less money to be stolen and there will be greater autonomy and government will be nearer the people and take care of the people. That is why we should now sit down and work out the details of how we can do that. Before I end let me give you an example. Look at a brilliant man like Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Minister of Solid Minerals Development), I respect him but give him one million years in the ministry of solid minerals, he will achieve nothing. This one he is going round saying we will cooperate with states to bring minerals will not work. I saw him in Enugu the other day; there is Article 39 in the federal Constitution which stipulates that mines, minerals et cetera are under exclusive list. Is the Federal Government cooperating with states to give oil mining licences? It is the Federal Government's responsibility, whether the mineral is gas or liquid or solid, it is mineral.

So how can he now operate the way he wants to operate without Article 39 in the Constitution which is on the exclusive list being put on the concurrent list? How can he?

These are the reasons we must restructure. All his good intentions as minister of solid minerals cannot be brought until you restructure and make that item on the concurrent list so that states can come in. It is then that special funds can be brought. So, that is how I look at it, devolution of power most be central. Resource control is central, and those who are afraid are those who think they have no resource and it is wrong. Every part of Nigeria has resource, enormous resources and what I find laudable is that the same people who are saying no resource control are on the other hand saying we have more resources than these people who are talking about resource control.

What is required is to have a national fund for the development of those resources so that you will bring coal, bring Barytes in Nasarawa, bring all the bitumen all to full development and bring them to the national wealth sharing table and you will increase the size of the cake, and they take their own derivation too just like cocoa was used to spur the development of resources in the other regions.

The East went and developed its palm oil, Mid-West developed rubber; the North developed groundnut, cotton, etc. Each part of this country has abundant resources, and we are letting resources kill the human love which we have for ourselves. So it is only restructuring that will let us focus on building the nation.

Do you consider it worthwhile the idea of going back to regionalism, like the four regions we had in the First Republic when there was strong competition among the regions?

I was at the national conference of 2014 organised by President Jonathan. The representation was well done for me. What was the agreement? It was agreed that we shall have a central government with more powers devolved from it to the federating units and that the states as presently configured, shall act as the federating units. That conference did not agree on either six geopolitical zones or eight geopolitical zones or twelve. I was also in charge of the Igbo Secretariat when Ojukwu, Ekwueme, and Co. came and argued it under Abacha. That conference also did not agree on geopolitical zones as federating units, it agreed on six geopolitical units for administrative reasons, for sharing reasons, but not as federating units and its report is available.

Now, what 2014 said and what became a major issue was that nobody is good enough to rule over another person without his consent.

Any group of states that agree to can cooperate. Which means if the six states of the South-West agree on their own volition, nothing can stop them from acting as a zone. If the five states of the South East agree, nothing can stop them. But if the six states of the South South do not agree, they should not be forced. That to the best of my understanding was what was agreed in 2014 which I was part of. So, even if you have two regions North and South and the federal still keeps 52 percent, the North and South will be unviable, completely unviable. The key issue is that we have money for our country, say one hundred naira, and the central government collects fifty-two Naira, and they expect the rest of the country after you have removed derivation to live on that? It is wrong. The Federal Government has become a behemoth; it is unmanageable.

The waste is too much. If you look at the Kontagora Report, you will see that the Federal Government has over eight thousand abandoned projects throughout Nigeria that will require over four trillion naira to complete. They are in different stages of completion. If you restructure and devolve power, you can also devolve these uncompleted projects, and the states will look at them and evaluate. We have a federal prison at Nnewi (Anambra state) the man at Abuja who has never crossed River Benue down to the South East will now determine the priority rating of that prison and the borehole which he doesn’t know where it is.

The key thing, devolution of power, devolution of responsibilities, devolution of resources. If people don’t understand it, it is about greater autonomy to the federating units. If they still can’t understand it, it is like begging the Archbishop to let the Parish Priest be in charge of local weddings. It is not the Archbishop that is in charge of every wedding in every parish or every burial in every parish. This is what restructuring is all about.

NIGERIA: What is restructuring?

Written by Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon & Charles Kumolu
~vanguard Nigeria. Friday, June 30, 2017.

Restructuring has become the latest buzz word in the political landscape with political and non political actors pushing forward their ideas of the word that was not too long ago, an anathema to many state actors.

But what exactly is the idea of restructuring? Given the view of some that Nigeria is presently a federation, it is not surprising that different political actors would give different perspectives to the concept of restructuring.

Among those to have given life to the concept of restructuring are General Ibrahim Babanigda, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and some pro-democracy activists.

Their ideas on what restructuring means is presented hereunder.

GENERAL Ibrahim BabangidaI will strongly advocate for devolution of powers to
the extent that more responsibilities be given to the states while the Federal Government is vested with the responsibility to oversee our foreign policy, defence, and economy. Even the idea of having Federal roads in towns and cities has become outdated and urgently needs revisiting. That means we need to tinker with our constitution to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen our nationality.
Former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida
during prayers to mark his 75th birthday celebration at the Hilltop, Minna, Niger State

Restructuring and devolution of powers will certainly not provide all the answers to our developmental challenges; it will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile. The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make the union more functional based on our comparative advantages.

Added to this desire is the need to commence the process of having State Police across the states of the Federation. This idea was contained in my manifesto in 2010 when I attempted to contest the presidential elections. The initial fears that State Governors will misuse the officers and men of the State Police have become increasingly eliminated with renewed vigour in citizens' participation in, and confidence to interrogate power. We cannot be detained by those fears and allow civilization to leave us behind. We must as a people with one destiny and common agenda take decisions for the sake of posterity in our shared commitment to launch our country on the path of development and growth.

Atiku Abubakar

There is no doubt that many of our states are not viable, and were not viable from the start once you take away the federation allocations from Abuja. We have to find creative ways to make them viable in a changed federal system. We can constitute a body of non-partisan experts to suggest other ideas. But in all, we must devolve more powers and resources from the federal government and de-emphasise federal allocations as the source of sustenance of states. We need to start producing again and collecting taxes to run our governments in a more sustainable way with greater transparency and accountability.

It's restoration of federalism - Osuntokun

MR Akin Osuntokun, Political Adviser to former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

Restructuring is simply a call for the restoration of federalism-the foundational constitution structure to which all Nigerians subscribed as encapsulated in the independence constitution of 1960. This constitution was violated in 1966 and the violation set in motion a chain of events that has culminated in the present abnegation of a 36 states structure against the four regional structure that emanated from the independence constitution. All the ills presently plaguing the country are directly or indirectly a consequence of the wrong anti federalist diversion Nigeria took in 1966.

The violation has concomitantly resulted in the unitary command culture of military dictatorship-in which the constitutionally prescribed decentralization and devolution of powers have been subverted and supplanted with centralization of power.

Independent self- sustaining federating units -Shonibare

CHIEF Supo Shonibare is a chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere.

I would wish that we have a Federation with independent self- sustaining Federating units able to develop infrastructure, critical amenities, undertake other developemental projects , education and health without a Centre body interfering.

We already have geo-political zones. Why don't we have say 6 or 8 Regions from that template, enable the Regions exercise the functions presently being exercised by the FGN in the various States & co-ordinate such functions & utilize economies of scale. Each Region should be at liberty to create more States in their region as their constitution stipulates. Minority rights will be entrenched in the Federal Constitution to protect minorities in the Regions & enable them evolve into States.

We do not need bi-cameral National Assembly, the Regional Assembly can collectively act as checks & balances on the unicameral National Assembly on issues & functions presently exercised by the present bi-cameral National Assembly chamber. We will reduce costs & also enable closer engagement with the electorate from the region.

Functional structure'll end calls for restructuring - Kokori

Former General Secretary, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union, NUPENG, Chief Frank Kokori.

Kokori, a veteran in the struggle for a better polity, explained his assertion thus: "In Nigerian terms when people talk about restructuring, they say they need true federalism. I don't know what true federalism is because federalism is federalism. A nation that practices it as a system of government must abide by its tenets. That is what the constitution says. Because of the military incursion into politics in 1966, Nigeria became a unitary government. So they were not following the tenets of the constitution that allows for devolution of powers to the federating units. It is on that basis that the minorities are demanding to restructure. If we had real federalism, there will not be agitations. Real federalism was what we had before 1966 when the regions had their own institutions.

"The reason agitations are going on this country is because certain people feel they are marginalized but I know that the whole country is marginalized because of bad governance and corruption. I am for real federalism, the federal government should be left with some residual powers on defense, currency Foreign Affairs, and others while the states should be given powers over other affairs. To douse the present agitation in the country, the federal government needs to be serious.

If you ask me what I really want for this country, I will want us to revert to the 12 states that Gowon created. We should have that structure instead of having many states to the next that every village wants to be a state. If we do that, Nigeria will move forward.

Let's return to regionalism with six zones as federating units - Ikokwu

Second Republic politician, lawyer and a member of the Ime-Obi, inner caucus of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Guy Ikokwu.

The military command after the civil war unitarised the country and diminished the percentage of the formula of derivation. For instance in 1946 the derivation formula for the regions which controlled their resources was 100 per cent, while in 1951 the British recommended 50 per cent derivation, whereas in 1953 the western region actually disbursed a 100 percent of resources they controlled.

The 50 per cent derivation continued from 1960 at independence up to 1970 when Gen. Yakubu Gowon reduced the derivation formula to 45 per cent and by 1975 it was reduced to 25 per cent. Nigerians should know that in the first coming of Gen. Buhari it had crashed to 1.5 per cent and Gen. Babangida then raised it to 3 per cent and thereafter it moved to 13 per cent.

With the increase of states from 12 to 36 by the military class, and the accumulation of the legislative list to the central government, the Nigerian states today have become so pauperised as appendages that they cannot even pay the salaries of their workers let alone their gratuities and pensions.

Therefore, the Nigerian Unitary system of administration which we have now is not only an illegal constitutional contraption, but also an unworkable political system and a harbinger of a perverse, chaotic, political and economic conundrum.

Under these unitary systems Nigerians are getting poorer and poorer. The issue of restructuring of Nigeria's political system is already partly documented in the 2014 Abuja Confab which has been endorsed by the federal executive council under former President Jonathan, and handed over to President Buhari.

It's time to restructure Nigeria, says Babangida

~The Guardian Nigeria. Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

- Backs creation of state police

'Even the idea of federal roads in cities is outdated'

Former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida
Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has lent his voice to the now strident call for the restructuring of the country to achieve true federalism, devolution of power and creation of state police.

According to him, the Nigerian federation, as currently structured, is in need of reforms that will emphasise the individual strength and advantages of the component units so that governments can really work to improve the lives of Nigerians.

Babangida, a major player in the country's power politics, was involved in all the major putsches that threw up military regimes from 1976 . He ruled the country maximally between August 27, 1985 and August 26, 1993 after annulling the June 12 presidential election of that year that was reputed to be the freest and fairest in the nation's history.

He gave the advice on restructuring in his Eid-el-Fitri message to Muslims yesterday. With this call coming from the former military leader who undoubtedly is one of those considered as conservatives in their sticking to the status quo, which they in fact helped to foist on the country, the demand for true federalism is gaining traction.

As a soldier during the civil war and one of those who held the country together and who even charted a course of democracy, even though not generally seen as a sincere venture, Babangida is a strong voice whose call is capable of drawing out other ex-military chiefs to take a stand in the ongoing debate.

While seeking a departure from the norm and calling for a reform that will put the country on the same pedestal with advanced democracies, he said: "If we have repeatedly done certain things and not getting the desired results, we need to change tactics and approach, and renew our commitment. It is our collective responsibilities to engender a reform that would be realistic and in sync with modern best practices.

"For example, restructuring has become a national appeal as we speak, whose time has come. I will strongly advocate devolution of powers to the extent that more responsibilities be given to the states while the Federal Government is vested with the responsibility to oversee our foreign policy, defence, and economy.

"Even the idea of having federal roads in towns and cities has become outdated and urgently needs revisiting. That means we need to tinker with our constitution to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen our nationality.

"Restructuring and devolution of powers will certainly not provide all the answers to our developmental challenges; it will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile.

"The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make the union more functional based on our comparative advantages.

"Added to this desire is the need to commence the process of having state police across the federation. This idea was contained in my manifesto in 2010 when I attempted to contest the presidential elections.

"The initial fear that state governors will misuse the officers and men of the state police has become increasingly eliminated with renewed vigour in citizens' participation in, and confidence to interrogate power.

"We cannot be detained by those fears and allow civilisation to leave us behind. We must as a people with one destiny and common agenda take decisions for the sake of posterity in our shared commitment to launch our country on the path of development and growth.

"Policing has become so sophisticated that we cannot continue to operate our old methods and expect different results. I also want to appeal to the Nigeria media to be more circumspect in their news reportage."

Until now, the lone voice from the northern part of the country for restructuring has been that of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Most leaders from the region have often strongly condemned the call for restructuring. They see it as an attempt that would threaten the unity of the country.

It is in this vein that President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently opposed the 2014 conference report that recommends the restructuring of the country.

Beyond restructuring or secession: My fear for Nigeria
Written by Azuka Onwuka
Phone: 0809-8727-263 (sms only)
Twitter: @BrandAzuka
~Punch Nigeria. Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
Azuka Onwuka

Since my childhood, I have been having great expectations about Nigeria. With the coming of every new head of state, that expectation would rise but would nosedive soon after. In the early 1990s, I hinged my hope of a transformed Nigeria on the exit of the military. I looked forward to graduating from the university into the civilian regime. Sadly, that dream was truncated by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief MKO Abiola and the crisis that enveloped the country afterwards. It was only in 1999 that civilian rule returned. With the return of civilian rule, my excitement lasted for some months and waned.

I used to believe that Nigeria was merely battling with teething troubles that would give way. I consoled myself that Rome was not built in a day. But what I see is not an attempt to progress. What I see is retrogression.

Consequently, I have begun to look at Nigeria critically, replacing my optimism with realism. I am beginning to ask if Nigeria would ever rise to its feet. There are some yardsticks to use in measuring progress or attempts at progress. The first is to ask ourselves one area of life that has experienced progress in Nigeria since 1960 when Nigeria had her independence. Progress should be differentiated from technological advancement. For example, we cannot refer to the change from typewriters to computers as national progress. That is a global phenomenon. We cannot also refer to the rise in the number of graduates from 1960 to 2017 as progress. That is a natural occurrence in demographics. What we are looking at is the change in the quality of education, health care, food security, transport, security, leadership, electricity, water supply, maintenance of infrastructure, national cohesion, respect for human lives, etc.

For example, those who had secondary school certificates could easily be employed in many organisations in 1960. Is that obtainable now? No. Even many university graduates are not employable today because of the low quality of university education in Nigeria. That is why parents are eager to send their children abroad for studies, including sending them to West African countries like Ghana and Benin Republic. In the same vein, one can ask what happened to Nigerian Airways, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Daily Times newspaper, Nigerian Telecommunications, Nigerian Postal Service, and other government agencies. These were big government corporations that employed thousands or millions of Nigerians. Why is the National Art Theatre dilapidated? Why are our national stadiums in ruins? Why are our national roads death traps? Why has there been a steady decline in the quality of anything handled by the federal government since 1960?

Some 60 years ago, it was not difficult for Mallam Umar Altine to beat an Igbo man to become the first Mayor of Enugu. And it was not because he had his Northern kinsmen as the majority among the electorate. It was also not difficult for Chief Felix Okonkwo to become a member of the Northern Nigeria House of Chiefs. It was not difficult for Prof Kenneth Onwuka Dike to be made the first Nigerian vice chancellor of University College, Ibadan, which is University of Ibadan now. Surprisingly, today, when it should have been the norm for a non-indigene to be elected in any part of the country, it has become almost an impossibility. It only happens in few areas where non-indigenes are the majority among the electorate, and the wishes of the people are allowed to prevail as occurred in the 2015 election. Nigerians are daily digging into their ethnic enclaves.

By 1966 when the first coup took place in Nigeria, one of the complaints of the coup plotters was that public office holders took a 10 per cent cut on contracts as bribe. From the 1980s to the present, it is no longer 10 per cent bribe but treasury looting. Money budgeted for projects are looted wholesale with no job executed. Millions of dollars are stolen from the system and paid into foreign accounts, thereby further impoverishing the nation. The callousness is so much that even money meant for people internally displaced by the Boko Haram terrorists is stolen, while the children in the IDP camps emaciate and die from hunger and diseases.

I know that men like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and Chief Dennis Osadebay, who led the nation at independence, would have hoped that they would see a great Nigeria in their own time. However, they all died without seeing such a nation. Within them, they would have thought so highly about themselves and believed that they did wonderfully well. However, the state of the nation shows that their best was not good enough, and that they even contributed to the present problems of Nigeria.

I watched men and women like Chief Margaret Ekpo, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dr Tai Solarin, Mr Chima Ubani, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Dr Eskor Toyo, Dr Bala Usman and Prof Dora Akunyili battle to see this nation transformed. They showed how things could be done better; they even participated to make things better. They were filled with high hopes that Nigeria would be great. But one by one they died, sad and disappointed that rather than rising to greatness Nigeria was deteriorating.

It is not that Nigeria is not making flashes here and there occasionally. It is not that Nigerians are impatient. The problem is that the little progress usually recorded in certain areas now and then is never enough to make the nation move from its unenviable position to a place of reckoning or hope. If a pedestrian walks while others are running, there is some hope that the person will reach the destination, albeit later than others. But if that person takes a step forward and two steps backwards, there is no guarantee that the person will ever reach the destination, because the person is actually moving backwards while pretending to be going forward.

After four decades of watching Nigeria and hoping that it would rise from its prostrate position, my fear is that in my old age, I may still behold Nigeria lying prostrate or even in a worse condition than it is now if nothing is done differently. We have placed our hopes on different leaders - both civilian and military - yet, there has not been any transformation in the fate of Nigeria. And a majority of Nigerians. Sadly, we continue to believe that our problem is lack of "honest and selfless leaders." The question is why do these so-called bad leaders perform excellently in private organisations but the moment they are appointed or elected to work for Nigeria, they become "bad"? What makes them bad? Can't we change that thing that makes them bad rather than hope that God will send some good leaders to us someday?

There are many people who are working against the interest and progress of Nigeria, thinking they are working in the interest of Nigeria. There are agitations in the land asking for restructuring of the country or secession. Those who see tomorrow would know that these agitations portend no good for the nation. No government waits until an issue becomes a crisis before acting.

It is not debatable that Nigeria has not progressed; Nigeria is not progressing; Nigeria is not showing signs that it will progress. It is obvious that its pseudo-unitary system is the cause of its sorry state, not "bad leaders". The 2014 National Conference is a document to start with if there is a genuine desire to salvage Nigeria. Let it be brought out and deliberated upon for implementation. If that is not acceptable to the government, let a new national conference be constituted to find a solution to Nigeria's structural problem.


'Why north is uncomfortable with restructuring'

- Agenda is to hurt our region, Yakassai insists
- It's the way out, say Onadipe, Akande,

The controversy over whether or not to restructure the country continued at the weekend with two elder statesmen, Malam Tanko Yakassai and Chief Bisi Akande as well as former Nigerian Ambassador to China, Olusola Onadipe expressing divergent positions on the matter.

The persistence of the calls for restructuring requires a decisive move by all the citizens to resolve the issue amicably instead of allowing it to breed ethnic suspicion and hostility.

In an interview with The Guardian, Yakassai said the north was uncomfortable with the idea of restructuring the country.

"We are suspicious that the motive is to deprive the north in two important areas – representation at the National Assembly which is on the basis of population, and because there are more states in the north than in the south, when it comes to revenue allocation on the basis of equality of states and local governments, the north is bound to benefit more.

"The idea behind the agitation for restructuring is to demolish those two advantages that are naturally due to the north in terms of representation and revenue sharing. What is disturbing is that those behind it are unable to come out with a blueprint on what restructuring means to Nigeria. Anybody who is hiding his motive on an issue that would affect Nigerians has something bad up his sleeves.

"Nobody has told us the benefit we would derive from it. What we are saying is that it is not that the north is afraid, but why should people be inconsistent? This is the reason northerners who know what they are doing and who know the background of the agitation are not comfortable with the call for the restructuring of Nigeria," the politician said.

Yakassai, who is a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), shed light on why the north is also uncomfortable with those agitating for restructuring.

"Those of us who were privileged to see through the transformation of Nigeria from a colonial territory to an independent nation, and who are aware of the history of the political development of the country, are surprised at the inconsistency on the part of those who are agitating for the restructuring because the agitation for the creation of more states in Nigeria was by and large supported by some political figures from the South West.

"The Action Group (AG) as a party representing substantial number of people from the South West supported the agitation for the creation of Middle Belt in the north and the creation of the COWA state movement (Calabar – Ogoja – Rivers State movement) and they, at the same time, opposed the agitation for the creation of the Mid-West State which was at the time part of western Nigeria. The leaders of the south-west at the time were supporting the dismemberment of the north and the east, but were opposed to the creation of a state from their own area of control.

"So people started to wonder why they were supporting splitting of other areas and you are not prepared for the split of your own area. That was the beginning of the suspicion. They campaigned and argued that the north was too big to be allowed to continue as it were because it was made up of two-thirds of the land mass in Nigeria and more than 50 per cent of the population and therefore people could see the justification of the argument for the creation of states from the north," Yakassai said.

But Ambassador Onadipe challenged leaders across the six geo-political zones to summon courage and accept the reality that restructuring is the way out of the socio-economic challenges and others confronting the nation.

Onadipe was of the view that the federal system of government currently being practised in the country would continue to hold it and the people down economically unless power is devolved to the states and then to the local governments, "the sources of economic activities."

"What is the business of federal and state governments in primary school education? We have been giving the Federal Government so many responsibilities and at the end of the day, nothing to show for it. There is too much power at the centre, power of appointments and others," he said.

The former envoy, who is a member of the Ijebu Professional Excellence Foundation (IPEF), spoke at the weekend during the 2017 Annual Merit Award ceremony of the group.

Onadipe suggested "leadership with foresight" as another ingredient the country needs to overcome her sundry challenges, particularly in the area of the economy.

According to him, leaders are supposed to break grounds, think for the masses, educate them and understand the fabrics of the economy, the political situation and forge ways to make life meaningful to the people.

He lamented that citizens and residents of some countries, less endowed than Nigeria enjoy better social services from their respective governments.

His words: "If there is no restructuring, this country is not moving anywhere, but some people are saying over their dead bodies would there be restructuring.

"I don't understand that kind of talk. Are we making progress now, how many years after independent? It is unfortunate."

Similarly, Akande, a former interim chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), attributed the current national woes to deficiency in the constitution.

The APC leader spoke at the weekend at the 2017 Distinguished Role Model Award of The Wings Schools in Iwo, Osun State in honour of the late Ben Adisa Akinola, an educationist cum administrator.

Akande who was the chairman of the event noted the inadequacies in the 1999 Constitution and said the document had created unwarranted challenges not only to the country but its federating components. "The constitution that can move Nigeria forward is the one that recognises the culture of the people in relation to their occupation."

The former governor of Osun State noted that no nation is practising federalism in which all or larger percentage of existing power is concentrated on a single hand .

He noted that until the constitution is reviewed to conform to the nation's needs, the country would remain stagnant.

According to him, power must be properly distributed and devolved from the central to the federating units as being practised in other countries.

Akande said: " The Nigeria's constitution (1999) now constitutes a major obstacle to peace. Those who wrote the constitution did not realise that political domination and subjugation breed revolts, community disharmony and national insecurity. The bad constitution of 1999 has now begun to stimulate demand for ethnic self-determination and economic security otherwise being called 'resource control' or 'restructuring.' Whatever name you call it, community disharmony is a burden on national security and it is dangerous for economic development and peace.

"What we are saying, for instance, is that the constitution which (according to 1999 census) gave Lagos State (with 5,725,153 population) 20 local governments, also gave Kano State (with 5,810,494 population) 44 local governments. The same constitution, which gave Anambra (with 2, 796,510 population) 21 local governments, also gave Jigawa (with 2, 875,559 population) 27 local governments.

"Such constitutional provisions seem unjust to some federating components, especially in terms of equal opportunity to access the national revenue allocations. Such agitations may not be healthy for community harmony and national security to influence the change for the better," he stated.


How Nigeria was de-structured

By Omololu Olunloyo ex-gov, old Oyo State
• Says, Awolowo, Akintola played 'primitive politics'
• Igbo not yet fully integrated
• Abacha organised best confab

Written by Femi Adeoti
~The Sun Nigeria. Sunday, September 18, 2016.

I never booked any appointment with him and it was deliberate. I suspected the request could be easily turned down on phone. So? I fell back on the "crude" method I employed in 2009, the last time I interviewed him. I learnt the trick over the years of my interaction with him. And it has worked wonders.

So, that Wednesday afternoon, I just drove straight to Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo's sprawling Molete, Ibadan, Oyo State residence unannounced. It nearly paid off. Even at 81, he did not complain of being barged on. He is forever reporter-friendly. He was going through the dailies without a pair of reading glasses. My mission had to be aborted because of his state of health. Six days later, I repeated the visit. Still, he told me he was not in a good frame of mind for a long talk. I suggested a conversation if interview would not work. He agreed and a convenient balance was struck. These random jottings are the results.

Olunloyo is a man of many parts. A mathematician, physicist, engineer, educationist, administrator, elder statesman, etc,
As commissioner for economic development, Western Region in 1962 at 27, he was the youngest in the cabinet of Dr. Majekodunmi's seven-month administration. He was governor of the old Oyo State between October 1 and December 31, 1983. Any encounter with Olunloyo is usually uunsual and full of wits. So also this "informal" chat that lasted four hours. Olunloyo spoke his mind. He talked forth and back. He would jump from one issue to another and he would go back to it in the middle of a new topic. It was really a random talk because he chose what he talked about. In the process, he revealed how Chief Obafemi Awolowo, first premier of Western Region and his predecessor, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, played "primitive politics" in the crisis of 1962 that led to the "Wild, Wild, West."

He equally insisted that the Igbo were not yet fully integrated into Nigeria after the 30-month civil war. That was between August 1967 and January 1970. He also touched on the vexed issue of restructuring, the controversial 1962 census, held while he was a commissioner in Western Region, the 1983 coup and many more. Enjoy the chat.

The 1962 controversial census
Chief Samuel Olatunbosun Shonibare was the only Action Group (AG) member who asked me about the 1962 census I ran as a commissioner in the Western Region. There were fewer people in the North than in the South, so, they cancelled it. The most thickly populated areas in the South were Ekiti and Owerri.

I do not know what motivated former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida. He is a very brilliant man, he is a friend of mine. He is my greatest philanthropist. Babangida asked every government that did census to send me a copy of the full report. I suspect he knew I knew a lot about census and how they were replaced with fake figures. The real 1962 census figures were never released. Former Cross River State governor, Lyel Imoke's father and I were the ministers for census for Eastern and Western regions respectively. The federal minister of census was Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, who was later the leader of the Great Nigerian Peoples Party (GNPP) in the Second Republic. It was a tug of war, East/West versus the North and contrived to be cancelled. Even though I was on Akintola's side, eventually, I gave the figures to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, first premier of the old Western Region.

Restructuring of Nigeria
The questions to be asked are: What is the need for restructuring? Why is it necessary, particularly now?

There were three regions, Western, Eastern and Northern. Mid-west had not been created but there was Lagos Colony. Each region had its own constitution, logo, emblem and motto. There was a more flexible fiscal federalism. Each region also had its own ambassadors called agents-general.
The government had been de-structured. By the time the January 15, 1966 coup happened, there were four regions, West, East, Mid-west and North. Kashim Ibrahim was governor of the North; Sir Ibiam, East; Oba Adesoiji Aderemi, West and Osadebey, Mid-west. Lagos was a colony. Lagos then did not include Badagry, Ikeja, Epe, Mushin, Ajegunle, Agege and Somolu, which were then part of the Western Region. An Igbo, Ebubedike represented Ajegunle at the Western House of Parliament in Ibadan.

The trouble arose after the coup. The regions went from four to 12 states. That was the re-structuring got wrong. They also introduced through F.C Nwokede, a unitary government. On July 29, 1966, there was a counter coup led by Murtala Muhammed and T.Y. Danjuma. They kidnapped Maj-Gen Johnson Thomas Aguyi-Ironsi, the Head of State and Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, Governor of Western Region.

From 12 states they went to 19, which led to that 12 2/3 debacle during the 1979 presidential eletion between Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
From 19 states to 21 states. Osun State was carved out of the old Oyo State to separate Ooni and Alaafin who were fighting for supremacy. Some of those states were created for selfish interest. From 21 to 30 and then to 36 states.
The old Western Region now has eight states, Eastern Region has nine states. When Awolowo was premier of Western Region, there was no deputy, no first lady. There was no entourage of jeeps, when he moved around. He was riding just one vehicle.

Abacha organized the best national conference
The best ever conference was the one organized by General Sani Abacha. But because it was Abacha, it was cancelled. Babangida had earlier organized his own, it was also cancelled. All the questions being asked now were solved by the Abacha confab including re-structuring.
Politics is about development of the country. It is also about the sharing of national cake. We have to examine ourselves, where did we go wrong? All the conferences held were never made use of.

There was a problem I solved. The problem is, when a president dies, there should be an acting president. There was nothing like that in the constitution.
(Dr. Goodluck) Jonathan became acting president because of me. He phoned and thanked me. I worked that formula that made him acting president. Obasanjo ran to me and said he thinks I am the only one who can solve the problem. Obasanjo and Lady Kofo Ademola said I was the most brilliant young man in Nigeria. He said Prof. Jibril Aminu is the next man to me.

When there is a confab, it is not the final report that is important. The more important documents are the debates. The question being raised, somebody raised it 37 years earlier. The question is, should there be a provision for an acting president?

Chief Rotimi Williams raised that question 37 years ago, and he drafted what should be there. Williams was the chairman of the 49 wise men raised by Obasanjo to draft the 1979 Constitution. Awolowo rejected his membership of the committee. The Federal Government has excess money at its disposal. At independence, the Western Region got 57 million pounds, the Northern Region 11 million pounds and Eastern Region seven million pounds. Awolowo deployed his own in education, agriculture (farm settlements)

The responsibility must conform to the amount of money. There is too much waste in government. We have to go back to regionalism and park all these cars used by governors and government officials. All these first lady offices, security votes, huge salaries for political office holders should be cancelled. Some of us have benefited from it. The country should be divided into six zones.

Igbo not fully integrated
There are some bottlenecks in the country. The country is divided among some rich Nigerians. There must be the forcing down of tribalism. I do not personally believe that the Igbo have been fully integrated. It took a long time before any of them could be made head of any of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and that was Alison Maduekwe for the Navy.

Bakassi Peninsula
I was a foundation member of the Institute of Policy and Strategic studies, Kuru, Jos. The first paper we took was about Bakassi. That place belongs to Nigeria. The Queen is aware of this, only that we cannot call her as a witness.
What is called Nigeria or Togo or Ghana, or any of these colonies? They were all determined during the scramble for Africa in the 19th century. There are documents on Bakassi. We know where the documents are and we told those who were handling the case. That Bakassi case was not properly handled. That was why we lost out. It was poorly handled.

There are two copies of a very vital document. One is with the Queen and the other is somewhere else. Nigeria and Cameroon were delineated. The problem is that those who are in government are only committed to their terms, a maximum, of eight-year view. They do not see a long-term view of the country. If they see a long-term view, they will not be selfish and self-centered in their actions.

The most valuable land in this country is in Lokoja, followed by Banana Island, Victoria Island, Abuja, etc. The most costly land is where Lugard first administered Nigeria, on the hill in Lokoja.

The Western Region crisis: How Awolowo, Akintola played primitive politics.
I was very much attached to Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, premier of the old Western Region after Awolowo. People have been very unfair to Akintola.
Awolowo and Akintola played primitive politics. During that crisis that tore them apart, each had a register in his house. They did not want to go to the House of Parliament to take a vote of no confidence.

As members of the legislature came to declare their loyalty by registering their names, each was given certain amount for doing so. The two of them did it. Once you signed in support, you would be given money. The cause of the crisis was Awolowo's miscalculation by leaving Western Region as premier for being Leader of Opposition at the federal level. He had some platonic notions. He felt there must be a strong opposition at the federal level. Maybe, it was a government of consensus we needed at that time, not opposition.

Sir Ahmadu Bello, premier of the Northern Region and Sardauna of Sokoto, who was the most powerful politician at that time in terms of numbers, did not leave the North. He left his second-in command, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to be Prime Minister in Lagos. Was he a fool?

You knew you were going into opposition, he wanted to pick Rotimi Williams who had no constituency or Anthony Enahoro, his favourite to be Premier of Western Region. But Akintola and some other party members kicked.
You won election in your own territory, and you were running a government, which by common consent was regarded as the best government. Even we his (Awo) followers, we benefited from it. When that trouble arose, the registers they kept in their houses were useless. There were some people who signed in both places and collected money in both places. I was there when Akintola was enacting a mischief, very amazing.

He sent one Ogundiran to Awolowo's house to spy on how far the number of those who had signed, to know what next to do. Each one did not know how far the other had gone. He told him: "What you collect from there, we will have to share it."

He went there and signed against Akintola. When he came back, he delivered. He told Akintola that they had reached 37 in number: We are only 29, we need to do something urgently to increase the number." They were doing this with the intention of having a motion of no confidence in the Parliament.
This is what the British did that annoyed me. Section 30, 4a, stated that, "if it appears to the Governor that the Premier no longer enjoys a majority, then a vote of confidence will be taken in the Parliament." This was grossly faulty, how is it going to appear to him? It is not like that in England. The British did it deliberately to cause chaos. There are only two things. You either go to the House, you move a vote of no confidence in the premier and you debate it. He has the opportunity to counter the motion, and take a motion of confidence straight. Ooni Aderemi (the governor) was persuaded and he refused to sign that the House should meet. They did not allow Akintola to test his confidence and that was undemocratic.

The alternative was that if they did not allow him, they should dissolve the House and go for a fresh election. These are the two ingredients. They denied Akintola both, and I became an Akintola advocate.

How we 'reinstated' Akintola as Premier
I felt the man (Akintola) should be given the chance to prove his popularity or the House dissolved. But they denied him both and he was removed. When the case got to the Privy Council, London, from the Supreme Court in Lagos, they said the Governor (Oba Aderemi) was right in removing Akintola.

We held a hurried meeting and turned the country into a Republic. So, the Queen was no longer the Head of State. The country then became Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1963, when Dauda Adegbenro was at the Privy Council to be Premier of Western Region.

They wanted to hold a meeting on May 26, 1962, to make Adegbenro Premier. That did not happen. Lekan Salami and I, as well as a few others went to the Premier's Office and tore the door open. The police were instructed not to tamper with us, but just to take photographs.

We did not take any document. Akinola just went in and sat own on the chair in he Premier's Office. He left after two hours. They then went to the Parliament and there was shout of "fire on the mountain." There was a serious free-for-all in the Parliament. They were throwing chairs and upturning tables. People were trying to flee through the windows. That was the beginning of the "Wild, Wild West."

Wines Awolowo, Akintola liked
I had a liking for Awolowo, a very optimistic man. He had a very hard life. His father died just when he would go to secondary school. He didn't attend any secondary or teachers' training school. He was only a clerk at Wesley College, Ibadan.

But at home, he read. My father had a very huge library at Mapo, Ibadan in the house he rented there, before he built this house. (Molete, Ibadan). He spent one night here and died.

Awolowo was my father's friend. There were six of them like that. Akintola, Sowole, Owolade Esan etc. They would wait for the newspapers, which would come in the evening by train from Lagos. They would read the editorials before they go for their various drinks.
Awolowo used to drink Whiskey, and I used to buy the whiskey, his favourite one was "Dimple." Akintola was for Brandy, while Esan drank Gin with Horatio Olunloyo, my father. They were also women hunters, Olunloyo and Esan, they were quite notorious.

Awolowo had four dresses of the same type, all spotlessly clean. My mother asked one day: "Is this man sane, he wears the same dress everyday?" We found out that he had four copies of the same dress; at least, two laundered at any given time. Chief Adekunle Ajasin was a man like that too.

How Awolowo became bankrupt
Awolowo graduated at 38. He did many things including National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) as its secretary. He was a typist. He was a cocoa produce merchant.

One of the things he did that turned out terrible for him was that he got a war contract from the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) to supply elubo and gbodo (foodstuffs). He was to transfer it as far as Turkey and Burma during the second world war. He got these foodstuffs from Oke-Ogun in present Oyo State. He borrowed money from the bank and also scooped money. He got all the gbodo and elubo in Oke-Ogun, which is Alaafin's territory. The Alaafin seized all the foodstuffs bought by Awolowo without compensation. That was in 1944 That was how Awolowo went bankrupt. His things were auctioned. He was present where they were auctioned as you see in his biography.

Some contributed to assist him to buy his personal effects like certificates. But Awolowo said they should not borrow him money. In 1944, he traveled with Abdulazeez Attah, former Secretary to Government, a prince of Ebiraland (in present day Kogi State), out of the country.

My father was a genius
My father was the chief executive officer of the Native Administration. He was the president of all local government staff throughout Nigeria, Horatio Vincent Soremekun Olunloyo. He was doubly promoted twice in Ibadan Grammar School.

On the first day he got to the school, he played devotional hymn, for the first service. Bishop Akinyele had been teaching him how to play the organ. His immemorial was the first to be published by Nigerian Tribune in 1949. He was a genius. My father was first in his entrance exams to IGS in 1918. He played the IGS anthem as a form one boy using Psalm 46. Everybody was looking at him. He was promoted to Form Three, and from Form Three to Form Five. He came first in five and went to six. He was made a member of staff the next January. His records put us under a lot of strain. That worried us a lot in primary school. I did not start very well. I was last, second to the last in class in Lagos. They brought me to Aremo, Ibadan, where I was made to do only reading. My father was the first to pass Inter LLB London Matriculation in Nigeria.

Awolowo wrote me that he did not know where my father came from. He was only three years senior to him, but he taught him Latin as if he was Roman. I used to carry books from Mapo to Awolowo's house at Oke-Bola, Ibadan. Sometimes, he would give me six pence, which was a lot of money. When my father died at 42, his mother and father were both alive, and my mother died at 102. My father was bragging in the hospital where hypertension was going to kill him. He had the best medical hand in the country, Sir Samuel Manuwa. He was the head of Adeoyo Teaching Hospital used for the first university, University of Ibadan. Both the university and the hospital were at Eleyele then.
They built the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in eight years. The Queen had to come down from England to open it. She came in 1956 to open it. She did not come during independence on October 1, 1960, but she came for UCH. That road that leads to UCH was called Queen Elizabeth Road, stretching from Mokola to Agodi.

That road was the boundary between the traditional part of Ibadan and the new area (Government Reservation Area). After 6pm, you were not allowed to cross from Agodi to Mokola, that Queen Elizabeth Road. All the areas were quarters. Awolowo had not built Bodija Housing Estate then.

I knew there would be coup in 1983 three weeks before
When I became governor of old Oyo State in October 1983, the former governor, the late Chief Bola Ige, was owing seven months salaries of the civil servants, five months to the corporations, waste disposal workers three months. The first thing I did, I put an embargo on new contracts, a second embargo on payment of any contract, whether fully or partly executed.
I wanted all the salaries to be paid and I to be paid last. But my commissioner for finance, Saka Balogun, said he preferred to be paid last. I said, "I am a security informant. I got information that there would be coup in five days time, so take your salary. Moreover, we need government money to buy ticket to London. I have five (tickets) with which I can run away."

When Akinloye was going, he came to me, he said those stubborn people would soon strike. He dressed up like a woman. He took secret routes to escape from the country. When he got to River Okpara, he was ferried across. He got to Cotonou in Benin Republic, from there to France and then to UK.
I knew two weeks before that there would be a coup. My Commissioner of Police was very good, he kept me well informed. That CP is no other man than Senator Nuhu Aliyu. He was the one who said he was not comfortable with the backgrounds of some of his colleague senators. He was very loyal. I even made a broadcast that morning of December 31, 1983, that there was no coup, to deter those who were burning houses like 1966.

I was in my house when the coup happened, because I had prepared for it. My battle plan was to carry all the keys of my cars. Unfortunately when the coup plotters came they stole one Range Rover.
They came to arrest me, but they did not find me. In the morning by 6.30, I got one boy (now dead), my first cousin to wheel Dayo (his son) down. They brought us to Layi Balogun's house. I put my money where they were inaccessible.

After that broadcast, I went to the Government House. Jibola Ogunshola was there with me and we were cracking jokes. If you are at the top of Government House, you will see Agodi Prisons. I said it is a short distance between here and there.

I was never in prison. I was arrested and taken to Officers Mess, Ikolaba, Ibadan. They took us round, I thought they were going to shoot us. They took us to Polo Ground, Bola Ige and I. Ige said I should enter the jeep first I, said: "How can I enter the jeep first? You were governor before me, go in front." He said: "Your Excellency go in front." I replied: "Your Excellency go in front."
I told him: "The number of years you spent, exceeded the number of months I spent. You spent four years, I spent three months. If I see they shoot you, I will die the moment you are dying."

They took us to a house. (Alhaji) Arisekola (Alao) tried to smuggle us out of that house to escape. He came in the night, he asked some assistants, but he himself was arrested and put where we were. He was able to send messages for some bags of money. We were taken to Lagos. They interviewed us and I upturned them with my control of numbers.
In each file, the balance of money in Accountant General's office, Ministry of Finance, Governor's Office, I knew them off hand. And how much they were owing Exim Bank, security vote.

My election was never rigged
I beat Bola Ige hands down. I went through 260 towns and villages campaigning, but they took things for granted. They thought they would win without doing anything. They depended on propaganda. They could not reach Ogbomoso a second time, because they threatened to kill Awolowo. They could also not get to Modakeke, seven of them were roasted.

Ige insisted in challenging my election in the court and messed up the case. The electoral law at that time allowed him only one or two prayers. You either say the election was rough and it should be cancelled. Or that it was not rough and you actually won. Once it is rough, you cannot win. If you are to win, it must not be rough.

He claimed in his prayers that it was not rough and that he won. Two days to the judgment, he then changed his plea that they should either say he won. Or if they cannot say he won, on the alternative, they should say that the election should be cancelled.

The five judges met and took a decision, and the decision was in our favour, unanimously, 5-0. They ruled that he cannot make such an amendment. When it came to the substantive judgment. Three voted for me, none for him and two abstained. I won it 3-0, two abstained. It went to the Court of Appeal, and it became 5-0. At the Supreme Court it was 7-0. But then the government had fallen by the time they concluded the case.

Pranks we played at the Government College, Ibadan
At the Government College, Ibadan (GCI), Oyo State, there was a room reserved for suggestions and constructive criticisms of staff, their works and the syllabus.

There were some students who were more brilliant than their seniors and in some cases more brilliant than the teachers.

There were some extremely brilliant teachers like Saburi Biobaku, Bakare and J.B.O Ojo who were trained in the school. There were others who were posted there by the colonial office because their husbands were also posted to Nigeria. So, you had wives of members of staff in some cases.
In our own period, the person we unanimously chose to collate these criticisms was Wole Soyinka.

There was one he wrote, which the principal was very angry about. The principal was angry because it was too stiff and critical, not that it was false or rude. But that it got beyond bounds.

The identity of the person would collated was not actually made known. But the principal told us he knew the identity of this particular one. He said from the lexis, vocabulary structure, sentences and the tone of the essay, he was not in doubt that it could only have been the work of Wole Soyinka. And he was right. I don't remember what he wrote. He collated criticisms on the teaching of various subjects.

How Soyinka got his name
The interesting thing about Olawole Soyinka was that the boys changed his name from Olawole Soyinka to Wole Soyinka. And Wole Soyinka means WS, which was GCI's equivalent of William Shakespeare.
I was two years behind him. He entered the school in 1946, and I entered in 1948. The school had a library, each house also had a library. Only 24 students were admitted every year. There were as many staff of the same number or more.

Oluwasanmi who later became a plastic surgeon and Soyinka were the fastest readers. This is how we discovered. We first identified readers who were borrowing books in English, Literature. In the entry book, Oluwasanmi and Soyinka were borrowing about four times the other boys were borrowing. I first noticed that and we agreed to find out whether Soyinka and Oluwasanmi were actually reading those books they claimed to borrow.

Four of us, we took four of the books Soyinka said he read. We asked him and he said he read them. We distributed the four books to four boys in our class- myself, Olatunbosun, Adegoroye and Adubifa. We crammed some parts; we then called Soyinka to test him. He proved beyond every shadow of doubt that he had read the books inside out. He understood the themes, ideas and some of the vocabularies.

Somebody who was reading at the same speed at Ibadan Grammar School (IGS) was Bola Ige. He had the same reading speed. Ige paid a lot of attention to the pronunciations. We didn't know that the pronunciation and phonetics of every word is put in the dictionary. His proficiency ability was derived from the fact that he was the Head Boy of IGS.

Everybody in GCI was bright. We had weird people, we had Owosina who became the Chairman of Total, he was my classmate. He died six months ago. He was Chief Medical Director Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital, Lagos. We had Ademola Idowu, brother of Soyinka's wife, Laide.
Soyinka's class inspired us a lot. There were many brilliant and colourful people in that class.

Among the class of 24 were Abel Guobadia of INEC, he had Ph.D in Physics, very honest. Christopher Kolade, former director-general, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Managing Director, Cadbury Plc and Ambassador to Britain. The late Prof. Muyiwa Awe, the great physicist, he had double first class degrees. Then, Oni who was probably the brightest of them from Otapete, Ilesa in present Osun State.
Ladipo Akinkugbe, who entered by chance, was number 25 on the entrance examination list, and they needed only 24. But no 24 could not make it, Akinkugbe came in. From the day he came in, he never went beyond the second position.

He was the greatest politician in the class, very crafty politician. We did not know that Latin was important. He led a delegation of the class to protest against Latin. If you don't have Latin you cannot enter St. Andrew's (the oldest university in Scotland), Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin (oldest in Ireland).
He was also the brain behind clay modeling. I was a witness of the procession Akinkugbe led. He was in the front at the beginning of the precession. When they got to the principal's office, he was the last to go in of the 24 students. When the principal was roaring, he was at the back peeping.
There was a teacher who was to teach us Physics, but was teaching us Civics. He was pro-Awolowo, but many of us were pro-Zik. We liked Zik and crammed Zik's and Adelabu's speeches. One day, the principal came and he did not know.

We were to do Physics, but he was teaching Civics. He was in a middle of a sentence when he saw the principal, he changed: "As I have been telling you, Awolowo is a good conductor of heat." The man was from Ogoja in present Cross River State.


Written by E O Eke
Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.' Satan, in John Milton's Paradise lost.'As relationship expires , affection decrease. The cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf and we ought to be equally on our guard against both'. Thomas Paine, rights of man and common sense
The opposition of Mr Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state and former speaker of the House of representative, to the restructure of Nigeria is not surprising. It is consistent with the views of some northerners, with sense of entitlement.

To justify his selfish and sectarian position he confuses Nigerian unity with restructuring. Nigerian's unity and restructuring are two different, but related concepts.
He repeats the mantra that Nigerian unity is non negotiable, without demonstrating conceptual understanding of unity as a non negotiable construct.
He claims that restructuring would undermine Nigerian unity, when in fact it is the most intelligent way to preserve it.

He is oblivious that many Nigerians now understand the way people like him, who dominate Nigeria and ruin her, justify the status quo.

The fact is that the status quo is unsustainable and restructuring is the only way to preserve the unity of Nigeria. In any case, the idea of a unity that is non negotiable is anachronistic as no diverse people can achieve unity without negotiation.
The feudal north appears unaware that restructuring is an attempt to preserve Nigerian unity and it does not threaten it. It fears losing the strangling hold it has on Nigeria, unaware that the people, who threaten Nigerian unity are those who are against restructuring it to ensure justice, equality, rule of law and liberty. The only thing wrong with these values is that they are not accepted by extreme Islam.

Restructuring Nigeria is about ensuring justice and freedom for regions to develop at their pace to end the domination of the country by one ethnic group.
As a matter of fact, the north has already unilaterally restructured by declaring Shari in its region and taking its people in the direction of Boko Haram. Their opposition to restructuring is tantamount to denying the rest of Nigeria, what it is already enjoying. Nothing can do more than restructuring to preserve Nigerian unity.

However, people like Tambuwal have either falsely assumed or chosen to obfuscate that restructuring equals division and therefore, a threat to Nigerian unity. He and many like him should be educated and told that Boko is not Haram.

The utterances of people like Tambuwal and conduct and attitudes of political Islamic North, its intransigence and the arrogance and, sectarian attitude of the Buhari government; are evidence that Nigeria is far past the rubicon and its existence as a United country run from Abuja for the interest of the the feudal north and criminal minded elites, is over.
It seems inevitable that Nigeria cannot continue in its present form and every attempt must be made to make transition to the new Nigeria amicable.

Nigeria, today, is like an abusive relationship, where the abused spouse is being prevented from taking step to end the abuse.

In the west, the effect of abuse is now being understood. In a recent radio drama, in BBC, the jury acquitted a woman, who killed her husband because he has been abusive to her in their relationship. People who have interest in human behaviour and observe the way societies change, know the significance and the message the drama wishes to send.
It is impossible to have a meaningful relationship with a person who must abuse, exploit, and discriminate against you. There can be no alternative to restructuring Nigeria and it must continue.

I also would say that it would be very naive of those agitating for restructure to believe that the north, with Buhari in power, will yield power on a plater.
Buhari,s plan is to find convenient excuse to lay waste to Niger Delta and Igbo land before he agrees to any restructure. It is just who he is, a vindictive prejudiced Islamist, who believe in ethnic and religious domination and superiority. Buhari cannot treat anybody who is not Fulani and a Muslim as his equal or without discrimination.

Recently he told Igbo youth coppers posted to his state to tell their friends to give up Biafra. No intelligent president of a nation would make such a statement for the simple reason that it is both prejudices and stereotypical and would reveal too much of how leader thinks and his deep seated bigotry.

Buhari would do to East Nigeria, what Assad of Syria has done to Aleppo and Saudi Arabia is doing to Yemen, if he finds an excuse and he is busy looking for one. Obama and any democratic candidate that would succeed him may not do anything.

The strategic thinking of America and Europe on freedom in the developing world, has changed. After Libya and Iraq, they believe that it is in their interest to support a brutal dictator, who will preserve security and stop refugees from coming to their countries.
It is not really a new position, but confirmation that their normal attitude, which they tried to change in both countries is the right one for them. They have always supported dictatorships in developing countries, which is why Patrick Lumuba and many other progressives failed.
The west do not really care about those who fight for freedom because they understand that they are they are their intellectual equals.

This is why I believe, the struggle to restructure Nigeria should be pursued aggressively through deplomatic, legal and political routes.
In that wise, an international ambassador should be appointed, a team of lawyer assembled and a political organisation whose aim includes to ensure restructuring of Nigeria formed.
The ambassador would start lobbying the international community, the lawyers would bring action in Nigerian courts against the federal government for all the breaches of the constitution, discriminations and human right abused of the army and police against individuals, regions and communities and the political organisation would mobilise the people to vote at elections only for candidates who share the position to restructure Nigeria and will commit to use their mandate to pursue restructuring of Nigeria.
It is not going to be easy because the feudal north will employ its resources by using people from the south and the military to stop it.

Make no mistake against it, 'north Nigeria' see the restructure of Nigeria as an existential threat. However, nothing can stop an idea, whose time has come. Therefore, those who have voices should speak up now or forever hold their peace.

Road to recovery: A case for restructuring Nigeria

Written by Olawale Oluwo
~TheGuardian Nigeria. Thursday, September 1, 2016. 

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi AdeosunMinister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun
The IMF's forecast is that the Nigerian economy would contract by 1.8%, while the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has also confirmed the imminence of a technical recession. In theory, economic recession is a period of temporary or general decline in productive activities, which is typically measured by fall in GDP in two successive quarters. In reality, Nigeria is on the verge of full blown stagflation, a condition of slow economic growth, high unemployment accompanied by rising prices or inflation.

The reasons may not be far-fetched, considering the unwholesome combination of internal and external factors at play. The price effect of the drastic fall in global oil prices, coupled with the drop in export volume from the pipelines bombing campaign of the Niger Delta Avengers, depleted Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. The fallout has been the massive devaluation of our currency, increase in unemployment rate, inflationary pressure (at 16.5%), increase in interest rate (the yield on FGN Treasury Bills - risk free instruments - was 21% on 15/08/16!) and general downturn in other economic and social indices. Expectedly, being a mono-cultural economy, the collapse in oil prices has had disastrous impact on governance at all levels, as Nigeria economy is not insulated from the global economic crises. Some state governments find it extremely difficult to pay staff salaries and associated pension contributions, with no immediate solution in sight. The nation's woes is further compounded by growing restiveness and ethnic agitations, among which is the Boko Haram insurgency (which is now abating), the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB) agitation for the actualisation of Biafra, and the endless conflict between herdsmen and farmers in various parts of the country, with the attendant implications for agricultural output reduction. Further delay in arresting the present trend could lead to serious political and social instability.

Our problems are multi-faceted, covering economic, political and social, and the solution must be multi-dimensional in approach. Clearly, it cannot be business as usual anymore as concerted efforts must now be made to appropriately diagnose the problems and proffer workable solutions in order to avoid plunging our economy into full depression. Pertinent questions must be asked...Where did we go wrong? How did we arrive here? How did we move from one of the fastest growing economies to an economy on the brink of recession? How can we navigate our way out of the present quagmire? And more importantly, how do we comprehensively restructure Nigeria in a way that will support our aspiration for a productive and egalitarian economy, a stable polity, and a fairer society? There is a need for reality check by all tiers of government in Nigeria (Particularly the Federal Government of Nigeria). Perhaps, in the process of conducting a reality check, we might just be able to retrace our steps by embarking on a far-reaching and comprehensive restructuring beyond the cosmetic approach that the nation has been accustomed to over the decades.

The reality check by the Federal Government must start with asking the following questions:

. Is it realistic to increase the size of the projected federal budget from N4.49 trillion in 2015 to N6.1 trillion in 2016 in the face of dwindling oil price and production cuts from militants' bombing campaign?

. Is it realistic to increase budgeted non-oil receipts from N800 billion in 2015 to N1.5 trillion in 2016 without a corresponding structure to drive the increase? Are non-oil earnings capable of 88% elasticity in the face of limited investments and government incentives?

. Is it realistic to project external sources of financing a N2.3 trillion deficit in the 2016 budget when there is global recession and a downgrade of the country's rating?

. Is it realistic to project N1.5 trillion for debt servicing when capital expenditure is a meagre N1.6 trillion.

. Is it sustainable for the Federal Government to continue to hold on to over 50% of the revenue of the nation, only to spend it on debt servicing, recurrent expenditure and subsidising the foreign exchange market, the natural gas market, the electricity transmission sector and downstream petroleum sector?

The Problem is Structural!

The direction of the on-going debate on the restructuring of Nigeria has been skewed towards yet another political restructuring. Nigeria, since independence, has undergone series of political restructurings programmes from creation of states at different times, to the complete change in the political system from parliamentary to presidential, to revenue mobilisation and allocation restructuring, and other forms of adjustments that are political in nature. It is as if every government at the federal level wants to conduct its own political/constitutional conference to restructure Nigeria. The fact that all the political restructuring initiatives to date have not addressed Nigeria's problems is evidence that the problems are structural (and substantially economic). While the nation has carried out different political reforms, the only period that Nigeria can be said to have had serious economic reforms that had significant effects on the structure of the Nigerian economy were the reforms of 1985 to 1992 that divested government interests in various business concerns; and the reforms of 2002 to 2015 that restructured some of the commanding heights of the economy – banking, insurance, telecommunications, power among others. It is therefore clear that the solution to solving our structural economic problems must commence with the dismantling of the structural rigidities that have held the country down economically for decades.

The advent of the military in governance created a highly centralised political and economic system, with enormous power and resources concentrated at the centre. Instead of using the resources to build a solid economic base for Nigeria, a regime of over-bloated federal recurrent expenditure (almost 80% of budget year-on-year, subsidised government owned monopolies (NITEL; NEPA; Nigerian Railway; Nigerian Airways; NNPC; Nigerian Gas Company, etc) with huge unfunded pension funds were foisted on the nation. Now that reality has dawned and the federal government's revenue profile has reduced, FGN cannot carry on with the existing administrative structure. The time to take the bitter pill is now. Accordingly, the Federal Government should carry out the following reforms:

. Prune down the existing structure and divest itself of some unwarranted administrative responsibilities;

. Reduce Ministries, merge functions and devolve more responsibilities to states;

. Hand over intra-state roads to states while keeping only inter-state highways to itself to connect the vast and scattered communities in Nigeria;

. Give more autonomy to states with respect to control of inland water ways;

. Hands off control of lottery business in states;

. Limit the responsibilities of the Ministry of Solid Minerals at the federal level to regulation and cede control of solid minerals to states;

. Divest itself from involvement in distribution of VAT (sales taxes);

. Abolish the law that vests all mineral resources under the soil of Nigeria in the Federal Government. This will allow states to partner with the private sector to exploit mineral resources and pay agreed derivation to the federal government;

; Review mechanism for administration of PAYEE, to give the states more control;

. Reduce taxes for companies and entrepreneurs;

. Allow more private sector involvement in the economy.

•Oluwo, Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, delivered this lecture at a retreat.


Restructuring and its benefits for all

By Editorial Board
~TheGuardeian Nigeria. Thursday, September 1, 2016. 

Incredibly, restructuring and federalism have become the most misrepresented words even by those who should understand and work for their actualisation in the interest of peace and progress of Nigeria.

To some political commentators, it is an idea whose time has come. To some others, it is a secret weapon by a section to break up the country so that others would not have access to the oil and gas resources, invariably the mainstay of the economy, available only in one part of the country. This is so very sad.

It must be stated unequivocally, however, that the honest pursuit and enthronement of federalism in its true meaning will be hugely beneficial to all Nigerians from all the geo-political zones.

The first and the most fundamental point is that there is a common denominator, poverty and mass illiteracy, all over Nigeria.

The effects of those decades when the military overthrew the finesse as well as practice of federalism are still being felt nationwide. In other words, the real trouble with Nigeria is not just poverty nurtured by corruption and illiteracy but lack of understanding of the impact of the overthrow of the principles of federalism, a system that once triggered rapid growth of Nigeria.

The first military Head of State, Lt-General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi thrashed federalism through a Unification Decree No.34 in 1966 before he too was killed in a counter coup that did not restore federalism.

In fact, successive military governments, beginning from General Yakubu Gowon's through General Murtala Muhammed's to General Sani Abacha's kept creating states that have become mere administrative capitals and peripheral beggars instead of federating units of development. The states have since 1966 been depending on crumbs from the centre.

Since a proper federalism that triggered exponential growth of the Northern, Western, Eastern and Midwestern Regions was destroyed by military politicians, Nigeria has not recorded any tangible growth in any economic or political sense.

The selfless leaders from the North and South of Nigeria in the first republic were arguably the last of the great men this country has had. Since federalism or regionalism that propelled them to greater heights collapsed, crass opportunism and enlightened self interest have given birth to small minds as 'Big Men' who have led the country to the nadir of reproach.

It is, therefore, time to tell all Nigerians, including those who profit from misleading the people about the many benefits of restructuring that, just as there was oil in the South, cocoa in the West, rubber and timber in the Mid-west, the North of Nigeria used to play host to most of the best textile companies in the country and indeed West Africa. The same North used to be the home of the famous groundnut pyramids in Kano and a place where cotton, millet, among numerous other economic crops were grown. It is a shame that Nigerian leaders would not be eager to harness these vast mineral, agriculture and water resources in the area from North central to the North West within the context of a truly federal Nigeria.

Kogi State, for instance, can go to Nasarawa State and invest in some mineral resources and employ the people there. Just as Lagos State is currently doing with Kebbi State in rice production. It is Kebbi's citizens that will be employed and taxes will be paid to the state, after all. That way, there will be a balance of opportunity to exploit what is available in all states.

Therefore, instead of shooting down and foreclosing discussions of opportunities that abound in fiscal federalism, all Nigerians should encourage their representatives to take another look at the recurrent and exclusive legislative lists. The exclusive list that gives too much power to the Federal Government in exploitation of mineral and water resources should be relaxed and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should begin the process of devolution of powers to the federating units for the rapid development of the country.

Besides, those who wield federal powers now should seek to renew their minds and be persuaded that Nigeria cannot be broken or hampered by the practice of federalism as some have mischievously submitted. Indeed, federalism will even strengthen democracy and make the country grow economically.

If the 36 federating units are not allowed to exploit all the natural endowments in their states and develop state policies based on priorities and then pay their workers according to what they can afford, development even at the centre will be a mirage. At the moment, poverty in the federating units which keep asking for bailouts from the centre before they can pay even basic bills is shameful, and unacceptable.

In the context of competition which used to exist when Nigeria was a really federal entity, Lagos and Kaduna states are now setting some instructive examples. Just as the Western Region did in those days, the Kaduna State government, for instance, has decided to invest heavily in compulsory and quality education as a matter of priority. This is how a good federation should be. And it is hoped that other states will follow this example. Lagos too continues to invest heavily in education and to enhance its status as the economic capital of West Africa. Both states parade the best civil services in the country at the moment and are restructuring their operations according to their vision and resources.

Therefore, the time has come for Nigeria's leaders at all levels and from all regions to remove politics from discussions of the many benefits of fiscal federalism and focus on how ventures such as cattle rearing, grains, gum Arabic, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rice production, etc in the North can be exploited for the glory of the region. This does not remove any steam from the efforts at finding oil in the North East, which may just be some added value.

The Eastern Region, comprising the present South South and South East, is already show-casing the gains of self-dependence as Anambra State, for instance, is gradually finding its groove in agriculture and industrialisation.

Against the background of diversification, with emphasis on agriculture and mining as central elements in the political economy, that all things are available in every state but not exploited till now is the shame of a nation. Governments should step forward and remove obstacles to these resources and the value that would accrue to all citizens therefrom.

No doubt, the country is already factionalised over this matter. The elite caused the division which Nigerians do not need. And the country was not always like this. In 1993, this same country organised a presidential election in which a political party fielded a Muslim-Muslim ticket that no one complained about anywhere. It was a pan-Nigeria mandate which Chief MKO Abiola won convincingly before the military cancelled the result. The same obtained in the election that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power in May, 2015. It was a popular mandate that was not disputed. Now, history beckons on Buhari to see this popular mandate as one to be exploited to listen to what Nigerians are saying and implement true federalism.

Nigerians, especially members of the elite, must show an understanding beyond the dubious position of those who associate true federalism with the balkanisation of the country.


Restructuring: Let's go our ways in peace -Rufai Hanga

Written by Omoniyi Salaudeen
The SUN Nigeria. Thursday, September 1, 2016

Senator Rufai Hanga is a prominent Kano politician and founding national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progress Change (CPC). In this interview, he challenged those clamouring for a restructuring of the country to lay their facts on the table, saying it is better for the constituent parts to separate in peace than going into a crisis.

From your personal assessment, how has the 8th National Assembly fared in terms of its responsibilities and functions as a lawmaking organ of the country?

I am not happy with what is happing because there is a lot of rumbling between the executive and members of the National Assembly, which is affecting the country. I am not too impressed with the performance of these lawmakers. I don't know whether their failure is as a result of the circumstance in which they found themselves, but what they have done so far is nothing to write home about. I can't point at any significant thing they have done this time around. Rather, they are more concerned with protecting their personal interests.

On the side of the executive, how would you assess the support base for the Buhari administration since he assumed power vis-a vis his popularity before the election?

Certainly, it is diminishing by the day. That is the home truth. I like Buhari, I support him, but unfortunately, the support base for his government is dwindling by the day. I think this has to do with ill-advice by those people around him. I don't know whose advice he is listening to, but there are so many things that are wrong. There are so many things that are done wrongly. There are so many things that need to be addressed. Presumably, may be those around him are not advising him well. Some of the people around him are analogue; they have no proper understanding of the present reality. Therefore, he needs to broaden his reach so that things can move on well. People like him, he means well, but then, there is a need for him to open up. I believe he is sincere and he is doing what he is doing in good fate, but like people say, 'a single tree can never make a forest.' There are certain things you may feel are not good for him to do, but as a leader, he must take a risk.

The renewed violence in the oil producing region by the Niger Delta Avengers is part of the problems the government has had to grapple with, especially its crippling effects on the economy.

I won't attribute what I have just said to the Niger Delta crisis. There is a great degree of sabotage in that part of the country. I think some people who are under the watch of the anti-corruption agency are trying to cover up their asses. That is why they are trying to divert attention. Right now, President Buhari is dealing more with Northerners in his anti-corruption war than any other group. More northerners are affected by his anti-corruption war. And as we all know, more of these atrocities were committed in the Niger Delta region. That is where bunkering activities involving several millions of dollars were done. President Buhari is yet to reach out to these people; so, they are doing this to divert the attention of government or sabotage him to make sure he fails. And they are succeeding. They are succeeding because the oil revenue is down so much that confession was made recently by Secretary to the Government of the Federal (SGF) that government cannot implement the 2016 budget because of the dwindling revenue accruing to the federation account. By all economic analyses, if we continue like this, Nigeria will be in a serious recession. And the major cause is the Niger Delta violence activities.

In the light of this, would you support government's dialogue with the militants?

I think the government has already decided on dialoguing with them from what I read in newspapers. Another story I read is that they are being dealt with. So, I don't know how you can blow hot and cold, and at the same time expect to get the same result. I read that the military is determined to deal with them. And I also read another version saying that the government is dialoguing with them. So, I don't know which is which. But if it is true that government is dialoguing with them, the government must be careful not to be blackmailed. Whichever of the group rises up, the government can sit and dialogue with it, but there is a tendency for some people to confuse the government because there are several other groups which may also emerge after reaching an agreement with them. If I were in government, I will say, 'sit down, we are not going to discuss anything with you because you've already negotiated with the previous government. This is a new government and you know government is dynamic, let us maintain the agreement you had with the previous government and then we will give you moratorium for so and so months. When everything is calm, then we can come back and continue further negotiation. But if you continue doing what you are doing, then there is nothing for you" This is one of the measures I would have taken if were in government.

You must have also read different opinions on the issue of restructuring which is now on the front burner of national discourse. What is your take on this agitation?

People are not telling the truth. When you are talking about a restructuring, let them lay it on the table. What kind of restructuring do they want? Restructuring can mean a lot of things. Most of the people clamouring for restructuring are just saying so without breaking it down. Let them break it down so that we can know the kind of restructuring they want. Let them come out. For me, I don't know what they mean and I cannot give an opinion on something I am not conversant with. Let them define it and then I will give my own opinion. Right now, when I see some people talking of restructuring, I look at them as non-conformists, I see them as hypocrites who want cheap popularity among the people that are disgruntled. I see some of them as just merely following the train of bandwagon because they hear people saying restructuring.

Let whosoever want the country restructured come out and put it in black and white the way they want the country restructured. I have once given my opinion on this. Even if they want the country divided, I welcome it. True to God, I welcome it because I will rather prefer we separate peacefully to fighting ourselves. One thing I will never support is fighting ourselves, especially over religious division. Religious crisis is the most dangerous thing in all aspects of life because when it comes to religion, nobody reasons. Whether educated, illiterates, semi-illiterates, big, young or old, nobody reasons when it comes to religion. I don't want any problem with the country. Rather than having an internal crisis like religious or ethnic, I will prefer everybody goes his way. It will be better for everybody to go and start afresh. There are lots of countries that have separated and they are doing fine. If that is what they mean by restructuring, then it is welcome. I personally welcome it than fighting ourselves. I don't want any crisis. People who are agitating and instigating people don't know the implication of what they are doing. We should not let such people drag us into a crisis because it is dangerous.

What would you like to say about the arms purchase scandal involving some top military brass?

It is an unfortunate situation. If what is being said is true, then I shed tears for Nigeria. If people who are responsible for security, responsible for making sure we have peace could go to that extent of looting, then we should all shed tears for this country. I am always proud to be a Nigerian anywhere in the world but this is very unfortunate.

What is your take on the viability or otherwise of states that can no longer meet their obligations of paying salaries of their workers?

If a state is unable to survive, then it is not viable. There are two ways to it. It is either the leaders are misfits, incompetent, can't sit down and think about how they can generate internal revenue to sustain themselves or the states are not viable.

I will suggest a situation where some states are merged with the viable ones. If they cannot sustain themselves, how can we allow them to remain as parasites? It is too ways. One, it is either the leaders are incompetent to keep the states afloat or the states are not viable.



Written by Priye S. Torulagha - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
More than any other time in the history of Nigeria, this is definitely the time to restructure the country territorially and constitutionally in order to legitimize it as a true sovereign state. It should be noted that since about 200 to 300 ethnic groups were forcefully put together by the British, Nigerians have never been allowed to decide the manner in which the country should be structured and governed. Therefore, technically, Nigeria is not an independent country despite the claim of sovereignty until the ethnic groups which constitute it are allowed to freely decide the nature and fate of the country. "Independence" will only take place after Nigerians freely determine Nigeria's existence.
Nigeria has not been able to move forward due to the fact that it has many structural and governance problems that inhibit its growth. As a result, whenever it takes one very positive step forward, it ends up taking three steps backward. This is why Nigeria is still being described in terms of its potential rather than by its actuality. The following provides the reasons why restructuring is absolutely essential for the development and modernization of the political, economic and social institutions and governance of the country:
  1. Nigeria is a product of British military conquest. Thus, 200 to 300 ethnic groups were forcefully incorporated by the British without their permission. Obviously, Nigeria, like a vast majority of the modern African states, is a jail house or a detention center where 200 to 300 African ethnic groups are detained against their will. As far as the ethnic groups feel detained or trapped in a cage, they are not likely to cooperate in building a harmonious country.
  2. The Sir Arthur Richards 1946 constitution turned Nigeria into a tribal and regional confederacy. The 1946 constitution embedded a mechanism which has inhibited the country's ability to create a homogenous united nation out of the diverse ethnic groups. This is why there is not one Nigeria but many Nigerias, depending on ethnicity, religion and regional affiliation. As result, every national policy issue is looked upon from a zero sum perspective with one side winning and the others losing. For example, the South-South and the South-East wants resource control and the Upper North opposes it. The South-East, South-West, South-South and the Middle Belt want a national referendum and the Upper North is not willing to go that route. The South and the Middle Belt insist on true federalism but the Upper North seems to be inclined towards the unitary system where the national governments is in total control and the states are given less freedom to maneuver. The Christian and traditional South and the Middle Belt incline toward the Western world and the Islamic North inclines towards Arabia and the Islamic world. This creates a problem for Nigeria's foreign policy. The Upper North wants national grazing reserves for one ethnic group to do cattle business and the South-East, South-West, South-South and the Middle Belt are not eager to grant such a wish to a particular ethnic group to have the right to settle in every territory of the country. Thus, there is rarely a national consensus on anything. Sir Richards and the British colonial strategists, perhaps, did not want Nigeria to succeed as a vibrant political, economic and industrial power, hence, a constitutional tool was used to tactically disunite the country through the 1946 Constitution.
  3. Geographically, the manner in which the country is divided into the North and South is flawed. It is only in Nigeria where a country is physically divided into the North and South in such a manner that one region is much larger than the other. Generally, when a territory is divided geographically, it is supposed to have equal territorial space, using the North, South, East and West configuration. In other words, it is weird to have regions where the North is two times larger than the South. This is a fundamental structural flaw in the distribution of territorial land mass. If those who created Nigeria had wished the country well, they would not have established a country in which one region is twice the size of the other region. It is obvious that the Middle Belt would have been part of Southern Nigeria. In this case, states like Kogi, Kwara, Benue, and Plateau would have been placed in Southern Nigeria to create a geographical balance between the North and the South. The physical imbalance in the distribution of the regions creates distrust, frustration and instability as the Northern region seems to overshadow the Southern region.
  4. Another geographical flaw in Nigeria's physical structure is that the smaller South is further divided into the East and West with a Mid-West sub-region while the giant North is allowed to stand alone as one region, even though the Middle Belt does not belong to the North.
  5. Before independence, the smaller ethnic groups insisted upon the creation of states during the Willink Commission's Hearing. The suggestion was rejected. So, the small ethnic groups became vassals of the large three ethnic groups.
  6. On independence, Nigeria adopted federalism which in theory, requires the sharing of power between the national and regional governments. In practice, the country operated as a confederacy in which the regions functioned almost independently. This was why the regional premiers were almost as powerful and influential as the national prime minister. An individual like Ahmadu Bello was even more powerful that the prime minister of the entire country.
  7. When the military came after the January 15, 1966 abortive military coup, the military adopted a unitary system of government which took away the powers of the regions and later the states to make independent decisions. The unitary system centralized political and administrative power at the center and made the states dependent upon the national government. Even while the military regimes centralized political and administrative authority, they still pretentiously viewed the country as a federal entity. Thus, like in the First Republic, the military era too continued the practice of calling Nigeria a federal state while suffocating federalism through excessive centralization of power.
  8. During the First Republic, since the three major ethnic groups dominated the three regions, national resources were distributed based on derivation. The regions were largely responsible for producing and generating income for themselves using the resources in their territories. However, as soon as oil became a major economic commodity and it was found mostly in regions dominated by minority ethnic groups and the Igbos, the Petroleum Act was passed by the military regime of Gen. Yakubu Gowon. This deprived the ethnic groups in the oil region the ability to make decisions about the exploration and management of oil and gas in their territories.
  9. As stated above, due to the geographical imbalance between the North and the South, the South is compelled to serve as a junior partner, rather than as an equal partner in the political management of Nigeria. The North dominates the entire country in so many ways. For instance, Lagos States is more populated than Kano State. Recent statistics indicate that Lagos City has a population of about 21 million people. However, Kano State has 44 local governments while Lagos State has 20 local governments. How did this come about? It is exceedingly difficult to explain or rationalize why Kano State with a lesser population has more local governments than Lagos State with a much larger population. Similarly, due to the fact that the North is two-third of the entire country, in terms of geography, it has 19 states and the South has 17 states. Additionally, out of the 774 local governments in Nigeria, the North has 419 while the South has 335. Of course, the fact that the North is physically larger than the South does not mean that it has more people than the South. There is a general believe that the South is actually more populated than the North, yet, the North has more local governments.
  10. Following the geographical imbalance, the North tends to act as the dominant region in the country. This is why most of the country's leaders have originated from the Islamic North. It is much more difficult for someone from the South to rule the country. For instance, whenever, an individual from the South tries to serve as the leader of the country, the person is expected to unduly appease the North as if the individual does not have a constitutional right as a Nigerian citizen to rule the country like someone from the Islamic North. A would- be-presidential candidate from the South must pass the North's Litmus test, otherwise, the individual has no chance of succeeding. Moreover, the Upper North can literarily reject a Southern presidential candidate if the person does not dance to the strategic interest of the North. As a result, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo from the South-West never had a chance to rule the country. Similarly, when Dr. Alex Ekwueme was supposed to be the presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), there was opposition from the Upper North. Hence, he was dropped from consideration as a presidential candidate, even after serving as a vice president. When Chief Moshood Abiola appeared to be winning the presidential election of June 12, 1993 against a Northern candidate, the election was abrogated. In other words, the Upper North (Islamic) did not want Chief Abiola to become the president. When the military decided to quit the political business and return to barracks in 1998, the preferred candidate of the South-West region was Chief Olu Falae. The North opposed Chief Falae and selected Chief/Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo as the presidential flag-bearer of the Peoples' Democratic Party PDP). When he became the president, he had to give three critical ministerial positions to the North as the region demanded. Being a Southerner, former President Obasanjo was powerless in stopping the Sharianization of some Northern states. Thus, Sharia Law was installed without any legislative discussion in the National Assembly. When Dr. Peter Odili decided to contest the presidential election of 2007, he had to spend vast sums of money to attract support from the North and the Southwest. Even then, he was unceremoniously dropped as the presidential flag-bearer of the PDP. When the late President Umaru Yar'Adua got sick, the Upper North refused to allow the vice president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to take over the leadership of the country. As soon as he eventually became the president, threats of making the country ungovernable started to saturate the media. D. Jonathan had to spend a considerable amount of time and effort in appeasing the Upper North while attempting to run for reelection. He actually devoted more time throughout his tenure to persuade the North than the South to support him, yet, various tactics of ungovernability were deployed to shipwreck his administration. Alhaji Aliyu Gwarzo, a prominent Fulani leader from Kano, did not hide the intention of the Upper North when he said "No Goodluck or anyone else will stop us from taking back our power next year. We will kill, maim, destroy and turn thiscountry into Africa's biggest war zone and refugee camp if they try it" (Pointblanknews Magazine, October 2, 2014).
  11. As a result of the predominance of the North, the South is increasingly looking like a conquered territory of the North since most critical national decisions tend to favor the North. This is why Southern legislators in the National Assembly are almost voiceless and inactive. They are seen but rarely heard from. The governors and religious leaders in the Upper North have tremendous national influence while the governors and traditional rulers in the South have very little national influence. In fact, due to the overbearing influence of Northern political elites in the country, Southern political elites are very cautious in expressing themselves, fearing that if they talk too much, they could be punished.
  12. Apart from the pre-January 15, 1966 period, the Nigerian armed forces are dominated by the North, so much so that Southern military officers are barely noticeable. Almost all critical military and national security positions under President Muhammadu Administration are held by officers from the Upper North. In some circumstances, some junior military officers from the Upper North have more influence than some senior military officers from the South. A Southern military or police officer, to safeguard his or her job, would not take any action without getting approval from an officer from the Upper North. This was why former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase did not mobilize the police to stop marauding herdsmen from mobilizing and attacking Agatu community in the Middle Belt and Nimmo community in Igboland, even though everyone knew in advance that the herdsmen were about to invade those communites. The same reason could also be given for why the army remained quiet. They did not act because they did not get clearance from President Buhari to prevent the invasion, killing and destruction of Agatu and Nimbo communities.
  13. A vast majority of the military and police training and educational institutions are located in the North. Similarly, it is much easier for someone from the North to join the armed forces than someone from the South. A letter from an Emir can make a whole difference whether someone is admitted into the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) or get a lucrative employment.
  14. The fear of Islamization is a constant worry among non-Moslems in Nigeria. This follows a statement made by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, to the Moslems to spread Islam throughout the country. He was seconded by the late prime minster of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Tafewa Balewa. Alhaji Aliyu Gwarzo, electrified the agenda for Islamization by saying:
  15. It was either the Koran or the sword and most of them chose the Koran. In return for the good works of our forefathers, Allah, through the British, gave us Nigeria to rule and to do as we please. Since 1960 we have been doing that and we intend to continue (Ibid.).
  16. Even though the population is almost evenly divided between Christianity and Islam, Nigeria is not a member of any international Christian dominated foreign political or economic or religious alliance. On the other hand, Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the D8 - an organization of Islamic countries, the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Coalition against Terrorism, otherwise, referred to as Islamic Military Alliance. This means that even though Nigeria supposed to be a secular state, it is incrementally being Islamized through tactical joining of Islamic organizations. Therefore, when some Northern politicians introduced a bill which intends to nationalize the Fulani cattle business by granting land for cattle grazing in every state of the country, Southerners and Christians oppose the idea, suspecting it to be a ploy to spread Islam in the South by creating permanent Islamic enclaves throughout the country.
  17. Since Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914, riots resulting in the killings of Southerners, Christians and non-Moslems have taken place in the North. It happened in 1953 and has continued into the twenty-first century. On the other hand, Southerners have never caused riots that lead to the killing of Northerners. Whenever an anti-Northern riot takes place in the South, it is always in reaction to the killings of Southerners in the North. Thousands of Nigerians have been killed and maimed due to the riots. How can the North and South co-exist since the lives of Southerners, Middle Belters, Ancestralists and Christians are always endangered by riots in the North. Thus, for most Southerners living in Northern Nigeria, there is always the danger of being killed through religiously and politically motivated riots.
  18. Nigeria is made up of 200 to 300 ethnic groups, yet, there are some individuals from two ethnic groups who believe that they have an exclusive right to rule the country because the British gave them the mandate to rule the country. Without mincing words, Alhaji Gwarzo stated "When I say that the Presidency must come to the north next year I am referring to the Hausa-Fulani core North and not any northern Christian or Muslim minority tribe." (Pointblanknews, Ibid.).
  19. Petroleum started to become a major source of national wealth immediately after the Nigerian civil war in 1970. By 2015, Nigeria had almost totally depended on oil and gas for its national wealth. Oil and gas are found mostly in the Niger Delta/South-South, some parts of Igboland and the South-West zones). However, due to the fact that oil and gas are totally nationalized, the citizens of the oil region are very poor. On the other hand, the greatest beneficiaries of the oil wealth are Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions. In particular, oil shares (blocks) are owned mostly by individuals from the Upper North.
  20. While for about forty-five years now, Nigeria has almost totally depended on the oil wealth, the country has refused to carry out any environmental cleaning of the region. As a result, the South-South region is highly polluted with oil leakages, pipeline fires and gas flaring. Even the Nigerian plan to clean Ogoni land came by way of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Thus, Nigeria is not interested in cleaning the polluted environment but wants to exploit the oil and gas with total disregard for the feeling of the inhabitants of the oil region.
  21. The 1999 Constitution was put together through the supervision of the military. Therefore, it was not a product of democratic discussion involving the ethnic groups that make up the country. This accounted for why an immunity clause was included to protect military officers who had engaged in misappropriation of public funds. Sadly, elected officials since 1999, have relied on the same Immunity Clause to protect themselves from prosecution for misbehavior while in office. Similarly, all the decrees and acts passed during various military regimes were imposed arbitrarily without the consent of the Nigeria people. To have a very representative democratic constitution, it is necessary to have an open debate involving all stakeholders in the country. Perhaps, the closest exercise to a representative constitutional debate was the National Conference of 2014 because individuals from different parts of the country participated in the exercise.
  22. The coming into power by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC political party in May 2015 has deepened the desire for a national referendum to discuss the fate of the country. The demand became strident when President Buhari made a statement that he was going to favor the 95% that voted for him against the 5% that did not vote for him. After making that statement, he seems to have tactically decided to ignore hiring people from the South-East and the South-South zones of the country. Even the South-West zone which voted for him in large numbers has been neglected. In addition, he has tactically recruited individuals from the Upper Islamic North to occupy critical positions in the Federal Government. Meanwhile, he has not taken any active step to contain the violence perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen. President Buhari war on corruption seems only to be targeted at the officials of Goodluck Jonathan's administration and the members of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) while corruption perpetrated by members of the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) are ignored and treated as non-crimes. His style of leadership creates the impression that he is northernizing and Islamizing the country to fulfil the dream of the late Ahmadu Bello. Hence, some people in the South-East and the South-South have revived the call for the creation of the Republic of Biafra and the Republic of the Niger Delta. Similarly, militant opposition to the exploration of oil and gas in the oil region has been reactivated. Thus, President Buhari's actions tend to deepen the feeling that Nigeria is increasingly being treated as a country dominated by one ethnic group, despite the fact that it is made up of 200 to 300 ethnic groups.
  23. Due to the dysfunctional nature of the country, creativity and innovation are stifled, hence, Nigeria has not been able to develop as an industrial nation capable of competing in the global marketplace to sell finished industrial goods and services. It is interesting to note that Nigeria tends to kill motivation, creativity and innovation. This is why creative and innovative Nigerians tend to do very well in their professional fields outside the country but seem to do poorly inside the country. The reason is that inside Nigeria, the politics of ethnicity, regionalism and religion intercedes to dampen motivation. Moreover, the politics of personalism tends to force people to become "LOYAL" boys and girls to political godfathers and godmothers. The godfathers and godmothers are only interested in how much political power and financial wealth they can acquire. This is why loyalty is more important than creativity and innovation.
  24. As Nigerians become increasingly dissatisfied with the contradictions, imbalances, and unequal distribution of power and resources, the level of patriotism declines. Lack of patriotism feeds the desire to embezzle public funds recklessly to the detriment of the Nigerian nation.
Based on the enumerated points above, it is obvious that an increasing number of the Nigerian population are no longer satisfied with the current state of the country. Consequently, there is a need to conduct a referendum so that Nigeria's 200 to 300 ethnic groups can discuss the fate of the country freely in a democratic manner. Therefore, the view by President Buhari and others that Nigeria is indivisible is not a convincing one. The argument for indivisibility of Nigeria has been shattered by the fact that the United Kingdom (UK) which is a member of the European Union (EU) decided to quit the union as its citizens felt suffocated by the policies and actions of the EU. Based on the desire of British citizens, Mr. David Cameron held a referendum to decide whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave. The citizens voted to quit the EU. If the British people who created Nigeria during the heydays of the British Empire can decide to quit a political arrangement which does not seem to satisfy their need, why can't Nigeria's 200 to 300 ethnic groups do the same if a political arrangement created through military imposition is suffocating them? By allowing the referendum to go through, the UK has opened the gate for the Scottish and Irish people to decide in the nearest future whether they should continue to remain in the United Kingdom or go their separate ways.
Indeed, President Buhari should adopt the attitude of Mr. David Cameron by responding to the wishes of a large segment of the Nigerian people and hold a referendum and or implement the recommendations of the National Conference of 2014. The Indivisibility of a forced union in which some Nigerians are treated as overloads while others are treated as serfs or conquered citizens cannot hold. A nation in which the citizens of one section of the country constantly use violence against the citizens of the other section of the country cannot be indivisible. An imposed political association in which one section of the country feels it has a mandate to rule the country cannot stand the test of time. This is why a referendum is needed. A referendum does not necessarily mean the dissolution of the country, rather, it is a means to restructure or redesign the country to the betterment of all Nigerians. Of course, some groups might decide to opt out of the Nigerian arrangement and form their own separate countries, if need be.
Indeed, a referendum is needed in Nigeria to avoid Alhaji Gwarzo's view that:
The Christians in the north such as the Berom, the Tiv, the Kataf, the Jaba, the Zuru, the Sayyawa, the Jukun, the Idoma and all others are nothing and the Muslim minorities in the north, including the Kanuri, the Nupe, the Igbira, the Babur, the Shuwa Arabs, the
Marghur and all the others know that when we are talking about leadership in the north and in Nigeria, Allah has given it to us, the Hausa-Fulani (Ibid.).

A country made up of 200 to 300 ethnic groups can only stand united as a sovereign nation when all groups are treated equally, regardless of ethnicity, region, and religion. Nigeria must be restructured to satisfy the aspiration of all Nigerians, not just one or two groups.


Written by Eric Teniola, |Lagos Nigeria.

The submission of the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON on the restructuring of the Nigerian Political system is very instructive.
Likewise are the submissions also of Pastor Tunde Bakare, General Alani Ipoola Akinrinade(Rtd.), Mohammed Haruna, Senator Musa Adede, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Femi Okunronmu and others.

I have read the four books by Colonel Tony Nyiam (Rtd.) especially his 169page book on "TRUE FEDERAL DEMOCRACY OR AWAITING IMPLOSION?". I agree with his suggestion on the need for the creation for a National Institute for the strategic management of Nigeria's Security. And those who know Nigeria well enough don't joke with the views of Colonel Tony Nyiam.

During the tenure of General Sanni Abacha, leaders and Obas in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ogun met on April 6, 1994. Ekiti state was yet to be created as at then. The present Ekiti was still part of Ondo state. The meeting took place in Abeokuta. At the end of the meeting a draft memorandum was prepared by a committee. As a follow up of the Abeokuta meeting, a memorandum was prepared and approved at a meeting held on May 11 1994 in Akure. The memorandum was adopted by acclamation at the Akure meeting. That memorandum represented the soul and authoritative views of all the Obas, Chiefs, Leaders of Thought and the entire People of Lagos,Ogun,Ondo,Osun and Oyo States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The memorandum was signed by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Ooni of Ife,Oba Okunade Sijuade, the Owa Obokun of Ijesha land, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, Oba Adebola Oyedokun of Saaki, Oba Osuolale Adeyemi of Isheri ,the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba R. A. Adejugbe, the Alaaaye of Efon Alaaye, Oba Adesanya Aladejare, Chief Isiaka Adeleke, Tunji Abolade, Soun of Ogbomosho, Oba Oyeyemi Oladunni Ajagungbade, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Wuraola Adeyeri, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Emmanuel Adegboyega Operinde, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Afolabi Oguntade Salau Oyefusi, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Olatubosun Tadese, the Akran of Badagry D.E. Wheno Menu Toyi, Chief Segun Osoba, Dr. Femi Okunronmu, Dr. Sola Soiele, Dr. Festus Adesanoye,Osemawe of Ondo, the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebobaje Adesida, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, Chief Adebayo Adefarati, Chief George Akosile, Major General Adeyinka Adebayo, Chief Michael Ajasin, Chief Ilemobajo Akinola, Senator Remi Okunriboye, Major General Olufemi Olutoye, Professor Biyi Afonja, Chief Owosina, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Abiola Morakinyo, Mrs. Jumoke Olojede, Chief Bisi Akande, Alaafin Of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Chief Yusufu Ayinla, Alhaj Umoni Alade, Chief Yesufu Ayinla,the Owa of Idanre, Oba Federick Adegunle Aroloye, Chief Ladoju Ladapo, Chief Pekun Adesokan,Chief Bola Ige, Chief Akin Omojola, Oba Adesanya Aladejare in Efon Alaye, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, Chief A.O. Anjorin, Chief Adeyiga Ajayi, Alhaji G. O. Dawodu, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Chief TOS Benson, Chief Odeyale, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya among others.

To me the views represents till today the authentic views of the Yoruba people on the issue of restructuring.
They declared
"We are convinced that the cause of Nigeria's federalism will be well and truly advanced if we return to the pre-1996 evolutionary path: a balanced federal structure which recognizes fully the legitimate claims of all ethnic groups for self-determination and where no single entity among the federating units will be strong or powerful enough to hold the others to ransom, but where each of the federating units is large enough, both in terms of size and population as well as of resources, to be viable, self-reliant and dynamic. Other relevant factors include the homogeneity of each federating unit, geographic contiguity among the units of a region and demonstrable willingness to be together. In pursuance of the principle of self-determination and in the interest of the sustainability, any state or community shall have the opportunity to decide, through the democratic process, the region of its choice in the light of these criteria. In the light of the foregoing criteria, we propose the restructuring of Nigeria into six federating units to be known as Regions. The six regions shall be Western, Eastern, Southern, North-Western, North-Eastern and Middle Belt Regions.
The Western Region will group together the following States: Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo and all other Yoruba-speaking communities wherever they may be in the Federation. The States that will constitute the other regions will be decided by their people subject to the observation of the principle of self-determination". With the restructuring into six viable and potentially dynamic and prosperous regions, individually and collectively serving as a countervailing force to the centralizing tendencies of the centre, Nigeria will be constituted a Federation of six Regions. Each would have the power to prepare its own constitution and determine its political structure, its legislative organs and the structure of its executive, provided that nothing in the constitution of the Regions conflicts with the fundamental tenets of federalism and with principles of the federal constitution.The function of the federal government must be clearly spelt out. Residual powers must lie with the Regions. The Federal Government shall have no power to interfere in or take over any function of the Regional Government. Similarly, it shall have no power to interfere with the operations of any Regional Government. Each Region shall determine the number functions and power of its constituent institutions.
The National Assembly shall be bi-cameral: House of the People and the Upper House. Members shall be elected or designated for a period of four years with the possibility of re-election. Membership of the House of the People shall be by universal suffrage with constituencies delineated on the basis of population, contiguity, homogeneity and territorial expanse. Each Region shall send an equal number of representatives to the upper House, one-quarter of whom must be traditional ruler from within that Region. Each Region will be free to determine the basis and method of election/selection of its representative to that House.
The Head of Government shall be the Prime Minister who shall be appointed by the President. The Person to be so appointed, shall be the leader of the party or of a coalition of parties which has the support of the majority of the members of the House of the People. Whenever he loses such support he shall resign or be dismissed. The Prime Minister shall be free to form his Government which must receive the immediate endorsement of the House of the people through a vote of confidence. The Prime Minister shall resign or be dismissed whenever the majority of the House of the People withdraws its support.
There shall be provision for power-sharing in the Constitution. Power configuration shall be accorded a zoning status on rotational basis. For this purpose, five key portfolios(such as Internal Affairs and Petroleum) in addition to the office of the Prime Minister, shall be identified in the Constitution and be assigned to five Deputy Prime Ministers drawn from the five Regions, other than Region from which the Prime Minster hails. For avoidance of doubt, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers and all members of government shall be elected members of the House of the People."
They declared
"The principle of derivation in which each Region will retain an overwhelming share, if not all, of the revenue accruing from the tax imposed on the natural resources within its territory, shall apply. Revenue from the exploitation and custom duties shall be put in distributable pool account to be shared between the Federal and the Regional Governments in accordance with an agreed formula, but with special consideration being given to the Region(s) where the facilities for their collection are located. Every effort must be made o achieve self-reliance in mobilizing resources by all the Regions and the Federation. In particular, no Region must take proportionally more than what it contributes to the Federation financially. There shall be no direct Federal allocation to State Local governments. With regard to the power of personal and direct taxation, such as personal income tax, capital-gains tax, sales tax and property tax, governments shall have the right to levy them that provided that, in order to ensure efficiency, a uniform tax base should be applied and tax rate split between the Federal and Regional Governments. The rate of tax can differ from region to region so that regional revenue can be enhanced to respond to the special needs of a particular region and in accordance with the ability and willingness if the citizens to pay higher taxes".

These were the views expressed twenty-two years ago. These views are still being re-echoed today because they are important and vital to our co-existence as a nation. The question is no longer whether restructuring is desired or not, we have passed that stage. The issue is when and how it will be implemented without amending the present presidential constitution that is in use. Will the present legislators and the executives allow for such an amendment knowing fully well that the present system benefits them?

Restructuring: Who lopsided Nigeria in the first place?

~The SUN Nigeria. Friday, August 19, 2016

Ever so often in the past couple of decades, we have been almost chocked by knowledgable, ignorant, well-meaning and malicious Nigerians on the inevitability of restructuring the Nigerian federation. Perhaps desirably. Even then, the take-off of the intermitent demand of purported restructuring is always from wrong bases to wit that (a) northerners malstructured the country and (b) through the instrumentality of the army nuances of ardent agitators of restructuring to that effect are unmistakable

What are the facts of Nigerian political history specifically from the independence constitution to the end of PDP federal administration in 2015 on this controversial issue? First, President Muhammadu Buhari deserves severe rebuke for unnecessarily attracting criticisms for his rather tactless handling of his government's handling of the restructuring issue. Asked what was his government's policy on the prospects of restructuring of Nigerian federation, especially in view of Conference Report (containing recommendations for restructuring) submitted on the eve of Goodluck Jonathan's exit from office, Buhari, like a macho man, dismissively responded that the Conference Report would remain on the shelf. Truly, it is not as if Buhari would ever retrieve the document from the shelf for implementation but he (Buhari) was wrong to impliedly put the blame on himself.

To assert himself and still put the blame where it (still) belongs, all Buhari had to do rather effortlessly was to employ what, in boxing profession, is called technical knockout, for which nobody can fault him. The very agitators of political resructuring made the task easy for Buhari by rendering the Conference Report comatose, even before he (Buhari) was elected. While campaigns were on for the 2015 presidential elections, agitators of restructuring made it an election issue, a sort of referendum, by publicly canvassing on voters to return former President Jonathan to office "so that he could implement the Conference Report". Chief Ayo Adebanjo led the entire Egbe Afenifere group to take that public stand. It was a risky gamble, which they lost. It was a political dagger aimed at Buhari, which fortunately he survived by winning the presidential elections. He, therefore, does not owe any obligation to implement the Conference Report. We must learn to accept responsibility for our actions.

Only a couple of months ago, erstwhile British prime minister, David Cameron, threw his tenure at the electorate to support Britain's continued membership of European Union. Britons, in the referendum, voted otherwise and Cameron accepted the verdict by resigning, with the assurance that Britain would end its membership of European Union and the new administration in Britain has comenced that process. Even if the Buhari administration is dragged to court in a desperation to force him (to) implement the Conference Report, Federal Government's submission should be that Nigerians, had, in the presidential elections rejected the document. QED.

The issue of who lopsided the country in all ramifications of administration is always unfairly discussed, as if a section or a sector deliberately set out for self-serving purposes. As at time the army struck in January 1966, Nigeria not only had the federal and four regional governments but also a very flexible federal form of constitution, as obtains in United States, India, Australia and West Germany, now united with East Germany, running a single federation. Nigeria's only four regions were east, west, north and mid-west. But more than that, Tafawa Balewa's federal government learnt the hard way that regional autonomy, (almost independence) was untouchable, a safeguard well assured by the trenchant judiciary of the day, unlike today's asset accumulating gang. In 1961, prime minister Balewa tried to probe the finances of western region but was halted by Federal High Court judge, Daddy Onyeama, a ruling affirmed by Supreme Court. On the other hand, when breakdown of law and order warranted total take-over of the enire west regional government and Balewa strictly followed the constitution, Nigerian judiciary upheld the move.

However, when General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi assumed office in January, 1966, he set up a panel headed by a federal permanent secretary, Francis Nwokedi, to recommend a workable administrative structure for Nigeria, which would remove or, at least, minimise the political problems, mutual animosity and suspicion. The Nwokedi panel report recommended unitary system, which encompassed abolition of the regions, increasing the power of Federal Government. That was the beginning of lopsidedness (in favour of Federal Government) in Nigeria. Both were southerners even if, by circumstances, Ironsi was a soldier.

In the midst of the uncertainty created by the counter coup of July 1966, head of the federal military government, Lt. Colonel (as he then was) Yakubu Gowon (a northerner) and military governor of eastern region, Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojuukwu, a southerner, agreed at Aburi, Ghana, to new consitutional/political arrangements, which contained all the demands of today's agitators for political restructuring, especially resource control and total regional autonomy, except creation of states. In short, as far back as 1967, Gowon, a northerner, and Ojukwu, a southerner, had the foresight and agreed on the restructuring.

When Gowon returned to Lagos, mainly Yoruba and Bendelites descended on him rather derisively. These critics were super permanent secretaries, journalists, political class led by their godfathers, academicians, senior civil servants carried away in their new posts abandoned by easterners, all of them calling on Gowon to throw "Aburi to the dogs." Remarkably, northerners, as tactful as ever, largely did not join in the public uproar in the media and public places, as they (northerners) merely listened, looked on and allowed southerners to do the talking. At the worst, southerners played into the hands of Gowon, who then had to abandon Aburi agreement by creating twelve new states, majority of them in the North. Again, that was the beginning of the North, having more states than the South, all at the instigation of westerners, Bendelites and eastern minorites. Remarkably, throughout colonial era, up to independence in 1960, North, East and West each had only one region and on its own, created as many local governments as desirable. Southern political desperados conferred the power to create new local governments on the Federal Government. These same fellows are moaning today. By the way, south easterners at that time had all retreated home because of the political uncertainty and did not join the call for Aburi to be thrown to the dogs.

Up to July 1966 when Gowon assumed office, revenue allocation formula was as obtained under colonial era till the collapse of First Republic, with regions having the largest share, depending on its resource. Cocoa was the major revenue earner for Nigeria and western region was accordingly far better placed financially above the three other regions, East, North and Mid-West, Under Gowon's regime, and with Obafemi Awolowo as federal commissioner for finance, government set up the I. O. Dina (a retired permanent secretary in the defunct western region) panel to review the revenue allocation formula. Dina recommended Federal Government control of resources to the detriment of (regions) today's states. That was the background of the scrapping of the principle of derivation by the states. Awolowo and Dina were southerners and even if Gowon ordered the review of the allocation formula, collateral responsibility was still that of Awolowo. After all, he was credited with the sole financial expertise of managing Nigeria's economy throughout the civil war without a kobo foreign loan. It must, however, be conceded that had he won the 1979 or 1983 presidential elections, better use would have been made of the federal revenue. Northerners should not be blamed as a group for changing the revenue formular

On the imminent return to civilian rule in 1979, military head of Federal Government, General Olusegun Obsanjo, set up a constitutional drafting committee headed by Chief Rotimi Williams. Both were southerners. Obasanjo, in his eventual amendment of the draft constitution, ensured lopsidedness against the South. Constitions by succeeding military regimes of General Ibarahim Babangida (1989) scrapped by Abacha for his 1995 version, and the 1999 Abdulsalami Abubakar were all mere convenient rehash of their C-in-C's 1979 document. Worse still, was there any change in Obasanjo's third term attempted constitution except the plot to perpetuate himself but for the determination of northerners to stop him? Not to be forgotten was the patriotism of the then senate president, Ken Nnamani, who ruled for televised debate.

Goodluck Jonathan and ex-finance miniter Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala both further violated the revenue allocation formula by pauperising states with the so-called Sovereign Wealth Fund. Both are Niger Deltans and southerners. Our constitution does not empower Federal Government to tamper with the budget of any state with the extortion of purportedly saving for a rainy day. It is the inalienable right of each state to put aside any convenient amount instead of being coerced by the Federal Government. Goodluck, a southerner, had six years within which he could have restructured Nigeria but he took no action until he was seeking an extra four years. He lost that battle.

Which Conference Report for restructuring Nigeria are these agitators demanding to be implemented? The same report, which recommended eighteen new states in Nigeria? Are we really serious? The existing states except, perhaps, Lagos, cannot pay salaries. Northerners are not saints in this our political logjam but blame for malstructuring is minimal if any.

The clamour to restructure Nigeria

Ojukwu, is a journalist and USA- sponsored Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumnus.
~The SUN Nigeria. Friday, August 19, 2016

The outcry in Nigeria has reached a crescendo . While some are trumping ‘change’, others are chanting ‘restructure.’ For several others, it is ‘resource control, self-determination and fiscal federalism.’

The cacophonous voices are deafening. May be, even the deaf can hear the outrage. The blind, perhaps, can see the carnage. Nigeria is bleeding on all sides, from the Boko Haram-ravaged North-East and poverty-stricken North-West to the bleeding fields of North-Central, allegedly by Fulani herdsmen, as well as militancy in the South-South, kidnappings in South-East and ritual killings in the South-West.

The orgy of violence and blood-letting is unprecedented even as deprivation is petrifying. Fr Ejike Mbaka, a well-known Catholic cleric and supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari captured it succinctly in an emotive sermon recently. “Hunger is everywhere,” he said. He was not wrong.

The current plight of most citizens is horrendous, even as the situation is worse for many Nigerian patients and students stranded abroad due to naira depreciation and epileptic financial policies of the government and the regulatory authorities such as the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The destitution across society has reached exponential levels, requiring serious rescue strategies But little has come. The reason is simple. The convoluted structure of the configuration called Nigeria makes it possible for leaders to transform into rulers, for the vile to become nobles, for the inert to become the stupendous rich, and unlearned to railroad into the highest seats of power.

These years of mindless enthronement of systemic incongruities in the polity have given rise to a fractured and sick country called Nigeria.

The nation has been stifled by roguish rulers operating as either military despots or democratic demagogues, entrenched widespread corruption, favouritism, nepotism, tribalism and religious extremism as well as abject poverty across the polity.

Indeed, the outcry in the land without doubt is a result of mind-boggling diversion of public funds by these corrupt leaders particularly military dictators, politicians and their acolytes.

Sadly, the current administration at various levels is no different from these of the past, as most of the key players today are the same old and recycled past military oligarchs, convoluted politicians, tainted contractors and unsaintly top civil servants.

Corruption, as it were, has virtually wrecked the nation’s public sector and has eroded meritocracy and the ideals of the founding fathers after independence. The level of infrastructural decay and poverty across the country is unprecedented, with the epicenter in many northern states.

This is rather unfortunate, as the northern region has produced the highest number of rulers and military dictators, since independence.

This has resulted in the increasing clamour for restructuring of the country. Nigeria is not working, because its present structure is weak and convoluted. It has never really worked. It will be foolhardy to expect it to work. Every good house, the Bible says, is built on a strong foundation. Hence, Nigeria needs to revisit its foundation in order to overcome the raging storms.

Perhaps, if there was justice across board, the country may have thrived. The current spate of killings over resources, skewed federal character, religious extremism in the north, tribalism and ethnic tensions, have more than anything else waned the fragile unity that may have existed. For whatever reasons, this woeful tide should end, many insist.

The present regime keeps chanting the mantra of ‘One Nigeria; claiming that Nigeria is indivisible, while ignoring the obvious. This position is laughable, as the Nigerian union was contracted in 1914 by the British colonialists for administrative convenience, but with a caveat for dissolution, after 100 years if the constituent parts so wished.

The clamour to restructure the country has intensified with political leaders and notable Nigerians leading the campaign. The list includes former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Vice President Chief Atiku Abubakar, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Gbonigi(retd), Gen Alani Akinriade (retd), Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, among others. Others include Senator Femi Okunronmu, Chief Albert Horsefall, Pastor Tunde Bakare, National Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin and President, Ohaneze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro. The President and his advisers will do well to listen to these calls as well as cries of the people before it is too late. It is often said that the voice of the people is the voice of God, thus as the eternal creator, he has the absolute authority to redefine any nation and its people.

The collapse of the Russian empire was inevitable. Same for Sudan. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh used to be one country but are now independent nations. Ethiopia and Eritria separated after a bloody war. Nigeria’s leaders must spare the citizens endless ethnic struggles and renegotiate its existence and structure.

A major fallout of the recent exit of Britain (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) is a renewed clamour for Scottish independence, which according to pundits, may possibly lead to the eventual break-up of the United Kingdom (UK).

It is a truism that cowards fear change, while the brave embrace it. This is an irrefutable fact of man’s dynamism, existentialism and mortality.


Why Nigeria must be restructured
~The SUN Nigeria. Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I have had to change the headline from Buhari and Nigeria's future because it gives the wrong impression that restructuring the country and changing from presidential to the parliamentary system of government are matters within President Muhammadu Buhari's power to implement. When all he can do is present a bill on the issues to the National Assembly, which along with at least 24 of the 36 – State Houses of Assembly can amend the constitution with two - thirds majority to bring about the new order. In other words, it is the president and the legislators, especially the latter, that should be urged to act on the transformation agenda.

I am writing this to provide evidence for Buhari and the members of the National and State Assemblies to know why they should take seriously the advice of patriotic Southerners and a few from the North that the country should be restructured and returned to parliamentary system of government. From the perilous and bloody situation in the last seven years and which has been worsening year after year it should be clear to our leaders that if they do not act soon that our beloved country may break up one day in the nearest future, rather than in the furthest or distant tomorrow.

In the 2nd Republic it was the Maitasine Islamic uprising, now it is Boko Haram. In the late 1960s it was Biafra secession, now it is Niger Delta and Igbo militancy asking for fair - deal or the independence of their people. Even if the present agitations are suppressed, without restructuring other groups will come up.

Indeed, if care is not taken we can't rule out military seizure of power sooner than later. Or as in Ghana in 1979 when they brought back Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings from detention to be Head of State, they may do away with the Assemblies and ask Buhari to remain as the head of their government and continue with his war against corruption. And the Western countries will back him because they support his present effort to sanitize Nigeria. Or because Nigerians have been pushed to the wall instead of military takeover it could as in Russia in 1917 and China in 1949 be a people's revolution that may occur in which as was the case in the two countries past and present leaders, frontline politicians, top civil servants and senior military officers alike, will be brought to book, with some of them executed for corruption.

Those who have been reading this column since 2010 when I began writing about God's attitude to Nigeria know that I am a servant He has been revealing things to about the country since 1993. They know that Nigeria would not have been unstable in the last 23 years if late Chief Moshood Abiola had not joked with the Lord's message I conveyed to him in May 1993 and which caused the June 12 presidential election of that year which he won to be annulled eleven days later.

Such long - time readers also know that the unending tragedies which have been plaguing the country since 2010 would not have been if General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the then Military Head of State, had not ignored the Lord's message I delivered to him in April 1999. Which was that he should get 41 Muslim clerics in each of the 36 states in the country to fast and pray for seven days reading the Holy Qur'an from chapter one to the last chapter every day before handing over power the following month to the elected president. They also know that the Peoples Democratic Party would not have been in trouble today and the uprisings and chaos in the country in the last five years would not have been, if President Goodluck Jonathan had heeded the advice I gave in this column in June 2010 not to seek re - election in 2011, but wait until 2015.

How I wished that the leaders and members of the Action Congress of Nigeria who abandoned their party's presidential candidate, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, to vote for Jonathan had accepted my plea to back Buhari in 2011. To God be the glory that Mr. Okudaye in Mandala, Niger State phoned me last month, on July 4 bringing back to memory what he called my prophetic column of January 2, 2013 on Jonathan's destiny misconceptions, which reflected on my advice to him in June 2010.

Why Nigeria must be restructured (2)

~the SUN Nigeriaq. 24th August 2016. 24th August 2016
PabulumI am still suspending writing on why restructuring is needed. But it is not to continue with the factual revelation that the ceaseless calamities in the country in the last 16 years have been due to God’s anger with Nigeria since 1999 for the reasons I gave last week. But today I am shelving the discussion on the need to restructure because of the reckless and arrogant statements made in the latest edition of the Saturday Sun by Alhaji Lawal Kaita, the former three-month lasting Governor of Kaduna State (October 1 – December 30, 1983). In which on page 51 of the weekly he described last month’s statement of Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka that Nigeria’s sovereignty is negotiable as “nonsensical and idiotic.” And in which he talked as if the Hausa and Fulani or the northern oligarchy own Nigeria and are the lord and master of the people of other ethnic groups and that whatever they say or want must always prevail.

Statements which show that the 84-year-old man is still living in the past of the First Republic and military era and is, therefore, sleeping through a revolution that will end up in Hausa – Fulani leaders having and showing respect to other Nigerians if the country is not to break up. I am surprised that Alhaji Kaita does not realise that the era when northern leaders solely provided the Head of State under an elected administration ended with the victory of the late Chief MKO Abiola in the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential poll. I also wonder if he does not remember that the reactions of southerners spearheaded by Abiola’s Yoruba people forced the North to concede the presidency to the ethnic group in 1999.

I believe since then it should have been evident to Hausa – Fulani leaders that the presidency has become a rotational affair between the South and North in a turn – by – turn order. I think it is because Alhaji Kaita is ignorant of the full details of the ethnic situations in the defunct Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia that made him boast that the North can and will prevent the Igbo and Niger Delta militant agitators from breaking away from Nigeria.

The uprisings in the Niger Delta and the South – East should be clear signal to northern leaders who don’t want the country restructured that southerners too can cause Nigeria problems like the Boko Haram insurgents and with more devastating effects on the nation’s economy than the northern jihadists have accomplished.

The worse for the country will be if militants in the South – West have to join the fray because 60% or more of the industries and commercial activities are in their zone. As a result, their actions will have more telling effects than the militancy in the Niger Delta and South – East. So, the best thing is for government and the Hausa – Fulani leaders to find solutions to the problems in the country not belligerent or non – compromising posture or standpoint.

The population of each country in the world and the percentage of each of the ethnic or racial groups in them are available in the Reader’s Digest 1980 Almanac and YearBook published in the United States. In the Soviet Union the Russians were 53% of the country’s population, the Ukrainians 17%, Belorussians 16% and the others 14%. In Czechoslovakia the Czechs were 65%, the Slovaks 30% and the rest 5%. While in Yugoslavia the Serbs constituted 40%, the Croats 22%, Slovenes and Bosnians 8%, Macedonians and Albanians 6% each and the other tribes 18%.

The Russians, Czechs and Serbs dominated the armed forces and police in their countries by 70% or more and they were more educated and prosperous than the minority nationalities. Yet, in spite of the advantage the majority had, the minorities through their struggles caused the countries to collapse. The Soviet Union, a super power nation is now broken up into 15 countries, Yugoslavia into seven states and Czechoslovakia into two nations.

In Nigeria the Hausas and Fulani do not have the domineering numbers, status or influence the Russians, Serbs and Czechs had over the minority tribes in their countries. In the Reader’s Digest, the population of the Hausas in Nigeria is 21% and Fulani 8% making 29% for the two, whereas the other ethnic groups in the country are 71% broken down to 20% Yorubas, 17% Igbos and 34% for the minorities in the North and South. Meaning that the Hausa and Fulani are minorities in the overall population of Nigeria.


Why Nigeria must be restructured (3)

~The SUN Nigeria. 31st August 2016. 

It’s delightful that a growing number of weighty northern leaders from different ethnic groups in the region are now coming out to join their southern counterparts in canvassing for the restructuring of the country. When most of their people are against transforming the nation from a 36 – state set up into about six or eight regions and from the executive presidential order to the parliamentary system of the colonial era and the pioneer Republic of October 1, 1960 – January 14, 1966.

The first reports of this were about the trio of former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, an Angas of Plateau State, Hausa – born Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Colonel Abubakar Umar, a Fulani, who are former civilian and military Governors of Kaduna State respectively. Last month, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani of Adamawa State and the nation’s Vice – President from May 29, 1999 – May 28, 2007 joined the crusade, while General Ibrahim Babangida, a Gwari of Niger State and former military Head of State (August 27, 1985 – August 26, 1993) followed up two weeks ago.

Babangida’s contribution is particularly very important because he revealed that his government considered the parliamentary system for the nation in 1989 and regretted that his administration did not implement it before he left office abruptly in 1993. It is a telling remorsefulness because like President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo he too was a member of late General Murtala Muhammed – led Supreme Military Council which in October 1975 decided and announced that the country on return to civil rule on October 1, 1979 would operate the executive presidential system.

Which proved expensive, wasteful and retarded the country’s rapid development and progress and made corruption worse that Generals Buhari, Babandida and Sani Abacha overthrew the elected government of President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. A system which the military administration of General Abdulsalami Abubakar unwisely and unfortunately returned the country to on May 29, 1999 and which has made things worse that the immediate past Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. David Cameron earlier in the year described Nigeria as a fantastically corrupt nation.

But now coming out to support the restructuring of the country Generals Gowon and Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Balarabe Musa and Colonel Umar have removed it from being seen as a southern agenda brought up because Buhari who is from their region is now president. When they never raised it during the presidencies of southern – born duo of General Obasanjo (May 1999 – May 2007) and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s five year stay in office (May 2010 – May 2015). But such northerners forget that it is Buhari’s discriminatory tribally influenced policies and non – cabinet appointments and the way he has been dealing with Niger Delta crisis that were responsible for southerners demanding restructuring.

Now that restructuring has been made a national issue instead of a parochial southern agenda its success has become enhanced. What I now look forward to is for Generals Gowon and Babangida and Alhaji Atiku who are highly respected and very influential personalities to go a step further than merely voicing support for the cause. They should now meet and discuss the issues with the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emirs and other monarchs in the North as well as the political and other leaders in the region. Letting them know why restructuring is good for the country and parliamentary system is better than the presidential one. And that making the changes will immensely benefit the nation and all Nigerians including the traditional rulers.


Why Nigeria must be restructured (4)

~The SUN Nigeria. 7th September 2016.

On the advantages of the two issues on restructuring which I gave hint last week of treating today, I am starting with that of replacing the presidential system with the parliamentary one. Which I consider more fundamental and of primacy and should therefore be dealt with before going into why having six regions is better than the present 36 – state conglomeration. And before expounding on how to overcome the tug of war with President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors of the 36 states and the members of the National and State Assemblies who in their self – interest will oppose restructuring which is needed to reduce corruption and fast track the country’s development and progress from its present pedestrian and uninspiring situations.
The first thing I am drawing attention to is the very huge cost of electing the president and the governors with several billions, if not trillions, with regard to the former, in the presidential system compared with the minimal amount of a few millions required in parliamentary system polls. From the Dasukigate scandal, it is now common knowledge that apart from the normal monumental campaign expenses by all the candidates, that erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan spent several millions of naira to bribe political leaders across the parties in his futile bid for re – election last year.
This was apart from the millions he reportedly gave to traditional rulers, Christian and Muslim clerics all over the country to mobilize members of their congregations to vote for him. It is also on record that he sent four hundred million naira through a former Governor of Sokoto State to some Islamic priests in the North to fast and pray for him to win the ill – fated election. I also recall that Buhari was reported as saying he took a loan of twelve million naira to supplement the money he had for the poll while some friends and his party members also made donations.
Buhari and Jonathan like all the presidential candidates during the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections had to spend such colossal amounts because in the type of presidential system we have been practicing since 1999 the president is elected by registered voters throughout the country. While a governor is chosen by the electorate in all the local government areas in a state. Under the parliamentary system operated during the First Republic the chief executive officer of government at the federal level was the prime minister not the president. While in the regions it was the premier, not the governor. The prime minister hand – picked the president while the premier chose the governor who were ceremonial head of state and commander – in – chief of the armed forces and head of the government of the region respectively.
Under the system, the prime minister like the members of the Senate and House of Representatives and the premier like the legislators in the Regional House of Assembly were chosen in elections by voters in their individual constituencies, each of which was made up of a few wards in a local government area. So, the expenses for election under the system were by far less than what has to be spent by a presidential candidate who is voted for by people all over the country or a governor elected by voters in all local government areas in a state under the presidential system.
The prime minister or premier who emerged from the party or coalition of parties with the majority in the House of Representatives or the Regional House of Assembly was voted for by their colleagues during the first sitting of parliament. And they were the leader of the ruling party in the legislature or the national leader of the party, if a member of the House.
Since the prime minister or premier did not spend much to win election into parliament and spent nothing to become the head of government there was no need for them to be corrupt in order to recoup. The huge amount the president and governors spend to get into office is the reason why the rate of corruption has been alarming in the country since 1999.

The 4 major tribes and Nigeria's problem

I have had to alter the title of Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, not Yoruba, are Nigeria's problem to this one to save space. I suspended the series three weeks ago after telling the story that National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) dominated by the Igbos was in alliance with the Hausa and Fulani dominated ruling Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and that they formed the Federal Government in power from Saturday, October 1, 1960 - Friday, January 14, 1966.

I am continuing the series today with the two parties move against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, their common foe. When the Action Group (AG) crisis broke out in 1962 they supported Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the Premier of the Western Region and Deputy Leader of the AG, when he was expelled from the party. Akintola formed the United Peoples Party (UPP).

The NCNC which was the leading opposition party in the Western Regional House of Assembly went into alliance with the UPP and through it the two parties had the majority in parliament and as a result Akintola was able to remain as Premier while the NCNC's Leader of Opposition, Chief Remi Fani - Kayode, who decamped from the AG in 1960, became the Deputy Premier. The NCNC teamed up with the UPP to avenge what it called Awo's tribal politics in 1951 which deprived its leader, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe the opportunity of becoming the Head of Government in the Yoruba - dominated Western Region. According to the NCNC it had secured an alliance with the Ibadan Peoples Party led by Chief Meredith Adisa Akinloye to form the government since the AG did not win enough seats to do so.

Who's afraid of restructuring?

~The SUN, Nigeria. Friday, July 15, 2016.

THe call for the restructuring of the country is not new. But the past few months have shown that the call is growing as it's usually the case when a new government takes over. With most pro-restructuring Nigerians having the bits between the teeth, it's not likely that the agitation would stop soon. It was former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who again raised the specter.

But his call, rather than find acceptability in the present government and by extension in the progressive folds that had always called for it, seem not to resonate. I recall that one of the issues by which progressive elements in the country have always been known is their support for restructuring or a call for a national conference to determine the direction of the country.

Such calls have always made the (People's Democratic Party (PDP) government in power so uncomfortable. I recall what All Progressives Congress (APC) leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said at a lecture he delivered at the 70th anniversary of the Island Club on the same issue in 2013. An excerpt from the lecture tells it all.

"Yes, we need to talk. I remain an ardent supporter of the call for a national conference that is sovereign and truly open to all. That is the only route out of the woods. We must bring Nigeria back on the path of true federalism".

Though the APC leader scoffed and rejected the idea of the National conference set up by the PDP administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan which he described at the lecture as, "a staged-managed affair scripted and monitored to achieve the narrow political aims of narrow political minds in Abuja", one thing is clear, the progressives of which he is the arrowhead, believe the road to Nigeria's greatness is though a national conference. In his words, "anything short of a Sovereign National Conference will be like trying to apply a bandage to a tornado".

It was thus not surprising when the former Vice president advocated the restructuring of the country to ensure the development and growth of the federation units. "Agitations by many right-thinking Nigerians call for a restructuring and a renewal of our federation to make it less centralised, less suffocating and less dictatorial in the affairs of our country's constituent units and localities", he had said.

His call has also been taken up by other prominent Nigerians and groups. Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku recently reiterated the call for a restructuring of the country along regional lines because the 36-state structure has become unsustainable.

"The present governance arrangement we have, with the country comprising 36 non-viable states, most of which cannot pay the salaries of their teachers and civil servants, is not the best.

"Rather, we should return to an arrangement, where the six regions will form six federating units."

Socio-cultural groups such as Afenifere and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo have equally added to the clamour. In all these, the major issue has always been resource control, that each part of the country be allowed to develop and control its resources, but only contribute to the sustenance of the country at the federal level. I agree with this school of thought as it is the only panacea that would stem the cry of marginalization that has become more agitated and which has led to the unending bombing of pipelines in the Niger Delta. Indeed, the Niger Delta agitation is understandable.

Nigerian government, in times past, has been insensitive to their cry. Development has been far from a region that produces the wealth that has developed and sustained other parts of the country.

Moving around cities like Lagos, which is surrounded by water and was developed as a federal capital with all the road networks linking one part of the state to the other, before the movement to Abuja and Abuja itself which recks of petrol wealth, it would be ungodly to begrudge the Niger Deltans their agitation for the control of their wealth.

As a friend once side in an aside, 'Nigeria is a funny country, the government constituted the board and even the management of the agency that manages the wealth (oil) and you put someone who came from a place that does not even have oil as head and you expect the people not to agitate, we are not really ready for peace yet'. I want to agree. But some of these problems would be settled with an acceptable national conference.

So what is this 'progressive' government of President Muhammadu Buhari afraid of? One would have thought that since restructuring has been the progressive elements' major mantra, this current call would have been fully embraced by the government. Just this week, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo gave an inkling of the thinking of the government when he said he was opposed to a return to regionalism. "Dividing Nigeria, going back to regions and all of those kinds of things, I do not believe them at all. I don't think that we need to go back to regions."

But these are issues that the conference should deliberate on apart from fiscal restructuring, state police, etc. And the earlier the government takes up the challenge, the better for the country.


The restructuring rhetoric
~The SUN Nigeria. Friday, July 15, 2016

THE restructuring argument, like old wine, is getting sweeter, aromatic, and stronger every day and it appears that it is the right way the country should go despite some official pronouncement that the nation's unity is non-negotiable. Our existence is negotiable. In fact, it is only through dialogue and negotiation that Nigeria's "palava" would be amicably resolved.

It also seems that the restructuring of the national edifice camp is attracting more prominent converts with each passing day and the discourse has refused to leave the headlines it hugged since former Vice President Atiku Abubakar assertively and authoritatively reinforced the call for restructuring. Since then, the debate has been raised a notch higher and the tempo will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks.

Prominent Nigerians from all the six geo-political zones of the country have made similar calls before Atiku and all of them are still in support of it. It is interesting to read on Wednesday the report that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has lent his full support for state police. That in itself is cheering news. It shows that this government is now listening to what Nigerians are saying.

But we should not clap yet until we see something concrete. What remains to be seen is the doing of what is said. It is one thing to say something; it is another thing to do it. Nigerians are watching the unfolding drama and its resolution.
However, in the report, the VP was quoted as saying that he is opposed to a regional arrangement for the country. He also said that he does not like the restructuring of Nigeria along ethnic lines or return to regional structure. According to his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the VP made it clear that he had always been an advocate of fiscal federalism which will lead to states having more resources.

The learned professor of law also recalled that he had approached the Supreme Court for a record ten times as the Attorney General of Lagos State on the same issue. What I got from Osinbajo's professorial intervention, which is worth quoting in full, is that "Nigeria always needs to be engineered, we have to keep restructuring, re-engineering" until we get it right. I share in this wisdom from an erudite man of letters and the pulpit, plus the volatile Nigerian soapbox.

It is interesting that the Vice President has given hope and verve to the restructuring debate beginning with the state police. This welcomed signal from Aso Rock is a veiled indication that Nigeria is a negotiable entity, a position, which has been expressed in this arena severally.

While the VP is entitled to his views on restructuring the country, which is indeed long overdue, we must hasten to add that it will not end according to his dictates alone or in tune with the All Progressives Congress (APC) roadmap as reported in some sections of the media. We say this because most Nigerians are not aware of the APC roadmap. They don't even know its colour, shape, tenor, texture, mood and mode. Perhaps, the VP and his party should avail Nigerians of this vital roadmap for our consumption and consideration.
The restructuring of Nigeria, whether along ethnic or regional configurations, must be according to the wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians. A national issue as big as restructuring should not be reduced to a political party affair. Already, we have a working document: the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which contained the state police, devolution of powers, fiscal federalism among other things.

Let us look deeply into that document produced by eminent representatives of all Nigerians and start implementing what we think is good in it. We should not throw the confab report away and still believe that Nigerians would accept another roadmap when existing ones are left to gather dust and cobwebs in the usual Nigerian style of not attending to urgent national issues when they matter most.

We do not have the luxury of time for the setting up of another committee that will also set up another committee, and another one, until thy kingdom come. The restructuring should move away from the podium of fanciful rhetoric to actual practicality. Seeing, they say, is believing; and once beaten, twice shy.
A stitch in time saves nine. We should look for a black goat in the day time. Pragmatism is actually what we need now as regards the restructuring of the national edifice into a livable household for all Nigerians. But a journey of a thousand miles usually starts with one. No doubt, the VP has spoken and I think that he has spoken very well.

We shall take it from there and start doing something concrete on the matter. This journey must start from the floor of the National Assembly which will commence a thorough and holistic amendment of the 1999 Constitution before we can create a state police.

In fact, most of the 2014 confab recommnedations can only be implemented with the amendment of the constitution. This is where our honourable members should dissipate their energy and not over mundane issues as immunity and pension for its over-remunerated principal officers.
They should save us from such needless distraction and face the restructuring issue with the seriousness it deserves. We should stop chasing rats when our only house is on fire. Let us move from a talking nation to a doing nation. We should talk and do or in local parlance, "talk na do." Let us handle the restructuring with speed and maturity. That is the only sensible option for the survival of this edifice called Nigeria.

Nigeria: Formed by negotiation, will forge by negotiation
Written by Fola Ojo
~The PUNCH Nigeria. Friday, July 15, 2016

Fola Ojo
He spread out piles of beautiful Hausa hats and other accompanying adornments he had up for sale on the display shelf. Smooched in one of the stacks was a white "Awo" cap which caught my attention. I had been combing around Nigeria for two years or so in search of this type of hat to match my embroidered Nigerian white Dashiki. When I sighted the white chapeau, I immediately detoured from approaching the boarding gate at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. I still had some time to catch my flight to Houston.

I strolled into the fairly large store where one man who spoke in good English with Hausa accent welcomed me. He said his name was Idris. He was either the owner or one of the salesmen. I told him what I wanted. After a few minutes of haggling, Idris succeeded in convincing me to buy four headpieces of different colours and styles instead of one I had intended to bring back home to the US.

"Where are you travelling to", he asked without showing any desire to know my name.

"I'm going home to America", I responded.

"How long have you lived there?", he asked curiously. I told him.

"Kai, that's too long, walahi! You have stayed too long in America. Come back here and help Nigeria. Please, pray for Buhari every time", shaking his head in a manner expressing how important his prayer request was. I told him that Nigeria does not seem to welcome Nigerians from abroad to rebuild Nigeria. Nigerians in Nigeria, especially politicians and civil servants play a different governance game that most nations of the world find bewilderingly complex and complicated.

Idris' talk about politics and government got me discussing more with him. My boarding time was not until about 90 minutes anyway. I still had some time to talk Nigerian politics with a man I had never met in my life; but one who appeared passionate about either Nigeria, or President Muhammadu Buhari, or both.

"President Buhari will succeed. His success is Nigeria's success", I assured him in prayer.

"But, why those people hate him so much?" he wondered.

I didn't bother to ask him who "those people" were. It made no difference to me. But I asked him:

"Do you think we really love one another in this country? Do you think the Hausa man truly loves the Igbo man; or the Yoruba man truly loves the Hausa man or the Igbo man loves the Yoruba man?" Idris was mute.

"Idris, let's talk about that and let's talk about how that attitude can change", I said.

He shook from his definitely deliberate slumber and quipped.

"As for me, I love everybody. See, I am talking to you now and I just met you 10 minutes ago. I love everybody", he affirmed. Our conversation continued for another 20 minutes.

But in my probing sermon to Idris, I was not referencing an individual love. I was not referencing individual Idris, or an individual Tunde, or an individual Chinedu loving others from outside of their ethnic camps. I was talking about corporate love; corporate trust; and corporate pursuance of one vision, mission and goal as one nation that belongs to nobody but to everybody. In today's Nigeria, these are rare finds. Negotiating Nigeria will help us answer these many questions.

When certain elements allude to the notion that we can't negotiate matters that concern Nigeria, it is discouraging. When a nation denies the reality, reality comes back haunting as a tormenting ghost. A man who believes he is free within the four walls of a prison is not only in delusion but in self-deception. Nigeria is building mansions in self-deception as if all is well with Nigeria's unity. We are clutching a hungry tiger by the tail and expecting the animal to be singing a love-song. It is not a wise talk to vent that the fusion of Nigeria as we know it is not negotiable. If God in His Majesty could have bantered back and forth with the devil regarding the life of his servant, Job, it is a simple sermonette that all things thus are negotiable. Everything about Nigeria has always been negotiated. Before the name "NIGERIA" was made official, Flora Shaw and others had to negotiate with British overlords. The amalgamation of the present territories now called Nigeria had to go through intense negotiation indabas. Nigeria's Independence in 1960 was preceded by numerous back and forth trips to colonising England in very many negotiation colloquys. Negotiations brought Nigeria thus far. Our corporate existence today, I humbly submit, is negotiable.

I have always expressed the belief that Nigeria is a good idea that can be made better. Negotiating the corporate existence of Nigeria is not assenting to WAR. No one with good brains and experiential or historical knowledge of wars will want one. Only fools who don't know what wars mean will be babbling as if the answer to Nigeria's many questions is only found on battlefields where brothers kill brothers. Negotiating is talking a contraption like Nigeria out of unnecessary pestilences that daily ravage the majority and out of protracted extant predicaments that have made most Nigerians unhappy, and the polity frighteningly infernal.

Most Nigerians believe that the country was conceived in deception, birthed in confusion and nourished in corruption. By and by and overtime, she has grown into a big, brawly and bickering retarded baby in need of mitigating medication. All manner of medicinal interventions have not worked to date. She is now in a withdrawal syndrome. This is the Nigerian story that must change!

Nigeria is negotiable. We have to talk about why so many people are left behind in the scheme of things and why only a privileged few feed fat on a system unfair to many. We have to talk about why a particular region or regions appear privileged and others are not; in the same country we claim is a nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity. We have to talk about why the Federal Government has grown so callously colossally strong that it has eventually succeeded in emasculating and muzzling the states that are supposed to be viable and strong. We have to talk about the outrageous percentages that accrue to the centre as allocation that has caused dislocation of Nigeria's infrastructural base. We have to talk about why pipelines that took years to build now take minutes to bomb by a people so angry and bitter. We have to talk about why, despite so many incentives that historically flow into the Niger Delta areas, most of these people still live as scums in slums. We have to talk about why men brazenly steal public funds and their kinsmen believe it is their natural right to loot without recourse to commonsense and morals.

Many Nigerians believe that Nigeria as a nation is cracked at the bottom. They believe that the country comprises of square-peg ethnic groups shovelled by the British into a big round-hole Nigeria. When you dream of building a castle in the air, you will wake up in a nightmare. The foundation of Nigeria as a nation is fatally faulty and flawed. Upon such a structure, a lasting dream cannot be built. Negotiation is not a plague you can't touch. One day, those who don't want to negotiate will wake up from their dreams of building or rebuilding Nigeria in thin air. The cracks at the bottom of Nigeria can only be rebuilt through negotiations. If our existence as a nation was predicated and fashioned on negotiations that did not include the people negotiated, we can only forge ahead through the same sane and sagacious negotiation templates we design by ourselves and for ourselves.

Osinbajo commits political apostasy

Written by Ochereome Nnanna

~Vanguard Nigeria. Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lived the life of the quintessential vice president in the past 14 months of his emergence. There is an old American anecdote that portrays the Vice Presidency as a particularly "irrelevant" post in a presidential democracy. It tells of how one Unlce Tom "lost" two of his sons: "one joined the Navy, the other became the Vice President".

Perhaps, that is American sarcasm taken too far. In Nigeria, the Vice President is important for three major reasons. He is the Second Citizen and constitutionally empowered to act as the Chairman of the National Economic Council, NEC. Apart from acting for the President whenever the latter is not available, he also carries out many assignments given him by his boss, especially if he enjoys the President's confidence. But most importantly, though he acts the role of a “spare tyre" most of the time, he becomes President when the occupant of that position becomes permanently unavailable, as we saw in the case of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President to the late President Umaru Yar' Adua.

Like all the Vice Presidents our presidential democracy has produced, Osinbajo boasts intimidating academic and public service credentials (dwarfed only by Dr Alex Ekwueme's multiple doctorates and professional accomplishments). Indeed, our Vice Presidents (except, perhaps, Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo) have tended to be academic Brobdingnagians but political Lilliputians compared to their principals. Of the lot, Osinbajo towers over Buhari many times over: while the authenticity of President Muhammadu Buhari's School Certificate (with which he joined the Army to rise to the rank of Major General and Head of State) remains in doubt, Osinbajo is a Professor of Law and an epoch-making former Attorney-General of Lagos State during the tenure of Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu as governor.

When Tinubu submitted his name to Buhari, the presidential candidate of the upstart All Progressives Congress, APC, as running mate in 2014, the party's famous (or infamous) propaganda machinery was immediately deployed in his favour. Osinbajo's position as a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, was tweaked and burnished to prove that Buhari who accepted him as his VP was not a religious extremist. It is up to you whether Buhari has proved his critics wrong after 14 months as President.

Again, Osinbajo's wife, Dolapo, is a grandchild of the Father of South West politics, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. As soon as he was picked as Buhari's VP, Osinbajo, accompanied by top APC chieftains, went to his mother in-law, Chief HID Awolowo's residence in Ikenne, Ogun State, for blessings which he abundantly got. And to fit into the part of carrying the Awo imagery with him to Abuja, Osinbajo has also been wearing the type of cap popularised by Chief Awolowo.

It is another story whether Osinbajo has lived up to the pretensions he and Buhari wore like ceremonial robes during the electioneering days. As a pastor, he has not shrunk from the lies often associated with many of the APC chieftains and figures in its Federal Government, all aimed at demonising the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. For instance, Osinbajo openly lied that the regimes of Yar' Adua and Jonathan never built "a single road". And he made this false claim at a pastors and leaders retreat of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos on February 26, 2016. The truth is that the Jonathan regime constructed roads in all the six geopolitical zones, including the beginning of the total reconstruction and widening of the Lagos-Ibadan and Apapa-Oshodi Expressways. What a place and occasion to peddle faslehood so brazenly!

Osinbajo has, again, trounced the legacies of the Awolowo vision and philosophy which he leveraged on to get the votes of the South West electorate by saying that Nigeria does not need to restructure in order to move forward. In a lecture at the Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, on Saturday July 9, 2016, Osinbajo declared that Nigeria needs the diversification of her economy, not restructuring, to move forward. He was obviously responding to calls by APC chiefs, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Akinwunmi Abode and some regional leaders of the South East, South-South and South West who echoed the call for true federalism and restructuring as the only way to make Nigeria work.

This is a clear political apostasy for a political leader whose core political platform climbed on the back of Awoism to buy over the South West electorate. The leader of Osinbajo's faction of the APC, Tinubu, won the governorship of Lagos State and maintained his hold on it till date by posturing as a neo-Awoist. He even wears the Awo trade mark cap and round lenses. Tinubu successfully fought off rampaging President Olusegun Obasanjo's quest to "capture" Lagos because he firmly rooted his resistance on Awoist rhetoric.

Again, the Tinubu wing of the APC, which was the arrowhead of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, promised the restructuring of the country as one of the programmes an APC Federal Government under Buhari would immediately implement on assuming power. However, observers (including yours sincerely) wondered how oil and water could mix. How could Awoism be accommodated by Buhari's reactionary Caliphate fundamentalism (Fulani/Muslim/Arewa-centric interests) which favours the centralised Federalism that the military foisted on the nation?

At what point would Tinubu and his group begin to pressure Buhari to implement true federalism to prove that, indeed, APC was a properly negotiated political marriage? I have posed this question several times in the past one year. Tinubu's camp remained mute, though Governor Ambode spoke out for it recently. The APC appears confused on this matter, as everybody is speaking discordant tunes.

But Osinbajo's unsolicited disavowal of restructuring and true federalism, and his trumpeting of mere "diversification" of the economy appears to have made it clear that the Tinubu political group has abandoned Awoism in order to be accommodated within Buhari's Caliphate presidential dispensation.

It is a sellout, and we have taken note. One more promise has been broken. Next item?

1 comment:

busitechnews said...


" I am happy that for once, many Nigerians have openly acknowledged the inherent advantages of restructuring and its execution as a matter of urgent national importance. It is a good development that the consensus is building around the benefit of restructuring to every majority tribe and the marginalised minority ones."

History proves this to be the case. General Ibrahim Babangida came on board and ended up creating states. His successor, General Sanni Abacha severed the country into six geo-political zones; President Olusegun Obasanjo came and avoided the many urgent questions on the country’s structure; while President Musa Yar’Adua came with a 7-point agenda and also avoiding many nagging questions pertaining to Nigeria’s multi-structural deficits.

The call for restructuring has always arisen from fear of marginalisation, especially among true minorities, not the self-tagged minorities who have major stakes in the political space. If there are groups in the Nigerian nation that should crave for restructuring,



I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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