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Can Restructuring Still Save Nigeria? – By Yinka Odumakin

Afenifere is a self-determination platform for the Yoruba.

Yinka Odumakin, an Afenifere Leader, was a delegate at the 2014 National Conference

A freelance American journalist, Brian Hall, was one of the last outsiders permitted to freely take a tour of Yugoslavia during the final days of its existence. From early May to mid-September 1991, he interacted with members of the various Balkan “tribes” in Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo and points in-between, taking notes of their comments on their history, prejudices, superstitions, fears, aspirations and opinions of other ethnic and national groups. He wrote a book titled “The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia” in which he described the last days of peaceful coexistence among Yugoslavia’s religious and ethnic communities and highlighted conflicts that would trigger the horrors of “ethnic cleansing” and war.

In the gripping account of the former Yugoslavia’s decay and collapse in 1991, Hall’s powerful sense of location and mentality is expressed through a blend of close friendships, high-level interviews, and courageous questions. Hall moved comfortably among Serbs who perceived the nation as a “super personality”, Croats who remained ambivalent toward their World War II fascist regime, and Muslims like Bosnian president, Alijah Izetbegović, who claimed only the “freedom to define themselves as a people.” By January 1992, the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia ceased to exist having dissolved into its constituent units.

Murderous Fulani Herdsmen

It is only those blinded by hegemonic desire for domination and control that cannot see today that Nigeria presently is wobbling through its last days regardless of whether a Brian Hall is travelling through it or not. Never in the history of this country (save for the civil war years) has there been the level of bloodletting currently going on along its fault lines. There is hardly any day one opens the newspapers now and don’t read of Fulani herdsmen dispatching innocent souls to the great beyond in the hapless Southern and Middle Belt communities of the country. Shorn of pretenses, these hitherto stick-wielding herdsmen who are now the only group “officially” sanctioned armed group in Nigeria (not one of them has been arrested for wielding AK 47 rifles in public) are out on an expansionist mission as the level of violence they are unleashing cannot be about cattle rearing.

Images of woes from Northern Nigeria, Waves of terror originating from Northern Region put tremendous stress on the pre-existing geopolitical fault lines that negate “unity” of Nigeria

As a child, I remember how we used to run after their forebears who grazed animals in our communities without any harm befalling us. The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Olasupo Ayokunle, a few days ago, was moved to deliver a timely warning to the Federal Government on the unhinged monstrosity of the Fulani herdsmen. In asking for the Federal Government to prosecute the herdsmen arrested in connection with the recent killings in Benue and Southern Kaduna to ease tension in the two states, he declared: “We also want the Federal Government to investigate, through intelligence gathering, those unpatriotic Nigerians supplying the herdsmen with weapons being used to perpetrate evil. “If the government fails to stop the provocation by the Fulani herdsmen militia, they should be prepared for war. No ethnic group has a monopoly of violence and no ethnic group should be a monster to others.”

The CAN President summed up the hopelessness and frustration in the country today as there is official indifference to the ruthlessness and criminality that is going on as the marauders have set evil loose on their host communities. Given the happenings in Nigeria presently, rational thinking dictates that those who think that the only possible means of survival is milking others would, at least, be interested in the continued corporate existence of Nigeria by cooperating with reforms that could extend the life span of the entity, but hail no. They would rather become much more insensitive and unfeeling. They have continued to task the long sufferings of patriots who stand in the gap between Nigeria and disintegration by campaigning for restructuring.

On May 2, I travelled in company of some compatriots from the Southwest to Abuja to join our former colleagues at the 2014 National Conference for some reunion. On the eve of the meeting, one Bashiru Dalhatu was circulating a text message to Northern delegates not to attend the meeting as his rebel group of Northern Delegates Forum (NDF) had met earlier to declare the reports dead and buried. Attendance from the North at the meeting, however, proved that Dalhatu was representing only his fraction of the country that he misnamed the “North”. He could not have been speaking for those communities in the North whose killers, instead of being arrested, are being compensated with taxpayers’ money. Neither could he have represented Southern Borno where Elder Paul Bassey told the meeting was still under heavy bombardment from Boko Haram despite official claim by government that it has been degraded.

Minders of the Sokoto Caliphate. Chairman of the Northern Elders Council, NEC, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai

Those who still engage their brains, of course, know that you cannot exchange commanders of a murderous group for innocent Chibok girls if indeed you are not claiming false victory. One poignant message from Elder Bassey to the meeting was that all the reconstruction the Federal Government is spending fortunes on is concentrated only in Northern Borno with total and virtual neglect of the Southern Borno communities, whereas the hegemonists talk of “one North” glibly. We left the Abuja meeting that faithful Tuesday with a beautiful communique signed insisting on the implementation of the 2014 National Conference recommendations under the chairmanship of Alhaji Tanko Yakkasai.

The following day saw the presentation of a book by General Alani Akinrinade in Lagos during which the need to restructure Nigeria came on the front burner from speaker after speaker. By Thursday, Alhaji Yakkasai was already telling The Sun Newspapers that Southwest leaders campaigning for restructuring are envious of the North and are unpatriotic. I had to check “envy” and “unpatriotic” in the dictionary again to be sure the elder statesman cannot be right. Any doubt about Taqqiya (deception) at play was put to rest when Alhaji Yakassai told The Guardian of May 12: “I have always suspected the motive behind such clamor (restructuring). The whole idea is to deny the North its God-given advantage of population and landmass which it has effectively used to earn appreciable allocation from the Federal Government. Those behind it are not interested in Nigeria’s unity and progress.”

This is the crux of the matter for the Yakassais of the North as exemplified also by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) which met in Kano a few days back. And what it all says is that we are dealing with the deepest contradictions flowing from clash of civilizations which are nonnegotiable. It is like the notorious man, Leo Tolstoy, talked about who said he would do all humanly possible to ease the lot of the fellow he was riding on his back, except getting off it. It is clear at this point that the Nigerian contradiction has gone beyond restructuring.

I watched the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Channels TV years back showing his deep understanding of the Yoruba language as he waxed eloquent on the Nigerian situation. He said when something is damaged, the Yoruba would say “o ti ra” (it is rotten). And that when it is irretrievably damaged, they will say “o ti se din” (it is maggot-infested). Nigeria is already maggot-infested. Maybe, it’s about time campaigners for restructuring suspend this appeasement and see how long the hegemonists can run this contraption before it answers the call of nature.

Culled from Vanguard Newspaper

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Obanikoro, PDP Bigwigs Joining APC Soon, Says APC Lagos Chairman

MusiliuObanikoro

Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Henry Ajomale, has said the party is stepping up arrangements to welcome former minister of state for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ajomale, who gave the hint in an interview with newsmen in Ikeja, yesterday, said Obanikoro is coming into the APC along with other bigwigs of the state’s PDP.
The party chairman said Obanikoro and others had reached out to the party to resolve their issues with it and all was set for their formal defection.
He said Wednesday’s defection of Lukman Ajose, a PDP bigwig, would open a floodgate of defections from the PDP to the APC in the coming days.
“We welcome Prince Ajose to the APC. His defection is a plus for us,” he said.
“But, Ajose is not the only one joining us. Some of the bigwigs in the PDP, including Obanikoro, will be joining us soon. I don’t want to give you a particular date, but all I can tell you is all is set.”
Ajomale said the coming of Ajose into the party, as well as other PDP members would add value to the party and enhance its electoral fortune.
He said their coming was particularly gladdening as the party was preparing for the council poll and making early preparations for the general election in 2019.
Asked if the mass movement of PDP members into the party would not weaken the opposition and make the state a one-party state, Ajomale answered in the negative.
He said since the PDP was not the only party in the opposition, it would be wrong to say the decimation of the party through defection would make the state a one-party state.
Ajomale described as false allegations in some quarters that the party was imposing candidates in some council areas ahead of the July elect ahead of the July election.
The chairman said those making the allegations were blackmailers who were not sure of themselves and their ability to win at the party primary.
“It is pure blackmail. There is nothing like that. Everybody will be allowed a level playing ground,” he said.
The Lagos State independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has fixed July 22 for the council election and July 29 for runoff.
Meanwhile, NAN quoted a source at the Lagos state house of assembly as saying one of the remaining two PDP members in the assembly had already indicated his intention to defect to the APC and his letter would likely be read at the next sitting of the lawmakers.
Six of the eight lawmakers who won their elections to the house on the platform of the PDP had earlier defected to the APC on February 16.   (The Sun)

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South East Governors, Ekweremadu, Onu, Others Attend World Igbo Summit Tomorrow

From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia

Prominent Igbo sons and daughters including South East governors, royal fathers, members of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Igbo leaders of thought, deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, are expected to attend the Igbo World Congress billed to hold at Ascot Hotels, Enugu on Friday.
Others expected at the event include, Senator Enyinnanya Abaribe, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonanya Onu; former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi; former CBN governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, business mogul, Arthur Eze and the founder of Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL), Prof. Pat. Utomi.
The summit, organised by World Igbo Congress (WIC), would feature lectures, life-time award presentation to distinguished Nigerians including Ebitu Ukiwe; Prof. Anya O. Anya;  Mr. Arthur Eze, among others.
This was contained in a statement signed by the chairman of WIC, Mr. Joe Nze Eto and made available to newsmen in Awka. According to the statement, the group is expected to discuss various issues concerning the Igbo nation and her economy and the best way to move it forward among other key issues.   (The Sun)

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I May Contest 2018 Governorship Election – Fayose |The Republican News

ayo-fayose

Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose

Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State said on Monday that he would contest in court his removal from office during his first term tenure.

Speaking in  a live broadcast on Ekiti State Television in Ado-Ekiti on Monday evening, Fayose who was explaining why he chose to put his image on a campaign posters across the state, said that since the apex court had said that his impeachment in 2006 was illegal, he would then have to approach the same court to interpret what that ruling meant and also consider seeking a re-election in 2018.

He said, “The continuity poster you see my image in and which is spreading across the state can be interpreted in two ways. First is the need for me to ask the apex court to explain its 2014 ruling that my so called impeachment in 2014 was illegal, null and void and consider a re-election in 2018 so that I can complete my term.

“Second is for me to get our own man,  one who is like Ayo Fayose to continue after my tenure in 2018.”

He emphasised that the case as to whether he was entitled to complete his tenure or not must first be determined before there could be another governorship election in the state in 2018.

NAN reported that Fayose got sworn-in for the first term tenure in May 2003, but got his tenure terminated through impeachment on Oct. 16, 2006.

Meanwhile, the governor has said that he was not bothered by the ongoing strike by fuel dealers in the state.

He said he would not rescind his decision to stop further erection of filling stations in residential areas, even if they strike for one year.

He said full demolition of such fuel stations, including those erected near schools would commence on Tuesday.

Besides, he placed a ban on commercial activities in all fuel stations that were currently on strike.  (Punchng.com)

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3000 APC, PDP Members Defect To APGA In Anambra State |The Republican News

…As Aguleri youths berate Ezeonwuka over comments

From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu and Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia

About 3,000 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ugbene community, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The defectors, led by the National Chairman of Ugbene Great Ambassadors Club, Chief Aaron Onwelukwue, disclosed that their defection was informed by Governor Willie Obiano’s “sterling performance in office” which they crave its continuity.

Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Chief Chikodi Anara, and Chairman of APGA in the community, Mr. Cajethan Anako, while receiving the defectors pointed out that the people of the area had made informed choice by joining the party.

He described APGA as a movement which all well-meaning Igbo men should identify with.

“Governor Obiano is embarking on long term investment for the future of our children. So, Ugbene people have taken the right decision to join APGA,” Anara said.

Meanwhile, youths from Governor Obiano’s home-town, Aguleri in Anambra State, have berated a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of APGA, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, over his claim that APGA was not ready for the November 18 gubernatorial election.

The youths, under the aegis of Aguleri National Youth Association said the fears raised by Ezeonwuka were misplaced as they insisted that the APGA chieftain lacked necessary information.

The National President of Aguleri National Youth Association, Nnamdi Ikeli, who replied Ezeonwuka in a statement, expressed optimism that Obiano would return for a second term.

He urged the general public to disregard the statement credited to Ezeonwuka, saying, “he made an illusionary statement that is not only far from the truth, but one which lacks iota of political awareness and events in Anambra for the past three years.”

Ikeli noted that Ezeonwuka was becoming old, which might have affected his political reasoning in recent times, pointing out that there had never been a time Aguleri people lost in any challenge or war which was a clear indication that “God is always on our side just like the Israelites.”

He said the APGA government in Anambra State has performed creditably well under Governor Obiano, which has secured his second term chance.

He said Governor Obiano would not only win the November 18 gubernatorial election, but also with a high margin, boasting that no other political party in the state would be able to challenge APGA in terms of acceptance, political mobilisation and demonstration of goodwill to Anambra people.

“We, therefore, use this medium to call on well-meaning Anambrarians to disregard such statement from Chief Ezeonwuka and concentrate on their respective vocations while enjoying the dividends of democracy inherent in the Obiano’s administration,” he said, cautioning against any form of rigging during the poll.         

Also speaking, the Chairman, Anambra State Housing Corporation, Chief Godson Ezenagu and the leader of Ugbene Ambassadors, Chief Fabian Ekwuazu and the Caretaker Committee Chairman for Awka North, Emeka Onwuzuka, in their separate speeches urged the people to work for the victory of Obiano in the upcoming election in the state.   (The Sun)

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Sack Of Oye As APGA Chairman: What Is The Fate Of Obiano’s Second Term Bid?

By Ike A. Offor
The high court in Enugu yesterday sacked the chairman of APGA,  Dr Victor Oye, who is the SA to Governor Willie Obiano. This means that he is no longer in the position to help Obiano clinched to his second bid for office.
The high court in Enugu decided that Chief Martin Agbaso is the rightful chairman of APGA, and this has now thrown up a new challenge for Gov. Willie Obiano.
Those politicians who do not include the appropriate permutations once a court verdict is involved may not know yet the problem Gov Obiano’s second term chances have encountered with Chief Martin Agbaso the new National Chairman as declared by an Enugu High Court.
It means that from the expected appeal from the Dr Victor Oye faction to the Supreme Court that Agbaso remains the National Chairman. He can only cease to remain so via the verdict of the Supreme Court…that will likely come after November 18.
Question…will Agbaso give Gov Obiano ticket?

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Reasons North Is Uncomfortable With Restructuring Of The Federal System

By Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta) and Tunji Omofoye (Osogbo)   

• 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.    (The Guardian)

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