Image

Restructuring: You Can’t Treat Unequals Equally, El-Rufai Tells Igbo, Others |RN

 

 

nasirel_rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

ABUJA — Amid agitation by leaders of the South East for the creation of an additional state in the zone, Kaduna State governor and chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Committee on True Federalism, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has declared that it would be a grave injustice to agitate for “equal by unequals”.

 

According to him, even in population and resources, the regions of the country are not uniformly endowed.

He, however, said though the representatives of the agitators were few in number, “the majority must always win.”

Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by his committee to get inputs from youths, the governor said when people talk about restructuring, most proponents think of their zones while no one thinks of the country.

He said: “The greatest injustice is trying to make equals unequal and unequal equal; things are not done like that. What do I mean by that? There are those who have said that Nigeria and United States are the same.

“It is just like saying everyone who is six feet, five can play basketball. As human beings, we are equal but you cannot come and stand here and say we should create nine states in each zone, Nigeria is not equal, likewise the population and resources, you can’t do that.

“The representatives of the agitators are few in number and so the majority must always win. The president of the country exists, the Senate exists and there are 36 states of the federation.

‘’We the old ones are still here, some of us are good, some are bad, like the youths but you must learn to live with us because we are still here.

“Now, some people say because we have oil, let us have resource control. We must think of what is in the overall interest of Nigeria.

‘’By that, I mean what works for everyone. Because what works for one part of the county will not necessarily work for the other and so as long as we are from one country, we must seek for what is of the common good, not the one that serves one interest group.

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

Your Claim That Nigeria’s Unity Is Settled Not Tenable, Southern Leaders Tell Buhari |RN

 Buhariworksfromhome
                        President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo and Gbenga Adeniji

The Southern Leaders Forum on Wednesday in Lagos faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that issues of national discourse should be taken to the National Assembly and the National Council of State.

Buhari made the statement among others in his Monday broadcast after a 104-day medical trip to the United Kingdom.

Related: Nigeria’s Unity Not Negotiable, Says Buhari |The Republican News

The forum, represented by Chiefs Edwin Clark, Albert Horsfall (South-South); Chief John Nwodo, Prof. Joe Irukwu (South-East); and Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South-West), spoke in Lagos at a press conference titled, ‘Only Restructuring will Ensure the Unity, Peace and Development of Nigeria.’

Others at the event included Prof. Banji Akintoye, Tony Uranta, National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Chief Gani Adams; Supo Shonibare, Guy Ikokwu, Tony Nyiam and Prof. Walter Ofonagoro.

The forum stated that while it did not dispute the legality of the National Assembly and NCS, the bodies were not the appropriate bodies to superintend the discourse on the social contract that could bind Nigeria together.

“While the composition of the National Assembly is clearly jigged and indeed one of the bodies to be restructured, the National Council of State is not open to Nigerians. If any discourse is to take place on constitutional changes within the democratic framework, Mr President is the one who has the responsibility to initiate the process,” the SLF said.

The forum added that the attempt to treat hate speech as terrorism was a veiled threat to bare fangs and criminalising dissenting opinions in the national discourse.

The group accused the President of deploying the imagery of the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu in his broadcast to play down the demand for the renegotiation of the structure of Nigeria by saying they both agreed in Daura in 2003 that the country must remain one and united.

The SLF said, “The meeting between the two of them could not have been a Sovereign National Conference whose decisions cannot be reviewed. We agree with their conclusion that we should remain united, but that does not foreclose discussions of the terms and conditions of the union.

Related IPOB Releases Statement In Response To Buhari’s Broadcast, Meeting Ojukwu In 2003 |RN

“The claim that Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable is not tenable. Every country is in a daily dialogue and there is nothing finally settled in its life. Stable nations are still fine-tuning details of the architecture of their existence. How much more Nigeria that has yet to attain nationhood? If we are settled as a nation, we will not be dealing with the many crises of nation-building that are afflicting us today, which have made it extremely difficult to squarely face issues of growth and development.

“The British negotiated to put the various ethnic groups together. All the constitutional conferences held in the years before independence were negotiations. When the North walked out of the parliament in 1953 after Chief Anthony Enahoro moved the motion for independence, it took negotiations to bring them back into the union after an eight-point agenda, which was mainly about confederations.”

It pointed out that the one sentence in the President’s speech that every Nigerian could live anywhere without let or hindrance if meant to address the quit notice by Arewa youths to the Igbo living in the North was too short to check the unwarranted threat.

The group further said it was miffed by Buhari’s description of the attacks by deadly Fulani herdsmen on defenceless farmers as a conflict between two quarrelling groups.

“To present the various onslaughts on farmers by the herdsmen as ‘two fighting,’ would portray the President as taking sides with the aggressive Meyitti Allah. While we do not hold the administration responsible for all agitations in Nigeria due to the crises of a unitary constitution, there are clearly many errors of commission and omission that have accentuated the strong self-determination feelings across the country which only restructuring can tame,” the group said.

According to the leaders, some of the errors made by the current administration are lopsided recruitment and appointment into federal institutions, breach of the Federal Character principle, early retirement of mostly Southern senior officers from the Armed Forces and other security services and concentration of most heads of Armed Forces and other national security agencies in a section of the country.

The group identified others to include the appointment of the legal adviser of Meyitti Allah as the secretary of the Federal Character Commission, indifference to the deadly activities of herdsmen and the President’s declaration that he could not treat those who gave him five per cent votes equally with those who gave him 97 per cent votes in the 2015 presidential election.

The Southern elders noted that having spent most part of their lives fighting for the country’s unity based on justice, fairness and equity, it was necessary to urge the President to realise the mess the country was in and exhibit statesmanship and not ethnic, religious, regional and political partisanship in renegotiating Nigeria along federal lines to tackle separatist feelings and agitations.

No united Nigeria without restructuring, says N’Delta agitators

Some Niger Delta agitators on Wednesday faulted the position taken by President Buhari on the calls for restructuring.

They said without restructuring as being suggested by prominent Nigerians, the nation would not remain united.

The agitators’ position was contained in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

Signatories to the statement included John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs); Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers); Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters); Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters); Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice); Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network) and Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate).

“We wish to thank all well-meaning Nigerians who threw their weight behind restructuring and disassociated themselves from the President’s position on restructuring.

“We want to remind him (the President) that without restructuring, there would be no united Nigeria,” the agitators said.

They said they were surprised that the President said the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable when “indeed he did not believe in other Nigerians apart from those from the North.”

They insisted that Northerners and the Yoruba must leave their region before October 1.

“The Coalition of Arewa Youths’ quit notice to Igbo was in collaboration with the Northern elders, the President’s cabal and top security chiefs from the North. They were properly consulted by the youths.

“Therefore, we maintain our previous position that Northerners and Yorubas should vacate the Niger Delta region before October 1, 2017, until justice is done,” the statement read.

The agitators called on Buhari to reshuffle the Federal Executive Council, as well as appointments to boards of agencies and parastatals in a manner that would reflect federal character.

They also called for the return of oil blocks to natives of the region and the immediate relocation of the oil companies’ headquarters to their operational base, as well as relocation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s headquarters to the Niger Delta region.

They claimed that over 75 per cent of the oil blocks in the Niger Delta region were owned by Northerners, 20 per cent by Yoruba, three per cent by Igbo and the remaining two per cent of people of the region.

“We can no longer tolerate this injustice, marginalisation and be treated as slaves in our own land. We, therefore, demand that the Northerners should return 70 per cent and Yorubas 15 per cent of their oil blocks to the Niger Delta people for justice to prevail,” they said.

They claimed that they had put all machinery in place to protect Niger Delta from external forces, adding that they would not hesitate to bring the Nigerian economy to a standstill.

The Presidency advises Nigerians against harsh words

The Presidency on Wednesday advised opinion leaders in the country to exercise restraint in their choice of words as they criticise Buhari based on his position on restructuring.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the advice in a statement.

Shehu said the restraint was necessary to avoid heating up the polity and causing acrimony across the country.

He noted that while Nigerians are free to express themselves, they should “exercise such liberty with restraint and a sense of responsibility.”

The presidential spokesman said calling Buhari an enemy of Nigeria was in “extremely bad taste.”

He added that nothing in the President’s service record would justify “such scurrilous language.”

Shehu said he was satisfied that majority of Nigerians welcomed Buhari’s broadcast.

He, however, said it was off the mark to criticise him for not responding to calls for restructuring.

“To criticise the President for not imposing a restructuring on the country – whatever that means – is completely off the mark,” he said.

Shehu said Buhari had no power to impose a restructuring on the country by military fiat.

He said National Assembly members were the elected representatives of the people who can handle agitations for restructuring and other constitutional changes.

He explained that the President is constitutionally bound to work with the National Assembly to deal with such issues, reminding critics that the President would not exercise arbitrary powers or bypass the legislature in taking fundamental decisions.

He added, “Changes don’t happen on a whim in a democracy. The ‘immediate effect’ military mentality cannot work under a democratic order.

“Since the President has sworn to defend the constitution, he would remain faithful to that oath by working with the legislature in taking major decisions on the future of Nigeria’s federal system.

“The country’s parliament is ready and willing to discuss all issues but the pundits are more interested in TV and newspaper headlines.

“Threats don’t work in a democracy. Democracy requires planning and proper process. Issues are resolved through established processes, not by abuses, insults or irresponsible statements.”

Buhari cancels FEC meeting, receives probe report

The meeting of the Federal Executive Council that holds every week did not hold on Wednesday.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, did not disclose the reason behind the decision to cancel the meeting.

This is just as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday submitted the report of the committee that investigated allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, to Buhari.

The committee, which had the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, as members, was initially billed to submit its report to Buhari on May 8, 2017, but could not do so because the President left the country on May 7 for London.

Speaking to State House correspondents after submitting the report, Osinbajo declined to divulge the details of the report.

He said the ball was in the President’s court to study the report and take his decision.

He said, “It is a fact-finding committee and our terms of reference were to find out what transpired in the cases; one involving the SGF and the other, the DG of NIA.

“We have concluded our job and we submitted a full report with recommendations to the President.

“We cannot, of course, give you any detail because the President has to look at the report, study it and then make his own decisions based on the report.”

Osinbajo said members of the committee were fair-minded, adding that justice was done in all cases.

He said it was in the interest of the nation that things were done properly.

When asked how soon Nigerians should be expecting the President’s decision on the report, the Vice President said, “All I can say now is that we have submitted the report to the President and it is a very detailed report as a matter of fact. The President has to study the report and make decisions.

On whether heads will roll based on the report, the Vice President said, “How can I tell you? If you want to know that, you have to wait. You really have to wait.”

Present at the brief ceremony where Osinbajo presented the report to the President were the two other members of the committee and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

The President had on April 19 suspended Lawal and Oke and constituted a three-man committee led by Osinbajo to investigate them.

The panel investigated allegations of violations of law and due process made against Lawal in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East while it probed Oke on the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, for which NIA is laying claim to.   (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

No Restructuring, No 2019 Election -Southern Leaders |The Republican News

SouthernLeaders

Archive photo: Southern Leaders Forum summit 2015

By Chinelo Obogo

Prominent leaders from the Southern part of the country yesterday said without restructuring and devolution of powers, there may be no general election in 2019.

This formed part of the discussion held at a colloquium on restructuring organised by the Island Club, Lagos.

The colloquium titled ‘Restructuring: Challenges, implications and the way forward’, was attended by prominent leaders in the South West, South East, South South and the North.

Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs, who was one of the discussants said she had the mandate of the Niger Delta people to speak on their behalf. She said if the country does not restructure, there would not be elections in 2019.

Annkio Briggs said: “The country is like a moving train without brakes and in order not to crash, we need to restructure. All regions must come together and agree on restructuring and everybody must say what restructuring means to them, and we must agree on restructuring before 2019 election. There is so much injustice in the country.

“For instance, there are 419 local governments in the North and 365 local government in the South and the North gets far more resources from the Federal Government than the people producing oil in the country. Niger Delta is producing more and getting less.

We must have a new constitution or we can use the 1963 constitution and work on it. We can have a new constitution that will take care of these injustices like the issue of Fulani herdsmen and religion. If we cannot restructure, we should call the zones together to call for a referendum, so that each zone can determine how they want to live.”

The lead discussant, Prof. Stephen Adebanji Akintoye, said the federal government has become inefficient and corrupt because of oil revenue from the Niger Delta. He said the abandonment of export products that were helping Nigeria has become a problem. 

“Restructuring has become inescapable for Nigerians. The struggle for a rational federal structure has been a major concern since we were young men. Nigeria needs to restructure due to the harsh effect of the federal structure of Nigeria. Youths in South-East, Niger Delta and South-West are telling us that they do not want to be part of Nigeria anymore. It is under this that the cry for restructuring is growing louder.

“Some people are saying restructuring is a confusing idea and I dare say their strategy is clever, but not clever enough. We want a federalism that is widely accepted and the best structure is federalism whereby each zone would be a federating unit and control and develop its own resources for the good of its people. This is the only solution to our nationality problem.The structure we operated in 1963 was very productive because each region had its constitution and controlled its resources,” he said.

Prof. John Ogu, a former Deputy governor of Ebonyi State, who represented the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, said the marginalisation of the South-East and the unfair treatment meted out to the Igbo from the end of the civil war till date were the factors that aided the rise of separatist groups like the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

He said: “What IPOB is doing now is a cry for justice.They are saying the Igbo have been treated very badly and have been marginalised since the civil war ended, and it is only restructuring that can remedy some of those wrongs. It can be done by amending the 1999 Constitution holistically or by creating a new constitution. “Restructuring does not mean the disintegration of the country, but making Nigeria a federation and changing the unitary system of government, that the military handed to us, to a federal system of government to ensure security.”

The former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, said restructuring is not about the North against the South.

“Restructuring is decentralising power to make a way from distribution and consuming arrangement for every federating units to increase its financial resources for development. The country is on a precipice. No one can predict what will happen on October 1. Any country that cannot boast of security for its citizens and property is not worthy of being called a country. We need to have state and local police to protect the lives of citizens and property. The ruling party has said voters should not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 because of restructuring, so we are now watching to see whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) will restructure before 2019.”

A former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, agreed with the consensus on restructuring. He said: “Nigeria needs restructuring. It offers Africa and Africans a great hope if we can reform the structure and its internal powers. The majority of us believe that restructuring will make Nigeria a great country, and these kinds of debates are needed to ensure that restructuring works.”

Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of Afenifere chastised northern leaders who are opposed to restructuring. “The military introduced this constitution which thrives on a unitary system of government, but you cannot run Nigeria on a military system of government because we have so many ethnic groups. We have passed that stage where people will try to make us think that restructuring is new. It is not. We must restructure now or the country may not survive. The North does not want to agree on restructuring because they are beneficiaries of the awkwardness of this 1999 constitution which was thrust on us by the military” he said.

General Alani Akinrinade condemned what he described as the deafening silence from most prominent northern elders over the quit notice given to the Igbo living the north before October 1 by northern youths.

He said: “Besides a few northern elders who criticised the northern youths for the quit notice given to the Igbo, I am sad that most of the elders I expected to have condemned it has maintained a deafening silence.”  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Those Calling For Restructure Are Pursuing Hidden Agenda, Says Tanko Yakasi |RN

As the issue of the need to restructure Nigeria continues to dominate public discourse, Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has maintained his stand that the call was suspicious.

In this interview with VINCENT KALU, the Chairman of the Northern Elders Council (NEC), said those agitating for restructuring have hidden agenda. He challenged them to come up with a blueprint on what restructuring is all about.

In an interview with your co-elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, he warned that if Nigeria is not restructured that there shouldn’t be 2019 general elections; that restructuring should precede 2019. What’s your view on this, do you subscribe to his position?

Both Adebanjo and I, fought for the independence of Nigeria, and I’m older than him about two years, but we joined politics about the same time, some 35 years ago.

At this age, you don’t negotiate with an ultimatum; you can’t give an issue an ultimatum. I’m not opposed to restructuring, and I have never heard that North was opposed to restructuring. However, my quarrel with those clamouring for restructuring is that they are yet to bring out the blueprint for it. What are the blueprints; why are those proponents of restructuring afraid of unfolding their agenda? They have a hidden agenda.

Everybody is afraid of a hidden agenda. Why hidden agenda on this matter?    

This is a matter that affects the lives of all Nigerians. They should put it in black and white and what it should look like.

Going back to regions, personally, I have no problem with that, because they started complaining that the North was so big and bigger than the two regions in the South put together.

This is the creation of God. When the British came and conquered Nigeria, they didn’t know which side was South and which was North, they just started conquering one after the other. After conquering the South, they moved to the North.

There is no issue, if you want us to go back to the three regions, so be it, but put it in black and white and let it be documented that this is what restructuring would look like.

I know what they have and I know why they are hiding it, but I want them to come out with their own plans of how Nigeria would look like in their own conception and then we come out with our own position. We are not one person, we are people, and we can’t react in the same way, but each individual will then evaluate the situation.

As long as Nigerians don’t understand what restructuring means, it cannot be meaningful to them. Even what Atiku and Babangida said is only in respect of devolution of powers, which is different from restructuring. Devolution of powers, there is no problem.

What they said amounts to the devolution of powers. Devolution of powers is transferring items from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List.

There was a time the Kano State Government set up a committee during the constitutional amendment exercise, I presided over a subcommittee of that committee that dealt with the devolution, we also recommended some of the items that should be transferred to Concurrent List. Devolution of powers is a different thing from restructuring.

If you look at the time of the old constitutional conferences in Nigeria, there were two things that are put into no-go areas. The first is the unity of Nigeria and the second is the federal arrangement of Nigeria.

At the time of Sani Abacha, they didn’t say it black and white but at the time of Babangida, he put it there in black and white that you cannot discuss the issue of unity of Nigeria or the federal structure or arrangement of Nigeria. Those ones were the no-go area.

Do you mean since the talk of restructuring started, there is yet to be a paper on how it is going to be?

There are yet to come out with paper on how it is going to work. The clamour is suspicion and people are wondering why it is so difficult for them to come up with a blueprint on this matter that affects the future of every Nigerian.

So, if you are advocating for something that affects the lives of Nigerians, why can’t you bring it in black and white in writing for people to see.

Chief Adebanjo said Sardauna supported the Independent Constitution and queried whether you that are opposed to it, are more northerner than the late premier?

I think there is a mistake there. We had three national figures – Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Awolowo and Sardauna.

At the 1953/54 Constitutional Conference, Zik went with the programme for a unitary form of government, which we were operating at that time. Even members of the National Assembly- House of Representatives were elected by state electoral college because it was unitary.

After the conference, we adopted a federal constitution, which we are operating till today.

The difference is that in those days, the regions had their own constitutions, but operated under a constitution that defined their certain powers in the national constitution. That is the difference.

The national constitution didn’t give any region the power to secede from Nigeria.

Secondly, it is not correct that 50 per cent of the revenue generated by the regions were given to them.

The 50 per cent revenue given to the originator regions were in respect of mineral. It was the elements of ground rents and royalty of which 50 per cent were given to the originating region, as against what is obtained now that we give 13 per cent of the total revenue to the bearing state.

The constitution we are operating now is the same constitution with the Independent and Republican Constitutions. If you go through those constitutions, you can see that the items on the Exclusive Lists now were the same then.

What happened is that they created more states, that is, instead of three or four regions; they created 36 states, which we have been operating for more than 20 years now.

In any case, that constitution he is talking about is what is in operation now.  It has not changed; the only thing that has changed is the number of regions that had been replaced by states, from three to four regions and to 36 states now.

Where do we go from here?

We should respect the structures created by democracy in Nigeria.

There is also the argument that the present constitution was forced down our throats by the military and does not represent the wishes of the people?

We have been obeying the military, and nobody revolted against the military.

Ayo is a lawyer, doesn’t he go to court? Who created the court, is it not the same constitution? Is it not the same military constitution that created the court?

The court was created by the constitution done by the military. Why did he recognize it? The same constitution he doesn’t approve is the same constitution he operates with. You can’t choose one and deny the other. Anybody who doesn’t want the constitution promulgated by the military shouldn’t go to the court created by the same constitution.

Rotimi Williams and Ben Nwabueze came up with the constitution that said, ‘we the people of Nigeria …’, and signed by Obasanjo.

When the constitution was promulgated, Nwabueze didn’t go to protest, Ayo kept quiet, and I kept quiet and others. Nobody in Nigeria protested.

Our leaders, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Awolowo, Malam Aminu Kano, and others accorded recognition to that constitution, they didn’t object to it because it was promulgated by the military, and therefore, they contested elections under the same constitution created by the military.

The 1979 Constitution, equally promulgated by the military in the same way Abdulsalami signed the 1999 Constitution, and elections were conducted, where Obasanjo emerged, Yar’Adua emerged, Jonathan emerged.

Why should we accept the result, why should we respect the National Assembly, states Assembly created by the same constitution promulgated by the military.

So, there is no reason whatsoever that you say that you would not recognise the 1999 Constitution because it was created by the military.  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

I’m Against Changing The Current Federal System, Says Yakasai

An elder statesman and leader of Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, on Tuesday in Kano reaffirmed his earlier position against the restructuring of the country, contending that Nigeria will remain indivisible.

While responding to questions on state of the nation in Kano on Tuesday, Yakasai maintained that despite the lingering agitation from some quarters for restructuring of the country, nobody, till date has come out with a blueprint to back up the restructuring.

According to him, as long as no one comes out with a blueprint on restructuring of the country, he will continue to pitch his tent, with proponents for the unity, and stability of the country.

However, he argued that if those agitating for the restructuring of the country came out with a convincing blueprint, he might choose to or not to support the agitation.

He contended that the country would be a lot stronger, and a force to be reckoned with in sub-Saharan Africa if it remains an indivisible entity.

“I do not speak for anybody but often freely express my views, like every other Nigerian, focusing on the unity and stability of the country and do not represent any group, which is the mindset of some misinformed Nigerians.

”Many of those who are agitating for restructuring of the country were not born during the amalgamation of Nigeria by the colonial master in 1914. If they were, they would have a contrary view.”

As leader of the Northern Elders Council, Yakasai stressed that the mission of the Council, among others, is to checkmate the reckless statements of other groups, like the Northern Elders’ Forum.

Similarly, Yakasai disclosed that he does not belong to any political party, adding that he had resigned from the ANPP since 2001, so as not only to have absolute freedom of speech but to enjoy his fundamental human rights.

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading