Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

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Jonathan should avoid APC’s poisoned chalice


To suggest to thinking Nigerians that the best their political leaders are thinking about the solution to the problems of their country is to bring back the leadership most people organized to remove in 2015 underrates their intelligence. It is also ironically a repudiation of the Buhari regime itself of which these buccaneering APC governors are currently part of. If the only solution to the myriad of problems this country has is to call on a man who could not solve Nigeria’s problems when the country did not have the current financial challenge, then we need to go back to the drawing board and device another method of governance than the current so called democracy that has thrown up the kind of governors who are clandestinely planning to take over a ruling party and toy with the future of the largest Black country in terms of population. If these people are not challenged, they will ruin the only country millions of us have.

I have no problem with President Jonathan. I also feel he will not want his own head to be used to crack a coconut, as we say, in my own part of this country. But as an academic, he himself on self-examination will arrive at a conclusion that he was not an exceptionally successful president. There were many reasons for his failure. He was not strong enough to discipline his own troops because running a government is not a one-man show. But as the president, the buck stopped at his table. The general perception of his regime was that of a financial open sesame or bazaar for all kinds of people to indulge themselves in sharing what Nigerians call national cake. I am not sure if the present regime is better than the Jonathan regime. But in 2015 most of us, and I speak for the national intelligentsia, felt we needed a change and General Buhari in our estimation was seen as the man who could clean the Augean stable. It is a moot point to say if we miscalculated or not. Even if we did, those benefiting from the movement that swept Buhari into power do not have the right while still in government to repudiate his claim to integrity by inviting the man he defeated to come and take over from him in 2023. If they are convinced that he has not done well, they should say so and resign from the APC then Nigerians will take them seriously. They should not from the comfort of their state houses be throwing stones at the party and leader who brought them to power. The surest way to throw the country into political chaos is the way Governor Mala Buni and his northern governors are going. It will destroy the APC and plunge the country into disarray considering the various political, economic and security problems the country faces.

I am personally surprised how politicians are handling the affairs of this benighted country. None of them is seriously tackling the problem of insecurity as it should be. A situation in which traditional rulers are being murdered as was the case with the Olufon of Ifon in Ondo State calls for soul searching. The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar recently openly cried out about how terrorists were running over villages in his domain and terrifying people in the markets wielding wildly AK-47 rifles. Just last week, the Boko haram inflicted a massacre on rice growers in the Chad basin. I read a sad piece in which  Alhaji Baba Ahmed  bemoaned the situation in the north where insecurity is so wide spread and killing is almost a daily and universal occurrence that it is no longer news. From Sokoto, Kebbi through Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe to Borno and from Niger, Plateau, Nassarawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi and Kwara, the same problem of insecurity pervades the entire northern half of Nigeria and it is rapidly spreading to Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Ebonyi and the Niger Delta as a whole. There is nowhere to hide. Lagos State has witnessed the influx of unruly northern motorcycles-riding youths who either out of ignorance or out of deliberate misdemeanor are taking on law enforcement officers who try to apply state laws on road usage. Insecurity has spread to all parts of Nigeria and soon interstate and intercity routes will be no-go areas except for a few intrepid travellers armed to the teeth and ready to die fighting!

These are the problems confronting ordinary people in Nigeria which some of our idle and calculating governors seem oblivious of. I honestly think any honest politician should be helping the federal government to find its way out of this insecurity conundrum rather than speculating about three or so years to come. At the rate this country is being torn apart by marauders of different hue and colour, we may not have a country by 2023 for these governors to play with as in a chess game.  Perhaps they need to look at other parts of the world to learn that you don’t toy with the destiny of 200 million people by meeting within the cool environment of your state houses or in distant places like Abuja and try to determine the course of history of a whole country. How can anybody be planning about putting somebody in the position of a president just to serve sectional interest while ignoring genuine problems of exclusion and sectional monopoly of power and alienation to one section of a country’s wealth generated in another part of the country and expect peace and quiet?

If there is anytime the whole question of restructuring of this country must come to front burner of our national politics, this is the time. The current security architecture has failed. The country cannot be policed from Abuja. There must be local police recruited locally from the indigenes of our states who presumably would know the geography and languages and be in command of intelligence gotten from familiarity with their areas. Federal police can continue to provide additional layer of security and take care of interstate crimes. The country will have to go back to where we were before the military coup d’état of 1966 with modifications. This will mean local and state control of their resources with adequate contribution in taxes to support the federal functions of defence, diplomatic representation, post and telecommunications, currency, aviation and transportation while all other areas of governance shall be the responsibilities of state on principle of subsidiarity.  We had this paradigm of governance before and there is nothing new in this. This will greatly assist in development based on healthy and cooperative federalism as was the case in the First Republic. Any attempt or effort to continue the way we are now at the moment will fail miserably. That is the truth. I love my country and as a former ambassador, I am a beneficiary of the size and importance of the country  and I will like Nigeria to survive as one entity but the only way this country can survive is through restructuring.

To continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome is the height of insanity.

The problem of Nigeria will be solved through having appropriate policies and right and honest individuals not through revolving doors or musical chairs of going back and forth to bring back failed and failing leaders. Nigeria is too important to the black race to be left in the hands of political neophytes and buccaneers.

I have no problem with President Jonathan. I also feel he will not want his own head to be used to crack a coconut, as we say, in my own part of this country. But as an academic, he himself on self-examination will arrive at a conclusion that he was not an exceptionally successful president. There were many reasons for his failure. He was not strong enough to discipline his own troops because running a government is not a one-man show. But as the president, the buck stopped at his table. The general perception of his regime was that of a financial open sesame or bazaar for all kinds of people to indulge themselves in sharing what Nigerians call national cake. I am not sure if the present regime is better than the Jonathan regime. But in 2015 most of us, and I speak for the national intelligentsia, felt we needed a change and General Buhari in our estimation was seen as the man who could clean the Augean stable. It is a moot point to say if we miscalculated or not. Even if we did, those benefiting from the movement that swept Buhari into power do not have the right while still in government to repudiate his claim to integrity by inviting the man he defeated to come and take over from him in 2023. If they are convinced that he has not done well, they should say so and resign from the APC then Nigerians will take them seriously. They should not from the comfort of their state houses be throwing stones at the party and leader who brought them to power. The surest way to throw the country into political chaos is the way Governor Mala Buni and his northern governors are going. It will destroy the APC and plunge the country into disarray considering the various political, economic and security problems the country faces.

I am personally surprised how politicians are handling the affairs of this benighted country. None of them is seriously tackling the problem of insecurity as it should be. A situation in which traditional rulers are being murdered as was the case with the Olufon of Ifon in Ondo State calls for soul searching. The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar recently openly cried out about how terrorists were running over villages in his domain and terrifying people in the markets wielding wildly AK-47 rifles. Just last week, the Boko haram inflicted a massacre on rice growers in the Chad basin. I read a sad piece in which  Alhaji Baba Ahmed  bemoaned the situation in the north where insecurity is so wide spread and killing is almost a daily and universal occurrence that it is no longer news. From Sokoto, Kebbi through Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe to Borno and from Niger, Plateau, Nassarawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi and Kwara, the same problem of insecurity pervades the entire northern half of Nigeria and it is rapidly spreading to Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Ebonyi and the Niger Delta as a whole. There is nowhere to hide. Lagos State has witnessed the influx of unruly northern motorcycles-riding youths who either out of ignorance or out of deliberate misdemeanor are taking on law enforcement officers who try to apply state laws on road usage. Insecurity has spread to all parts of Nigeria and soon interstate and intercity routes will be no-go areas except for a few intrepid travellers armed to the teeth and ready to die fighting!

These are the problems confronting ordinary people in Nigeria which some of our idle and calculating governors seem oblivious of. I honestly think any honest politician should be helping the federal government to find its way out of this insecurity conundrum rather than speculating about three or so years to come. At the rate this country is being torn apart by marauders of different hue and colour, we may not have a country by 2023 for these governors to play with as in a chess game.  Perhaps they need to look at other parts of the world to learn that you don’t toy with the destiny of 200 million people by meeting within the cool environment of your state houses or in distant places like Abuja and try to determine the course of history of a whole country. How can anybody be planning about putting somebody in the position of a president just to serve sectional interest while ignoring genuine problems of exclusion and sectional monopoly of power and alienation to one section of a country’s wealth generated in another part of the country and expect peace and quiet?

If there is anytime the whole question of restructuring of this country must come to front burner of our national politics, this is the time. The current security architecture has failed. The country cannot be policed from Abuja. There must be local police recruited locally from the indigenes of our states who presumably would know the geography and languages and be in command of intelligence gotten from familiarity with their areas. Federal police can continue to provide additional layer of security and take care of interstate crimes. The country will have to go back to where we were before the military coup d’état of 1966 with modifications. This will mean local and state control of their resources with adequate contribution in taxes to support the federal functions of defence, diplomatic representation, post and telecommunications, currency, aviation and transportation while all other areas of governance shall be the responsibilities of state on principle of subsidiarity.  We had this paradigm of governance before and there is nothing new in this. This will greatly assist in development based on healthy and cooperative federalism as was the case in the First Republic. Any attempt or effort to continue the way we are now at the moment will fail miserably. That is the truth. I love my country and as a former ambassador, I am a beneficiary of the size and importance of the country  and I will like Nigeria to survive as one entity but the only way this country can survive is through restructuring.

To continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome is the height of insanity.

The problem of Nigeria will be solved through having appropriate policies and right and honest individuals not through revolving doors or musical chairs of going back and forth to bring back failed and failing leaders. Nigeria is too important to the black race to be left in the hands of political neophytes and buccaneers.

Recently former president, Goodluck Jonathan celebrated his 63rd birthday and some APC governors went to felicitate with him and to invite him to cross over to their camp so that he can be anointed to contest the 2023 presidential election on their party’s platform. Among those who went to Jonathan with this offer is the interim chairman of the party and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni. The newspapers reported that the calculation of those rooting for Jonathan in the north is that after a term of four years, he would yield the position to another northerner because Jonathan would not want to seek re-election after he would have been president for a total of 10 years. They were alleged to have argued that Jonathan would not harm the northern interest because in his previous political incarnation, he served with dedication northern interest.

I am not sure Jonathan would like to be perceived as having served northern rather than Nigerian interest for the six years he was president. What this attempt of a few young northern Nigerians trying to determine the future of Nigeria is a sure way of unraveling this delicately balanced country rotating as it were on one leg of a tripod so to say. I know many will disagree about Nigeria resting on a tripod of different nations and several other nationalities. I plead guilty for not having a better analytical tool.

Credit: The Nation

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