Before the National Dialogue Begins…Notes to the National Dialogue by the AZATA/NEPU Party of Nigeria.
The Awo/Zik/Ahmadu/Tafawa/Aminu/Nigerian people’s Element Progress Union of Nigeria, is a formidable political association of well-educated, patriotic, dedicated Nigerian citizens from all states of Nigeria, who have looked on with heavy hearts at the condition of our state and its people in the last fifty-three years.
Through the rigorous application of their mental intelligence, they have studied the political history of Nigeria, its successes and critical failures.
Military intervention in politics resulted in knowledge waste and lack of participation of our group in the development of our fatherland, which has been usurped by strong men, with hearts of stone.
A political cultist group emerged after military rule. A man-made god reverence dominated our political space, whereby a few men dictated their subject ideas about how Nigeria must be governed. The Nigeria press became the propaganda arm of the occult brotherhood to the detriment of the race. I stand firm on this adjectival proposition.
Since Nigerian politics is dominated by money-bags, who made money by hook or crook, and since we do not belong to the looters of the Federal Republic, we have looked on helplessly as the uninitiated, the political neophytes rule and ruin.
We have resolved to influence the outcome of future politics and statecraft in Nigeria, through mass sensitization of the people about what politics and statecraft are about.
We are aware that old habits die-hard and that entrenched pillars are difficult to pull out of the ground. We donot think nor believe that writing essays and undertaing active participation in the National Dialogue will change things they way they, but we believe in the power of the written and spoken words.
We donot think that vain aspirations to hold high office is needed to contribute to show the light so that people can find the way.
But that was Zik, Awo, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa and Aminu Kano did to lift us from colonial dependence to independence.
None of them stole public money. Yet, they lived fulfilled lives in the service of Nigeria.
We have studied their speeches, read their books, we have written own two.
I was fortunate to meet Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in his Premier’s lodge in Enugu, in the presence of his first son, Chuma.
I was equally opportuned to meet Chief, the Right Honourable, Obafemi Awolowo , when he flew into our college football field in 1959, at Holy Family College during his campaign in that year’s election.
I met him again, upon his invitation, after he launched the Unity Party of Nigeria, at 33 Park Lane, Apapa, with his wife present.
I met him again, when he visited the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, when he came to unveil his statue.
I interviewed Honourable Aminu Kane, in his Dala residence, when I was the editor of NEW ERA Magazine, located at 26 Niger Street in Kano.
Lt Col. Sani Abacha9 as he was then) often breezed in to read past copies of the magazine and talk politics. He was quite smart.
In the North, I met Alhaji Yesufu Maitama Sule, when he was Commissioner for Information. He is a dedicated nationalist, well-informed, very friendly and a gentleman.
I interviewed the Emir of Daura, Buhari’s uncle, on the day Buhari arrived from his course in the UK. I also visited Kazaure, Hadeja, Gumel and other emirates and learnt an awful lot about the North.
Many Southerners do not understand the Northerners.
Yet, they are our compatriots!
After the Amalgamation in 1914, no systematic effort was made to encourage the movement of the people. There is still no policy on internal unity.
I have narrated the story of my political contacts and the development of my national outlook in order to show evidence, that I have some experience about Nigeria’s structural make-up and my interactions, which those who were kids in the 1960’s do not have .Experience they say is the best teacher.
The people you know, the people one interacts with, shape your consciousness.
Yet, they open their mouths too wide and talk about things they barely know or understand.
My experiences qualify me to make observations on contemporary Nigerian politics, with authority, to found a political party, a political party, which will advance the political aspirations of all Nigerians.
In Nigeria, as a result of the adoration of Mammonic characters, those in political office or had been in political office, the worth of true patriots are not propagated by a national press that has been inoculated with the names of those they can look up to for patronage.
Professor Tam David West narrated how he got many cards at festivities, while he was Petroleum Minister, but got very few after he left.
This brings me to why Nigeria has not move far. The people forego ethics and would use any opportunity to corrupt ministers, director-general anyone in a strategic government post.
This is why corruption cannot be stopped.
After all. Government workers are human, with myriads of personal, domestic problems.
Since British colonial rule encouraged a culture of people living above their means, there is little any government can do to stop corruption.
The Nigerian society is so structured that social justice, material well-being, even legal justice are not accessible
This is why we must support the NATIONAL DIALOGUE!!!
Literary men live in a world of make-believe. Some are poets, novelists, writers, agnostics, troubadours, entertainers, often see the world in rosy, moving prose.
The real world is totally different.
Governor Martin Elechi, the Executive Governor of Ebony State, seems to have adopted the position that “nothing will come out of the National Dialogue”’
With some due respect, this is an assertion only clairvoyants can make! We shall see how magical and mystical Martin can be!
We all know how Governor Akanu Ibiam fought for the establishment of Ebonyi state.
Governor Elechi should read the Eastern Nigeria Hansard to see the eloquence, the intelligence, the artful presentation of the blueprint to lift Ebony state out of backwardness.
The present Secretary to the Federal Government had to carry his box on his head and walk quite a distance to catch a bus at the now famous junction to reach his University, miles away, come rain, come shine.
The Ebonyi people were one of the most marginalized compatriots, until state creation provided opportunities for a grand turn-around.
So, Martin has displayed scant knowledge of where his people have been coming from to join the parade for national integration and self-determination.
Ebonyi is not yet a paradise and needs the National Dialogue to push for more inclusion, equal rights and receive its own dividends of democracy, as Anyim Pius Anyim would say.
On my way to Ishiagu, I saw large areas that can be turned into mechanized farm land for those fat yams to grow and be sold nation-wide.
How many industries do you have in Ebonyi state? Apapa has more. So what is Martin talking about?
The National Dialogue will create a singular opportunity for states, who were left undeveloped as result of non=representation in the corridors of power to state their case and seek redress.
It is a repair-workshop, not an iconoclastic forum for destroyers of the Republic to manifest their disruptive plans.
Of course, there are centrifugal and centripetal political conglomerates, who seek a forum to reclaim their LOST PARADISE”, long lost.
It is a forum for consensus building through frank deliberations, not a place for hecklers, protesters, irrationally-minded political mal-contents, hegemonists and reactionary minded elements, who would see
k to introduce agendas, strange to national and rational judgments.
There are Nigerians, who hate other Nigerians and they manifest their dislike shamefully through unguarded statements and attitudes.
The AZATA/NEPU party of Nigeria, presents its greetings and respects to our compatriots, who will assemble to frankly examine the political, economic and legal structures in our country and adopt an objective, non-partisan positions, in order to facilitate our forward march.
The National Dialogue is a repair workshop not a forum for iconoclasts to engage in disruptive enterprise. It is not for protestants, Calvinists, ethnic irredentists, with un-Nigerian agenda, hecklers and destroyers of Nigeria.
Their gall-bladders are filled with venom. They hate their compatriots, but they have benefited from the sweat of others.
There are reactionary minded compatriots, who do no cherish the idea of ONE NIGERIA.
It is only a democratically-minded government that can create room for a National Dialogue, not fearing that its short-comings will be tabled and discussed with vitriol.
Nigerians should understand the difference between a National Dialogue and a Sovereign National Conference.
A Sovereign National Conference must be preceeded by a National Referendum.
Hand-picked individuals cannot possess the gravamen to pontificate on the continuity of a democratically elected government, no matter its failings.
To deliberately misunderstand the real meaning of the National Dialogue is dishonest, unwarranted and counter-productive.
The matters that will be discussed at the National Dialogue are long outstanding, neglected issues could not have been discussed during military rule or during the extension of military administration that was clothed with a democratic garb.
We all know what has been wrong with Nigeria.
So, only rational suggestions, well-thought out proposals and not polemics of rhetoric will be useful.We must constantly evolve and re-work fundamental principles of state policies.
Otiose lamentations are a dishonest lazy man’s apology.
The National Dialogue must address historical political, economic and other injustices that occurred in the last 53 years and adopt remedies for restitutions and reparations.
Under the Bradford Initiative, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU organized a well-attended “International Conference on the Future of Africa and the New International Economic Order”, at the University of Bradford Law School, England from December 2-7, 2012.
I sent invitations to most Nigerian political parties and formations in Africa.
The response was enthusiastic.
The Executive Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola came with a nine-man team. Senator Ahmed Tinubu sent a representative with a paper on his “Vision for Nigeria in 2015 and Beyond”.
Governor Rauf Aregbeshola ably, and in depth articulated his socio-economic model for Osun State.
The two papers were well received by the University community and the delegates, who later reviewed the contents during the final four-part communiqué, at Bradford Hilton Hotel, which we later published at the end of the conference.( See Nigeriansinamerica.com).
Senator Bola Tinubu critically examined the root cause of Nigeria’s stagnation as a nation under the PDP administration and laid out the theoretical and practical foundations for Nigeria’s advancement.
He posited that there was a need for a new political formation and disclosed that he was consulting with like-minded compatriots who would organize to push the master plan.
A young Nigerian graduate in Management studies asked why the PDP did not attend the conference.
I assured him that I invited many ministers and two had given good assurances that they would attend.
I later learnt reliably that the attendance of Rauf and Bola and the fact that I had no contracts to award discouraged the PDP rank and file.
If they had attended, they would have reported their findings that the PDP was in jeopardy.
Since “pride goeth before a fall,” I am not surprised that defections have occurred and may continue to occur in the PDP.
When you overlook a small cooking pot, it will quench the fire. Nigerians should take scholarship seriously. Money is not everything. IDEAS MATTER!!!
At the end of the Conference, Governor Rauf Aregbeshola commissioned me to write about my experiences with his mentor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
I wrote a booklet entitled, AWO IS STILL RELEVANT” (See Osun Government Archives.).
So, Nigerians, when you see scholars, they may not carry bags of money but God has endowed them with high intelligence that could overthrow old regimes and that is something more than gold.
I have a complete set of the Osun state developmental strategies. There is something Harvardian in that developmental concept and the Osun state people should rather be sure in their choice of Rauf and leave out those who chant slogans about “power to the people” instead of “power from the people.”
They should by warrant of election give him tenure. (She ongbo mi!).
The National Dialogue should address the causes of uneven development and sloppy failures must be apprehended and remedied.
That there can be no first class, second class and third class citizens in Nigeria.
The notions of indigenes, settlers and non-tribal status must be abolished.
That the territorial integrity and political independence of Nigeria must be upheld and all divisive tendencies must be discountenanced.
There should be no more arrangee governors and Presidents in future!
There should be a new educational curriculum that would reduce Anglo-Saxon influences and put Nigerian values on the ascendancy, like they have done in Kenya.
There should be more roads leading into the hinter land like they have in Britain.
We must remove the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and allow states to carry out road construction. It must be a state affair for more effective administration.
We must promote brotherhood, cordiality, oneness and solidarity instead of the fractious condition, social injustice and neglect have inflicted on the nation.
We must meet the demands of disgruntled groups, who have suffered from social neglect and are now rebellious.
They cannot be blamed for reacting to obvious provocations.
The attitudes of some compatriots, who dance in the streets, offend the sensitivities of have-nots.
There must be structural adjustment in our societal setting and no longer allow retarded thinkers, dye-in-the-wool, brain-washed “highly regarded” “experts” to mull our development.
They are strictly guided by what they learnt from English books and mannerisms, which have been long discarded in England!
They keep experimenting with models, systems and reforms to no avail.
Their recommendations widen the gap between our people. Their forte is that they speak and write English without evolving programmes that are socially relevant to Nigeria.
For example, a Nigerian jurisprudence has either suffered miscarriage or abortion, as a result of constitutional confusion, a military evolved document, which is neither here nor there and so is subjected to endless amendments by absentee Senators and House of Representative members, poised to defect to new political formations having long given up serious legislative work.
The colonial system which still holds sways, must be dismantled and not panel-beaten. It does not advance our cause at all.
This National Dialogue is not the first. However, if it is well-organized, it could set us on the path to democratic renewal.
During the Babangida administration, an attempt was made to fix things.
In 1988, amongst political attitude changes and paradigm shift, a Constituent Assembly approved a new constitution and new fiscal arrangements
In the third quarter of 1989, two political parties were recognized and given life.
In 1991, state Executives were sworn in. In 1992, the long marathon race of the Babangida administration, gave to a presidential system that has proved a mission impossible because of the cost involved and our fragile economic capacity, or the lack of it.
A Fourteen point guideline was adopted. Some of the prescriptions are now out-dated except a few.
It is important to evolve a framework for societal regulation of Nigeria.
We may look at the terms Murtala Mohammed gave to the Constitutional Drafting Committee in 1975.
To the National Dialogue, the AZATA/NEPU Party of NIGERIA, which aims at promoting political awareness among Nigerians, WE MARCH.