Nigeria Matters

One Nigeria: To Be or Not To Be? (Part 6)

Chief Omowale Kuye, OFR, former Head, Budget Department, Ministry of Finance, and Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland. Ecerpt of interview given in May 2008 in commemoration of his 80th birthday.

“It is often stated that lies can run fast for a thousand years but truth will catch up with them in a jiffy. Nigeria is lucky that in spite of issues of health situation and old age, Harold Smith was emboldened to experience and finally expose what has been known by most Nigerians for decades but was unable to prove it. For whatever reasons Mr. Harold Smith decided to spill the beans after so many years, it cannot be for vengeance because most of the actors have long gone; it can not be because he wants promotion or he is job hunting because he is old, retired and he seems to be a disinterested party at this point in time; and it can not be because he wants to own an oil block in Nigeria. He does not the British to agree to or refute Harold Smith’s statements because there have been obvious, table top and pepper soup joint gossips and there are clear and convinced evidence on ground. First, some of us that grew up in the North knew that the North was a vast land with spotted population. How such population could, in the fifties, overwhelm the population of the west and east is still a mystery to all logical persons including right thinking Northerners and there are more right thinking persons in the North that the eyes can count. Secondly, we knew that the North was, at independence, not ready for such a giant step because it was worried about the East and the West over powering her with a perceived lack of Western education.”

Prof. Christopher Ojetunde. Excerpt from article titled “The Harold Smith Revelation: A Case for Sovereign National Conference.”



Would you want to have an untrustworthy and dubious person as your partner? I am sure you don’t! The importance of trustworthiness for the success of any relationship: military, political, economic, commercial, personal, etc can not be overemphasized. Without sincerity and trustworthiness, any economic, political, military and personal relationship is doomed. In fact, this quality is so important in any relationship that it will be no exaggeration to say that it’s even the most important prerequisite. No matter your level of professionalism and the amount of money you may throw into a venture, if your partner is untrustworthy or dubious, the venture sooner or later will hit the rocks. The worst thing that can happen to you as a business man is to have an unfaithful partner. All your efforts will just come to naught. By having an untrustworthy person as a partner, you are not only risking your money and business, but your life as well because an untrustworthy partner, without any moral principle or values, will go to any length in order to take advantage of you or have an undeserved upper hand in your venture. No venture or relationship devoid of trust has ever survived in history.

The same reasoning could be extended to a country. The development of country is a ‘team work’ that involves ‘full’ co-operation and partnership at all levels. In other words, all hands must be on deck. It’s very unfortunate to admit that apart from corruption, mismanagement, bad leadership, another key factor responsible for the failure of Nigeria as a country, despite all the vast mineral and human resources, is the insincerity and hypocrisy of the North right from independence. The insincerity and hypocrisy of the north since the emergence of Nigeria as an independent (?) country are so numerous that one will need to write volumes of books in order to give a comprehensive account! The commitment and sincerity of the North to the One Nigeria project has been ‘shaky and doubtful’ even before the Union Jack was lowered on October 1st, 1960 by the British. It started with the falsification of the result of the 1959 census result which was carried out in conjunction with the British in order to ensure the victory of Tafawa Balewa and the majority needed in the parliament to form the government. This fact that the South had long suspected was finally confirmed by Harold Smith in his historical and unprecedented interview given in 2007. The North, ever since then has mastered perfectly the art and science of falsifying both election and census results respectively. They would no more need the assistance of the British to repeat the 1959 successful experiment. The British, indeed, were very good teachers in falsifying results! Right from that moment, it was obvious that the One Nigeria project had not only a very shaky foundation, but was as well bound to collapse. It was just a matter of time.

The introduction of QUOTA SYSTEM in all Federal Government institutions; ministries; foreign missions; choosing of scholarship students to be sent abroad for studies; NTA news casters; permanent secretaries; advisers; diplomats; ambassadors; top managers in public companies; etc, save in the Nigerian Armed Forces and State Security Service is another glaring example of the insincerity and hypocrisy of the North. We are compelled to ask why quota system is used everywhere save in the Armed forces and SSS? What is the justification? The answer is very simple and obvious; to give the North a grip on power, control over Nigeria, neutralise or quench any coup detat that might be carried by a southern military officer, and most importantly, to give the north a ‘substantial’ military advantage in case of an outbreak of another civil war.

In a very long and unprecedented very revealing interview given in January 2008 by Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide, (SAN), former Attorney General of the Federation under Shagari, the country at last learnt that the main motive of the 1983 military coup carried out by Buhari was NOT to save Nigeria and Nigerians, but to prevent a Southerner from taking over power from Shagari after it had already been agreed inn the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the ruling party, that the next presidential candidate from the party after the end of Shagari’s second term would be a Southerner. According to Akinjide, Shagari was topled right at the beginning of his second term to avoid any suspiction by Nigerians. Moreover, many people were fooled or misled as regards to the hidden motive since it was a Northern officer overthrowing a fellow Northerner.

Babangida’s outright refusal to hand over power to Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola, a Yoruba and Southerner, after winning ‘convincingly’ a presidential election conducted by him and regarded as the fairest and freest so far in the history of Nigeria against a Northern opponent, Tofa. If Tofa had emerged winner as was probably expected in the North, could Babangida, alias the evil genius, had refused to hand over to a fellow Northerner? The answer is obvious. Eventually, Abiola paid with his life in his battle to claim his legitimate mandate given to him by Nigerians on June 12, 1993 election! He was beaten to death in detention by Northern State Security operatives. But the North, British and Americans lied to Nigerians and the whole world that his death was natural and that there was no foul play. We were very naive to think that since Britain and America claim or portray themselves as democratic countries, then we had no cause not to believe them. But it turned out that we were taken on a long ride. We forgot that Britain and America were actually the architect of our problems. We forgot that since these countries and other western countries have their vested interest in the rich mineral resources in the South, they will go to any length to defend them. We forgot that since these countries are interested in maintaining the status quo in Nigeria, whatever they say should be taken with a pinch of salt. We should had been suspicious and vigilant and not be that naive. Telling blatant lies is just the minimum these countries will do to defend their interests. If the need calls for it, they can throw a nuclear bomb into a country to wipe out the entire citizens, as they did to Japan. By denying Abiola the presidency, the North blew a very good chance to start building a ‘real’ One Nigeria and One Nation that they love singing about. They were confident that they could do anything to Southerners in Nigeria and go scott free, moreover with the full backing of Britain and America.

The imposition of Obasanjo, a retired Yorunba military General on the South and Nigeria as a whole, against the will of his own people is another case in point to highlight the hypocrisy of the North and its sincere commitment to the so called One Nigeria project. The North sole handedly chose, bankrolled the presidential campaign of Obasanjo and cast their votes for him enmasse despite the fact that Chief Olu Falae was not only much more experienced administrator, but was equally the choice of the Yorubas whom the whole country had slotted the presidency to in order to compensate them and as a honour in memory of Abiola. With the imposition of Obasanjo, another opportunity to build One Nigeria and One Nation was blown up again by the North.

The insincerity and hypocrisy of the North will just not be complete without mentioning how they clinched the 2007 presidency. After ruling the country for almost 40 years, out of 47, since independence, the North, nevertheless, believed that that was just TOO SMALL, and power just had to come back to the North immediately after Obasanjo. As a matter of fact, the North started the battle to reclaim power before Obasanjo even completed his first term in office! Obasanjo miraculously escaped an impeachment plot by Northerners. They just could not imagine themselves without power even just for 4 years! Each day Obasanjo spent in Aso rock was like a year to them. After all, they did not build Abuja and Aso rock for a Southern president. They built it for themselves so that they can occupy it forever. Immediately Obasanjo was sworn in, the North started preparing for the next election. Buhari contested against Obasanjo in the 2003 presidential election but through some hook and crook methods, known to him and his close circles alone, Obasanjo emerged the winner! This was just unbearable for the North! They just could not imagine themselves without power for 8 years in Nigeria! It’s just incredible! Their patience just ran out. They just couldn’t wait any more or that longer! They vowed to do everything possible and impossible to ensure that power returned to the North at the end of Obasanjo’s second term. He was lucky to complete his second term alive without any impeachment and coup detat. When the North suspected that Obasanjo could hand over power to somebody from the South south or even South east, they all rallied together irrespective of political, party or religious affiliations and started threatening everybody that if power was not returned to them heaven would definitely fall, and the consequence would be grave! Perhaps, they meant another coup detat or mass assasinations of leading Southern politicians. However, in order to give their threat a civil face or soft landing, it was combined with a nation wide campaign for ‘rotation’ of the presidency for ‘equality.’ The North was not fazed with the fact the Ndigbos, who constituted about 22% of Nigeria’s population and have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria have never produced the president save for a very short time when Ironsi was the military Head of State after Nzeogwu’s unsuccessful coup. The descendants of Othman Dan Fodio were not concerned or ruffled with the fact that none of the ethnic groups in the Niger delta or South south, which lays at least 85% of the ‘golden eggs’ that feed the whole of Nigeria, has also never produced the president before. As far as the North was concerned the South West, South East and Sout South are all the same; therefore, that means that the south had had their shot at the presidency with Obasanjo, and it’s the turn of the North again. It’s very difficult to believe, but this ridiculous logic worked! The North is power drunk to the extent that they have completely become insensitive to the political aspiration of other ethnic groups especially in the South south and South East respectively. The North is power drunk to the extent that they have completely lost all their moral values. The Nlorth is power drunk to the extent that they will go to any length and use any means to achieve their selfish political objectives irrespective of whose ox is gored. The North is power drunk to the extent that they have become blind and deaf to the agitations of other ethnic groups in the south. The North is power drunk to the extent that they don’t even care, or are just not aware that they are being accused of hypocrisy and insincerity in their dealings with the south! As far as they are concerned, it’s the end that justifies the means. Nothing more!

As has already been said earlier, in orde to give a complete chronicle of the insincerity and hypocrisy of the North, volumes of books will have to be written. But, that’s not the main objective of this article. Nevertheless, we are going to analyse in details the latest manipulation the North is planning again against the South called Constitutional Amendment and its implications for us.

Before going into a detailed analysis of the political and economic implication of the CA, first, I want to draw attention to some of its shortcomings as regards to the approach. Although, at a first glance, the idea of conducting a CA that will not only correct all the injustice, lopsided and parasitic relationship between the North and South seems to be a noble idea, nevertheless, it’s got some serious shortcomings. Most importantly, I strongly believe that the CA is not really a sincere intention by the North to find a fair, acceptable and lasting solution to the ‘Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop relationship’ between her and the South, but another manipulation.

The first shortcoming of the CA is the ‘wrong’ assumption that all the ethnic groups in the South want to continue their unsubscribed membership in Nigeria. CA does not give freedom of choice; a very important prerequisite in any political or economic relationship, as we have learnt in part 3. What if an ethnic group decides to form a federation with one, two or more ethnic groups in Nigeria, but not with all? What if the Niger deltans decide to form one country together with other ethnic groups in Cameroon, who are undoubtedly much closer to them than the Hausas or Fulanis? What if the Yorubas decide to form a sovereign country with Benin republic, which consists of a significant Yoruba population? What if some ethnic groups are totally against forming one country with the descendants of Othman Dan Fodio? What if some ethnic groups want to return to their precolonial status or borders? Unfortunately, CA does not give any room for any manoeuvre and self-determination whatsoever. The importance of self-determination, freedom of choice or ‘voluntary’ consent, as we have learnt earlier, is of great importance in any transaction. Infact, it’s the first and most important prerequisite in any transaction! In order for any transaction to be regarded as valid, there must be a consent expressed voluntarily by all sides involved, without any precondition or external pressure. Before you can buy or sell something to me, you should first of all enquire if I am interested in selling or buying. If I express no interest in buying or selling, then you should please respect my decision and leave me alone. It would be absurd or illogical to start negotiating with me. Thus, the first condition in any transaction is recognizing my right to take an independent decision as regards to my intention in entering any political, military or commercial deals with you. We must not take this very important point for granted.

Post Comment