Nigeria is not only at crossroads but also
in a shambles. It was in a bid to arrest
the gradual descent to Rwanda that
former president Goodluck Jonathan
called the 2014 national conference in the
twilight of his administration. Jonathan
himself was a latter-day convert to the
idea of convoking the conference. That,
perhaps, resulted in its late, rather too
late, convening because Jonathan’s
government soon ran out and he was
unable to implement its
recommendations.
Jonathan’s problem was his undue
cocksureness that he would trounce the
former army general from Daura, Katsina
State, but a volcano erupted and its lava
swept his feet out of Aso Rock Villa, rather
unceremoniously, leaving the conference
recommendations at the mercy of
President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sadly, the dour general has not hidden his
disdain for the document. Even his
Secretary to Government of the
Federation, Lawal… had only recently
derided the report as a product of ‘boys’.
Boys? An assemblage of leading light of
Nigeria from all sectios of the country,
including his traditional ruler, the Lamido
of Adamawa, boys? Well, that shows how
much hope the report has under the
watch of Buhari.
Never before since the end of the Civil War
has Nigeria been skidding downhill, as
virtually all sections of the country are up
in arms. Boko Haram and Fulani
herdsmen are on rampage in the North
and occasionally making incursions to the
South; Indigenous People of Biafra/
Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign
State of Biafra, IPOB/MASSOB, are
campaigning for self-determination in the
East alongside volatile agitations by Niger
Delta Avengers, NDA, and other militant
groups in the Niger Delta region. It is only
the nebulous subdued stance of the Odua
Peoples Congress, OPC, in the West that
holds a flicker of hope for a peaceful
Nigeria.
President Buhari’s dismissal of the
Biafran agitators, as boys who were not
yet born when Nigeria fought a civil war
and so do not understand the import of
warfare is too simplistic and amusing.
The president forgets that the boys have
read history of the mass murder of the
Igbo and are fighting to avert being
guillotined like their forebears. They are
fighting to avoid going through the same
suffering as their fathers, especially
considering glaring threat to their
existence. Likewise, government’s threat
to crush the Niger Delta militants is
laughable because it seems the cost of
such misadventure has not been factored
into the bargain, as even the little
disruption of economic activities so far
has brought Nigeria to its knees.
Moreover, can the country fight wars on
two fronts simultaneously, with Boko
Haram/ISIS up North and Niger Delta
militants/Biafra down South? History has
yet to record any such successful
warfare. There remains a cheaper and
wiser option out of this national dilemma
but the president is goaded to play the
ostrich.
The Buhari-led administration cannot
achieve much for this country by his
present stern and austere mien. His rigid
and macho stance does not portend good
for the land. He should learn from history
and rein in the madness and anger in the
land like the father he is before it
consumes us all. He should assuage
aggrieved souls, who are hurt by real and
perceived inequities instead of further
fueling the agitations across the land
through his actions and inactions. His
passive response to the menace of
herdsmen is worrisome. Though he is
holding NnamdiKanu, the new rallying
point of the Biafra insurrection, like a
prized trophy of conquest against court
orders, his impervious and nonchalant
attitude to the clamour in the south east
can never tame the tide of dissent. That
Kanu is ready to die for the struggle
anyway is indication that there is fire on
the mountain.
All this futile boastful talk about crushing
the ever multiplying armies of Niger Delta
militants can lead nowhere but
brinksmanship. And if he believes the
hogwash coming from farcical Movement
for the Emancipation of Niger Delta,
MEND, and their wild pointers to sponsors
of NDA, he would just believe anything.
Since MEND in its failed campaign to
cripple Nigeria, it is clutching on the straw
of funny allegations to win reprieve for its
incarcerated blood suckers so, nobody
should take them serious if we don’t want
to be misled to exacerbate the war in the
Niger Delta region.
There is just no way out of Nigeria’s
quagmire except restructuring.
Restructuring is neither dismembering nor
balkanising Nigeria. Restructuring will
lead to new political and economic
realities. Restructuring will make
Nigerians feel wanted wherever they
choose to live. Restructuring will make
indolent state governors resourceful and
creative instead of having to run to Abuja
every month-end for diminishing
handouts and bailouts. Restructuring will
discourage people arriving the federal
capital via night bus with nylon bags, only
to return in chartered flights the morning
after, hemmed in by boxes of padded
wealth, simply because they morphed into
overnight political hobos while the youths
who toiled hard to study for degrees or
acquire skills are pushed into crime
because politics has become the golden
egg, as machines of the real factories
have stopped churning.
Nigeria requires an all-encompassing
restructuring. People erroneously clamour
for fiscal federation, as if that is the only
diseased part of the country. Granted, the
error of lopsided revenue sharing in
favour of the centre must be corrected.
Equally bad is the overly powerful
president, who wields power of the centre
to emasculate the states and other arms
of government. The structural inequities,
resulting from distortion of the regional
arrangement that ended up mutilating the
population of the east, thus making a
hitherto major tribe a minority should be
addressed. Removing state of origin from
official documents, especially during
census enumeration is detrimental to the
Igbo, as the reason of integration adduced
for that exists only in the realm of
imagination. The policy is detrimental to
the itinerant Igbo, who reside mostly
offshore thus swelling the population of
other tribes and yet suffer all manner of
indignities despite huge contributions to
development of their host communities;
because of the sham integration that
policy promises to enthrone.
The delay in restructuring the country is
only at the risk of forcing it and
destroying our multi-troubled behemoth
contrivance altogether. Saying Nigeria’s
continued existence as one country is not
negotiable is unrealistic and lacks basic
common sense. It is unfortunate that
some accidental eminent people in the
North could describe views of esteemed
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, on this
posturing as ‘nonsensical and idiotic’. In
fact, it is this pigheadedness of the
northern oligarchs that will destroy
Nigeria more than anything else; they
deserve nothing but pity because they
refuse to accept that the bus has since left
the terminus.

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