APC Chairman's Comment on Restructuring Nigeria Very Sad - John Darlington
Today has been a bad day! It made me sad, so sad, very sad, sad indeed after stumbling upon the remark credited to Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the Chairman of Nigeria's governing party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) that restructuring Nigeria to address the contentious issues which are tearing Nigeria apart is not the priority of the Buhari's government for now and probably never will be.
He was quoted as saying the priority of the Buhari-led Federal Government is to fix the economy which he for the first time admitted was not only in shambles but in a jumble of retrogression.
There is no denying the fact today crimes of varying degree especially violent ones are on the ascending order of magnitude in a bid to keep body and soul together as a result of Buhari's failed economic policies which have inflicted untold hardship on many Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora because the cost of running our homes in Nigeria has tripled thereby making it nigh impossible to foot our bills in our various countries of residence.
Every day we receive calls from our folks back home who complain bitterly ''of the grave economic predicament, I mean the harsh and intolerable condition under which we are now living'', if I may borrow a hackneyed quotation from late General Abacha's coup speech that overthrew Buhari back on December 31, 1983, that is some 34 years ago to be precise.
Today, we see the re-enactment of a visionless leadership under Buhari at shameless play that has marvellously led to the deaths of so many Nigerians and many lives are still on the line under the existing circumstances.
There are no bounds as to what restructuring would do as things are today seeing that every section of the country has lost faith and confidence in the Nigerian contraption which has given birth to separatist feelings and consequent agitations across Nigeria. In the South-East, the Igbos under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu are calling for secession while in the South-West calls have also rented the air for the emergence of Oduduwa while in the Middle Belt the clamour for the Middle Belt Republic has also been deafening. Among the Southern minorities, oil militancy is gradually giving way to call for secession of the Oil rich Niger Delta from the Federation of Nigeria resulting from over 50 years damage to the region's ecosystem.
Irked by the foregoing, Leaders of Thoughts across Nigeria deemed it absolutely necessary to find a lasting solution and came up with a blueprint to address these teething problems and restructuring the country was deemed absolutely necessary or became a welcome relief to revitalise the obviously decadent paralysis. As discontent and tension continue to grow with no one with enough courage to call for restructuring former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was left with no option but to bell the cat, He damned all consequences and told the Buhari government in the face to take urgent steps to restructure the country to save it from imminent collapse.
Soon after Abubakar made the call, other eminent Nigerians followed suit until another prominent Nigerian in the person of Nigeria's former military President General Ibrahim Babangida lent his voice to Atiku's.
Soon after IBB as he is fondly called made the call, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which has been opposed to the call soft-pedalled and gave conditions to back a restructuring of Nigeria which it says must be fair. It is not in dispute that Arewa is Nigeria's shadow government made up of eminent Nigerians of Northern extraction.
Back in the South-West, the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives' Congress sometimes last month called for the immediate restructuring of Nigeria as the only panacea for addressing Nigeria's myriad of problems.
What's does Nigeria stand to gain by restructuring the country, if one may ask? This will give room for resource control and afford every region the boundless opportunity to develop at its own pace without the apportioning of blames and pay tax to the Central Government. Restructuring will bring about a loose confederacy and abolish the present feeding bottle type of federalism where every state depends on the Federal Government to survive. What is being practised today is a far cry from federalism which has given birth agitations capable of breaking up the country.
There is no denying the fact that Nigeria, as it is today, has failed Nigerians not only at home but here in the Diaspora. I did expressly say in my previous piece that to be identified as Nigerian in this part of the Old World and probably anywhere under the sun is almost tantamount to a crime. I have seen it happen at many entry ports in my numerous adventures around the world while undergoing passport control before foreign immigrations.
Back home the situation is better imagined than real as Fulani herders have made Nigerians endangered species with no existing law to bring them to book. And whereby Fulani herders kill and destroy crops on farms and the villagers protest they are subdued by force of arms by Nigeria's security agents calling to mind the recent cases of soldiers' brutality against unarmed protesters somewhere at Ewu, Edo State that led to the amputation of a young man's leg who was shot in the leg with live bullet by an armed soldier.
Killings have assumed an alarming crescendo in Edo towns and villages by Fulani herdsmen, the very recent one at Ukoni, Uromi in Edo State when a young man was hacked to death by Fulani herdsman. No action has been taken by the Edo State Government to track down the young man's killer but we heard the Deputy Governor metamorphosed into a devil's advocate by recommending intermarriage with Muslims as the only way to forestall killings by Fulani herdsmen- a damning revelation of the hidden agenda to Islamise Nigeria. I know beyond all question that the Deputy Governor who occupies the office he and his immediate boss never won is only acting the infamous script of the diminutive ex-governor Oshiomhonle who once promised the Sultan of Sokoto of a heavy Islamic presence in Edo State all in a bid to please the northern Muslim overlord thereby mortgaging the future of Edo people.
Ex-Governor Oshiomhole openly criticised the call for a restructuring of the country and also took a swipe at former President Ibrahim Babangida for lending his voice to Atiku's. It is all in a bid to warm his way into Buhari's heart and the few northern overlords who have stood against the move.
Many have spoken and the Buhari government body language is saying NO in block letters to restructuring to regenerate the country which of course leaves no room for doubt that the problems will continue such as killings, kidnapping, youth unemployment, Fulani menace, infrastructural decay, untold hardship etc.
Restructuring would have at least resolved some of these problems without blaming any region. The problems of the region would have been blamed on the leaders of the region, not the other way round.
The South-East would not have had to blame the North for any infrastructural decay in the region under a restructured Nigeria but its leader so also the South-South, the South-West and other geo-political zones across the country. No region would have alleged being shortchanged on the scheme of things.
These problems which restructuring would have ordinarily solved without much ado were what prompted or informed Nnamdi Kanu's interest and desire to rise and start the ongoing agitation to free his people. To drive my message home, what Nigeria's geopolitical zones stand in need of is many Nnamdi Kanu across Nigeria's geopolitical zones to rescue its future from the Whims and Caprices of a few overlords who are bent solely on their personal aggrandisements.
Many may dislike the young man's guts but come to think of it there is no denying the fact that his agitation for Biafra is a crusade against injustice, his agitation for Biafra is a crusade against Fulani herdsmen's killings, his agitation for Biafra is a crusade against high-handedness, his agitation for Biafra is a crusade against brutality on the civil populace by Nigeria's security agents, his agitation for Biafra is a crusade against marginalization on who are otherwise supposed to be equal stakeholders in the Nigerian project. The list goes on and on ad infinitum.
From the foregoing, I think it is high time everyone cast hatred and dislikes for that young man aside and keyed into the struggle to liberate their people from the diabolic whim and Caprices of a few overlords who say unless their will prevail on the various ethnic nationalities that make up the Federation of Nigeria.
In a nutshell, it is high time everyone became Biafran!
*Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues wrote from Turin, Italy.