Osinbajo: In Atiku’s Shoes

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AKIN OSUNTOKUN: DIALOGUE WITH NIGERIA

Proceeding from the light hearted to the ponderous we begin the analogy with what can be cited as a thesis on Nigerian name calling. Atiku is the first name of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar while Osinbajo is the surname of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (as if I needed to remind anyone). Perhaps what I need to remind readers is the peculiarity (this peculiarity should have been spotted in the title above) of the normalisation of the name reference to Atiku Abubakar as simply Atiku not Abubakar in contrast to the incumbent Vice President who is more conventionally referenced by his surname.

The peculiarity bears tentative scrutiny. I think it has to do with the penchant of conferring identity distinction on prominent public figures in the public imagination. Abubakar, like Mohammed, is a rather iconic pan Islamic name hence its universal vintage and popularity among adherents of Islam whereas Atiku has a relatively obscure origin and purview in Hausa/Fulani antiquity. Its usage thereby benefits from this uniqueness and confers an element of distinction on the bearer.

This thesis is similarly applicable to the notable instance of the former head of state General Abdusalami Abubakar. Seldom will you hear anyone call the former head of state, Abubakar, without including his first name. Quite often, it is just Abdusalami. You can go down memory lane and figure out the thesis in the identikit of Tafawa Balewa, Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Alex Ekwueme, Mohammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, Sani Abacha, Umaru Yaradua, Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo.

Now to the more ponderous contemplation-inherent in the office of the Nigerian presidency (the President and the Vice President) is the obligation of serving the role model of chief promoter of the national unity of Nigeria and the attendant politically correct behaviour (and just as it should be the case)-being the chief beneficiaries of the political status quo. This anticipated role and utility were integral to the recommendation of the Presidential system over the previous Parliamentary-Westminster model in the 1979 Constitution.

Whereas the Prime Minister is elected from just a federal constituency (as Balewa was elected from the Bauchi federal constituency) the President is elected directly by the entire Nigerian electorate. And the more contested and untenable the constitutional status quo, the more defensive the occupiers of the office tend to get. More than any other Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo exemplifies this role.
Whatever other appraisals may be given of Atiku Abubakar, there is an incipient nationalist-cosmopolitan flavour to his politics. His contemporary advocacy of constitutional restructuring-which is somewhat at odds with the prevalent political position of his Moslem North pedigree, bears eloquent testimony to the point. More pointedly-with regards to the analogy of Osinbajo was the position Atiku was obliged to canvass in the testy early days of his stewardship as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo. At the height of the Sharia crisis heralded (Moslem North) political revolt against Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar was called out to play the federal government protagonist.

Addressing a press conference after a controversial National Council of State meeting, Atiku announced that the Council resolved that all parties to the Sharia crisis should revert to the status quo ante-to contrive momentary respite from the escalating conflict. He was instantly controverted by no less a personality than General Mohammadu Buhari who conversely asserted that the Sharia crisis was neither on the agenda of the meeting nor discussed. In one of those Freudian slips, Atiku subsequently featured as a special guest at a nightclub reception in Lagos where he casually disavowed Sharia with the retort that in the spirit of the occasion, he was not Sharia compliant.

At any other time and political season in Nigeria this innocuous banter would have passed unnoticed and of no consequence but in the Sharia poisoned Nigeria of 1999 to 2001 it met with the equivalent of a fatwa on borderline apostasy by an erring symbolic adherent. In doubling down on this defiant ‘detribalised’ behaviour, Atiku was acting the pan Nigerian logic and obligation of his position as Vice President. This is a good precedence to situate and seek an explanation of the political behaviour of Yemi Osinbajo as Vice President.
Like Atiku, Osinbajo is obliged and it is in his enlightened self-interest to play Nigerian nationalist politics and for the most part, he has conducted himself with competence and panache in enacting the role. His obligation in this regard has been uniquely compounded by the inadvertent consequence of (his principal) Buhari’s protracted indisposition and the vacuum thus engendered. The irony of an acting President is that he is both President and Vice President. Officially he performs the constitutionally assigned functions of both offices.

Politically and informally, the acting President responds and panders to the politics of the pressure/interest group that is individually specific to himself on one hand and his principal on the other hand. The degree to which Nigeria is steeped in identity politics is the extent to which he will labour to fill the gap created by Buhari’s absence and reassure the ailing President’s primary political constituency. And the more conflictual, the more zero-sum bounded the politics-as it is the case with Nigeria, the greater the acumen needed in playing the balancing act.

All this constraining ambience and atmospherics will serve as extenuation for Osinbajo as he grapples with the fragmentary and fraught Nigerian political situation. To the bargain, the acting President is a professor and certified preacher-a pedestal that entitles him to the presumption of a pundit-of which he has generously availed himself. But sometimes, as the wit punted, too much of a good thing can become bad. Context and the identity of a messenger can equally render a message problematic and questionable.

On the perennial debate on the political development of Nigeria and the advocacy of returning rhyme and reason to the constitutional structure of the country, Osinbajo has sent mixed and sometimes convoluted platform messages. There was the initial debacle of apportioning the relevance of restructuring to Nigeria as limited to the restructuring of the economy. In clearer and meaningful language he should be understood as talking economic diversification and this is perfectly in order so long as it is not conflated with the proper understanding of restructuring advocacy as drawing attention to the crying need to remedy a failed constitutional structure.
To his credit and unlike those who presume to be more Nigerian than the rest of us, for whom discussion on the unity of Nigeria is a no go area, he subsequently evolved to the position of concurring that there was nothing wrong with the citizenship right and privilege of debating the political future of their country. And then in a remarkable lapse into grossness, he superfluously zeroed in on a remark that was synonymous with the late Obafemi Awolowo-‘Nigeria is a mere geographical expression’.

My first observation was that Osinbajo could adequately canvass whatever point he wanted to make without reference to this otherwise valid remark (at least in 1948). Second is that more than other Nigerians, he has a personal reason not to do so – not in the critical light, he recalled the remark. Third, that he did so thrice within weeks was the height of indiscretion and insensitivity. And if he meant well, he should have qualified his recall with the fact that in 1948, this was a plausible description of Nigeria but more importantly, Awolowo did not proceed from this premise to recommend the dissolution of Nigeria. On the contrary, he employed this perspective to postulate federalism as the optimal political ground norm for Nigeria and was proven prescient by the affirmation of this postulation in the Oliver Littleton constitution of 1951 and thereafter.

For that matter, Awolowo’s peers including, Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa, qualified Nigeria in worse abrasive verbiage which does not detract from the subsequent maturity of their views on Nigeria. If the originator (in Nigeria) of the expression did not intend it as a rationale for Nigeria’s dismemberment (which was quite logical in 1948 by the way) where is the compulsion to repeatedly falsify its applicability to Nigeria?

The Professor would go further to embarrass himself with his citation of other ‘false narratives’ when his own appraisal was the real false narrative. And thus he proceeded to proffer this Humpty Dumpty – “Most countries of the world came together by some accident of history, one way or the other; many were put together, many were forced together, but the wise have stayed together, the wise have remained united”. Really, Professor?.

Would Georgia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia and any enlightened observer of the international community deem the dissolution of the USSR an unwise decision? And to think that it was the leader of the Soviet Union himself, Mikhail Gorbachev, who took the initiative that it was no longer in the interest of the Soviet state to deny the obvious and the inevitable; and thence provided the necessary leadership to peacefully end the charade. What about Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia? Is there any suggestion that the successor states of Czech and Slovakia now regret their thriving separate independent existence? What about India and Pakistan? What about Tanzania and Zanzibar?

I don’t know how objectively the acting President has been following the sequence and trend of political opinion in Nigeria. Not even the Biafra warlord, Nnamdi Kanu, started his protestation with the Biafra battle cry. The discernable logic is that inherent in the foreclosure of remedial measures to rescue Nigeria from itself, is the potential for ultimate implosion. Rather than come to terms with this reality, Nigerian leaders are more comfortable with the hypocrisy and blackmail of seeing the ghosts of secession in any argument that adverts attention to the open secret that Nigeria will not long endure with the dead weight of the prevailing constitutional structure.

STOP PRESS
Did Professor Itse Sagay say this? “The Northern elites are so used to proceeds of oil that they abandoned the things that make them great as a region. It is better for them to accept federalism and autonomy… The North will be the greatest beneficiary of autonomy. They have a great means of revenue which they are ignoring. They should convince the cattle-rearers to build ranches instead of whipping cattle to the south”.

  • FrNinja

    Every nation has advanced and backward regions. The success of any federation is creating a framework where the benefits of belonging to the group outweigh the loss of independence. In this regard the USA is successful. A backward state such as West Virginia which has seen its coal industry decimated has federal grants to retrain workers and to cover health costs. In the US every state is interconnected to federal highways that make interstate trade and transport easy. Rich states are subsidized to become even richer. The US federal governmwnt pumps money into infrastructure and research in new york and california to build those economies to generate massive taxes for the feds. The poor of west virginia migrate to the rich states for economic opportunity.

    In the USSR, its union like Nigeria was built on central control. The state controlled and allocated all resources depending on its wisdom to various republics. Unsurprisingly the USSR created a massive dependency system that discouraged production and collapsed.

    Nigeria has replicated the USSR model by centralizing oil money and distributing it while killing incentives for production. Billions are pumped into Abuja buildings while interstate highways collapse. Lagos the most economically significant city was practically abandoned by the FGN for 15 years. Economic decisions are compromised by corruption and parochialism. A white elephant 800 million high speed rail was built to connect Abuja and Kaduna carrying less than 1,000 passengers a day. Meanwhile building a second bridge to alleviate the creaking Niger Bridge carrying over 28,000 vehicles per day remains of less importance.

    Nigeria clearly has set the stage for its eventual collapse because just like the USSR its built upon a faulty foundation.

  • princegab

    This article has over generalized our struggle towards nationhood. Nigeria is peculiar and all the examples given in this article do not fit. But the central message here is to avoid the dooms day, fg should commence dialogue on restructuring without further delay. The Nigerian people are convinced that status quo leads to dead end. Restructure or disintegrate.

  • RumuPHC

    A wholesome ingenious attempt to promote “restructure” agenda through the employment of spin and half truths.

    First on why Atiku Abubakar is Atiku and Prof Yemi Osinbajo is Osinbajo. The poplar name used to identify the former have nothing to do with Islamist Fulani/Hausa dichotomy . Public figures are more associated with their surnames. This is not only because it is formal and polite to do so but it is equally more convenient for the media people for sake of brevity .

    Contrary to Akin Osuntokun’s illustration, officially,it was VP Atiku Abubakar when in office and is still VP Yemi Osinbajo today. The prominence of the usage of the name Atiku in unofficial circumstances and media is a popular general practice rooted in the north. Apart from the fact that it is easier to fit ATIKU in a political billboard, the popularity of first names or (initials) over surnames in the north is cultural and not exactly religious. It isn’t to denigrate the former VP; there are many Hausa gate men and Okada riders from the north known as Mohammed and Abubakar.

    Surnames like Mohammed and Abubakar are very popular and there is always the need to identify properly the particular individual in a class or group list hence the recourse to forenames or initials. Muritala Mohhamed was a Muslim and Fulani prince but was more popularly known as Muritala by associates and Gen Muritala Mohhamed in the media: he was rarely called Gen Mohhamed.During his time, there were many senior officers bearing Mohhamed as surname but there was only one Muritala Mohhamed. Today there are many Abubakars in politics but Nigerians know that there is but one Atiku Abubakar.

    Now to the other issues. Should there really be any ” ponderous contemplation ” of the responsibility of a serving president of Nigeria regarding national unity? It will be immoral , criminal and sheer hypocrisy for any occupant of Aso Rock to fail to promote national unity or offer violence to the same Constitution that guaranteed their preeminence in the first place and they swore to defend . Even Akin Osuntokun as DG News Agency of Nigeria did not promote his personal idea of ” restructuring ” Nigeria; Akin served news that promoted the interest of the current structure of government of Nigeria .

    That stated, Osinbajo can however be more focused and more forceful in his message on national unity and defence of the Constitution.

    On the others and there are many inaccuracies. Whether the statement was made by Awo before independence, it is very clear that Nigeria will remain a mere geographical expression until we build a nation according to the vision of the founding fathers out of it. The expression is the house while the intent is to have a home. We are still in search of a home called Nigeria.

    Now in our current circumstances, which will be a better home for Nigerians: is it in a country where the leader is a prime minister who won an election only to a local constituency seat in Sokoto or a president that was voted into office by all Nigerians?

    Really Nnamdi Kanu a warlord? …..

    • lord of jaspers

      first of all you have proven dat u r a full blooded fulani! in a very straight forward passage like dis written in plain english, you could not undastand a single sentence out of al d passage! u wil do urself a favour by first of all re readin q

      • LagLon

        sadly rumu isnt fulani. he truly is an older one nigeria believer and is hopelessly romantic about it.
        it borders on the naive, but do tolerate him because he isnt malicious.
        engage him without rudeness and deconstruct his faulty world and logic carefully, so as not to hurt him.
        he will come round eventually.

  • Rooaik

    I am particularly interested in that Sagay’s statement. That statement is true. The North has the potentials to be a rich region if only they can look inwards to develop and exploit the resources they have.

  • Sarah

    Irrespective of Awolowo’s view in 1948, Nigeria post-1960 is NOT a mere geographic expression. Recall that Awolowo, Bello and Azikiwe WILLINGLY agreed to a constitution that entered their people into the Nigerian Federation WITHOUT the option of secession.
    We are where we are now, courtesy of Nzeogwu’s gang of delusional Igbo officers in Jan 1966, Aguiyi Ironsi’s unification decree, and succeeding regimes’ adherence to the unification path.
    Our federation is unjust to the Niger Delta and might implode if this injustice is not redressed. This is the greatest challenge we must address urgently by restructuring, devolution or whatever we may wish to call it. We should move gradually from 13% to 100% derivation, increasing by 2% every year; the centre should simply tax and redistribute to less endowed states.

    • BankyMons

      Restructuring is not just about revenue derivation, there are other things in there. Get some education madam Sarah.

    • Bambam

      Stop the fabrications..it was Nnamdi Azikiwe who forcefully argued against the option of secession in Lancaster House, London..Awolowo and Bello supported it 100%..stop peddling mischief to hide the obvious stupidity..lack of foresighf and clever by halfness of Ibos..

      • Sarah

        And in the end Awolowo and Bello agreed to ‘no secession’. We’re they compelled, NO.
        Q.E.D.

        • KWOY

          Why are you always obsessed with secession? God did not create the Igbo with the Yoruba in mind. God forbid a Situation in which Nigeria will exist as one Country! It is like thought of death to me!!

        • Bambam

          In the end the British Governor-General and Imperial master ruled in favour of Azikiwe’s argument for No Seccession option to be put in the Constitution..Did Awolowo and Bello have a choice? NO.

          Stop the Ibo revision of factual history..and use of false propaganda to cover your lack of foresight and vision..Simple!!

          • Sarah

            Awolowo and Bello had no choice; Really??
            What about the option to dissolve the federation and not be part of Nigeria?
            Why did they agree to remain in the federation if the right to secession was fundamental to their people.
            At least we know for fact that Bello threatened to walk out of the federation on 2 occasions if Awolowo and Azikiwe wanted independence before 1960.
            The FACT remains that Awolowo Bello and Azikiwe had the choice to make their regions independent nations but they all WILLINGLY chose to remain in Nigeria without the option of secession.

          • Bambam

            They had no choice because they were under colonial rule..don’t you get it?..If the colonial master ruled in favour of Azikiwe for the no seccession option..how was Awolowo and Bello going to fight to get that included..pick up a gun and fight the white colonialists?..The North threatened not to be part of Nigeria’s independence in 1957..but the white colonialists accepted it because they knew what role they wanted to use the submissive Northern elites for..if they had no use for them..they would have considered their threat empty and simply granted the South their independence since they were ready..

            Bottom line is..so you don’t forget..the Lancaster debate where Azikiwe argued successfully due to his lack of foresight for no secession option contrary to the wishes of a visionary Awolowo..and a Bello who was afraid of the South..was done when Nigeria was under British Imperial and colonial rule..stop revising history and making it look otherwise..to cover up the shame..lack of vision and foresight of the Ibos..they are always clever by half and caught up stupidly in their own craftiness then begin to tell lies and blame everyone for their own folly!!

          • Sarah

            Your conjecture, that Awolowo and Bello had no choice but to accept Azikiwe’s ‘no-secession’ argument, flies in the face of factual evidence from the same time. Namely that they all had the option to walk away from the proposed Nigerian Federation. Bello threatened to walk away 2 times and Awolowo with Azikiwe bowed to his request.
            You argue that Azikiwe lacked vision for insisting on ‘no secession’. You should also concede that Awolowo lacked persistence or conviction in ensuring his people were given the right of secession if it was that important to him.

          • Bambam

            You argue like a looney and clearly show a lack of proper reasoning..but it wouldn’t be an Ibo if its not so..I never once mentioned that Awolowo and Bello had no choice but to accept Azikiwe’s no seccession option..as Azikiwe clearly has no such power over them..Read all I wtote which is the factual and accurate version of the historical event..I said Awolowo and Bello had no choice but to agree to the no seccession option..as the Colonial and Imperial masters in charge of the conference and the colonised Nigeria ruled in favour of Azikiwe’s lack of foresight based argument..

            What part of all what I’ve written or of that historical account don’t you understand..except of course like a typical Ibo you want to stand history on its head..revise it and make yourselves look good and everyone else evil..except of course you always fail and Nigeria’s history tell us Ibos have suffered every time for their foolishness..due to spitefulness..treachery and their attempts to always be clever by half..when it back-fires they blame everyone but themselves..

          • Sarah

            Fool!
            Your selective amnesia perverts your judgement.
            I asserted that the trio of Awolowo Bello and Azikiwe willingly agreed to a constitution that had no provision for secession. A FACT you can verify in our 1957 Constitution.
            You countered by alleging that Azikiwe made a strong case for no secession and the colonial overlord imposed that position on Awolowo and Bello, ie the latter 2 had no choice.
            How can that be tenable to your mind knowing that Awolowo’s party moved the motion for independence against the wishes of this same colonial overlord?
            So the same Awolowo that worked tirelessly to kick the colonial overlord out of Nigeria suddenly was too weak to insist on a secession clause in the constitution to govern post-colonial federation?
            The correct reading of history is that keeping Nigeria united at independence was more important to Awolowo and he was prepared to forego the secession clause for that goal. Similarly he opted to delay independence from 1957 to 1960 just to accommodate Bello’s wishes and keep Nigeria united at independence. Bello twice threatened to dissolve the federation and Awolowo and Azikiwe had to concede to his position just to keep the Nigerian Federation united at independence.
            QED.

          • Bambam

            I lost you at the correct reading of history😅😂😁Typical of Ibos and their revision of history..stop the revisionism..it makes you Ibos appear dense..fraudulent and totally untrustworthy..Nonsense!!

          • Uche

            My question to you: So when Awolowo had the chance to pull South West of Nigeria when Ojuwku declared Biafra, why did he turn around to join Gowon’s military administration? Why not use the crisis of 1967 to finally bury Nigeria who he earlier dclared as a mere geographical expression?

          • Bambam

            Since whe did Ojukwu determine for Awolowo and Yorubas what to do? Secondly..the Ojukwu who declared Biafra..was what..a civillian or soldier?..Did he plan to use arms and possibly go to war to defend it?..How long had he been preparing for war if you know your history?..Awolowo on the contrary is what..a civillian or a soldier?..What was he going to use to defend whatever new nation he declares?..Did your Ojukwu give him any due notice to prepare for war if at all he could?..Problem with you Ibos is that you clever by half..and you find it difficult to raise your level of thinking to acceptable standards..because you always want to be devious and clever by half..when you get caught in your folly (which is often)..then you blame everyone but yourselves for your foolishness..Nonsense!!

          • Uche

            Typical Yoruba response: parochial and hypocritical. Your over 5000 online postings are a study in selective amnesia and myopia. I am not surprised by your response. I have all your arguments from my childhood Yoruba friends and colleagues while growing up in Lagos. So let me agree with all your regurgitation and reasons who adduced above to extricate Awolowo and indict the Igbos. Let me agree that you are right and the Igbos were wrong. My question to you is these:

            Why did Awolowo and Yorubas join the anti-restructuring and anti-federal north to fight against the Igbos? What was the strategic vision behind Awo’s decision to align with the north?

          • Bambam

            …Because you were claiming or better put stealing land that were not yours..and as the majority ethnic nationality in Nigeria (Hausas minus the Fulani makes Yoruba the largest)..we owed it a right to protect other minority ethnic nationalities like the Binis..Itsekiris..Urhobos..Isokos..Apoi Ijaws whom we have strong cultural affinity with..to stop the Ibos being clever by half from stealing their land and resources..Ask yourself what gave you the Ibos the right to claim their land as part of your Biafra?

          • Bambam

            I’ve answered all your questions..particularly from my last comment..I would summarise it again..Awo didn’t join Ojukwu in his typical Ibo display of a lack of foresight and been clever by half..because it was clear Biafra was an Ibo fraud via land grabbing and resource stealing..I fought in the war through the reverred 3MCDO so I know more than you do..

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      The country has been organised in a manner unfair to the ND for 40 years. However, that unfairness is soon to be carried by the far North. The ND may rue the day that they get resource control and may feel very hard done by in the end of it all. As we speak, the world is fast moving to electric cars as a replacement for oil. Critical for electric cars are batteries powered by lithium.

      https://shift.newco.co/amp/p/38b843bd4fe0

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/lithium-become-new-oil/

      Lithium will be the new oil and that is likely to happen within the next 10 years. Oil (like Kodak, travel agencies and blackberry) will become obsolete very very fast. Lithium which will be the next oil and the major geo-political source of power and influence. That rare commodity is found is great quantities…….IN THE NORTH

      https://shift.newco.co/amp/p/38b843bd4fe0

      What the North is refusing to grant now they will beg to get in the future. At that time it would take only 13 states from the South to block the North and ensure the North placed in the role of the Niger delta for the next number of decades where lithium is king and the North is the golden egg.

      The Niger Delta should have acted 20 years ago. Resource control now will be to late for the SS to really gain from it and will leave the SS exposed once Lithium takes over from oil. Meanwhile the SS will be left with the burden of environmental degradation.

      Awolowo’s use of the phrase “geographic expression” was accurate when it was used but it has ceased to be accurate over 50 years later.

      • KWOY

        Why are you mentioning the North & leaving the Southwest?

        • Dele Awogbeoba

          The Southwest does not have LITHIUM in commercial quantities. The North will be the part of the country from where Nigeria’s future immense wealth will come from.

          • KWOY

            Why is the Southwest mentioning the North while compalining for oil whereas the Southwest is no less interested in the oil than the North? Why are you using the North as an excuse whereas you moan just as much as any other about oil? The North is no less resistant to restructuring to the Southwest!

          • Tony Oshea

            Question is,do Igbo’s care if gold and diamonds are picked on the streets of the north? Let them exploit their lithium and crude oil from lake Chad and retain 100% derivation of its proceeds and leave Ndigbo to determine their own destiny,that is all that matters!SW can cohabit with them as “mutual” beneficiaries of lithium and murderous herdsmen.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            I made no mention of Ndigbo. They are not a factor now , were not a facto in the past and will not a facto in the future (in terms of the major sources of income that will power Nigeria). My comment related to the Niger Delta (which was the region majorly carrying Nigeria for the past 40 years).

          • FrNinja

            Considering that a large number of indigenous manufacturers, scientists, entrepreneurs, movie makers, artists, writers are of Igbo extraction shows how idiotic you are.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            The igbos have never been a source of significant foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria. In the past it was Cocoa from the Yoruba and to a lesser extent groundnut. From the 70’s it was oil. In the future it will be lithium. Low quality movies do not earn Nigeria significant foreign exchange. The other categories you mentioned are not worth considering. This topic was not about igbos and nor was my initial comments. It was centered solely on the current group carrying this country and the different group that will soon carry this country in the future.

          • FrNinja

            What a bigot you are. Foreign exchange is not what drives economies. Productivity is. Engage your brain. The world is bigger than mineral resources. A car tyre is worth more than a barrel of crude oil. A chocolate bar is worth more than a kilo of cocoa beans. Switzerland neither produces cocoa nor oil but the value of the products it makes from it is x10. Wake up.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            Nigeria’s future will be determined by Lithium as its recent past and present was and is influenced by oil. The Niger Delta for oil , the SW for its ports and commerce and the North for its Agriculture and its importance in the near future are the parts of the country that are critical to Nigeria. There are too few industries in the SE to the extent that all states of the SE put together cannot raise IGR that is 2/3 of what Ogun state raises. The indigenes of the SE have to go to the SW or North to be able to set up viable sustainable businesses. My comments are not about igbos and igbos are not relevant to the point I am making or have been making on this thread. Stop bring irrelevant things and people into this topic.

          • FrNinja

            Last time I went through the southwest I was not impressed. Minus Lagos built by federal funds yorubaland is a dump. Nothing special there. Indeed I doubt there are any yoruba cities that can hold a candle to Enugu or Owerri.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            You are clearly a man with an inferiority complex. My post was about the Niger delta and the future source of Nigeria’s income as coming from the North. Here you are forcing reference to igbos and Lagos. I have no time for distractions. Go away. Nobody notices you.

          • FrNinja

            You are a bigot and it shows. An ignoramus too. The Niger Delta has over 100 trillion metric feet of gas. What is more important lithium or electricity to power EV cars? The Niger Delta also harbors real natural harbors not the rubbish of lagos. The eastern region has the largest deposits of coal in Nigeria.

            Your primitive north are breeding children they cannot feed or put through school. They will remain poor. The igbos have gone from huts to thousands of multistorey buildings and basic industries. They have the highest educational attainment in Nigeria. They are best positioned for the Nigeria of tommorow.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            Bigotry against Northerners pours through your writing. No one said gas will not be important , what is envisaged is that Lithium will replace oil as the major source of geo-political power in the world and those that have major deposits of lithium will be the equivalent of the OPEC rich countries of the present. As I had previously said to you little inferiority ravaged low life, the igbos have no relevance to what I was speaking about and I have no need to mention them. You are the one keen to interject them in a conversation that I have not referenced them in. They are not relevant to the issue that I have discussed and I have no need to discuss them.

      • Jon West

        There is no lithium in the North, scammer!!!

  • Sarah

    Let’s be clear about one thing

  • Darcy

    This article sef…

    “Would Georgia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia and any enlightened observer of the international community deem the dissolution of the USSR an unwise decision? ”

    Right, let’s compare Nigeria to a literal totalitarian state, because ideology is a tasking mistress. Would any “enlightened person” deem the Federally enforced conquest of the Confederate states an “unwise decision”?? See everyone can use Hyperbole, this idea of saying “just because A did this, Z must do it too” is very…dangerous. Dangerous, being the most polite word I can think of.

    Further, your analysis of the USSR’s dissolution ignores the fact, that most of them are clamouring to join a EU which does not hide its centralising mission, and which by the way, involves the much hated cash-transfers which many holders of the “develop at their own pace” ideology seem to hate.

    “What about Tanzania and Zanzibar?”

    What??? You do know why Tanganyika is now called Tanzania right?? You do know that it involved a unification by force?

    As for India and Pakistan:

    A. India is itself a federal unitary state, practically Nigeria on steroids. Formerly independent Princely States were ordered to unify with the implicit threat of military intervention. Foreign territories like Goa were invaded and forcibly unified e.t.c

    B. The Federal State retains an overwhelming monopoly of force to forestall secessionist clamour, here I pull up the repression in Kashmir, and the counter-insurgency against the Maoists. Your second example, literally perpetuated genocide trying to hold onto East Pakistan, which exists today as independent Bangladesh due to Indian intervention, did I mention they have nukes pointed at each other or the millions that died during the partition of their territories, 4 times the whole casualties of the civil war, FOUR TIMES.

    Yeah! let’s go that route, what could go wrong.

    • KWOY

      DESPERADO:
      Out of your desperation to hold on to a status quo that will NEVER fail to give way you are muddling issues:
      1. The states of the US came together as autonomous parties willingly, & even then the conquest of the confederate states (in a war that occured more than 200 yrs after!) was in a war about good & evil (it was a war against perpetuation of slavery).

      2.Find & read Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ (an American who is a consultant to the UN) BBC Reith Lectures 2007. He shld be d epitome of enlightenment but he is regretting the size of the US because such huge states create wide inequality & leave a lot of pple behind.He takes as model d scandinavian/nordic countries. US is not even a model to follow in any way. It has one of the worst index in anything on the earth! Nigeria is even better than the US in many ways!

      3.It is the height of desperation to describe the EU as a centralizing union. Probably it is becasue rich states like Germany helped bail out others like Portugal which has imposed a debt profile on the later dat will forever keep it poor & for which some citizens wish they can exit EU! And maybe common currency & free movement (free movt is the most enticing thing abt the union!) is what u take as ‘centralization’

      4. While Nigeria has a landmass of 923.768 km², india has 3.287.000 km². Yet India has only 29 states. And according to Wikipedia, under the article ‘States and Union territories of India’, “The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 reorganised the states based on linguistic lines resulting in the creation of the new states.[15″….

      • BankyMons

        Very well said @KWOY!

      • Darcy

        I apologise for the late reply….blackouts and Arsenal you know, this country….

        1. It’s vastly more complicated than that. The largest parts of the US were either, conquered territory, e.g California, Texas, New…Mexico (bit on the nose that), and those that came together willingly, did so due to a state of war. On the issue of the civil war, it was a violent reunification, anything else is semantics. Was the US forcibly unified, Yes or No, $1m on the line, which do you pick?

        2. Respectfully, I disagree with the Professor. The greatest creator of inequality is the city. The Scandinavians are equal due to massive redistribution. Absent that, they are as unequal as any capitalist society. On Nigeria beating the US on certain metrics, I’ll believe it when I see it. I believe that the Professor looks at the issue too much like an Economist, absent the weight of history. Not to digress over much, but had the US not been a massive unified whole, the European powers would have used the old divide and conquer, imagine a world where the “Arsenal of Democracy” had not stepped in??

        3. “It is the height of desperation to describe the EU as a centralizing union.” I disagree, a Federal United states of Europe has always been the vision of Monnet, Delors et al, the whole founding Fathers bunch. The EU has consistently expatriated powers from the state level to Brussels, I mean, most have lost their currency, had their Central Bank Europeanized you may have heard that Macron plans a common Finance ministry and a common budget and that an EU army is in the words. I believe one of their statesmen, said something along the lines of the solution is always “more Europe”.

        4. India has 23 languages, Nigeria has God knows how many, 250?? Anyways like I said, stating just because A did this, B must is nearly always a bad idea. Besides if linguistic and cultural homogeneity were followed, the lines would be One South-Western state, one South-Eastern state, One North-Western state, and sheer madness in the Central, North-East and South-South, madness! Besides we know that linguistic and cultural homogeneity is no drain on economic growth, the US and Cities have been the largest driver of Economic growth in human history.

        4b. I suppose that we can both acknowledge that transfers are largely a good thing. However it’s absurd to call Germany, a homogeneous country, first up, it came into existence in 1870, second, Germany has been at war with each other for most of it’s history, and previously jealous of their cultural “homogeneity”, the Catholic/Protestant divide even held post German formation, hence the KulturKampf. Third, ethnically German states like Austria were excluded deliberately by Bismarck, reasons of state and all. Germany is an example of what Nigeria ought to aim at, a state proselytized into being by its intellectual class. its integration of East Germany, is also a path forward regarding our poorer North.

        4c. We agree, get the FG out of a lot of places its stuck its mitts in. Hell I’ll go ahead and continue my advocacy, for land reform and private property. This hwoever is Nigeria, most people blaring the horn of restructuring, simply want their slice of the cake before its gone. Which is why the dominant narrative has been more states.

        I believe the narrative ought to be empowering the individual, not the group, the individual!

        • KWOY

          Go away you!!!!!! Even if all the countries of the world were created by conquest, it should not make participation by force justified! YOU ARE SATANIST TO SUGGEST UNION BY FORCE!! TO HELL & THE BOTTOMLESS ABYSS WITH YOU! Human reason accepts that relationship should be by choice!.If I have nuclear weapon I will wipe all life out to let you know I am not obligated to you because of an artificial Union!. You can rabble all you care; it doesn’t matter to me!

          Transfer in Germany does not mean the satanic practice here! It means taking from the ‘excesses’ of others to fill the ‘deficiencies’ of the other. If you do not understand the difference than sit with the satan in hell! Resource control can never mean 100% in a Nation
          India has 23 OFFICIAL languages just like English, Hausa & Igbo could be official languages here, (meaning 4 to India’s 23). 23 is not India’s total!

          A stae as small as Switzerland can recognize ist differenet cultural Groups but Nigeria that is ist size 200 times cannot because North central has many cultural Groups? Almost all European countries are either homogeneous or subsumed under big homogenous Groups. Iceland, Luxembourg, etc are either smaller or just equal as any other ethnic Group in the North central.

          The US is an Immigrant Nation; so you canot use its heterogeneity to compare with places with indigenous populations! You are not seeing the example of Europe.

          And if what works for A must not work for B, why concentrate ONLY on the EXCEPTIONS? Are why are Yorubas always talking about the North whereas they are as interested in the Status quo as the North? Who made the North poor? Emir Sanusí like the rest o´f Nigeria have always been talking about PUNISHING the Igbo for 1966 coup sinbce 1966, & we talk about Igbos having been left behind; so who is the poor?

          • Darcy

            “Even if all the countries of the world were created by conquest, it should not make participation by force justified! ”

            In Utopia perhaps, in the real world, only a state maintaining a monopoly of force guarantees freedom. I fail to understand why your arguments have become hysteric? They’re poorer for it.

            “Resource control can never mean 100% in a Nation. It means supplementing for Adamawa from the surpluses of River’s & Lagos.”

            You did read me saying that I agree with you on that aspect?

            “A state as small as Switzerland can recognize its differenet cultural Groups ”

            Those freedoms were won by war though, proving my point.

            “Almost all European countries are either homogeneous or subsumed under big homogenous Groups”

            That is simply false. You view them as homogenous because they were nation-built. The Europeans are as ethnically heterogeneous as any African country. That you mention Belgium as an example of homogeniety betrays an ignorance your verbosity won’t hide.

            “Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59% of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population, which comprises 41% of all Belgians. Additionally, there is a small group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area, and bordering Germany.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium

            I could go on and debunk your other examples, but clearly you’ve decided to scream from a position of ignorance rather than have a civil discussion.

            “And it is another height of insincerity to claim that there is an unequality gap as in the nordic countries as much as there is in the US.”

            You did read me saying pre-distribution correct? Anyways I have these things called facts on my side. An example: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-socialist-scandinavia-has-some-of-the-highest-inequality-in-europe-2014-10?IR=T Distribution blunts the harder edges of natural inequality.

            It would be extremely sad if you suddenly attacked a fellow Igbo for displaying the things we are supposed to prize the most, rationality and civil debate among adults, it would be a greater shame if you were a male Igbo, who should know better than act the woman in public. Regarding your final paragraph, I am soaring in Nigeria, if you aren’t, perhaps the problem isn’t a conspiracy, but personal.

            Have a good day.

          • LagLon

            darcy/ kwoy, rebase the debate.
            1. resource control ..resource income component – is somewhere between 13% and 100% – where are you both?
            2. should oil resources be controlled by northerners in NNPC or based in PH?
            3. we have official languages .. all countries have dialects. its really a moot point.

            transfers are bad darcy, especially at the scale of nigeria. the incentives are damaged… and the sustainability fails.

            an example – why dont you go to work and transfer ALL of your salary to me? we all know how this ends.. so there is no denial. why dont you work and give 0.5% of your salary to charity? thats ok huh…
            what is being discussed is how this must be changed and tweaked.. even elections in europe still discuss such. therefore it is valld and cannot be denied on the basis that ‘some transfers are valid’.. it is a question of extent and form.

            our transfers have fundamentally damaged the potential for economic activity and led to a bloated and miss directed federal govt. restructuring, devolution, baifrexit and all other arguments aim to deal with this.

          • Darcy

            Agreed.

            1. My stance is and always has been in favour of private property. The majority of the country’s land, aside maybe 20% or so set aside for forest reserves and military bases should be in private hands, let people be free to sell, buy and generally do as they wish with their land and the resources thereof. Government can stick to its place as a regulator and tax collector.

            2. If one is implemented, there won’t be an NNPC.

            Sorry, but comparing countries to individuals is the wrong way to see it. Look at Federal transfers as a form of Taxation, going into a central purse to provide Public Goods.

            One of the greater myths poisoning Nigerian political discuss is that we are rich, in truth we aren’t. Look at all the projections for our infrastructure needs, education, healthcare e.t.c, we fail to meet up to all of them, even if corruption was not a problem.

            Of course, a lot of the problem stems from an undue focus on “resources”. In truth, those aren’t the problems, Nigerians in my opinion would do better to focus on the structural problems blocking private enterprise: our insane land laws, double taxation, high interest rates e.t.c.

            My problem with the restructuring debate et al, is that none of them are talking of this, they just seem to want to make things worse, break things just for the sake of it. I mean the extent of the debate so far on restructuring is “more states”. Enough to make a Brother lose hope.

          • LagLon

            amen.. but lol!!!! ‘a form of taxation going into…. public goods’.. really?!!
            is that what diezani is doing.. alakija… all of them? what were US tax rates in 1850 to 1910? then lets discuss… also what was taxed?
            there are no public goods.. indeed the country is too large and diverse to maintain ‘public’ such a concept.. tribal or regional or religious goods maybe… hence we need to federate and let the choices play out.

            the nnpc comment is funny also.. oil is about to be worth zero yet we keep 40bn barrels in the ground… the stone age didnt end for lack of stones.. and as we watch the oil age come to an end (though power is required for those electric cars)..
            ..we sit dey come dey go..

          • Darcy

            Not as large and diverse as the US, and yet… Last year the US FG transferred back more than our total GDP to the states.

            It is all about changing our mindset, building the nation we want.

          • LagLon

            Darcy,
            That is a little dishonest. yes the states transferred within the states, but it wasnt always so.. and those transfers have produced Trump!!!
            Also what % of US GDP are those transfers.. are they 50% of US GDP?
            I will deal with the first response later, but i am troubled. I will explain why later.

          • Darcy

            Clinton states produce 64% of the countries GDP https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/11/29/another-clinton-trump-divide-high-output-america-vs-low-output-america/

            Basically the same situation here, where the richer states are subsidisng the poor. The US Federal budget is 60% of total expenditure: Note PDF, https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/rpt/mthTreasStmt/mts0916.pdf

            Hope you beat your troubles Sir. I on the other hand am on the wrong side of a strike induced public holiday.

          • KWOY

            You mix up a whole lot of issues: 60% does not mean Money for sharing by the 50 states & USFG. It is just in the sense dat Laos cld be said to be d 5th largest economy in Africa

          • Darcy

            That was meant to demonstrate my point about regional inequality.

            The point there is best shown by this quote: “This system redistributes funds between richer and poorer states over the long run and helps stabilize states hit by temporary economic shocks.”

            http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2013/december/taxes-transfers-redistribution-us-federal-government-states/

            If I’m not misunderstanding you, your proposal would be to kick the rest of the federation to the curb, let every state keep what they earn? Hence my trying to point out to you that no stable country does that.

          • LagLon

            darcy, what did you hope to demonstrate through the pdfs?
            its unclear how they support your argument. that clinton states earn or contribute more to GDP has nothing to do with what is discussed here? also the latter document is quite a detailed refutation of the centrist / fiscal structure of nigeria. it is very welcomed.. and supoprts my side of the argument. im sure if we breakdown each into % of the US economy we will declare nigeria a communist or proto totalitarian state …

          • KWOY

            The Transfers amount to just 14% of FGs Revenue!

          • LagLon

            Sorry, what ratios are you using?
            how much of bayelsas income from oil production does bayelsa state get to keep? the rest is TRANSFERRED OUT to the federal government.
            Also how much does sokoto et al income comes from faac? (TRANSFERRED IN).
            These are the implicit/ structural transfers that unpin and undermine our economy.
            Thanks…

          • LagLon

            …apple inc’s mkt cap is bigger than our gdp…usd815bn, revenue is half nigerias gdp usd215bn
            one private company. i dont think they transfer that to georgia or detroit?
            or they could pass the ‘technology usage and development act’ and nationalise apple and then take all the revenue maybe?
            those americans.. dumb guys…

          • KWOY

            It must be clear to you that restructuring of Nigeria is
            inescapable; it is only a matter of time:

            The below are some of the abnormalities with the nigerian
            costitution:

            1. POWER CENTRALIZATION

            A. The US:

            a. i. All that states cannot do are: form alliances with foreign
            governments, declare war, coin money, or impose duties on imports or
            exports….States have all powers not granted to the federal
            government by the Constitution.

            a. ii. States have their own
            constitutions & coat of arms. And each state operates according
            to its own constitution.

            a. iii. States create LGs & any
            other units by themselves

            a. iv. States were independent
            colonies that willingly came together to form the union

            a. v. This is inspite of the fact dat
            d US is an immigrant nation

            B. Nigeria:

            b. i. All powers are but excercised by
            the FG

            b. ii. The states are mere arbitral,
            federally delineated constituencies

            b. iii. Like states, LGs are unilaterally, arbitrarily created &
            funded by the FG for revenue sharing, & done so with huge
            lopsidedness against ethnic groups or sections (NW zone has 186 LGs;
            SE has 96. Difference = 91!).

            b. iv. States were created arbitrally & unilaterally created
            by self-interested parties using opportunity of power domination

            b. v. This is inspite of d fact that nigeria is a country of
            indegenous peoples

            2. RESOURCE CONTROL/SHARING

            US: Although the USFG do give grants to LGs & munacipalities
            for special purposes, esp. heathcare related issues (& this grant
            is merely 14% of the FGs revenue!), states generate & spend their
            own revenues.

            NIG: In nigeria all wait to share monthly allocations!

            3. GERMANY

            Germany is a homogeneous country, but its states are still
            autonomous & run their own affairs pretty much like in the US.
            Although Germany does transfers, the Central Govt does not mine
            resources in the states. It merely takes heavily from the surpluses
            of very rich states to give to not so rich states.

            4. PROBLEM OF „ BEING LEFT BEHIND“ OWING TO LOPSIDEDNESS

            Just as in number of LG, d number of representatives in the NASS
            from just two states in the north could be more than the whole for an
            entire zone. The same goes for ministerial, ambassadorial,
            parastatal, etc appointments… IF IT IS ANOTHER CIVIL WAR, IGBOS
            WILL FIGHT IT FACING THE HAUSA/FULANI & THEIR YORUBA
            COLLABORATORS WHO ARE RESISTING CHANGE! BUT THERE MUST BE CHANGE!

            5. OVERCONCENTRALIZATION OF POWER AS HINDERANCE TO
            NATIONALISM/PATRIOTISM

            Of course, overconcentralization of power breeds inter-group
            struggle/competition, & breeds disaffection & tension which
            makes national unity & peace impossible, & hinders
            development. It was as a result of inter-ethnic competition that it
            has been all war since at least 1999. In the last dispensation,
            Yorubas joined the north to make the country ungovernable for GEJ. As
            a desperation to retain his office owing to its allure, the later
            emptied the central bank in bribing Yoruba elders.

            6. CORRUPTION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF OVERCONCENTRALIZATION

            Because huge resources get accumulated at the centre, it aids
            stealing. And this is not hard to detect because the remoteness of
            the centre & size of resources aids non-transparency!

          • Darcy

            These problems it seem to me could be solved easily by passing land reform.

            If individuals are given the rights to land and all within, the state can shift back to a roll as a mere tax collector.

          • KWOY

            So, what is the difference between your proposal & resource control? That resources shld be controlled by individuals & not by states or regions?

          • Darcy

            Resource control would simply shift the current structure statewards, changing nothing.

            My proposal empowers individuals. Take the US for example,

            http://assets3.bigthink.com/system/tinymce_assets/944/original/federal_lands.jpg?1422311293

            The image shows the percentage of state owned land in the US, the rest belongs to individuals. In Nigeria, thanks to OBJ, that number is 100%.

          • LagLon

            have you read the land use act? or the petroleum act?
            all land is owned by the fed govt.. with the governors managers / holders in custody..
            private owners have 99 year leases.

          • Darcy

            Should not be so, owned property should be vested in private hands. Probably utopian to wish for an Japanese styled land-reform, but I can dream.

            Don’t know if you recall a news story about Wike shuttering a property he claimed was used for “fake news” or something of the sorts.

          • LagLon

            yes the hotel. he revoked the c of o. in a wonderful show of the reason why we need massive reform.
            wike is fighting a political battle with all the tools available to him… its just petty, but those are the rules of the mafia game.
            the senators massive defeated the call for reform of the land use act which gives the governors such powers.. not caring/ understanding that such laws significantly weaken the devt and growth potential of the economy.
            japanese style, uk style, us style… we just need reforms that allow the permanence of private property …and not expose such rights every 4 years to the random whims of politically motivated buffoons.

          • LagLon

            devolution of powers – land reform/ petroleum reform/ power sector (the exclusive list).. the one that the northerners voted down..

    • lord of jaspers

      do urself a favour, read wat kwoy wrote and learn!

      • Darcy

        I did read, what is the use learning the wrong thing?