Shall We Break up to Make up?

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The inevitability of Nigeria’s restructuring is more evident now than ever. Goke Omisore reckons

The Fulani’s first-born syndrome is naturally a recurring manifestation in siblings’ rivalries in Nigeria’s quagmire of political indebtedness. The symptom persists often times in their grandstanding. Heir apparent traits, resulting in theatrics after depleting family fortunes or marred is fame or failure of missions. These are typically the bane of a deeply rooted bitter acrimonious relationship amongst siblings, naturally and more pronounced in poverty ridden societies, particularly in Africa.

This culture which thrives on inheritance and birth rights is prevalent in our clime. It runs in our gene, so much that it ruins even the best of stable nuclear families’ relationships. A hundred year of suspicions, distrust and polarised unresolved political relationships we have had since 1914 is very stressful and now taking its toll on our country.

Now, the situation is heightening and hurting our best potential and for the worse, it is hibernating our full progressive growth into nationhood. That, as a matter of urgency, needs to be revisited. It’s a complex siblings’ rivalry. Who can see the wind? Neither I nor you, but when the leaves are moving tremblingly, the wind is passing through.

I had the privilege to have listened and heard randomly from some of the finest minds from across the Niger, their individual views on restructuring. They sound bitterly hurtful as they covet this country. A first born syndrome, even though they have been at the helm of affairs of governing this country on aggregate, much longer than any other nationality in this union, on this tortuous journey of nationhood, which now appears progressively backward in favour of our founding fathers’ first republic positions and solutions.

Even when our country’s rulers had taken three steps forward and dozens backward, they are upset at the mere thought of restructuring into a new nation. To many Northerners, it’s a gong of disintegration! Don’t even sound it! They stood unrepentant of their prodigiously wasteful years but they are busy trading blames indicting others – anyone else but themselves.
In fact, they cherished the audacity to query unabashedly, the rights of the goose that lays the golden eggs. The wronged – Niger Deltan nation we have all robbed blind to sustain and maintain this flawed amalgamation! Blaming their wasteful tendencies is the worst of ingratitude – sickening and morally wrong and downright condescending.

Even though to whom much is given, obviously much more is desired. But such gratuitous insults, calling for accountability from the oppressed by the oppressors smacks of arrogance and reeks of insincerity. They are pointing fingers – unconsciously pointing back four fingers at themselves.
This is a clear case of pot calling the kettle black. But when cornered with superior submissions and presented with their privileges and antecedents, they are often seen withdrawn into offers of tokenism or begging the real issues by making consolatory offers in considerations. I screamed. Is a dead diplomatic-craft long since condemned into relics of history and stale diplomacy? They posit that we should keep the federation as it is now, but grudgingly conceded to power devolution belatedly.

They posit we should let there be constitutional amendments through the national assembly, where they are in schemed majority. Who is fooling who? If need be, only as a concessional token of appeasement to temper the heat from Southern agitators and worldwide cry. This is a studied case of the judge and jury in their own defence. I sort of enjoy their side of the story though. Human nature at work here folks, once reasoning is usually tainted, naturally coloured by one’s own convictions positions, background and foreground.

Understandably, that is too little and too late an offer to pacify a hurtful union but all that stands logic on its head. Besides, that in itself somewhat still has a dirty, master and servant rings around the collars of superiority on their toga of appeasement and superiority complex. Hopefully, the scales will soon fall off their eyes – dawn of global new movements on change. We must restructure into a better nation than this skewed geographical expression into a nation where rule of law reigns supreme.

Only then they will see clearly that the same blood that flows through their veins runs in circulation of other people’s heart beats. That the same sun that shines on their palaces and huts, hides not its face from other nationalities’ creeks and crevices in these strained union. The world is waiting for us to consolidate on true fiscal federalism and rule of laws to the letters. It is the reducible minimum in expectations of foreign investors on their money.
How do we extinguish or at least temper the reservations of our Northern brothers’ morbid fear without compromising the true spirit of true fiscal federalism to be realised? My heart bleeds on this note. They are somehow justifiably in a deep trance on such realities, though caused by their own doing. Yet, they are still snoring through the possibilities, advancing primordial, intrinsically poisoned reasons not to see reasons till the last drop of blood is shed on such volatile matters?

They bragged and whine on and on over the inconsequential – on why restructuring is a no-go-area with a degree of haughtiness. They dismissed the 2014 conference with inconsequential abandonment. In this digital age, they prefer us running on feudalism, favouritism and nepotism.
“Most part of the North is backward”, they lamented in the affirmative. Yes, I agreed but whose fault? The greater part of the South is developed, a fair judgment in comparison with our joint sweat and earnings in a combined North and South enterprises. He steadied his positions and opinion to my amazement. So, where is the equity in Southern demands on the North for our country to restructure now? Knowing the strength of the North is in these existing political structure and status-quo advantages; it is suicidal to surrender.

The unassailable fact in our situation is truly here stated and very much frightening: conventional war or any war at all, other than war of words to enshrine positive orders and the rule of law is tantamount to nothing but stoking the embers of disintegration. It is an all losers’ game and very expensive venture on the realm of lunacy.

Our country will suffer irreparably a la Ruwanda, Somalia and Syria. Allah forbids. War will set us back for decades and the wounds will never heal in this amalgamated land of distinguished nation states of proud ethnicity steeped in different faiths, diversity and varying exposures. I am sure majority will agree on this note. Nigerians, please, let us all wake up!

In fact mere mentioning of the word “restructuring” provokes such a passionate, deep seated anger from our Northern folks. They seem blinded to its merit and threatened on positive reasons. In fact, it ignites rabid and instant repulsion of the worst kind in most Northerners, no matter their faith, wealth and education or better yet, indoctrinations on assumptions decreed in faith to them. It’s just not it!

Here we are at a crossroads. The chicken is coming home to roost a hundred years late! Is it not about time? Northerners’ emotions are blindly charged on latent instincts of grand royal conquerors’ traits, powered somewhat by their accustomed to British divide and rule hangover of what could have been but there is no second chance on spilled water.

Whereas they have abused that which has been programmed ab initio by our colonisers in their favour, backed by Fulani conquerors victorious spirit and zeal of yore in their domain, not mine. But reality betrays such claim because all other tribes in Africa too, usually have one or other claims to royalty and to their faiths – blue blood – and such mundane claims run a dozen in our space. That’s our common denominator and the bane of Africa’s hegemonic tendencies and underdevelopment but we rarely invent anything tangible.

We like to revel in grandiosity of proud estimations of ourselves. It’s called feudal thinking. A backward legacy trounced in lateral thinking. The cold hard fact is that Nigeria is a union of nationalities ab initio but definitely, it is not anyone’s conquered ancestral estate. So, we had better bond together in this race of restructuring in everyone’s best interests with due respect fully accorded to all nationalities at the conference table.

Fellows, the above scenario is a rather vile indoctrinations, eclipsed in the fallacy of superiority complex, steeped in religious arrogance and undiluted assumptions full of wishful thinking, which runs in true royal blood but now checkmated in time – the arbiter of all matters and substances. That which has failed over the years, time after time. That which will continue to wither our best of potential and crash like deck of cards in time honoured leagues of achievers, when fate justifiably adjudicates on this mental undeclared war, either as perceived by unitary favoured governing disciples and we, the proponents of true fiscal federalism.

It’s time we let commonsense prevail. All heads must be put together to salvage our drowning country. Human nature flourishes on such luxury of assumptions and self-glorification as ordained by fate or as obtained since our amalgamation. The Northerners have been programmed to think it’s their birthright to rule or be seen to lead. Even if that is true and to a great extent in our country till today that is obtained, Northerners have been pampered, privileged and politically cushioned by the unitary system in operation for far disturbingly too long a time.

It is a very sad reality of our situation, but they failed miserably leaving the nation and themselves with little or nothing to show for such pride of place since independence. Why should the nation continue to live in such fantasy of delusion to please a few of us that have held us all backward, even when they are the worst hit or now in regrets for just power sake to soothe a few egos that are scripting such delusional thinking in this 21st century?

It’s nothing other than the premier position of our rulers and leaders: The Godfather of corruption in all its total ramifications to sustain such monstrous governments on free for few in favoured Bazaars. Knowing most states are not viable, most certainly we know that but each of our present six geopolitical zones would grow a great nation out of this miserable but viable potentially great zones in our country when we restructure.

Imagine all of them fused in fiscal federalism. We must be prepared and determined to work harder, strive thrice to thrive in times as people lagging behind are wont to, not just lounging away in champagne indulgence and carousing with women of easy virtue. When we should be burning midnight oil in this hopeless situations and very fierce competition should be in order amongst of the six zones.

The worst of Nigerian cultures – corruption, ethnicity, nepotism, greed-driven mediocrity – reigns supreme amongst all of the tribes in our country today. It’s high time we started revisiting these profound issues above. Greed of favoured few has ruined and wrecked the Niger Delta creeks and farming lands unquestioned by the dominant Northern oil barons. The North East stands ravaged by the Islamic war of Boko Haram, though we are seeing appreciable efforts on that. Congratulations to the president, Muhammadu Buhari.

The North West is backward in most indices of developments. The South Easterners are feeling alienated in their own country and their industrial potential stands arrested in this quagmire. The South-west that appeared surely well footed by geographical location and other blessings, values of our culture on education we have long invested and our potential human resources are waning, but we are equally corrupted by all Nigerian ills and our progress subtly earmarked for decimation in political gains and our muffled economy is a state agenda.

But we are best prepared to determine our own phase of progress in this union under true fiscal federalism. That remains our position. It is not too much to ask for. Now or never after a hundred years of coerced amalgamation since 1914, that couldn’t possibly be wrong. These are all the burning national issues that must be resolved and urgently addressed in a no winner, no vanquished conference table on restructuring.

That should begin to happen now – a marshal plan to the rescue on a 20-25 years oil-barter-plan to allay fear, reservations and strengthening the weakest chains in our union’s link remains a valid common sense option at the conference. After all, what is a quarter of a century in the life of a country? The fault lines in our nation’s tectonic seams are growing more pronounced these days and the citizenry is getting restless and insecure.

We need to move a critical mass of our people to think deep and we need to be influenced and be powered on positive thinking lane, plus lateral thinking be encouraged to negate established culture of our tones of idiosyncrasies and complacency, writhing in corruption and laziness politicians are wont to feed on. Here lie the challenges at hand. Nigeria must survive in all our common interest, not perpetually in the interest and advancement of negligible few Rankadedes!

Greater Nigeria needs to be born now. It’s high time a great movement for change was ignited and our present crop of politicians should be the first casualties of our freedom not leaders for selfish desires. The time is now. Our course is just and posterity will judge us all kindly. I humbly submit.

This piece is dedicated to the indefatigable memories of a true federalism icon, the late Sir Olaniwun Ajayi.

-Omisore wrote from Lagos

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The cold hard fact is that Nigeria is a union of nationalities ab initio but definitely, it is not anyone’s conquered ancestral estate. So, we had better bond together in this race of restructuring in everyone’s best interests with due respect fully accorded to all nationalities at the conference table