By Reno Omokri
By now you must have heard that a group of Northern Nigerian youths have issued an ultimatum to Ndi’Igbo resident in the North of Nigeria to quit the region in three months or face dire consequences.
The President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, handed down the ultimatum in company of his cohorts at a well attended conference the Arewa House, in Kaduna, on Tuesday June 6th, 2017.
This same Alhaji Yerima Shettima is also one of the mischievous individuals who, in an interview with the Sun Newspapers on Saturday June 3rd, 2017, falsely accused the acting President of appointing mostly his Yoruba kith and kin as well as members of his Redeemed Christian Church of God Family.
Said Yerima in that interview, “why should somebody, a professor of law, former commissioner, a pastor of a highly reputed church like the Redeemed Christian Church of God, will descend this low to appoint people from one side in a multi ethnic society?”
After the the acting President published his staff list to prove that Yerima’s allegations were false, Yerima and his band of fallacious rumour mangers did not think it wise to apologize.
And this is the character that has given what in essence is a quit notice to people who have only added value to the economy of the North in the decades that they have lived there.
What many Nigerians have not noticed in the whole melee is that the press conference where Igbos were asked to quit the North was held at Arewa House.
If Nigeria had a perspicacious press (thank God for THISDAY that tries) the media would have dug into how the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum was able to secure such a venue with its strong ties to the Kaduna State Government in particular and the nineteen Northern States in general.
To those who do not know what Arewa House is, go and research it. It is almost impossible to hold a press conference at Arewa House without the knowledge of the Kaduna State Government. Is someone flying a kite?
Could Alhaji Yerima Shettima have been flying a kite to gauge the response of the Nigerian public to the inner intents of the hearts of his sponsors?
This antic, coming so soon after the very successful sit at home order by Nnamdi Kanu which paralyzed economic activities in the Southeast on the 30th of May, 2017, cannot be a coincidence!
Could it be that someone somewhere is rattled by the feat Nnamdi Kanu pulled off and wants to counter with their own response?
Yes, many leading lights of the North including the Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, have ‘condemned’ Yerima and even called for his arrest, but talk is cheap and getting cheaper by the day in Nigeria.
How Alhaji Yerima Shettima and his cohorts are treated following their misadventure will determine to a large extent whether what we have just witnessed from him is a case of the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau!
That being said, In 2015, Nnamdi Kanu was jailed by the Buhari administration for two years and charged with treason because he called for an independent state of Biafra. In 2005, Asari Dokubo was jailed for two years by the Obasanjo administration and charged with treason because he called for self determination of the Niger-Delta. In 1993 and 1996 the Abacha administration jailed Gani Fawehinmi for months and charged him with treasonable offenses (holding a political rally against the government). Nigerians are waiting to see if the same treatment will be meted out to Alhaji Yerima Shettima, President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, who has also committed an act of treason by declaring war on Nigerian citizens of Southeast origin when he and his group ordered them to leave Northern Nigeria. If he is treated with kid gloves then we will know that President Buhari meant what he said about treating 97 percenters differently from 5 percenters.
How South Africa must be laughing at us for condemning their xenophobia when we practice an even worse xenophobia Internally in Nigeria!
If you want to show you have influence, do not give ultimatums. Simply declare your own sit at home and see if people obey you like Kanu was obeyed. Leadership is influence. If you have to threaten people to show your influence, then you have no influence. Those with influence do not threaten. Influence is when people willingly obey you even when you have no position, no money and no army. Influence is when people obey you because they believe in you.
Anybody that denies the fact that Nigeria needs restructuring is living in a fools paradise. Open your eyes! A young Igbo man without any formal authority gave a directive and the entire Southeast of Nigeria was shut down!
Last Independence Day, according to Google analytics, more Nigerians followed the Platform Speech of Peter Obi than the Independence Day broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nationwide, Fulani herdsmen are killing mostly Christians with impunity yet it is IPOB members who are not killing anyone that our military are sent after. And Nigeria, the leading nation in West Africa, boycotted an ECOWAS meeting just because Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu was there! Can’t you see what is happening here? If we do not reform Nigeria, Nigeria will keep getting deformed.
And our system has gotten so deformed to the extent that the Buhari administration no longer feels ashamed to lie!
The other day, on Tuesday the 6th of June, 2017, Presidential spokesman (spooksman?), Femi Adesina had the guts to say that President Muhammadu Buhari only Kade three promises to Nigerians during the 2015 Presidential campaigns.
His exact words were “what are the promises the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari made before they came into power? Of course, they were three. The campaign was on three major planks: secure the country, fight corruption and restore the economy. And two years down the line, I can confidently say that those promises are being fulfilled.”
What a big lie!
The ironic thing is that on the same day Femi was lying to the Sun, Boko Haram was carrying out a daring raid on, wait for it, Maiduguri!
They were not raiding some backwater village, they were raiding the Borno state capital! After shooting at citizens and entering the city, they boldly went to Giwa barracks and engaged the army in a shoot out!
Femi Adesina and his master have just proven one thing to be true which is this: When a man is desperate for sex or for votes, do not trust what he says because he will say anything to get both of them. Instead of trusting what he says, look at his past.
Take Donald J. Trump for example. He has spent his life creating jobs. Is it any surprise then that four months after he was sworn in the US has its lowest unemployment since 2001? Take Muhammadu Buhari for example. He has never succeeded in any of his private businesses. Is it a coincidence then that Nigeria went into recession just months after he was sworn in? Can you give what you do not have? Focus on what cannot lie. This is the lesson that Nigeria has to learn ahead of 2019.
But back to the issue. That Nigeria badly needs reform is obvious. Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s morganatic wife has said as much in public much to the dismay of her achievements challenged consort who has announced to all who care to follow that her audacity has earned her “other room” arrest!
The question is no longer whether we will reform Nigeria. The question is who will reform Nigeria? For sure, President Buhari will not do it. He has already indicated that his future ambition is to consign the report of the 2014 National Conference to the dustbin!
You see, Nigeria needs reform and only one person has been consistent in advocating and promoting the type of reform Nigeria needs to get out of the cesspit that Muhammadu Buhari has put her in.
Bola Tinubu had been championing structural reform and preaching true federalism for decades, but when he finally saw an avenue to power through Muhammadu Buhari, he jettisoned his almost life long principles and fought against the 2014 National Conference, the very thing he had been calling for, dismissing it with the question “National conference is by whom, for whom, and at what stage? How many level of deception?”
Only former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been consistently supporting these ideas. He has pushed for true federalism, arguing that that is the only way Nigeria can thrive. And I must say that his prompt response in condemning the Igbo quit notice by Yerima and his band of sectionalists has endeared me to Atiku.
And he is living proof of the fallacy that true federalism will impoverish Northern Nigeria.
Atiku Abubakar is the largest employer of labour in Adamawa state, employing more people than the state government. However, not one of his multi faceted business interests depends on the state.
He is into agriculture all the way through the value chain. He is into education, he is into port logistics and he is into manufacturing.
With or without the monthly federal allocation paid to Adamawa state, Atiku’s business will continue to thrive.
If one man, Atiku Abubakar can achieve this, why can’t a state, a region or a country?
The yearly budget for Atiku’s American University of Nigeria in Yola compares favorably with the budgets of many Nigerian states. And the beauty of this is that the student body cuts across Nigerians regions, religions abs ethnicities.
You see, in 2019, only a Northerner can convincingly make the argument that Nigeria needs to reform on the basis of true federalism and merit because the North will be suspicious of any such argument from a Southerner and it is certain that Muhammadu Buhari would never make that argument. He is as status quo as they come.
As 2019 approaches, the usual suspects who have fed on the status quo will begin to retool their arguments against Atiku in the media, but the man is the most investigated man in Nigeria alive today. Surely, if there was evidence to back up their claims, it would have come out by now!
And not only has Atiku demonstrated through his personal life that he has fidelity to the principles of reform which he preaches, he has actually enhanced the reform movement in government.
Almost all the people in Nigeria’s public life that we know to be reform minded were recruited by Atiku. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nasir El-Rufai (who betrayed him, but then, who has El-Rufai not betrayed?) and others I would not want to mention were recruited by Atiku into the Obasanjo administration.
And now let me talk about Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, a man I personally knew during my first stint at Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
Onukaba died on the 6th of March, 2017 as he returned from Abeokuta after attending former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 80th birthday party.
Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo did not go for and neither was he returning from an Atiku function when he had the encounter with robbers that led to his death. In fact, he had traveled for the 80th birthday of Atiku’s arch foe.
After his death, the person who he had gone to honor did not even pause from his celebrations to issue a statement after Ojo’s death and his world just moved on.
But Atiku did not move on. He mobilized mutual friends and held a memorial for Adinoyi at which he first eulogized him the best endowed an education fund for the late journalist’s children with a substantial sum of his own money.
Ironically, the man who most feeds this false narrative of Atiku as tainted was the person whom Ojo had just visited to celebrate with him on his birthday. It is this same man who carried on as if nothing happened after Ojo died on his return journey. It was the man who he regularly attacks that did the honorable thing.
President Obasanjo waited until he was attacked in the media for his callousness before issuing a grudging condolence nine days after Onukaba’s death!
So I ask you, who between the duo of Obasanjo and Atiku is really the villain?
If Ndi’Igbo and Omo Oduduwa are tired of being played against each other and want to chart a new and better course for their future and their children’s future, they should look no further than their in law (Atiku is in-law to both the Yoruba and Igbos).
Don’t marry a slay queen, marry a pray queen because you can’t slay life’s challenges with beauty but you can with prayer. If the pray queen can slay, all the better for you, but the priority is pray not slay. And, marry someone that will compensate for your weaknesses instead of marrying someone that will complain about your weaknesses. And finally, look for happy, positive people and befriend them. Attitudes are contagious. You will act like the people you hang out with #RenosNuggets
Reno Omokri is a Christian TV talk show host and founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center and the Helen and Bemigho Sanctuary for orphans. He is the author of three books, Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God, Why Jesus Wept and Apples of Gold: A Book of Godly Wisdom. His upcoming fourth book, Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies, is set for release in June.