Memo to El Rufai: A Prologue

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AKIN OSUNTOKUN: DIALOGUE WITH NIGERIA

 Let me begin with the acknowledgement that the ruling political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has finally picked up the gauntlet of a commitment it made in its manifesto to the restoration of true federalism in Nigeria. In tandem, I equally seize this opportunity to commend my brother, the governor of Kaduna state, for his tour de force encapsulation of virtually all the ramifications to the restructuring of Nigeria debate at his outing at the Chatham house, London ( in his capacity as the chair of the APC committee on restructuring). In making this commendation, I have dutifully cautioned myself against the perils of premature applause. As with many things Nigerian there is the ever present probability of a promising beginning maturing into the anti-climax of an elephant giving birth to a mouse.

Nigeria has endured so long on the philosophical undercurrent of the “muddling through” logic supplemented with the defiance of the Praetorian Guard defenders of the post-civil war definition of Nigerian nationalism. The most visible personification of this category of defenders is the duo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari. In a recent polemical outburst, the former recently upped his defiance to the level of questioning the validity of ‘true federalism’. The open secret is the father-son relationship I enjoyed with him and it is a tribute to his patriarchal accommodation that he values my company notwithstanding our opposing ideological polarity on the utility of restructuring. The disposition is reciprocal. I have an almost elastic understanding and tolerance of his idiosyncrasies often at the expense of the exasperation and consternation of intimates who view him from a more detached standpoint. I am imposing this personal jive because the Obasanjo personality is crucial to the understanding of the complexity of Nigerian politics and the restructuring debate in particular; remember he took the surrender of Biafra in 1970. Another crucial figure who similarly looms large is the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Relatively speaking, the pre 1966 Nigerian military was a professionally inclined nationalist institution. And this virtue was substantially attributable to the fact that the independence constitution virtually rendered the military of no consequence to the political fortunes of any political party or region. Indeed, the military amounted to so little in political calculations that the Western region was completely oblivious to its minimal representation in the Nigerian army. It was a rude awakening for the region when it was caught flat footed in the post 1966 ‘power flows from the barrel of gun’ politics-so much so that it became hostage to the prospect of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea, between the protective custody of either the Northern or Eastern region. And the Yoruba in me would not allow me to go further without making the observation that the supreme irony of the civil war was that the subsequent crash course creation of a Yoruba segment of the Nigerian army, the Third marine commando, proved to be the most potent fighting force unit of the federal army.

After 1966, the Nigerian army effectively transformed into the political instrument of enforcing the Nigerian vision of the victorious party in the balance of terror contest between the opposing coup makers of January and July 1966. In the fluidity and volatility of the antecedence to the civil war, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had to make a close call and the choice he ultimately made had the unintended consequence of legitimatizing the Nigerian vision and ideology that crystallized from the civil war. Central to this vision was the acceptance of the outcome of the civil war as the unyielding definition of the unity of Nigeria to which all else must be subordinated and sacrificed, including, especially, federalism.

Extrapolating from the lessons of January 1966, it would be asking too much of the North (the dominant conservative Islamic wing of the Northern political establishment), for it not to adopt the strategy of aiming for a position of permanent political advantage in Nigeria going forward. To the extent that this position is not consistent with relatively egalitarian begetting federalism, is the extent to which the North cannot be realistically expected to readily support fulsome reparation to federalism. Thus, emerging from the civil war, it was only the Northern region fraction of the Nigerian political elite that had a clear vision of its Nigerian agenda (Vis a Vis the other regions).

Mainly on account of a puzzling mystical belief in his manifest destiny to rule Nigeria, Awolowo was prone to remarkable political naivety that does no credit to his otherwise formidable intellect and strength of character. And it will require a generous suspension of critical judgment to absolve him of putting the cart of his Presidential ambition before the horse of commitment to federalism guaranteed political equality and parity in post-civil war Nigeria. After the war, If Awolowo had made the objective of sustaining federalism and political parity the core issue, the probability is that we will not be here 47 years later begging to be rescued from the underdevelopment conundrum of the extant mockery of federalism. Under similar duress, the Yoruba power elite reenacted the same mistake in 1998/99. In fairness, Awolowo might have projected that the fulfillment of his anticipated ascendance to the Nigerian presidency would afford him the best opportunity to redirect Nigeria back to federalism. Very much the same logic won the day in the Afenifere caucus 28 years later-of aiming to reform Nigeria through participation in a skewed and suspect arrangement rather than insist on restructuring as condition precedent.

In swaying a decisive Yoruba collaboration in levying the civil war, it was correct political permutation to expect that the Northern dominated federal government would feel indebted to Awolowo and hence support his political aspiration to govern Nigeria. Where Awolowo got it wrong was the failure to recognize the realpolitik that such a support would be conditional on his willingness to serve as proxy for Northern hegemony (or what is often dressed up as political flexibility) which unfortunately he was not disposed to do. In this regard, the political failure of Awolowo is the symbolic representation of the near insurmountable political challenge of any egalitarian struggle to redress the political imbalance inherent in the constitutional status quo.

To the consternation of many compatriots, I will reiterate that the problem with Nigeria is not so much the proprietary Northern hegemony, it is the gross abuse and mismanagement of such to the existential detriment of us all that has become desperately intolerable (refer for instance to the present Ibe Kachikwu lamentation at the NNPC). Northern hegemony does not have to be inconsistent nor at odds with the growth and development of Nigeria. After all, the hegemony was implicit in the British supervised independence constitution-in consonance with the bias of the departing colonialists. The material and consequential mitigation was the constitutional safe guard of federalism-with the practical purpose of minimizing the latitude of the federal government to constitute a cog in the wheel of progress of the component regions. If Nigeria is not rapidly regressing towards a failed state, the hegemony may not even be recognizable to any but the skeptical discernment of vocational and professional investigator of Nigerian politics.

To preempt any terminological ambiguity I need to clarify that Northern hegemony does not equate a President of Northern origin, it only implies that the political pace of Nigeria, for good and bad is dictated by the region. As a matter of fact, the most successful manager and prosecutor of this phenomenon is not a Northerner, it is Olusegun Obasanjo, who manages to disguise and deploy it as a nationalist ideology that, at an irreducible minimum level, can demonstrably foster the political stability and development of Nigeria. So far, it seems as if this skill is unique to him-suggesting that without a leadership of his description, Nigeria is bound to failure. The question then arise, will Nigeria’s salvation now be predicated on the replication of Obasanjo or any other individual? Since many Nigerians will be offended by a thesis of Obasanjo’s messianism, let me quickly suggest that he can be substituted with any other figure that captures the fancy but the argument remains that you do not predicate the viability of a nation on the expectation of the tailor to fit leadership.

Unlucky is the land without a hero and unhappy is the society that is in need of one, says Berthold Brecht. The genius of the German muse is his acknowledgement of heroic leadership as only a providential good fortune and not a necessity and it is thereby a fundamental non-starter to tie the prospects of a nation to the hope of a steady flow of good leadership-which brings us back to the argument that the problem of Nigeria is structural not elusive good leadership. And as I have severally argued, this is also the position of science-which anticipates the worst not the best case scenario-that while we hope for the best we should anticipate the worst. In medical science, prevention, immunization, inoculation and vaccination are all prioritized over cure.

I will conclude by drawing attention to the recently published position paper of Pastor Tunde Bakare. It is unique in the respect that it goes beyond making an eloquent case for restructuring to respond to the realpolitik fears and anxieties of those who, in the drive towards equity, may, potentially, experience a short term material shortfall.

“The ten-year window being proposed is meant to cater for the concerns of parts of the country where the notion of restructuring is opposed due to perceived economic disadvantages. Within the ten-year period, the six zones would have been aided to develop areas of comparative advantage. Therefore, in the interest of sustainable economic development over the next ten years, we propose a zonal economicmaster plan, and coordinate federal and state efforts towards transitioning into zonal economies within ten years, thereby harnessing the comparative resources of each zone to achieve globally competitive economies of scale and scope”.

  • Mr. Wilson

    A very good article that would have been educative if written in ‘simple english’.

    You were trying too hard with your grammar and choice of words.

    • Gary

      Mr. Wilson, I don’t see the Justice in your suggestion, which mirrors that of Tunde Bakare, El-Rufai’s pastor pal, that the region the region that has mostly financed the Nigerian union for half a century, should carry that burden until its oil resource loses its value in the world market.
      You and others want to milk the cow until it stops producing milk then you turn to exploiting your own resources like VAT and Solid Minerals by and for yourselves. And that seems fair to you, Akin and Bakare with this kite you have recently begun to fly. Really?
      When last did any of you visit the Niger Delta to see, not visit the State Governors and the local fat cats who live in affluent GRAs but the indigenes and rural communities of the region? The only light they see at night comes from the refineries burning gas and spewing sulphur into the sky.

      Please take a trip to Oloibiri, where Oil was first struck in 1957 and anywhere from Ogoniland to Tompolo’s people in Gbaramatu.
      You can even go to Jonathan’s village, Otuoke, to see how much they fared from his Presidency.

      Then come back and try, in good conscience, to argue that these people should not be availed of the benefits of their resource to develop and build a sustainable economy away from oil.

      Of course the default argument is that the leaders of the region have mostly stolen and mismanaged the little they were allocated by the self-appointed federal “Trustees”. But the profligacy of a prodigal son does not justify taking his inheritance away from him and distributing to strangers.

      • Mr. Wilson

        I understand you very much, cos I’m also from an oil producing state. But half bread is better than none. The north seems to be so afraid of a Nigeria without the southern oil, and because of that the whole country is being held back from progressing under a better structure of governance.

        Even in Ogoni land, there are other mineral resources apart from oil that can be developed by the state government, but they are unable to do that because of our overbearing central government.

        We can pacify the vulnerable states to agree to true and fiscal federalism, by assuring them they will not be impoverished by the immediate removal of oil revenues flowing into their states. We can even keep the current sharing arrangement for oil revenue for the next 15 years while every state start developing their own mineral and human resources.

        This is just my opinion, I want the best for our country.

  • Mystic mallam

    Akin Osuntokun, we all, lovers of Nigeria need you to focus on the path of freedom, that is, the path of truth. More importantly, Nigeria needs the truth you tell to view the handwriting on the wall, to save itself from extinction. Unfortunately, those who should read and listen to you are too engrossed in the convenience of their own propaganda. But the struggle must continue. I am with you.

  • RumuPHC

    A failed attempt to promote the idea of “restructuring ” over the need for good leadership as solution to the burning question of Nigeria of our dreams.

    Apparently Akin Osuntokun is rewriting history to fit his thoughts and position on the way forward for Nigeria. Unfortunately this known brilliant writer and public issue commentators seem to have forgotten that history is normally gleaned from what we can unearth from records kept by those that existed in the past. Most prominent actors and participants in the proceedings of the country pre and post independence keep one form of journal or the other.

    Two principal characters in Akin’s narrative actually wrote a lot on Nigeria . Awo and Obasanjo did their best to express their opinions about Nigeria in volumes of written works. Of all literary works, Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country succinctly surmarised the tumultuous era of nationhood especially on how things went wrong including an impactful parting word from a great man who had seen it all . All contributors were for building a more perfect federal system .

    None of these individuals toyed with the idea of return of the country to any regional structure. The reason for this is as clear as 7 up: they lived the time and experienced the calamitous failure of ethnic based government in a largely illiterate nation. Interestingly all of them insisted that leadership is the problem.

    Akin actually use to belong to this school of thought until recent. In all his contributions since the era of military as a brilliant columnist for the Guardian up to 2015, Akin’s was on change of leadership from military to democracy, for OBJ and later as president. Akin Osuntokun never seriously promoted a ” restructuring ” of Nigeria during all these periods including his tenure in the administrations of OBJ and GEJ. So what has changed?

    Like many that parroting ” restructuring ” , the game changer and opium for this irresponsible chant is the 2015 elections and the man Buhari.

    The question therefore is: irrespective of the urgent need to institute reforms in governance of Nigeria , should the outcome of a single election including the perception and perhaps antics of a tenured president provoke a serious fundamental alteration in the current structure of the country especially back into a structure that failed woefully in the past?

    Isn’t it easier to change the administration and aim to get the best from the current structure which has endured much more abuses but still kept the nation one?

    Truth be told , and for the purpose of argument, those seeking for a regional structure wish for a break-up of Nigeria. Many of these people know this while others are simply sentimental. If this being the case why then should we be having a discussion on an issue that bears no good for the people of Nigeria , ultimately.

    Which ever the way the matter is considered , a nation , at this present time in Africa, built on large ethnic blocks as federating units is untenable. Such structure will only empower these ethnic groups to promote their interests above the national interest . Understandably , a nation of people without national interest is no nation.

    Last and very important ,if we must continue this madness and pursue a solution for our current problems based on the need for ethnic based regional governments , let people like Akin Osuntokun put out a document on their proposal. How many regions ; where are the regional capitals ; how is the regional government to be ; what issues will be devolved to the regions . Essentially we’ ve had enough of rhetoric from both sides , it’s time we had a structured discussion.

  • FrNinja

    Nigeria will not restructure because its elite have never been committed to all their various lame attempts at economic diversification but to sharing the largesse of oil money. So its government is destined to go bankrupt then just like in the 1980s with “structural adjustment” external advisors will condition an economic rescue plan on “restructuring”. For now the British are watching APC’s restructuring committees with amusement and granting them audience to display their thorough lack of insincerity at places like Chatham House. The Americans with their typically brute frankness are conducting scenario planning on the possibility of a collapse of Nigeria by 2030.

    For most Nigerians they have already restructured their lives around the failure of government so a collapse will not be as dire as people think. What is certain is that it will decimate the formal sector as SAP did in the 1980s and 1990s and it will provide windows of opportunity for aggrieved groups to finally climb out of the federation.

  • Gary

    Akin, I’m afraid that you might not be eating at Otta anytime soon since Baba OBJ is not likely to take kindly to your stating such inconvenient truths about his career and attitude to Nigeria.
    There’s no better fitting Epitaph for him than that Olusegun Aremu Mathew (I know he now disavows his given name) Obasanjo, exact date of birth unknown, the Best President the North ever gave Nigeria.

    The Northerners made him by giving him Benjamin Adekunle’s Third Marine Command just in time for him to opportunitistically accept Biafra’s surrender.
    He then became a beneficiary and eternal advocate of ethnic quotas when the Northerners who overthrew Yakubu Gowon made him second in the hierarchy of the Murtala Muhammad regime. He escaped Bukar Dimka’s murderous coup bid and overcame his expressed initial fears to dutifully implement the hegemonic agenda of the Muhammad regime. Right up to enduring that a Shehu Shagari, a Sokoto Prince and not Awolowo, his Yoruba kinsman, succeeded the departing military in 1979.
    Obasanjo laid low and said very little as Nigeria drifted from Shagari back to military rule again under Muhammadu Buhari, his junior he had entrusted with the Governorship of the former Northeastern State and later Commissioner of Petroleum; under whose watch we had the controversy over the missing $2.8billion from the coffers of the NNPC. Funny how money has always gone missing under Buhari’s watch but he’s fabled integrity is left untouched. I digress.
    Obasanjo has milked his unAfrican act of handing over to civilian rule to position himself as an international statesman and even flirted with the idea of becoming Africa’s first UN Secretary General, until Wole Soyinka, his irrepressible antagonist and kinsman, took the sails out of that effort by publicly opppsing him.
    After a few potshots in his love-hate relationship with Babangida, Obasanjo next major intervention on behalf of his career sponsors was to acquiesce to IBB’s annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections won by his Ogun kinsman MKO Abiola. While the Yoruba and pro-democracy activists fought the annulment, Obasanjo sided with his (Northern) military constituency behind the annulment and the sham arrangement for an Interim National Government under Ernest Shonekan, an Egba kinsman and the last endorsement Abiola had sought (I dare Chief Shonekan to deny it) on the eve of announcing his candidacy for President.
    The only Northern-led regime Obasanjo ever opposed was Sani Abacha’s for reasons still unknown to us. And he came close to getting killed for it by Abacha who also had his friend Shehu Musa Yar Adua poisoned to death in detention.
    It took an international campaign by pro-democracy activists and the yeoman’s effort of the now-deceased Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo to save OBJ from execution. The same activists he had mocked and disparaged for standing up for Abiola’s mandate.
    It was to Obasanjo that Abdulsalam Abubakar, IBB’s cousin, was to turn to as place-holder and to compensate the Yoruba got mandate of Abiola after the latter conveniently died on the eve of his purported release from detention. Again, OBJ would reap what others had sown, courtesy of his Northern sponsors with whom he had entered into a secret pact about tenure and the spoils of power.
    Though he did not fully abide by the pact by his shock retirements of (mostly Northern) military officers involved in politics and going beyond the agreed one term, OBJ nevertheless did not rock the boat and has never challenged the hegemony of the North since July 1966.
    This long narrative should help put Obasanjo’s place and role in Nigeria’s blighted history in in proper perspective. So his views and interventions in public discourse will be truly understood. Any talk of Restructuring for him and his cadre of militarists in Nigeria, is a repudiation of all that they have advocated and engineered as the Nigeria of their dreams.

    • William Norris

      OBJ is a CIA agent. It’s a question of joining the dots using common sense. Abacha was a Manager who staged a hostile takeover of an Anglo-Saxon corporation called Nigeria. That’s why OBJ opposed him.

      Abacha publicly called OBJ a foreign agent.

      OBJ said Abacha’s main offense was trying to personalize a joint enterprise.

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/1999/03/nig-m17.html

  • Jon West

    Akin Osuntokun, you always hit the nail on the head , even if the blow is delivered at a tangent. As an Igbo and a perennial victim of Nigerias descent to political, social and economic anomie ,in the mist of a surfeit of resources, I cannot fathom the obsession of the Yoruba elite with always taking the wrong turn at every political crossroads that have been encountered by the Nigerian conundrum of a nation. Why are your people so politically opportunistic, this, in spite of real intellect and a global worldview?

    Can you please allow me to regress to Babalawo thinking and blame it all on the gene of Afonja and the curse of Aalafin Aole after he was forced to commit ritual suicide by the Oyo Mesi, the Yoruba Parliament. I must apologise for this regressive thinking, but I am at my wits end to explain the continous snatching of defeat from the jaws of success by succcesive Yoruba political tendencies; from Awolowo, to Obasanjo and now Tinubu/Wole Soyinka. What the hell is going on my dear brother in the Zoo? What the hell is going on with the Yoruba political elite? You were on the victorious side in the Biafran War for Gods sake. Stand for something for once!!!

    • Iskacountryman

      they stand with us….understand the equation…

    • power

      I have questions for the IBOS here on this forum. WHY DON’T YOU ALL INVEST HEAVILY IN YOUR STATES?? WHY DO YOU ALL HAVE GREAT INVESTMENTS IN OTHER STATES/AREAS OF NIGERIA, BUT YOU HARDLY INVEST IN YOUR STATES?? Can An Ibo person give me an HONEST, Brilliant and clear answers? Please, I do not want rhetorics and innuendos.

      • Jon West

        Thank you. I am always ready to educate the Nigerian. Actually the Igbos are the only Nigerians who invest only in their own area. I mean real investment , not the artifacts of development, but the real deal. Geometric Power of Barth Nnaji is in Aba, Innosson is in Nnewi, Ibeto Industries is in Nnewi, Dubic Breweries, Premier Breweries and the best hospital in West Africa, ObyJackson Hospital in Okija, owned by Nestoil, are all in the Southeast. Remember Onwuka Hitech, the pioneer computerized parts manufacturing company in West Africa, located in Aba?

        When other Nigerians are talking about investments, you are really talking about houses, mercantile businesses like Coscharis and Ernesto Foods selling commodities to you people in other parts of Nigeria. Nestoil has the best office complex in Nigeria on Victoria Island, but his hospital and proposed power plant are in his village, Okija. Real estate and mercantilist investments are not real investments .
        The Lebanese, Chinese, Jews and the Igbo are guilty of this investment strategy that presents them as people who do not invest at “home”. However, their strategic industries are really at “home”. Do not worry, my dear brother of the Zoo, just go to a typical Igbo village in Anambra Imo, Abia, Enugu an Ebonyi State, and you will know that your type of development (real estate) is oversubscribed in those places. Cry not for the Igbo; cry for thyself who do not invest either at “home” or abroad, among the Igbo. Hope you are better educated now!!!

        • power

          You never disappoint me. God bless the woman who gave birth to you.

          • Jon West

            Amen, even though she has gone to be with God.

          • power

            May God rest her soul

        • Grelia O

          Agu eji eje mba! Nna gi muru gi!!

      • Elenugboro

        Sorry bro, you wont get any intelligent or coherent answer from them. You will only get silly answers. For example out of all the companies listed and celebrated as strategic how many people do they provide employment to. Let me be extremely generous and hazard a guess of at most ten thousand people, but compare these to millions who are making a living, surviving and thriving especially in Yoruba land. So tell me who are the real opportunists.

        • power

          Okay. Thanks

    • obinnna77

      Petropatriotism is what they stand for, like the rest of the Niger-arean elite.

    • Fowad

      Jon, Yoruba are the solution not the problem. In fact, they are the victims of geography. They are not so showy but get the job done. They believe in egalitarian ideals and very accommodating too. I’m not surprised that Buhari finds Osinbajo so easy to deal with. That is what you get with Yoruba, obedient and respectful. Buhari will soon kick off with his campaign and he will need Osinbajo very badly. It is sad that some Yoruba are behaving like rogues on the political scene. I believe somebody will talk sense into their heads soon and they will see reason

      • Jon West

        The Yorubas are the solution and they get the job done ? I and Akin Osuntokun must be living on a different planet from you. Why is Akin, a proud Yoruba man begging to differ from you? Facts are facts, my dear person.

        At every crossroads in Nigerian history, the Yoruba have always taken the opportunistic turn and that says a lot about them, from 1967 to 2015. Akin knows that and that is the subject of this article. As for getting the job done , I wonder what the job is? If it is progress and development , then again , we are living on different planets. The Nigeria that the Yorubas helped create in 1967-1970 and beyond, is a failed state and that is not getting the job done. Whatever you imbibed before this post, please stop it henceforth. You appear more intelligent than this post portrays.

        • Grelia O

          “The Nigeria that the Yorubas helped create in 1967 – 1970 and beyond, is a failed state and that is not getting the job done.”
          This statement is the summary of modern Nigeria, post First Republic Nigeria. To think that the brain behind that campaign, the man that financially micro-managed it without borrowing a penny, was cerebral Awolowo is baffling. How could he have lacked the foresight to see the future he was creating for his Yoruba nation viz-a-viz where it was on the even of state creation? Instant gratification and personal ambition, pure and simple.
          If Igbos suffer because they opposed Gowon’s brand of unitary economy, what did Yorubas gain or are gaining from joining the North to oppose fiscal federalism? This is the worst type of unforced error.

    • RealityCheck

      But mainstream Yoruba politic had always been the perennial opposition player until yesterday… !
      At least commend them for that.
      It’s still morning on creation day for who’s now playing the opposition and the outcry is deafening.
      That said, your tone this time around is without its off-putting signature toxic veneer.
      You don’t win over a would be potential fighter to your struggle by condescending his idiosyncrasies no matter how warped. Have you forgotten the time worn saying? Stooping to conquer? Or the biblical Pauline ideologue of “unto the Jew I became a Jew that I may gain the Jews? It could be you subscribe to another philosophy in this regard of which I’m ignorant.

      • Jon West

        Its quite interesting that you mentioned the Jews, my favorite example of the power of ethnic hatred and spite. The Jews became Germans but failed to gain any Germans or any other Gentile group for that matter in all thier checkered an sad history.
        That is what I tell my people , the Igbo. No need to become anyone in order to gain them, because you will never gain them. Therefore protect yourself and be ready to give more than you get. That is the secret of survival in a hate-filled environment. No need for platitudes. Fact, fact and more fact!!!

        • RealityCheck

          Implicit in your response is this: that you are ready to settle for mere survival in this hate-filled contraption! Is that it, JW? All along I was under the mistaken belief you wanted out. Then by all means, continue ad-infinitum on the path. It’s the perfect recipe for going nowhere…
          Obviously devoting precious energy towards an handshake across the Niger with like-minds on the other side is a big NO-NO, hence, that option remains foreclosed. Continue the vituperation… At least I’m deriving amusement and entertainment value.

          • Jon West

            Enjoy yourself. You have to survive first in order to achieve anything, so there you are. As for the famed handshake accross the Niger, well, it has failed serially from UPGA, Aburi, Biafra et al due to the inability of one of the potential partners to stand for anything for any length of time. Men repeat history and then blame history for repeating itself. Hope you have been entertained enough.

  • obinnna77

    In a seminar I conducted last year, a student said that North America was lucky in the hegemony of WASPs, asked us to picture the USA, if another ethnicity had built and oversaw it. Not very p.c for a top tier Occidental university. Point was taken,however. Every political tendency has a dominant faction, to whose proclivities the other subordinate tendencies are tied, for better or worse.
    A point buttressed by Akin. However, Akin would have us disregard the negativities of our own neo-feudal internal imperium, and focus on who tried to achieve progress inspite of aforementioned negativities. Oxymoronic. Optimists, utopians can prognosticate all they like: The stark reality is that the denizens of the area of the Niger are all going to be dumbed down to serfdom, no matter their prior attainments.You can argue that Awolowo threw away the incredible attainments of 60-66 in the West; defend if you can, Asiwaju’s no less incredible fixation on the presidency. Serfdom it is, for one and all, until the Crude oil that pays for the instruments of coercion, the glue that binds this imperium, looses value.
    El Rufai? Obviously, you have not closely followed his antecedents. Make hay, Akin, while the petrodollar sun shines. Petro-patriotism- apologies, W. Norris, is the way to go.

    • Iskacountryman

      my dear son…crude oil would not lose value in your lifetime…the buyers would change obviously…

      • obinnna77

        Fula, pray you become properly sedentary and start exporting Isi ewu and fura. Feudalism will wane with Oil.

  • Olufemi Bello

    I’m with you.

  • Fowad

    “Zonal economic master plan”. I thought that was the reason why Buhari came into office. To revolutionise the Nigerian economy in that direction.

  • Darcy

    I apologise for the offence I’m about to give.

    1. Bar the generation whose pettiness left the region incapable of effective resistance in the wake of the colonial onslaught, has there ever been a generation as useless as as the Nigerian 50s-80s set???

    2. The aforementioned uselessness, at everything, whether nation-building, economic development or even the simple cessation of pettiness which consigned their generational competitors to the colonialist boot, raises the obvious question, why in God’s name and for what reason other than the narcissistic selfishness of the suicidal do you people keep trying to tinker? Have you not overseen enough damage?

    To the topic at hand, which I will reframe as a question of If Nigerian Millenials, who mind you are this nation’s majority should entrust our future to the hands of our elders?

    The only solution that has seemingly entranced you all is restructuring towards a Federal System, fine so far, but it becomes frightening when the debate is constantly being framed in terms of ethnicity and regions, with the constant allusions to the disastrous First Republic.

    That era has passed!

    It’s no longer about regions and ethnic groups, but about cities and hinterlands. FULL STOP.

    The policy arena of the future will definitely revolve around “mega-cities” mostly coastal and Southern, but arguably soon to be dominated by “foreign ethnic groups”…one only need look to South-South cities where Igbos are becoming the majority to have an understanding of the future.

    We can either stick our heads in the sand trying to recreate an imagined past or face the future. For starters what can we do to make Lagos livable in 25 years, which considering the tax potential of Lagos, should be a top priority. We could do that, or be confronted by a stratified future of poverty and disease, Rio on steroids across our Southern coast, except of course with the heady mix of tribalism which your generation is trying ohh so very hard to pass down to us.

    P.S The future will likely be multipolar, dominated by ethnic nationalists; we can either begin to prep for a return to the power politics of old, by expanding our frontiers via ECOWAS or we can continue to be unambitious.

    My retort as always is that “Restructuring outwards” is the only way we survive. Of course I can understand that seeing as most of your generation will be grey by then, y’all would rather engage in ethnic dick measuring. Fine, I’ll settle it, from my observation at Federal boarding school, the Yoruba and Igbo man are tied, the rest of y’all can take comfort in the fact that size only matters for States.

    The last bit was to annoy Obinna, but serious note, scale matters, and unless we build it, all we can hope for are the tender mercies of the CCP and BJP.

  • American Abroad

    “All who drink of this remedy are cured, except for those whom are not cured and would die; therefore it cures all diseases except for the incurable”- Galen (2nd Century doyen of Medicine)

    Restructuring, a magic potion, much like Galen’s infamous magic cure, can cure all our ills as a nation. Like the bemused ancient Greeks, I have also followed the public debate on Nigeria’s long-awaited “restructuring” with increasing disquiet, but not yet overt hysteria. As all things political in my country of birth, the argumentation has been decidedly febrile. And as one might, perhaps, come to expect as Standard Operating Procedure in our divisive political culture, demagogues are fast coming out of the woodwork. Just yesterday, on the public commentary section of these BackPages, there were repeated references to Nigeria as a “zoo”, allusions to mysterious “wardens” of an Imperial British prison on the Lower Niger, but even more astonishing, otherwise sentient beings were attributing all of Nigeria’s many failings to an indeterminate post-colonial ennui (57 years after Independence!!). Expectedly, the recipe was simple: a “patriotic” recommendation of a Rubik’s Cube of “independent” tribal conclaves (presumably, all 234 of them, comprising 248 distinct linguistic groups and over 1200 native dialects) tethered on clearly schizophrenic logic. Astoundingly, nobody (not a single reader, not even the savvy and intellectually nuanced Commentators that I have come to enjoy their perspectives, such as Don Franco or Fidelis Arumala or Michael Kadiri) bothered to ask if any nation (Any!) on God’s green earth has ever been organized on a purely tribal template. Not to be outdone, approbation from the cheap internet seats was deafening and enthusiastic. Is this Babel or what?

    Straight out: Federalism is clearly the ideal political arrangement for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, socially disparate entity such as Nigeria. As with most things political, the devil is in the details; one man’s Federalism may be another man’s Unitarianism. That is part of the Sturm und Drang of all complex nation-states, these United States included: how close do we drift together without smothering initiative and enterprise? The present centripetal Federal government with its deep footprints spread across the constituent 50 states is far removed from the Federal concept of the Founding Fathers, as eloquently articulated in Madison’s Federalist Papers. I believe that most people of goodwill would accept that our current political arrangement is simply not working, and is indeed unsustainable; but its renegotiation must be properly channeled through democratic means. It would be helpful if our political leadership understands that calls for national dismemberment are typically from an extremist fringe, but even more importantly, are almost always symptomatic not etiologic of an underlying, unaddressed malaise. Restructuring and similar cat-calls for political fission are not the primary pathology: again, in these United States, a Civil War was provoked and fought over the sanctity of “States’ Rights”, a carefully calibrated euphemism for the right to own slaves. Similarly, Igbo impatience, Yoruba restiveness and Hausa reticence are predicated less by love of country as lust for crude oil. But neither Mr Buhari’s head-in-the-sand approach (which is remarkably reminiscent of King Canute ordering back the threatening waves) nor Nnamdi Kanu’s empty bellicosity (and Dare-the-Beast-in-its-Lair-Stratagem) are long-term workable strategies.

    There were several opportunities before and after Aburi to renegotiate our nation’s Terms of Endearment. On each occasion, short-term political advantages dictated otherwise: Awo accepted the status quo in order not to endanger his post-war shot at the Presidency, the ultimate prize in Nigeria’s winner-takes-all politics; Shagari, and by necessary implication, Ekwueme, accepted same, for different but allied reasons; Obasanjo, a salty, plain-spoken sort of man, likes the arrangement exactly as it currently is, Thank You; tellingly, Jonathan who had all the opportunity in the world to perfect our Union, failed because he was either too scared of his own shadow, too covetous of an encore Presidency, or too besotted (and distracted) by the coquettish Diezani or other spoils of office…. but I digress. It is unfair to blame Buhari for our unhappy marriage, though his style of government has certainly exacerbated any low-grade acrimony. Still, with inspired leadership, which I believe is really beyond Mr Buhari’s ken, this marriage can still be saved. You surely wouldn’t think that by reading the internet opinion: if you listen to nonsense for long enough, despite your better instincts, you start believing the dystopian old trope that Nigeria is irrevocably doomed because Igbo/Hausa/Yoruba cannot get along with each other. That is, of course, a lot of baloney.

    A lot of pseudo-intellectual separatist nonsense is making the rounds: give me Biafra/Oduduwa/Arewa or give me Death. This is demagoguery at its very best: illogical, illiberal, bellicose, infantile, inchoate, ad hominem, simplistic- a toxic admixture of desperation and ignorance girded by an overwrought sense of ethnic victimization. Sure, there is Opinion, there is even Perspective, then there is Propaganda, but this is simply unmitigated Shtick: war has consequences, and the Civil War has settled the fact of Nigerian nationhood. The question should be the nature of our Union. Anyone advocating dismemberment, I believe, is in deep shtick (pardon the pun) and worse, is unable to recognize its unmistakeable odor. All demagoguery taps into real communal stress, but it never fails to add insidious misinformation presented as Blame-the-Other gambit, ethnic fault-finding, typically offering simplistic solutions that are guaranteed to cost you nothing except “cleansing” social anarchy. It worked for Hitler, Attila the Hun, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden, Milosevic, until it stopped working, as it always does.

    I am a free speech absolutist: as I have had cause to state previously in another Commentary, any citizen in a democracy (i.e., a non-police state) can say anything, provided s/he does not offer violence or slander the innocent. And were s/he to do so, we have enough laws in our Criminal Justice books to take care of such infractions. That is why I never understood the governments’ (both Federal and States) fear of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB. An assembly of impressionable home-grown rabble led by a clearly ill-informed, vainglorious, under-employed, retrenched disc-jockey, fresh from his permanent lodgings at Her Majesty’s subsidized public housing in downtown Peckham? I have never met any Igbo, and I know lots of Igbo in these United States, who supports Mr Kanu. Conversely, I have never met any Igbo who trusts this government or who does not believe the Igbo have been given short shrift in this dispensation. The tedious internet-based brickbats between the Yoruba and Igbo is mostly a symptom of idle youth, and ought not to be taken too seriously. Unseemly, yes; but still beats smoking marijuana (or snorting cocaine, or worse, making babies out of wedlock) in your long-suffering parents’ basement. Indeed, reading very carefully between the lies (not a typo), one is struck by its simulation of a spurned lovers’ tiff: You starved me at war-time; you backed out of a mutually understood pact to secede; you are the friend of my adversary; you danced on my grave; your leaders are worse than our leaders; or waxing spiritual, I love you but hate your ways (cowardice, grand-standing, gra-gra, hypocrisy, violence, prejudice, clannishness) and similar nonsense. Besides, no two tribes in Nigeria are complete competitors; were the reverse to be the case, in strict accordance with Gause’s Law of Ecology, coexistence between such ethnic groups would be impossible. That, demonstrably, has never been the case amongst any of Nigeria’s fractious tribes. The trouble is simply that economic upheaval has helped exacerbate the narcissism of minor differences across this unforgiving land.

    We should focus on the real issue, which is Justice. The rest, I believe, is only background noise.

    • Daniel Obior

      Though I find you rather verbose, paradoxically I always enjoy your contributions for its logic, copious references and excellent command of the English language, to mention just a few of the attributes. Dismembering an entity ought to be seen as the way not to go. The country is not working and what needs to be done is to put things right first and foremost; call it restructuring or whatever. Without pointing fingers, if as a people we refuse to do anything to put the country right, we are invariably inviting more drastic alternatives, and we should have ourselves to blame for the consequences. If the real issue is indeed justice as you concluded, which I agree with, then we should change the status quo by restructuring. What we currently have which is underpinned by the 1999 Constitution as the law, is far from justice and equity. Lest I forget, there are instances dismemberment results in improvement without violence or upheavals (Czechoslovakia). There are also other times it improves even after upheavals (India). My take is that it should only be a last resort, if everything else fails. We must restructure in Nigeria to prevent everything else failing.

      • Jon West

        The real prospect of the dismemberment of Nigeria, should prompt our leaders to bite the bullet and do the needful in order to save the crumbling structure that is Nigeria. However, if all else fails, we will have to consider the paradox that to birth the new, you have to kill the old.

        We cannot wait forever for Godot in Nigeria. Either we have a country that can work for the benefit of its citizens and the African people, or we bite the bullet and pay the price to stop the Black man’s permanent slide to oblivion in global relevance, even it means dying again in millions. Nobody should blackmail anyone with the threat of a quick death from machine guns, when slow an debilitating death , by a thousand cuts ,stares us all in the face on a daily basis. To hell with Nigeria!!

        • Iskacountryman

          you sound very unhappy and frustrated as always….which are the two hallmarks of anarchists….nigeria is working for me…and i am looking forward to 2019…young man we are passing through a phase called hybrid democracy…no to any sudden change or you would upturn the apple cart…

          • Jon West

            Young man? Really? Are you trying very hard to upset me? Even a ransom of subsidized ngwo ngwo may not be enough to assuage my anger.

          • Iskacountryman

            jon west….jonny my main man…i know you are a good man, what about 3 virgins? as a trial of your conversion state…

      • KWOY

        Nigeria is not a necesity! It was product of pure historical accident! It was willed by european powers into existence – without consultation of the constituent parts, & for reasons of exploitation. Therefore, its dismemberment cannot be evil in itself!

        • Daniel Obior

          I have not tagged dismemberment as evil. I have only suggested it as a last resort if all else fails. As a matter of fact, I gave a couple of examples where progress was achieved as a result of dismemberment. You appear to be kicking an open door here.

          • KWOY

            I am sorry sir. I wrongly transfered my rage at ’empty american abroad’ to you!

          • Daniel Obior

            Thanks.

          • American Abroad

            My dear DO: only you would deploy such a metaphor- kicking an open door! Mind if I borrow that phrase someday? Even when I don’t agree with you, I’m always grinning whilst reading you.

          • Daniel Obior

            True we often disagree, but I love the mutual respect.

      • American Abroad

        Dear DO:
        This time, from Santayana-
        All problems are divided into 2 classes, the soluble questions which are trivial, and the important questions which are insoluble.
        One day, given enough time, we all shall know the truth, and then, it shall finally set us free.

        • Daniel Obior

          Santayana certainly did not have Nigeria in mind, a country where the truth stands on its head. Thanks anyway for the reference, which I will add to the collection gleaned from your comments.

        • Jon West

          “One day, given enough time, we shall know the truth, and then, it shall finally set us free”. I have had my Nigerian Eureka moment and,like Martin Luther King, I hereby proclaim to all and sundry -Free at last, thank God, I am free at last.

    • imagine_2012

      You really didn’t say much on the way forward.

      • remm ieet

        He is a Linguist, not an Administrator

    • Olisa

      “We should focus on the real issue, which is Justice. The rest, I believe, is only background noise.”

      Autonomy is Justice. Which brings us back to Regional Autonomy or William Norris’ radical Tribal Autonomy proposal in full circle.

      • KWOY

        William Norris is a man of insight: It is betteer for Africans to give independence to their respective tribes!

    • Jon West

      “We should focus on the real isssue, which is Justice. The rest, I believe is only background noise”. Why did you have to waste your time and task our collective patience , before really making this statement, which is the crux of the matter, and the basis of the angst in the land ? Are you trying to impress anyone Professor?

      • obinnna77

        A2 impresses self, but often contrives to impress us in the process. Not an easy feat, to pull off.

        • American Abroad

          Thank you, Obinnna. Truthfully, so do you. I love your one-liners.

      • Iskacountryman

        justice?…for who?

        • obinnna77

          The Northern underclass, and those who do not wish to join them.

          • Iskacountryman

            an underclass?…in what concept…it is the will of Allah that some would hold the horns of a cow, while others milk it…

          • Jon West

            Go forgive my soul, but I just want to strangle you very slowly for all this debilitating but rib-cracking sarcasm. Are you really human or the first Hausa/Fulani android, assuming you are not Eboe?

          • Iskacountryman

            debilitating and rib cracking enlightened violence is what we have ready for the eboe…you would be trained to love nigeria…by force…now tell me, how would you do away with a market of 150 million people?…to hell with biafra…

      • American Abroad

        Just trying my best to impress you, my dear Jon West, just you alone.

        More seriously, as a 12 year-old growing up in the present wastelands of Nigeria, my sainted mother, who was a bibliophile herself, always introduced me to new writers, pointing out their unique stylistic variants and argumentative modes. I was drawn to the unmistakeable prose of Tam David-West, Gbolagbo Ogunsanwo, Alade Odunewu, Sonala Olumhense, Xrydz Eyiutchae, Chinweizu, and later, George F Will, Lance Morrow, Chris Hutchins, and several other compelling writers of the last millennium. Indeed, even after I left Nigeria’s shores for England to continue my education, she would still lovingly cut out the opinion pieces by those same writers to mail to me in monthly batches. I bet I was the only major scholar at Oxbridge in those days, whose entire frame of reference was Nigeriana.
        This is my way of paying back for the privilege this unfortunate country has granted me in full abundance.

        And, if you will pardon my impertinence, you too!

        • Jon West

          Thanks , but speak for yourself only. To hell with Nigeria!!

    • Fidelis Arumala

      Dear AA,

      Interesting perspective from you this morning, but you missed a point. Read you;

      ” Just yesterday, on the public commentary section of these BackPages,
      there were repeated references to Nigeria as a “zoo”, allusions to
      mysterious “wardens” of an Imperial British prison on the Lower Niger,
      but even more astonishing, otherwise sentient beings were attributing
      all of Nigeria’s many failings to an indeterminate post-colonial ennui
      (57 years after Independence!!). Expectedly, the recipe was simple: a
      “patriotic” recommendation of a Rubik’s Cube of “independent” tribal
      conclaves (presumably, all 234 of them, comprising 248 distinct
      linguistic groups and over 1200 native dialects) tethered on clearly
      schizophrenic logic”.

      In a bid for you to take a dig at William Norris, you missed the commonsense he was trying to bring out from his analogy with respect to tribal autonomy. Isn’t that the practice in Nigeria between 1960 – 1966? The Yorubas had their own region, with the minorities like the Ilajes and Arogbo Ijaws from Ondo state being carried along, the mid-west where I am from had theirs. William Norris prescription is not an ABSOLUTE magic wand with respect to tribal autonomy, it’s simply an autonomous model which can evolve from the federal structure, regions, states, local government and cascade down to the ward level. It’s a workable and doable model AA. Please, separate the content of the message from the messenger. At the end of the day what everyone seek in this entity is simple, EQUITY and JUSTICE. This is what is driving all the agitations, and unfortunately, the current leadership is not interested in addressing them.

      Please, I would like to have your take on the autonomous region of Barcelona, since you suggested above that none “bothered to ask if any nation (Any!) on God’s green earth has ever been organized on a purely tribal template”.

      Thanks, as I await your kind feedback.

      • Obi Ike Sorres

        Thanks for pointing out this. He is looking at the messenger instead of the message and I know how both of them hate each other. I must tell you William Norris has written better practical solution than your big vocabs on back pages. I like real solutions.

      • American Abroad

        My dear Fidelis:
        The suggestion of a tribal template is such preposterous nonsense that it wouldn’t need a “straw man” to demolish. Sure, I find Mr Norris’ theories half-baked, but “taking a dig” is not my style. I simply present my own ideas, and leave the sentient public to draw her own conclusions; may the superior argument win, for the sake of my country of birth.
        There are interesting similarities between the Catalonia debacle and Biafra’s separatist movement. Incidentally, I was blissfully unaware of all that brouhaha until last summer, when one of my children stayed at Barcelona for a Spanish “immersion” course. Briefly, the Catalonians are the “Jews” of Spain; over-arching, talented, and somewhat supercilious. Just like Igbo. Whilst only about 7% of Spanish land mass, they sport a GDP per capita that is 20% higher than the rest of Spain (indeed, higher than the European Union average, too), have a viable tourist and industrial base (helped, no doubt, by the Barcelona Olympics, and sadly exacerbated by the relative recession in most of Southern Spain) which accounts for a remittal of approximately 17 -18 billion Euros in taxes to Madrid bro sustain the Federal government. Sounds familiar? Worse, Catalonians feel “short-changed” by the “Philistines” in Madrid, who ass Catalonians would inform you, are so “crude” they encourage the senseless and barbaric sport of bull-fighting (a No-No in Catalonia), dance the “devil’s steps” of flamenco, and worse, lack “initiative and enterprise”. Sounds even more familiar?
        But it wasn’t always like that. Catalonians were always Spanish, with their own language, culture, mores and petty idiosyncrasies. Then came Generalissimo Franco, a strong man in the mold of a Tunde Idiagbon, who wanted to forge a united, impregnable Greater Spain, so he decreed a national lingua franca (you guessed it: Spanish), banned local dialects, approved a “uniform” but heavily white-washed “standard Spanish History”, and horror of horrors, reversed Catalan autonomy, which that region had enjoyed since 1922. When Franco went the way of all flesh to meet his Maker, Catalonia struck again for regional autonomy. The powers-that-be decreed otherwise, stifling legitimate protest with strong-arm tactics and the backing of an irrepressible Supreme Court. Unfortunately, what had begun as a fringe movement amongst the Spanish left-wing of neo-Marxist intellectuals soon blossomed into a popular uprising. Soon, they no longer wanted autonomy but forthright Independence. Initially, popular support for Independence in Catalonia was a measly 15% based on early opinion polls; now, about 60% of the voting public want out. Spain is now willing to concede full regional autonomy, but alas, it is now a bit too little, a bit too late. Catalonians want to use their resources for themselves alone.
        There bis an abiding lesson in this sad tale for Nigerians at large.

        • abodes_124

          Nigeria and Nigerians do not like lessons. They have gone so far as to ban the teaching of history with its uncomfortable lessons. Next target will be journalism then economics not necessarily in that order

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      If for the essay alone – you ought to be encouraged.

      For I know not a man (or woman – for you could indeed be female – we don’t know) who does not (even if internally) welcome appreciation of his/her works. And sometimes, as in this case, writing is like art – like it or not, sometimes you are called only to admire it’s beauty and the talent of its creator.

      I therefore will not criticise any of this….though I feel placed inside a sweet and sour curry when you mentioned my name as one of those who did not respond to your satisfaction to William Norris’s buffet and dance last night – I did not see you at the party – I must tell you that it was ‘sweet’ food and especially drink everywhere and personally, I like to mix and match. I like the rough and ready close to wire parties thrown by WN and JW (although JW’s parties have been violent sometimes. And at other times I enjoy your opera where you serve great wine with a lot of history – to your event I take my wife. But I must tell you that with the great introspection that is encouraged, we still get drunk – albeit a quiter sort of intoxication – hmmm!

      The reasons my children might cleverly give after attending one of your lyrical jamborees is that whilst history might be interesting and helpful, too much reliance on it can cause one not to be adventurous and the Wright brothers would never have taken flight even against more monied contestants in the race to develop air travel. My point? We should resist being enslaved by our past. Just because it has never happened, does not mean the future will not deliver it. As a matter of fact, it is this amazing phenomenon that your cherished history likes to record.

      More blessing sir – I look forward to your next work of lyrical art.

      • American Abroad

        Thanks, MK.
        My apologies for missing the party last night. The broken bottles and strong after-odor of grass stand as mute testimony to its success. Sadly, being a rather retiring type, I was concerned that I might drain the life out of that Owambe. Further, not having lived in Nigeria in a while, even if the grass there is indeed greener, will Buhari (or more accurately, IGP Idris) let me smoke it in peace? Besides, if I appeared too strongly against the motley crowd of separatists who were out in full force last night, and inadvertently let them in on the secret that Igbo elite share an important trait with most itinerant almajiri, namely a common disdain for IPOB, Jon West might inevitably do violence to my humble self. But more accurately, I have to choose my intellectual battles; recall Brandolini’s Law that the amount of energy required to refute bullshit being an order of magnitude greater than the energy required to produce bullshit…. worse, it was also way past my bedtime. Recall, if you may, Voltaire’s insightful proposition that what most people consider a virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.
        There!

        • Jon West

          The Igbo elite , whoever they may be, may share a common disdain for IPOB, but then ,so did the Jewsish elite in Germany for the Zionists. The rest is history. Jewry has survived because of the Zionist rabble. I am with the Igbo rabble now. Revolutions are initiated by intellectuals and executed by bandits. IPOB are the bandits and my life may actually be in their hands.

          • KWOY

            GOD BLESS YOU! He will see where history will leave it!

    • lord of jaspers

      lovely writeup! but a few errors! the unity of a nation is never settled, nations come and go, empires rise and fall! funny enough whatever you say of todays separatists can be said of the nationalists of 1960s! people like you forget that while nations are built on logic, new nations are founded on sentiments not logic!

    • Mystic mallam

      Brilliant as always, only missing point in your profound thesis is failure to connect ‘JUSTICE’ with the cries for resetting, nay, restructuring Nigeria.

    • KWOY

      If you think that 234 ethnic enclaves or 248 dialect groups are too many, then be aware that we already run a System comprising 774 + 37 states + FCT LGAs. 234 or 248 will be a drastic reduction in recurrent expenditure!

      • American Abroad

        Interesting observation, Mr KWOY, though I fear that its significance or practicality completely eludes me.

        Of course, we can have as many governments as we want, but would it necessarily make any sense to hoist a 234-loci government on a country that has not yet shown any proficiency in organizing a single, unitary government at Lagos or Abuja? Even ancient fonts of democracy, such as Greece, to say nothing of the UK and more recently these USA, might balk at such an unwieldy number. Inundated with so many local authorities, I fear that even your patriotic self might not necessarily recall the name of the state capital or the tribal governor living next door: quick, don’t look- what is the name of your local State House representative?

        Exactly.

        How about having just one central federal government with the responsibility for Defense, Foreign Affairs, Exchequer, Inter-state Transportation (major highways & trains & sea lanes) and Nuclear/Hydro-power, devolving other functions to the Regions, which should be, say 4-8 in number? The number of regions would be elastic, based on contemporaneous economic viability: if any region can no longer stay fiscally afloat, then it is time for that region to merge with another region of her choice! The quarterly pantomime of governors trooping to Abuja to busk for petro-money should finally come to a well-deserved and graceful end.

        • KWOY

          1. I accept the argument for regionalism (btw 4 – 8 at the maximum), but you still need to convince me of the impracticability of 234 ethnic conferederations. As I said, in comparison to 774 LGAs it is still a drastic reduction both in itself & in view of reduction in recurrent expenditure. Besides it will help preserve the local languages & cultures of the different groups.

          2. More importantly, smaller ethnic groups can even decide to form confederation within confederations. Nothing stops the 4 major ethnic groups like the Igbo, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba & Ijaw being autonomous zones, while smaller zones form themselves into more zones to complete 8.

          3. Africa can decide to at least decide for once to invent something original which othe parts of the worl can for once copy from Africa….
          (Meanwhile, Yorubas have thrown this comment down here in order to hide it so that it will not be seen, & so that they will continue to have the opportunity to pester our women in the name of intermarriage & unity! LET THEM BE ASSURED WE WILL DO EVERYTHING TO STOP THAT!)

  • Intrepid

    ” If Awolowo had made the objective of sustaining federalism and
    political parity the core issue, the probability is that we will not be
    here 47 years later begging to be rescued from the underdevelopment
    conundrum of the extant mockery of federalism. Under similar duress, the
    Yoruba power elite reenacted the same mistake in 1998/99”

    My only takeaway.

    And my questions to this is, are the present henchmen from the same political axis, that cobbled the coalition that midwifed our Emperor in Aso rock, learned any political lessons from the Awo/ 1998/1999 miscalculations?

    The answer is blowing in the wind.

  • Iskacountryman

    ba na so!…

    • kenn

      It’s in your best interest

      • Iskacountryman

        a generous eboe man…who knows my best interest better than me….

        • obinnna77

          Like Owelle Okorocha. Such Igbos exist, mind you.

    • Netanyahu

      mallam, you still dey this corner? kai me nini?

      • Iskacountryman

        what corner?