So far, major pan cultural clusters of Southern Nigeria like Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Ibgo, et al have added their receptive voices to the quest of restructuring the dysfunctional and poorly designed political structures of Nigeria.
These groups and individuals are aggressively pressing their positions and prescribing how Nigeria’s political structure and power vested on each layer of authority should be . All their discussions are littered with the usual concepts like; true or fiscal federalism, resource control, regionalism, weak centre, state police, and revenue sharing formula.
Whilst Southern Nigerian groups and political juggernauts are patriotically adding fuel to the flame of restructuring discourses, two reactionary and retrogressive northern Nigeria groups called Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and Arewa Elders Forum, AEF, are singing a discordant tune. And hatching sundry conspiracy theories on a very popular advocacy that its time is at hand. To these groups peopled by elements that killed the mission of Nigeria’s founding father on their altar of greed and corruption, southern Nigeria groups orchestrating the project of restructuring have a short gun in their sleeves.
In a plainer language, ACF/AEF kingpins and their docile followers believe the South has made all necessary preparations to stage the final mass for Nigeria. And ready to use any national dialogue or discussion forum to actualize their mission of ending the British colonial masters 1914 contraption called Nigeria.
On a separate front, northern Nigeria’s self appointed ultra-conservative ideologues in the media are busy diverting attention with their doomsday predictions and parochial narratives that the problem isn’t with political structures and allocation of powers thereof, but, poor leadership and corruption.
Leading this cream of ethno-religious jingoism is an old Nupe journalist turned Hausa-Fulani Mr. Mohammed Haruna who in recent times wrote two discouraging articles in his syndicated columns titled, Atiku Abubakar’s Formula For A True Federation, and In Defense Of Osinbajo. Other lightweight Northern Nigerian tusks like Bala Mohammed (On Restructuring: Another View, Part 2), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed (Beginner’s Guide on Restructuring), and Sani Abubakar (Restructuring: Be Careful What You Wish For, Or How You Demand For It) joined the fray. Because of their biases and outdated mentality of we-are-born-to-rule, they tactically supported the status quo. Their concomitant insincerity denied their discourses the intellectual depth capable of engineering further ding dongs on this matter of national importance.
These ultraconservative northern elements shackling on the myths and realities of yesteryears opposing calls for restructuring knows the quantum of injustice their political and military cabals meted on other Nigerians, right from time immemorial. That accounted for a bull headed resistance to any advocacy that seeks a redress to the present lopsided and terribly skewed political structures of Nigeria.
If the North is not hiding something or unduly benefiting from what all can see is holding the nation back, why the resistance? We have read and seen them talk on how the former Northern Region built its economy from groundnut and cotton pyramids. Is their lands no longer arable enough to stage a repeat of building an economy on proceeds of pyramids? We all know that they are afraid of a likely resolution that will allow states control resources found in their domains.
They are afraid of questions that will inquire the formula used in creating 44 LGAs in Kano while Lagos has less despite surpassing the later in population.The north is afraid of others rejecting the anachronistic system of creating grazing reserves in another place instead of ranching by those who owns the cattle. We know, as well as they do, that they are afraid to answer questions bordering whether the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or some holy books that will guide our actions as a people in country called Nigeria.
ACF/AEF and their corrosive penman sandwiched in a single news outlet that its mission is spreading ethno-religious sentiment and supremacy and their young recruits can run but they can’t hide. Their negative disposition to this raging quest for restructuring is a waste of time because they are only postponing the evil day. The momentum is too good, because all well meaning Nigerians are fire up. And had already rolled up their sleeves in readiness for the show. No amount of diversionary mechanism will quench this blazing fire of restructuring.
Mr. Atiku Abubakar told his northern kith and kins the truth and the whole truth by saying they better agree to talk about the future of Nigeria on a round table to avoid talking in some unpredictable situations. I totally agree with Mr. Abubakar’s take.
John Danfulani, Ph.D., is a university lecturer at Kaduna State University and human rights activist. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.