By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
Hon. Emmanuel Arigbe-OsulaÂ was the former Deputy Minority Leader of theÂ Federal House of Representatives.
He was Edo State Governorship Candidate of ANPP in 2007 general elections and currently, the Deputy Director General of Goodluck Jonathan 2011 Campaign Organisation.
In this interview, he answers questions on theÂ on-going debate on zoning and opines that zoning is not about Jonathan contesting 2011 presidential election but rather , a gimmick of the past cartel to find their way backÂ into political reckoning but he warned that it was the same cartel that ruined Nigeria and therefore urged the people not to be hoodwinked by the argument on zoning.
The debate on the zoning of the Presidency for 2011 general election is tearing the North and the PDP apart. We hearÂ now that zoning is in the ConstitutionÂ as Federal Character and quota system. Whatâ€™s your take on this?
There is nothing like zoning in the Constitution. However, there is Section 14, Sub-Section 3 which expressly dictates federal character in the sharing of positions because of the heterogeneous nature of our country.
Having said that, for the advancement of any civilised democracy, zoning cannot be pursued the way the proponents are going about it currently. Indeed, what they are calling zoning now is actually the diversion of attention from the criminal squanderingÂ of our resources and the fraudulent control of our country by a cabal that governed our country and held us hostage since almost the inception of this country as at independence.
And that cabal had perfected the phrase, the North-South dichotomy to fool Nigerians ofÂ both Northern and Southern extractions. This cabal represents less than 21 per cent of the total population of Nigeria.
They have appropriated the wealth of Nigeria to themselves, their families and their cohorts in the name of this North-South dichotomy. I can say authoritatively today that the Northerners have never been poorer than they are today, never been less educated than they are today when you measure education and demographic distributions.
And the people who have governed this country from the North or with their Southern cohorts claimed to have been governing in the interest of their regions.
These people have failed Nigerians and have lorded over us for too long and Nigeria was almost heading to anarchy before the intervention by God. Has it bothered you that the only Southerner that has governed Nigeria in fifty years was only Obasanjo,whereas, there have been successive Northerners that have governed Nigeria in fifty years.
Indeed, the Northerners are not to blame because the average Northerner has not fared well under the Northern government, neither has an average Southerner fared well under the Southern government. This is a cohort thatÂ has mastered a phrase which they used to fool both the North and the South so as to continue to perpetuate their fraud on Nigerians.
These same people succeed one another. Look at Nigeriaâ€™s history. Who overthrew Gowon? A Northerner. Who overthrew Murtala? A Northerner.Who overthrew Shagari? A Northerner. Who overthrew Buhari? A Northerner. So, you can see in actual sense what Iâ€™m talking. Now, who succeeded Babangida? A Northerner.
Who succeeded Abacha? A northerner. If you look at it, Obasanjo was only convenient for this cabal to be used and in 2007, they almost failed, because the person who was conveniently imposed by them, did not serve their purpose.
This same cohort the people have mentioned, have not represented the interest of the North or the South . The average northerner is poorer today than before the independence. In fact, history has it that fewer northerners, collectively wrote JAMB than one state of the South-East.
That means that the number of all the northerners that sat for JAMB in all the Northern States put together are not up to the number that sat for JAMB in one state in the South East. The cabal Iâ€™m talking about are using these innocent Northerners to perpetrate their fraud.
They have committed all manner of fraud against the Northern people in the name of representing their interests. These people see themselves as gods. They play god over the whole nation. They have foisted poverty on Nigerians .But we thank God that for once, God has intervened. These people are from the same establishment.
Are you talking about retired generals here?
Our military is not corrupt but as it is, these same people represent the military.
These same people infiltrated the system with all manner of perversion:corruption and all manner of things. This current administration is divine intervention. We should not blame our northern brothers for what is going on because they are also victims. Majority of the northern people areÂ victims if this northern cabal.
So, it is a diversion of attention to say that zoning is a north/south thing. No. It is not a north/south agenda. There is a design by this cabal to continue to perpetuate their evil agenda and continue to subject Nigerians to hardship.
My appeal to Nigerians is to realise that this is not a north/south thing. It is a fight by Nigerians to free themselves from the stronghold of a cartel that are using their ill-gotten wealth to further oppress Nigerians and perpetrate themselves in power. Whose interests do they serve in government? Their interests, that of their families and their cohorts. It is not a north/south thing.
So, with the way things are going, donâ€™t you think having Jonathan in the 2011 would further compound issues?
Nigerians who are independent-minded, who are progressive-minded have seen through this fraud and are seeing this same people who are calling on northern unity as another gimmick to further impoverish the north like they have done all these years.
Nigerians should calm down and be aware that you can fool everybody sometime, you can fool all the people sometime but you canâ€™t fool everyone all the time.
God has exposed them using Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™sÂ administration and now Goodluck Jonathan to put an end to the free-fall of our country, from grace to grass. So, the northerners who want emancipation from the group of people that have impoverished them for years, who have used poverty to whip them continuously into submission while claiming to represent their interests must now arise against this cartel.
This is not a fight that is not against the South. This is the first time Nigerians will seek true independence from the stronghold of those who feel so strongly that they can exploit Nigeria.
The question is, should Jonathan contest 2011 presidency?
Of course. Jonathan should run. He mustÂ run and indeed shall run in 2011 because it is the first time God has intervened in the affairs of Nigeriaâ€™s political leadership. He is chosen by God to get Nigeria out of the grasp of those who have held them hostage for years.
God has thrown up a leader for us and Nigerians both of northern and southern extraction must not let it fall back into the hands of those who have exploited this nation and made Nigerians of all regions very poor. We can now stand up and say that these people have not governed in our own interest. The north must stand up against them.
The south must rise up against this old cartelâ€sÂ scheme to come back to hold sway in our national life. We must stand on the side ofÂ God and glorify Him for his divine intervention. Otherwise, only a revolution would bring Nigeria out of the hand and the hold of this same cartel.
If you are a Nigerian and a Muslim or Christian, please go to the Mosque and Church and thank God for throwing up Jonathan without the hands of those who are playing god over Nigeria.The north must stand up against them, the south must rise up against this old cartelâ€™sÂ scheme to come back to hold sway in our national life.