By Yinka Odumakin
A TIME when a rookie Governor is calling ex-Military Leader Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar unprintable names for being in the daily-expanding circle of patriots across the country who have voted for restructuring as a panacea to pull Nigeria from the brink is very appropriate to look back into our pertinent history.
A recall of the Ad-hoc Conference summoned by the then Lt-Col. Yakubu Gowon about two months after he took over power between September 12 and 28 and again between October 28 and November 4, 1966,would reveal that Northern leaders in the past had taken more radical positions on the constitution of Nigeria than these gentlemen have done.
The four regions in Nigeria mainly North, Mid-Western, West and Eastern Region attended the first session of the conference while no delegation from the East attended the second session of the conference because of the political situation in the country then.
The Northern delegation included Sir Kahim Ibrahim, Alhaji Inua Wada, Mallam Aminu Kano, Chief Joseph Sawuan Tarka, Alhaji Abdul Razak and Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin. The Lagos delegation included Alhaji Femi Okunnu and Alhaji Lateef Jakande. The Eastern delegation was led by Professor Eni Njoku with Chief C.C. Mojekwu, Chief E. Eyo and Chief Matthew Mbu as members. The Midwest delegation led by Chief Anthony Enahoro also had Dr. Mudiaga Ogie. The Western delegation was led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and it included Professor Hezekiah Oluwasannmi assisted by Professors Ayo Ogunseye,Sam Aluko and Akin Mabogunje.
The following excerpts from the memorandum by the Northern delegates to the conference show that the raving Governor has no idea where the North stood on critical issues of nationhood :
“The Northern delegation advocates a system of government which differs from anything that has been attempted in Nigeria in the past. As each region has managed to preserve some measure of order and sense of unity within its confines, each region shall be constituted into an autonomous state……
- The new Nigeria comprise a number of autonomous states.
- The autonomous states of Nigeria ,that is to say,Northern Nigeria,Eastern Nigeria, Western Nigeria and Mid-Western Nigeria or by whatever name they may choose to be called later and such other states as may be formed subsequently should agree to a union which shall have a Central Executive Council representation to which shall be on equal representation from all the states comprising the Association.The powers of the Central Executive Council shall be delegated by the component states except that powers connected with external or foreign affairs,immigration can be unilaterally withdrawn by the state Government while all other functions or powers delegated to the Central Executive Council can only be withdrawn by the State Governments after a unanimous decision by their representatives in the Central Executive Council ……
- Any member state of the Union should reserve the right to secede completely and unilaterally from the Union and to make arrangements for co-operation with the other members of the Union in such a manner as they may severally or individually deem fit.
- Each state shall have its own Army, Air force, Police, Civil Service and Judiciary.There shall be a Navy composed of personnel in proportion to the population of each state.
(a) All the States must sign a treaty to defend the country against any external aggression.
(b) Where there is an internal trouble within a state which its forces cannot put down ,the State concerned may ask the Central Executive Council to approach the other states to assist
(c) A system should be worked out whereby installations controlled by the Central Authority are protected wherever such installations are situated.
- There shall be the following common services for the country:
Currency Central Banking Communications(Railways,Ports and Harbours, Inland Waterways, Territorial Waters, Airways, Civil Aviation and Merchant Shipping and Central Shipping Lines). Telecommunications and Postal Services. Niger Dam Authority. Weights and Measures .Central Public Service Commission. Foreign Affairs Foreign Trade Customs and Excise Immigration and Emmigration. Associate Citizenship. Central Court of Apoeal. Central Capital of Lagos. External Publicity and Information.
- A central Defence Commission or a similar body should be created to eliminate the danger of an arms-race within the association.The commission should have a civilian head and shall not obtain external military aid without the unanimous agreement of all the states. Heads of state Forces shall be included in the membership of the commission.
- Movement from one State to another shall be free.
- Fiscal arrangements in respect of central sources of revenue should be based on the Principle of Derivation.
Rights of Self -determination
Right of self-determination of all people in the country must be accepted and a referendum or plebiscite shall be the method through which the wishes of the people concerned shall be ascertained.These rights include the right of any state within the country to secede. But the implementation of these principles shall not delay the determination of the future of Nigeria. All necessary guarantees shall, however, be written in the future constitution to establish the right of self-determination by any section”
How anybody from the region that authored the above fifty one years ago can now oppose restructuring or abuse its proponents surprises!
Gen. Yakubu Gowon,Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,Col. Abubakar Umar and other precious faces of restructuring in the North are responsible citizens of our time.
Re: Malu goes to school
I AM fully persuaded that there is a group looking for a perfect storm to be able to discharge what they have loaded with all these provocations going on here and there across Nigeria”(Y. Odumakin, Vanguard -20/06/2017).
It is quite unfortunate and very regrettable too that apart from Governors Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, and those of Taraba and Benue states, a good number of southern and middle belt state Governors have been playing hapless/lily liver politics with the lives of their law abiding subjects. However, it could even be said that it was just only recently that the Governors and the goverments of Benue and Taraba states keyed into what I will refer to as the Gov. Fayose initiative and template.
Gov. Ikpeazu of Abia state who merely but rightly made a pronouncement sometime ago that no inch of Abia land will be ceded under any guise for grazing reserves received the “fire works” from Aso Rock and Arewa hawks. Well, he recently got a “temporary” reprieve via Supreme court ruling. Most of the rest Governors especially in the South either want to be seen as Aso Rock good boys or are completely clueless as to what/how to go about the menaces of the new Boko Haram camouflaging as Fulani Herdsmen.
Let us take a look at just a few of some of the worst affected states apart from the aforementioned.
What did Gov .Ugwuanyi of Enugu state do after the “Hired Killers” over ran a number of communities in his state with a lot of blood letting while reportedly videoing the carnage? This man who indeed took an oath as the chief security officer of his people sheepishly went to Aso Rock to weep like a due pregnant woman in the labour room without any meaningful benefits for the gallons/litres of tears shed.
Just barely a month ago, the entourage of Gov. Okowa of Delta state had a serious confrontation/exchange of gun fire with these enemies of mankind. At some points, it was reported that apart from the serial killings at Abraka and other communities, some police officers were equally seriously wounded and lost. And very awkwardly too, the Delta state police Commissioner who is of the Arewa stalk actually traded words with Gov. Okowa about the true identities of these killers claiming people’s farmlands.
Well, the medical doctor turned politician is just about now coming to terms with reality on ground after initially sheepishly thinking that appointing a Hausa-Fulani as a special adviser in Delta state would assuage these hired Killers/terrorists.
This of course, is about one of the worst hit states so far. With the obvious ethnic cleansing going on there, Governor El Rufai’s intelligence virtually failed him when he tried to dribble Nigerians but ended up messing himself thoroughly about the motive/mission of those behind the plots ravaging Southern Kaduna.
Governor Dickson is alleged to have already fallen like a “mugu”.
We shall see whether he will be bequeathing a safe an economically profitable ranch(es) or a Boko Haram/ISIS breeding camp to Bayelsans at the end of day with the seemingly concluded grazing legislation in his state.
With Chief Olu Falae’s persistent predicament, Chief Rotimi Akeredoku(SAN), though just came on board, is expected to dwarf Governor Fayose’s record in tackling this menace called Fulani Herdsmen, more also as a very Senior lawyer. Well, this is where another Aso Rock allegiance/loyalty may tell negatively.
After all is said and done, it should be noted that, no patriotic and peace loving Nigerian is any longer in doubt about the evil plots behind the so called all-states ranching/grazing reserves bill initiative, except the Tanko Yakassais and the Miyetti Allah groups and their likes. It is now very clear even to the fool and naive that the so called “ranches and grazing reserves” could be mere pseudonyms for imminent Boko Haram satellite camps. These camps may readily serve as “special launch pads” for attacks in favour of the enemies of Nigeria to completely overrun the unsuspecting South any time the “whistle” is blown.
The obvious loud silence of President Buhari’s government and its occasional half hearted/empty talks pertaining to the killings in some of these selected states by the “Fulani Herdsmen” certainly speaks volumes.
Well, be that as it may, it will be pertinent, in the words of Activist Odumakin to remind ..”the group that is waiting for the perfect storm(s) to be able to discharge what they have loaded with all these provocations here and there….”, that shedding the blood of innocent Nigerians will do our country no good. Both the North and South shall live to regret very BITTERLY in the advent of any serious crisis/blood shed.
Of a truth and concern, what has the North that initially supported Boko Haram, the Nigerian state and the society at large gained so far from all the innocent blood being shed in the North East and some other parts of our country today so far..?
War veterans, both within and outside Nigeria have been warning that no nation in history has survived two civil wars. Let those arming “Herdsmen” and sending cows to farmlands and schools think deeply and otherwise.
Uncle Balarabe Musa, who by my own reckoning is one citizen of this country with very outstanding good conscience, bluntly put it straight to the northern ruling elites not long ago that the North needed at least 50 years of purposeful planning to be able to catch up with the South educationally. Alright, with a very realistic and cogent assertion coming from such an informed and patriotic personality, the rational question now is. .. why would the Alhaji Tanko Yakassais and Miyetti Allah groups still encourage and believe in sending young boys/men of school ages in the North to go and continue roaming the deserts, forests and jungles all in name of master-slave/”herdsmen” business instead of sending them to schools for proper education that will qualify them as Agric Officers among other disciplines to manage ranches and other businesses to further help in narrowing the identified wide gap(s) for the over all interests/benefits of this country…?. Certainly, as earlier opined, there are much more to this cattle/cow rearing businesses that have just recently assumed the enviable but dangerous status of national “foreign exchange” earner for the Nigerian state.
Even if the “scripts” of some of this outrageous drama being played out today were indeed written some years back, certain very good and patriotic citizens of this country from the North can still help alter or change them to avert very unnecessary blood shedding.
The outcome or end of any serious crisis/wars can be very very UNPREDICTABLE.
May God speak to our hearts, both the leaders and the led.
Godwin Ikperite – Lagos.