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Resource control is the acid test for politicians

By Dele Sobowale

Talk is cheap; action speaks louder than voice. Now the die is cast. The All Progressives Congress, APC, has selected its presidential candidate for 2019. Let nobody kid you. Even a dunce knew that Buhari would go for the second term despite the catalogue of failures. The nation’s number one buck-passer was in his usual element recently when he found another victim to blame for the failure of his government to stop the terrorism in the North. Late Libyan leader, Gaddafi, was fingered as the source of the terrorists’ invasion of Nigeria.

Nigerians must be wondering why it has taken three years for Buhari to know who is responsible for the mayhem unleashed on us. They must also wonder why the Nigeria Police and the Army both under his command had been treating invaders from Libya with kid gloves; and why Nigerians were specifically urged by the President to live with murderous strangers who are not even Nigerians. We certainly will need to reflect on how long the man would require to solve a problem which took him so long to “understand”. Buck-passers never run out of excuses.

Just as this article was being concluded we received the report that only fifteen Chibok girls out of 113 are still with Boko Haram. The FG is asking for $1 billion to fight BH and improve security. But, killings by herdsmen increased after the President’s visits to Benue, Taraba and Plateau. That should tell all of us how utterly useless his trips have been.

Buhari’s declaration has greatly simplified the decision for all of us. Certainly, nobody will challenge him in the APC. The other options must come from other political parties. That is fine too; because there is a matter which is non-partisan, non-religious, non-ethnic and not even gender related on the table. That is RESOURCE CONTROL and its Siamese twin, RESTRUCTURING. The APC is against both. With at least the entire South being in favour of true federalism, the party has done us a favour. APC has asked us to go and vote for another party and candidate. That is fine too. That is what we shall do in 2019.

For April 25, 2018, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, several political leaders, especially of the Southern States, in all walks of life have been invited to renew the struggle for RESOURCE CONTROL now that restructuring has achieved centre stage.  Notices have been sent out to all Governors, Ministers, Senators, Federal Representatives, as well as Speakers and members of the State Houses of Representatives and other leaders in other sectors to attend.

All efforts will be made to ensure that invitations follow. But, I think that this article and the two previous columns should serve as sufficient notice to all those who care about the fate of the South and all mineral producing states. Nobody should give the excuse that they failed to attend because they were not invited. This is your event as much as mine. I am only an announcer – although proud to be one for this cause.

Because it needs repeating, let me restate that three brave men, former Governors of the South South – Alameseigha, Ibori and Attah – gave the revenue producing states thirteen per cent. They paid dearly for the trillions that those states have been enjoying since 2004.  Launching a revised version of  ATTAH ON RESOURSE CONTROL provides all those now clamouring for restructuring a chance to evaluate the gains made by the resource producing states without which they would have been less developed than they are now.

Furthermore, this event provides a basis for consolidating the gains made so far and to now move forward united in the demand for fifty per cent derivation henceforth. That was the basis on which our founding fathers obtained independence from Britain in 1960. Military governments, dominated by the North, robbed the oil-producing states of their revenue and civilian governments still continue with the injustice. Readers can obtain a copy of the book and read about President Obasanjo’s hostility towards even granting thirteen per cent. Then you will appreciate the monumental achievement the efforts of three men represent. Now, the rest of us must not only appreciate their efforts, we must join them now in moving forward to fifty per cent.

However, because not everybody can travel to Lagos and be present at the book launch, we believe everybody can still participate by obtaining a copy of the book for yourself and buying copies for friends, relatives, your secondary school library, your university. We will ensure safe delivery to any place in Nigeria after the event.

Finally, most of the Sunday papers carried the news that Bayelsa threatens to sue the Federal Government over the $1 billion which spineless state Governors illegally approved for the FG to fight insecurity from the Excess Crude Account, ECA. To start with the ECA is an unconstitutional account which has been used to withhold funds which legally belong to the states and which the FG uses at its discretion without recourse to the National Assembly. Bayelsa and Ekiti should not be the only states suing. We can no longer afford a situation where revenue from Southern states is buried with people in the North on account of security problems created solely by Northerners.

P.S. We invited some prominent Northerners, but, after demonstrating support, they have developed cold feet. We understand…

 

NIGERIA POLICE AND PARTISANSHIP – MELAYE, SANI ETC

History never repeats itself; man does.” Barbara Tuchman.

Professor Tuchman, Harvard University historian, an expert on 13th and 14th century Europe, in one of her books, revealed how from one generation after another, human beings in Europe committed the same atrocities against their fellow men and women. Nigerian history and the atrocities of the Nigeria Police are already legendary. Every political dispensation, military or civilian, provides our men in police uniform to promote injustice in order to get themselves promoted.

The ordeals faced by Senators Melaye and Sani – of Kogi and Kaduna States respectively, are not new. In fact they merely remind us of how most police officers, especially Commissioners of Police, are prepared to sacrifice their Fellow Countrymen and perpetrate injustice in order to get along.  In 1959, my eldest brother, late Chief Sanu Sobowale, was in Jos as a member of the Action Group – led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to canvass for votes for the party. He led the delegation because he was born in the North and spent several of his adult life there. He spoke Hausa like an indigene. Three days after arrival, he was in a police cell – charged with the murder of a man in Barkin Ladi …

 


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