Candid Notes

May 26, 2020

The withering of Nigerian state

Illegal mining cause of armed banditry in North West —Katsina govt

By Yinka Odumakin

THERE was a Professor who taught Spring in a classroom all his life and one day came out to see what he was teaching out of the walls. Alas, he could not recognize it and said it must be some disorder in nature.

It is only such Professor that would look at the Nigerian state today and would not understand that it is already autorestructuring.

The positive note is from Zamfara in the mode of what we have called for over the years. We have said that in a federal arrangement that Nigeria is supposed to be, the federating units should be in charge of resources in their areas, mine them and pay agreed taxes to the Centre. But in upside country Nigeria, mineral resources are under the exclusive list which the incompetent Centre cannot manage and are at the mercy of illegal miners and criminals.

Zamfara goldfields

So had Zamfara gold been until Governor Bello Matawale came and put on his thinking cap. He chased criminals out of the goldfield and approached Abuja that the state wants to mine the gold and pay Abuja what is due to it.

The Centre that was swimming in petrodollars but about saying bye to it now cannot say no to that deal.

Any state that has minerals on its soil and is waiting for the day they rewrote the constitution before thinking of what to do with it is the one Fela sang about in ‘dem don release you now but na you never release yourself.’

But auto-restructuring is also happening at another end that is also a warning to the Nigerian state that it is fast disappearing as the governable space is fast shrinking and the authority of the emperor is reducing thanks to coronavirus.

By virtue of the 1999 constitution, the Nigerian President is the most powerful constitutional leader in the world.

It was with that full authority that President Buhari stood during his third coronavirus broadcast and proclaimed ‘I have ordered the lockdown of Kano for two weeks.’ Kano people simply ignored him. It was only Governor Ganduje who saved the face of the President by making some excuse that he had negotiated away his authority with him. There have been some rumour of presidential broadcast after that replaced with SGF press statement.

Then came Eid day. With all the Presidential order against crowd gatherings and the special announcement by the Sultan, it was massive prayer sessions all over the North. Muslims in Kano, Katsina, Borno, Zamfara and Bauchi states on Sunday shunned a directive of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji  Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, which stated that there should be no large gatherings at Eid prayers. There would be harvest for this seed no doubt.

Muslims in the South in enlightened self-interest complied with the order because of the better awareness of the pandemic. Nonetheless, a strong message is being sent to the Nigerian state that it is whitering and that any constitution that does not bend will ultimately break as we have seen with USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. It is an irreversible process that the Nigerian state that has lost the authority to enforce directives meant for the safety of the people cannot stop.

Gen T. Y Danjuma warned the other day of the surrendering of state authority to thugs and bandits in his speech about collusion. Of late there have been serious apprehensions about movements of such elements across the country under the guise of Almajiri.

The Nigerian state has been quiet about these unfortunate developments and doing nothing about it. And I have spent nights thinking about what could be the motive of those behind these movements.

Is anyone still thinking of a repeat of the onslaught against the Hausa kingdoms of yore in which under the guise of pure Islam they were made to kill their own rulers and emirs installed? That is far-fetched in the world of today. Is the intention to chase people away from their lands? To where do you want to chase indigenous people who have lived hundreds of years on their lands? Once it becomes clear that the state is no longer there to arbitrate in these matters, it would be fighting to the last time man.

This, of course, shall be a silly project to want to pursue in three years if you have failed to uproot any major town in five years. And why should this be a pre-occupation of any enlightened people in the 21st century?

READ ALSO: Miners commend FG over inauguration of Presidential C’ttee on Ajaokuta Steel coy

There is no section of the country where I don’t have enlightened minds as friends who can make any modern society function well. Such minds should become dominant and prevail towards the future that defines shared prosperity and greater humanity.

The game that is on now is on its way out. The humpty-dumpty will wake up and realize it’s all gone!


On the Governance Index Platform

IT was a three-hour of serious brainstorming on the night of May 22 on a zoom conference on COVID-19 pandemic and the need to re-evaluate Nigeria political restructure. It was a loaded house of Nigerians across the globe.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief John Nwodo were in the house as main speakers with Dr. Bitrus Pogu unable to come in. But yours truly, Ms Ankio Briggs and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko were drafted in.

It was a night of serious exchanges with a house of concerned Nigerians across the world during which the total failure of the present structure of Nigeria to meet the challenges of the pandemic was highlighted.

There was also a clear loss of faith in the present arrangement and apprehension about the capacity for renewal.

The resistance to change by some section of the country was seen as a major hindrance to the restructuring we push by loud voices who advocated the dismantling of the present Nigeria.

But the voices of restructuring insisted on it saying that what preceeded “to your tenths o Israel” was negotiation for restructuring. It was added that negotiated settlement was the cheapest option anyway. Tochukwu Ezeoke and Dan Elombah did a great job coordinating the conference.



Re: Amaechi is so cold about it

MANY thanks for the above article. I also wish to thank the minister for confessing that it was unemployment that drove him into politics. When we go into history, we will discover that leaders who  made positive impacts on the advancement of their society in general possessed ‘leadership vision.’

This is why they were able to  put on ground giant development programmes that transformed their nations. Visionless leaders have nothing to offer. Politicians whose vision is to enrich self by looting the public wealth cannot help in the development of their village what more of their nation.

It is a pity that this is our lot in present day Nigeria. Matters are made complex by the politicians’ divisive ethnic and religious kites they fly before the masses who are easily deceived.

What makes me to shed tears many a time is that some of us who are educated and who claim to be ‘progressives’ have joined in the battering of progress and development in Nigeria.

With many of the new breed politicians who say one thing today and do another thing tomorrow what hope do we possess to have the likes of Pa Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa. I have my doubt on this. Most of the youth we call leaders of tomorrow are watching.

Since nobody is giving them good examples on leadership vision and development how can they lead tomorrow? How can they help to save Nigeria so that Nigeria will not fail. Your guess is as good as mine. We must, however, keep the hope alive.

Tony O. Ekwe.