FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSunday, October 8, 2017
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NO EASY WAY TO RESTRUCTURE

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he Independence Day speech of President Buhari makes it is obvious that the Buhari administration has no intention to restructure Nigeria.

It also revels the anger and prejudice the president has for Igbos and the contempt with which he holds those who are not like him.

The speech says one thing, Buhari is an Islamist and ethnic supremacist, who is prepared to use his powers to pursue sectarian objectives informed by his prejudices. He sees Nigeria as a country to be exploited by the Fulanis. Thank God, he represents a past, majority of Nigerians know they must never return.

Those who know Buhari and have followed his incursion into Nigerian politics, will not be surprised.

The only pity is that the damage his actions would do to Nigeria after 4 years, would take decades to repair.

Since his inception as president, he has pursed a policy of nepotism and sectarianism and official corruption, which he claims he is fighting is worsening.

He has been single minded in strengthening the hold of the north on Nigeria by ensuring that the north controls the army, police and customs and empowering islamisation. His first action as president is to retire nearly 200 senior army officers from the south and appointed northern muskets to all strategic positions. Those who ignore these are deceiving themselves.

He has given Fulani herdsmen licence to ethnically cleanse any part of the country they want. Not a single Fulani herds man has been convicted for the heinous crimes they are committing in Nigeria.

The evidence compels one to conclude that Buhari sees himself as having more in common with Fulanis and Sunni Moslems in other countries than with Nigerians of other ethnic groups and religion.

During his term, Nigerian soldiers have unlawfully massacred Shia Muslims in the north.

He has continued his war against Igbos, WAI, and has used the excuse of IPOB to send mainly soldiers from the north to occupy Igbo land where they are conducting extra judicial killings of Igbo youth in the name of looking for IPOB members.

He has used and continue the use IPOB against Igbos, the way nobody has used Boko Haram against the north, even though there is no comparison between IPOB and Boko Haram.

Buhari's actions and utterance are the strategic moves of of a military man with sectarian agenda, who wants to control the whole country by force in order to exploit it and instil fear into those, who must oppose him because they reject his prejudiced view of life and unjust actions.

The Buhari and northern oligarchy's strategy is to intimidate with force, marginalise, divide and rule and suppress any confrontational agitation against the injustices of their actions.

I hope his presidency teaches Nigerians never again to trust people like Buhari, who have religious and ethnic agenda with democratic power and, be wiser about the intentions of the northern oligarchy and what they think of Nigeria and wish to accomplish.

The plan of Nigeria government and the northern oligarchy is to force people who want to restructure Nigeria to go through the National Assembly, where they will abuse their unfairly acquired majority to frustrate the will of the people.

This is what gives them the confidence that restructure will never happen and what emboldens Buhari, the army and fulani herdsmen. They are also aware that the many leaders in the south would do their biddings.

The aim of the northern oligarchy and Buhari is to stall the attempt to restructure Nigeria in the National Assembly by insisting on applying the present constitution.

They believe that it is impossible to achieve constitutional amendments that will allow the National Assembly to vote for restructure and they are right.

This may make someone to say this justifies the IPOB position, but it is not correct.

Buhari wants to force people to react like IPOB so that they can send in the army under the pretence of restoring order.

As I have said several times, this is high octane politics, which requires the best of intelligence, strategy and wisdom.

Well there is another way.

Southerners and Northerners who believer in civil society, equality, rule of law and justice as fairness, will have to use the current democratic dispensation in intelligent ways, if restructure will become a reality.

Buhari and northern oligarchy will work very hard to frustrate restructure if Nigeria and will invest a lot of resources in influencing those who emerge as leaders in the south. Moreover, they will step up the use of Islamic financial instruments and institutions to entice gullible southerners to advance the cause of Sunni Islam.

This is why southerners should ensure that those who represent them are not stooges of northern oligarchy. To think and act otherwise is to behave unwisely and take a reckless risk with the future of southerners and non Sunni Muslims in Nigeria.

The strategic steps are:

  1. Southerners and all Northerners who do not support the current unjust arrangement must ensure that they vote for in their states parties that have restructure of Nigeria in their manifestos.

  2. This is the most important political step they must take to start the long walk to restructure of Nigeria.

  3. This is made more difficult by the control of the National electoral commission by the northern oligarchy. However, the people can still ensure that their votes count.

  4. Once such parties are voted into power at state levels, the state house of assemblies will begin to pass legislations to lay the foundation of restructure. They will need to exhaust the autonomy the present constitution grants states and defend it ferociously.

  5. The senators, legislators etc will begin to sing from the same hymn book as the people. The current position, where political leaders from the south are in cahoots with the federal government to act against the aspirations of majority of the people in the south, is unacceptable and unsustainable.

  6. For restructure to become a reality, political leaders who support restructure have to focus on highlighting the anomalies in the current constitution, which discriminates against other regions and perpetuate the current injustices, which fuel the agitation for independence and restructure.

  7. They should also be very proactive in using the courts to challenge the excesses of the government and holding the federal government to account. The absence of a true opposition party in Nigeria makes the job more difficult.

  8. Once the state house of assemblies have passed resolution demanding for restructure, they will give both voice and democratic legitimacy to the demand for restructure.

  9. At this point, no one can deny that restructure is the aspiration of the people of south Nigeria and many honest and democratic minded Northerners.

  10. States under the control of governments which believe in restricting Nigeria will then begin to build structures that will sustain restructure.

  11. The lawful and democratic actions of the state house of assemblies will allow elected representative to lead the agitation and ensure that it becomes part of mainstream politics.

  12. It is only at this point, that any independent country, united Nation and other organisations and individuals who believe in self determination will take interest in the demand for restructure in Nigeria and stop being guided by the narrative of Nigerian government.

All these are just the clearing of the ground for the foundation to restructure Nigeria.

Those demanding for restructure, without first making it part of the mainstream politics are trying to build a rocket with knowledge of o' level physics.

Therefore, it is important that all eligible voters are registered and then ensure that their votes determine who gains power.

As long as the majority of leaders from the south continues to emerge from the contraptions of PDP and APC etc., which are parties firmly under the control of the northern oligarchy and their southern stooges, who see politics as business, very few elected leaders, who will be prepared to do the work needed for restructure to become a reality, will emerge from the south.

The struggle to restructure Nigeria and make it a fair, strong and viable nation under the rule of law, is a political struggle. It will be long. It will not be easy.

It needs the building of a strong political party which rejects the status quo and believes in restructure and a new and equal Nigeria under the rule of law, the same way, ANC rejected apartheid and believed in a new South Africa.

If the people are determined, persistent and prepared to stick to political, legal and economic means, it will succeed.

Any attempt to employ confrontational agitation, will give the federal government excuse to use force to suppress the cry for freedom, justice and equity.

If Nigerian organisations and progressive people want to make any positive contributions towards the restructure of Nigeria, they must join the political process to educate the people and canvass for support and votes to gain the mandate to give effect to what they believe is the right future for Nigeria and the will and hope of the people.

Any other thing, under the present dispensation is a waste of time. A new Nigeria progressive party, which will be ethnically and religiously blind and committed to achieving a new democratic Nigeria under the rule of law, where justice, liberty and equity reigns supreme is need.

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