By ORI MARTINS
Exactly 16 years ago, the late literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, in a very profound move rejecting the 2004 National Honour, scribbled an open letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo, noting that, “I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the presidency”.
Achebe is late, but the socio-political cum economic disorders he depicted in that letter are today, still threatening and ravaging the already shallow foundation of Nigeria. Most discerning Nigerians were rudely embarrassed and shocked to their marrows when Mamman Daura, a nephew to President Buhari and an influential member of the destructive cabal which has been holding Nigeria captive, unapologetically, canvassed recently that the 2023 presidential election should not be based on a zoning arrangement. Daura was said to have made this ill-tailored statement in a interview with BBC Radio Hausa service.
As a matter of fact, Daura’s missiles are not a needle in a haystack. Indeed, what Daura emitted could not be described as merely testing the waters. It is certainly a Freudian slip. He has jovially but frankly let the cat out of the bag. Daura did not speak for himself. He represented and presented the mind and intentions of the oligarchs.
Why should Daura’s pyrotechnics be aimed at shattering the much talked about and well embraced rotational presidency which him and his group laboured assiduously, even profusely to entrench in 2015? According to the translated version of Daura’s interview with the BBC Radio, he was quoted as saying that henceforth, Nigeria’s presidency will no longer be based on zoning, but on competence and merit. He argued that Nigeria had experimented with zoning thrice since 1999, and so, it was no longer reasonable to continue with it.
To be sure, Daura’s hypothesis is nothing but a self serving agendum. It is not borne out of patriotism, nationalism or statesmanship. His 2023 presidency grandstanding clearly and absolutely stands him out as a regional irredentist. As a signpost pointing to a destination, let this serve as a warning to all well meaning Nigerians, particularly, the Southerners. Daura, not minding his pathetic assertion, is neither garrulous nor indolent. He is rather a clever, chauvinistic political choreographer.
Therefore, he has pointed the way his clique have arranged the political chessboard of 2023 presidency. He is only being used, or he is acting as, a pawn. For the South to sit in the comfort of their rooms and be shouting “it cannot work” without following up with sincere and rigorous counter poise, will be tantamount to chasing a lion with a stick. It would be counterproductive and politically dangerous.
Probably, this idea of allowing the North to always have her way, not on merit, fairness or superior argument, but clever maneuvering, is at the root of Nigeria’s perennial problem and it is a huge challenge. The North, as a region, delayed Nigeria’s independence. Yet, a Northerner, against every permutation, emerged prime minister after independence. The North led the country into a civil war. The North has ruled about 75 per cent out of the country’s 60 years as an independent nation.
Since 1999, there has been a South-North rotation on presidency, but now, the North is bent on truncating this noble arrangement for selfish reasons. Dramatically, Daura and Buhari share a striking balance in relating to Nigerians. Ever since he emerged as the civilian president five years ago, Buhari has hauled the Olympic gold medal of addressing his compatriots on any important issue via the foreign media.
Take a cursory look at this: Buhari’s pledge of giving 95 per cent to the regions that voted for him and five per cent to those who never voted for him was made in USA. His pronouncement of being 73 years old and so couldn’t carry out or do certain things/functions, was made in South Africa. He made the assertion that his wife belonged to the kitchen and the other room was made in Germany.
Not surprising Daura’s inciting declaration about 2023 presidency was made to a foreign medium. The interpretation is that Daura’s tentacles vis a vis where the pendulum will swing in 2023 may not be too far from what Buhari has in stock. In the Remember, Daura is at the head of the Aso Rock Villa cabal that plots the direction of governance country. It is not enough to dismiss what this statement, because of its far reaching implications.
President Buhari, in collaboration with Daura has redrawn the governance map of the country by appropriating all the strategic positions in government such as security, oil, finance, judiciary etc to his region. But this will amount only to very little and short-term victory without altering the political structure to consolidate and institutionalize northern dominance and control during policies such as Ruga and grazing reserves.
This will be the ultimate goal, without which his eight years would be wiped away in another four or eight years. That would not sit very well with their conquest agenda.
Martins Ori, a journalist, writes from Owerri, Imo State