- Denied benefits of political partnership
By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
Even political scientists, philosophers, sociologists and historians are unanimous in their perspectives that politics is a game of interests. It is about who gets what where and when. The W-questions are at the heart of all political contestation; and as Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher once observed, it is the impulse that drives human action, including political alliances.
Thus, the question to ask is, what are the benefits for the Southwest in the alliance between it and the extreme wing of the conservative northern political establishment that shot President Muhammadu Buhari to power?
It is an alliance founded on misconception, muddled understanding of the reality of the country’s history by a fundamental actor in the alliance”, Professor Adesola Onitiri, a political sociologist told this newspaper.
Onitiri hinted that one does not go hunting when one does not understand the ecology of the jungle. A principal actor in the alliance from the Southwest, according to him “was ignorant of the political ecology in Northern Nigeria, and went into the alliance without roundtable agreements on the fundamentals.”
Less evasive and sophistical, Dr. M. Muhammed of the department of political science, University of Ilorin, said “without the votes of the Southwest, President Buhari would have lost the election, but Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor who was a principal figure in the alliance was to my surprise, a bundle of irony, in the sense that as brilliant as he was he did not come to the negotiation table with any set of demand that would favour his zone.”
This view of political naivety on Tinubu part in the build up to the election when he was still in the position of strength is widely shared by observers.
Ohiare Yakubu of the department of political science, Kogi State University said “the principal loser was ironically the zone that helped bring Buhari to power. Tell me what strategic positions Yoruba hold in the current political dispensation. General Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff is merely ceremonial, it is akin to Ebitu Ukiwe as Chief of General Staff under Babangida.
Let me tell you the real power resides in General Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff. Yoruba are not in the Security Council, so what are we talking about.”
Many observers believe that even in terms of foreign- funded or assisted projects, a large chunk of it has gone into the northern part of the country. Even, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, was reported to have said that a huge chunk of the financial institution-backed projects in partnership with the Federal Government is based in the North.
It is not news what the World Bank president said, as Buhari has long been at the centre of clannish accusations. He has consistently, always been accused by his critics of favouring the northern part of the country, citing lopsidedness in various appointments made by his administration.
Kim was alleged to have said that Buhari had asked the bank to concentrate its activities on northern Nigeria.
However, in a damage control exercise, The Presidency was frantic and quick to repartee the accusation, saying what the President asked for was “rebuilding of the beleaguered North-East.”
But critics are convinced that the explanation was not tenable because Buhari was not elected only for the North alone, and should be canvassing for development of all parts of Nigeria, equally affected by different types of disasters.
According to this newspaper’s findings on the World Bank website, projects.worldbank.org, showed that out of the 14 World Bank-sponsored projects in the country, seven are exclusively for the North, while six others are meant for the whole nation (South-West, South-South, South-East, North-West, North-East, North Central and North West); and the remaining one is for Lagos State. Titled ‘Projects and Operations’, these projects were listed under June 2015 – June 2017 projects.
The reality is that aside of exclusively getting the lion’s share of the projects, the North also partook in the remaining 50 per cent with the South-West, South-East and South-South.
The projects exclusive to the northern region worth $1bn are: Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North-eastern Nigeria ($200m; Borno, Yobe and Adamawa); State Education Program Investment Project ($100m; North-East states); Community and Social Development Project ($75m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe); Youth Employment and Social Support Project ($100m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe States).
Also additional Financing for Nigeria’s State Health Investment Project involves $125m for Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe; and the Third National Fadama Development Project of $50m for selected area in the North-East. The seventh northern project worth $350m is for the Kaduna State Economic Transformation Program-for-Results Project $350m. The KSETPRP, which was approved in June 2017, is expected to close on March 31, 2021.
Projects worth $2.9bn were earmarked for the nation which northern states are also expected to benefit from. They are: Better Education Service Delivery for All ($611m); Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project ($150m).
There is also NEITI Reporting Compliance of $0.32m; the Polio Eradication Support Project ($125m); National Social Safety Nets Project ($1.8b); and $200m-Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project specifically designed for Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Cross River, Kogi, Enugu and three other states.
There was also the Third Lagos State Development Policy Operation ($200m), a stand-alone project which was approved on June 26, 2015 and ended on December 31, 2016.
The World Bank documents did not contain any programme or project specifically designed for the South-East, South-South and the Middle Belt regions since Buhari got into power. In the area of projects-citing, the North has had it cool and good more than the South.
Projects in the Northeast
- Dualisation of Shuarin-Azare section of Kano–Maiduguri road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe (Section II) (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Azare–Potiskum section of Kano–Maiduguri road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. (Section III) (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Potiskum–Damaturu section of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. (Section IV) (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Damaturu–Maiduguri section of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. (Section V) (ongoing)
- Reconstruction of Gombe-Numan-YolaRoad, ongoing (Gombe-Kaltungo section completed)
- Reconstruction of 122km Mayo Belwa-Jada-Ganye-Toungo road, commenced in 2018
- Construction of 40MW Kashimbila Dam & Hydro Power Plant, Taraba State (Dam and Power Plant completed; construction of transmission infrastructure to connect the plant to the national grid ongoing)
- Construction of 29MW Dadin Kowa Hydro Power Plant, Gombe State (ongoing)
- Completed Takum Water Supply Project, Taraba State
- Construction of 3,050MW Mambilla Power Plant, Taraba State ($5.8 billion EPC contract awarded and signed in 2017; negotiations for the financing by the China Exim Bank ongoing)
- Energizing Education Programme, an initiative of the FGN to provide sustainable and clean power supply to Federal Universities and University Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria, is being implemented in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University — Gubi Campus, Bauchi
- Power Transmission Infrastructure (ongoing):
- 330/132KV Molai Transmission Substation in Maiduguri completed and energized in 2018
- 330/132KV Damaturu Transmission Substation in Yobe State completed and energized in 2018
- 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Bauchi, Bauchi State, added capacity 48MW (2017)
- 40MVA Mobile Substation at Damboa, Borno State, added capacity 32MW (2017)
- 28/40MVA Mobile Substation at Mayo Belwa, Adamawa State, added capacity 22.4/32MW (2017)
- 30/40MVA Mobile Substation at Gombe, Gombe State, added capacity 24MW (2017)
- Social Investment Programme:
- 74,000 N-Power Beneficiaries across the six States of the North East.
- School Feeding currently ongoing in all 6 States of the North East: Bauchi, Taraba, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Adamawa
Projects in the Northwest
- Construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Highway. The project is being funded by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), established by President Buhari in 2018 to fund critical infrastructure projects. (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Kano–Wudil–Shuari section of Kano–Maiduguri Roadlinking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. (Section I) (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Kano–Katsina Road Phase I, Kano Town (Dawanau roundabout to Katsina border in Kano) (ongoing)
- Completed 135km Sokoto–Tambuwal–Jega Road.
- Construction of Kano Western Bypass, as an extension of dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road Section I (ongoing)
- Construction of Kaduna Eastern Bypass, Kaduna (ongoing)
- Construction of Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Kano (ongoing)
- Completed Sabke Water Supply Project, Katsina State
- Completed Shagari Irrigation Project, Sokoto State
- Completed Galma Dam, Kaduna State.
- Energizing Education Programme, an initiative of the FGN to provide sustainable and clean power supply to Federal Universities and University Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria, is being implemented in the Bayero University–New Campus, Kano; and the Usmanu Danfodiyo University–Main Campus, Sokoto
- Power Transmission Infrastructure (completed):
- 60MVA Transformer in Dan Agundi Substation, Kano
- 2X60MVA Transformer in Kakuri Substation, Kaduna
- 60MVA Transformer in Katsina Substation
- 40MVA Mobile Substation at Zaria, Kaduna State, added capacity 32MW (2017)
- 2x40MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Daura, Katsina State, added capacity 64MW (2017)
- 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Hadejia, Jigawa State, added capacity 48MW (2017)
- 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Funtua, Katsina State, added capacity 48MW (2017)
- 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Sokoto, Sokoto State, added capacity 48MW (2016)
- Social Investment Programme:
- 95,900 N-Power Beneficiaries across the seven States of the North West.
- School Feeding currently ongoing in 5 States of the North West: Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Zamfara and Sokoto
- Sabon Gari and Kantin Kwari Market Electrification Projects: The Federal Government is implementing its Energizing Economies Programme, which will bring stable and reliable electricity to the 13,000 shops in Sabon Gari Market, and 7,700 shops in Kantin Kwari Market, both in Kano.
- Construction of 215MW Kaduna Power Plant, Kaduna (ongoing)
- Construction of 10MW Katsina Wind Power Plant, Katsina: (As of Q1 2018, 15 of the 37 turbines had been installed and put to use, producing
Projects in South West Nigeria
- Rehabilitation and Expansion of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: The project is now being funded by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) established by President Buhari in 2018 to fund critical infrastructure projects (ongoing)
- Rehabilitation of outstanding sections of Sagamu-Ore Expressway (ongoing)
- Construction of 158km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail, with 10 Stations: Apapa, Ebute Metta, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi-Adio and Ibadan. (ongoing)
- Reconstruction of Apapa — Tin Can — Mile 2 — Oshodi- Oworonshoki Expressway (commenced November 2018): This is the first full reconstruction of the road since it was first constructed in the 1970s. (ongoing)
- Dualisation of Oyo-Ogbomosho road (funded by the N100 billion Sukuk Bond issued by the Federal Government in 2017) (ongoing)
- Rehabilitation of Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta Road (ongoing)
- Rehabilitation of Ikorodu-Sagamu Road (ongoing)
- Construction of US$10 million Cancer Treatment Center at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) (ongoing)
- A $21 million project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) — will stabilize power supply to more than 200,000 people in and around Apapa in Lagos State. The contract was signed between the Japanese and Nigerian Governments in November 2018.
- Energizing Economies Programme— Electrification of Sura Shopping Complex (1,000 shops), Shomolu Printing Community (4,000 shops), Gbagi Market, Oyo (7,872 shops), Ita-Osun Market, Ogun (2,814 shops), Nnamdi Azikiwe Market, Lagos (3,091 shops), Balogun Market, Lagos (1,662 shops), Iponri Market, Lagos (1,305 shops), UMBC, Oyo (700 shops), Isikan Market, Ondo (277 shops), Bariga Market, Lagos (390 shops), Erinwe, Ogun (1,280 fish ponds) (ongoing)
Independent Power Plant at Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos Island, developed under the Federal Government’s Energizing Economies Programme
- Social Investment Programme: 96,000 N-Power Beneficiaries across the six States of the Southwest. School Feeding currently ongoing in 4 States of the Southwest: Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Osun
There have been allegations that of all the past leaders, there has been none as tribalistic and nepotistic as Muhammadu Buhari.
When his initial list of appointments in July 2015 was made public, many Nigerians saw the appointments as the greatest tribute to satiation of primordial sentiments; the list was seen as divisive and heavily tilted in favour of the North and against the South.
Not a few Nigerians believed that the appointments violated the Federal Character Principle.
Professor Adeyanju Somorin, an expert in Nigerian political ecology said “though it was said that the Southwest topped the list of appointments. The key question is, what is the nature of the appointments given to the region which played such key role in bringing Buhari to power?
“How many Yoruba are in the top hierarchy of the nation’s security architecture? They may have the number in terms of small positions as aides. This administration cleverly put them in small fry positions and located the real McCoy to the North.”
The South West geopolitical zone has the highest number of people appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as ministers and aides, BusinessHallmark’s investigation has shown. But these positions are not the critical and strategic ones.
Recall that many critical voices, including that of Colonel Dangiwa Umar (Rtd), a former governor of Kaduna State, had earlier in Buhari’s second term alleged that appointments were skewed in favour of the North.
Though official documents support the view that the perception that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments have unduly favoured the Northern part of the country is not supported by facts, juicy posts, according to this newspaper’s findings, have gone to the North.
“As we all know, this document that government always refer to shows some sort of balance, but we should know that this is so far as aides and low cadre officials are concerned”, Dr. Olufemi Omoyele said in a chat with this medium.
According to documents entitled: “Compilation of political appointees, heads of parastatals and agencies” and “Portfolios of ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants to the President”, last updated in December 2018, the distribution favours the South.
The documents, the first 43 pages and the second 17 pages, showed, for example, that between 2015 and 2018, significantly, the North-Central had the highest number of appointments in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, with 102 appointees, the South-West came second with 101 appointees giving the two zones 35 per cent or 203 of the 567 appointments made.
The South-South came third with 99 appointments, ahead of the North-West, which came fourth with 94. The North-East followed with 93, and the South-East is least with 78.
In the North-Central, Kogi topped with 22 appointees, followed by Kwara with 21, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja got the least with two appointees.
Ogun State in the South-West, topped countrywide with 31 appointees, more than the MDA appointments for three North-West states – Kebbi 13; Zamfara seven; and Sokoto six – combined.
Buhari’s Katsina topped the North-West appointments with 24, while Kaduna and Kano each got 16; and Jigawa, 12.
Although, the South-East was bottom, Imo State had the third highest number of MDA appointments countrywide with 29 appointees, while Anambra had 20; and Abia 14. Enugu and Ebonyi had eight and seven respectively.
According to the documents, however the percentage in executive management appointments in MDAs, show 51 per cent in favour of the 19 Northern states, and 49 per cent in favour of the 17 Southern states.
And 124 high profile political appointments comprising special advisers, senior special assistants, and special assistants to the president were made out of which 59 were from the Northern region and 65 were from the South. This number excludes 36 ministers who are statutorily appointed one each from a state.
Investigation has shown that people from the South West constitute 33.7 per cent of those engaged by the president as ministers and aides. This is followed by people from the North West, 19.5 per cent; North East, 15.3 per cent; South South, 12.6 per cent; North Central, 11.1 per cent and South East, 7.9 per cent.
It was further revealed that the President appointed 64 people from South West, 37 from the North West, 29 from the North East, 24 from the South South, 21 from the North Central and 15 from the South East.
In summary, 54.2 per cent of the appointees (103) were from the Southern part of the country while the Northern part produced 45.8 per cent (87).
In terms of geographic distribution among the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, Ogun is the highest with 17 people excluding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while Adamawa is second with 14. Kano has 12, while Edo, Osndo, Osun and Katsina states have 8 each.
Those with one include Ebonyi, Imo, Bayelsa, Cross River, Plateau and Zamfara.
Mr. Seyi Odetola, a London-based public affairs analyst and entrepreneur told this newspaper that “On the whole, the North has had more benefits than the entire South in terms of project citing and appointments. The Yoruba are the losers in the alliance, all the positions given to the region are cosmetic and largely symbolic.”