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Ending northern dictatorship over Nigeria



Ending northern dictatorship over Nigeria

“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our grandfather, Othman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We must use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us or have control over their future.” – Sir Ahmadu Bello, The Parrot, October 12, 1960.

The evidence keeps mounting that the Northern establishment sees Nigeria solely through the prism of domination rather than the peace and prosperity of the country. The latest is the vociferous resistance by the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Senators Forum, the Katsina Elders Forum and other Northern groups and dignitaries to the innocuous administrative step by the Federal Government to move the supervisory departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Lagos, in consideration of proximity to the institutions they supervise, for the sake of efficiency and frugality.

Meanwhile, all other federal ministries, departments and agencies as well as the legislature and the judiciary remain in Abuja. All key military institutions and installations are in the North. The staffing and leadership of all institutions of government are dominated by the North.

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The North also dominates Federal Government’s investments in higher institutions, agriculture and infrastructure, among others, to the extent that, during the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari (a Fulani) a super highway and railway were built to connect their kit and kin in Niger Republic. At no time did members of the Northern establishment, collectively or individually, raise their voice against this aberration.

In the current affront to the Federal Government over a simple relocation of some supervisory departments of the CBN and FAAN, there has been no voice of reason from that axis except that of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (former Governor of the CBN) and, understandably, Kashim Shettima (Vice President) and Uba Sani (Governor of Kaduna State). The rest have the temerity to tell us that they are the custodians of power in Nigeria and that whoever else might be in office must take dictation from them or face political consequences! The country cannot move forward with such selective thought amnesia and petty, selfish and myopic mindset.

Indeed, this mindset is one of tail wagging the dog, because, everything that still makes Nigeria somewhat tick, locally and around the world (from crude oil to education and culture, science and technology, commerce and industry, sports, entertainment, literature and all other forms of art, e.t.c) comes mainly from the South. In the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition, for example, how many Northerners are playing for Nigeria? Are we not celebrating victories because the players were largely chosen by merit? When the cup is won, would it not be for the whole of Nigeria and not for the South (where most players come from) alone? The same progressive thinking should guide government, all through.

Therefore, at Business Hallmark, we are in complete support of the Federal Government in the matter, in line with our persistent call for efficiency and reduction in the cost of government.

Ideally, military installations and other ministerial departments and agencies should be equitably redistributed among the former semi-autonomous regions. For example, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its departments and agencies should be moved to the Niger Delta region, where oil operations are located.

It is to be noted that this bellicose and contemptuous attitude of the Northern establishment – despite the unqualified generosity of their Southern counterparts – did not start today.

For instance, national independence was deferred, at the behest of the Northern Region, when Sir Ahmadu Bello and the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) threatened that the Region would, otherwise, secede, claiming that the region was not ready by 1953.

In the 1959 election for the first independent Federal Government of 1960, the NPC polled about 1.6 million votes, against Action Group’s (AG’s) 1.9 million and National Convention of Nigerian Citizens’ (NCNC’s) 2.6 million. Yet, the British gave power to them because they threatened that the Northern region would secede if it was not allowed to form that government.

In the same manner, demand for a new constitution, restructuring of the federation, rotation of the presidency between the North and the South and for cancellation of fraudulent elections are dismissed, till today!

The resultant lack of correlation between talent and opportunity, and reward and contribution has killed the incentive for diversified production and healthy competition between the federating units, leading to unmitigated economic failure and rendering the Nigerian system utterly predatory and bedeviled with inflation, unemployment, banditry, secessionist agitation and all shades of corruption and terrorism.

Yet, Ali Ndume and the like have the effrontery to threaten political consequences should the rickety set-up be tampered with in any way, relying on presumed population advantage. Though Bola Tinubu is a Muslim, a president from the South remains repulsive to them.

However, the message is clear: the rest of Nigeria must beware of divide-and-rule tactics to put their petty rivalry aside and come together to push for free and fair elections, a change of the constitution and a restructuring of the federation, to end this dictatorship. The braggadocio of the Northern establishment has been tolerated for too long, by the default of the South and must stop.

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