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Dele Momodu’s Piece : ‘WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE RESTRUCTURING?’ ~ A Response by Greg Abolo

The Oasis Reporters

July 03, 2017


Dele Momodu, inset.

Writing for Thisdaylive Newspaper, the Edo born Dele Momodu, society Magazine publisher (the Ovation magazine) is being clever by half in saying he was drawing blank from faces that demand restructuring. Ridiculing them is the worst thing to do at this point in time.

I love veterinary doctors a lot because they don’t ask their animals questions . They just observe their patients critically and instantly treat after diagnosis. They won’t say that an animal refused to make a sound, therefore all is well.

If Momodu wants to pretend that the nation does not need restructuring or that there are no grounds for it, then if ever there were dishonesty, this is it!

If he is suggesting a brutal response since the earth did not quake over Sultan Dasuki’s deposition or over his son’s incarceration, then he should be pitied.

Scotland demanded for separation from the United Kingdom and they went to a Referendum vote.
The Separatists lost because the rest of the United Kingdom government offered a lot of concessions to Scotland and carried out a massive campaign that was conciliatory to Scotland, using the Queen, Pop stars and even Gordon Brown, a former British Prime Minister who happens to be Scottish himself.
The Prime Minister too, went over to Scotland to try and dissuade the people from voting to leave. That is apart from several person to person contacts, including young Britons who went over to have their weddings in Scotland, because ‘they loved the rhythm and style of the place’.
In the end, the UK preserved it’s unity.

Now, the Scottish territory could in no way be said to be a seriously marginalized group, or suffered gross infrastructural deficits like their oil producing counterpart in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
They were just as developed as any part of Britain.

Then why is the South east of Nigeria asking for Biafrexit or the rest of the south insisting on restructuring the polity?
Ironically, Dele Momodu himself tactically touched on the issues that are giving rise to issues of restructuring or a break up!

Taking Dele Momodu up point by point seems very tempting.
He says :

“Once upon a time, TRUE FEDERALISM was the swansong. Most of those shouting the phrase had little or no idea of what it meant”.

How he came to this conclusion is hard to fathom.
Who does not know what Federalism means, since our constitution is fashioned after the American presidential and how it works over there?

“Once, a SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE became the only panacea for a united Nigeria after the satanic annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election”.

At the very least, Mr. Momodu agrees that the annulment was “satanic”.
What then was he expecting?
An embrace of the annulment?

“The latest craze in Nigeria now is RESTRUCTURING. Everywhere you turn, someone must tell you Nigeria needs to restructure fast.
You begin to wonder what is wrong with us”.

Further in his opinion piece, he unwittingly reveals some reasons why we must “restructure” our educational system, political system away from “born to rule ” mentality etc.
I therefore begin to wonder about his wonder myself!

“The renewed agitation for BIAFRA is borne out of that supposed persecution complex of the Igbo people by, as always theoretically, the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy.
Many of those tribal jingoists often lump the whole of Northern Nigeria together as a monolithic entity. They studiously forget that the North has its own majority/minority brouhaha. Indeed, there is not one Igbo nation as the agitators may want us to believe”.

Has there ever been a one nation in any tribe in Nigeria before?

“I’m reasonably assured that fresh complaints of marginalisation would resume. In the State of Osun, the people of Ile-Ife are already grumbling aloud that no Ife son or daughter has ever been a Governor even though Ile-Ife is the ancestral home of the Yoruba race. And that is the tale and litany of woes everywhere. Whatever we see happening now is nothing short of marriage of convenience”.

The question to ask Dele Momodu is :
Can anything be done about this?
I think in Delta State, the power rotation amongst the three senatorial districts in an informal kind of way, is working. Though may not be perfect.

“Let’s get down to brass tacks and tackle the matter of restructuring. The word itself suggests that there is something faulty about the present structure and configuration of Nigeria. That has never been in doubt.
However, the problem in my view is largely political and less economic in nature.
Those who have controlled Nigeria politically in the last 57 years have shown no capacity to exploit their humongous power to the overall benefit of their people”.

Why would Dele Momodu say it is largely political than economic?
Yet we know how President Shehu Shagari used his political advantage to change the Revenue Allocation formula through the Pius Okigbo Committee that included Population and Landmass as basis for sharing the oil revenue.
His Sokoto home state and the entire north has landmass and population, as opposed to the oil producing Niger delta region that has more of ‘Water mass’, less land and little population.
Despite the oil that polluted the Niger delta region’s farmlands and aquatic life, Sokoto State suddenly became richer than the oil producing states.
Yet they could not produce a fifth of the graduates that a Niger delta State would produce.
Obasanjo too, excised some Niger delta communities including the ancestral home of Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor into Ondo state, to make the South western Yoruba state (his ethnic group), an oil producing state. The matter is still in court.

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“All they’ve succeeded in doing is empower a few of their cronies who become demigods during their reign.

“I’ve asked many of those saying they feel cheated in Nigeria to explain what they mean and I’ve concluded from their answers that it is more of politics than anything else.
None could answer me when I asked why a strong and highly educated Dr Alex Ekwueme could not do much as Vice President under President Shehu Shagari from 1979 to 1983?”

Does Dele find this an aberration that a former Vice president of the Federal Republic could be that helpless?
Then obviously the nation does need restructuring to make everyone have a feel of the presidential power.

“The example of Chief Moshood Abiola has demonstrated clearly that for anyone to win the race, he must build consensus everywhere. He showed that it is a game of mathematical numbers and it is never a gift to anyone”.

This was what Dele Momodu wrote earlier to buttress his earlier point and validate my counter argument :

“They studiously forget that the North has its own majority/minority brouhaha”.

It is obvious that Dele Momodu is treating this very important topic that is threatening to tear Nigeria apart with levity and on the surface.
He lacks indepth knowledge of the undercurrents underneath Nigerian politics.

When General Babangida squared up Bashir Tofa to run against Moshood Abiola via an unseen hand, he was mainly saying that it was enough of Fulani hegemony. The Fulani ethnic group has always held political power in every democratic setting, representing the north.
Babangida who is non Fulani that overthrew his fellow General, a Fulani (Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari) in a palace coup in 1985, was planning to shift power away from the tribe by excluding the Fulani ethnic group from contesting in 1993. So he picked a Kanuri man, Bashir Tofa .
Chief Abiola too, paired with a Kanuri, Babagana Kingibe as running mate.
I sat with a young Igbirra born reporter (Mr. Smart) , for Tell Magazine on a flight from Lagos to Kano, and took him to Abubakar Rimi’s house at Durbin Katsina road for the Interview with the headline, “It Is Time For A Southern President ” published in Tell Magazine before the election of Chief Abiola.

Late Abubakar Rimi (former Kano State governor) was Fulani . The Fulani actively mobilized in the north to elect Chief Abiola. The Kanuri are their rivals for power in the northern region .
Recall the struggles later, between General Abacha and Shehu Musa Yar’adua, in which Yar’adua died in prison on trumped up charges.
Same scenario is playing out between Kanuri Ali Modu Sheriff and Fulani Ahmed Makarfi, all of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
These are all part of the ethno centric struggles in the north.

The Fulani knew that if they backed Abiola, they could always take power back from him, rather than trying that under Tofa. Therefore backing Abiola was not entirely altruistic. It was strategic.
Dele Momodu doesn’t know that.

“Rotation and zoning are largely responsible for proliferation of poor and preposterous leadership in Nigeria”.

Even when there was no rotation in the aftermath of military coups, what benefits accrued to the south that hardly engaged in military takeovers?

” Chief Abiola won the election, but lost the mandate freely given to him by every part of Nigeria. The Nigerian Mafia, connived and conspired to rob him of his hard-fought victory. Every effort to regain his mandate was rebuffed and frustrated. The strategy was simple and effective. Reduce Abiola’s victory to a Yoruba affair, repeat all kinds of lies till they become believable, and a pan-Nigerian mandate was burnt to ashes”.

Another good reason to restructure, I’m afraid.

“Still the Yoruba people did not seek revenge or retaliation. They extracted a form of justice as payback. The destroyers of June 12 could not believe the resilience of the people. In frustration and desperation, they sought and found a perfect ally to dump the stolen mandate on since they didn’t want Abiola. General Olusegun Obasanjo served their purpose as civilian President”.

In that brief paragraph, Dele Momodu has extolled the virtues of struggle, yet wants to deny some agitators their right to struggle, seeing it as needless irritation.

“sometimes, it is better, and safer, to fight a battle of wits than a duel of brawn. The use of force can never guarantee a meaningful victorious end”.

Does Dele really believe what he says?
If so, why would he recommend a crackdown on agitators simply because nothing happened when the Dasuki family received severe knocks ?
The same violence he has ruled out as incapable of achieving a meaningful victorious end?
The Ovation Magazine publisher seem to be blowing hot and cold. He’s not steady on a belief. Yet he was once a presidential election contender.

“Another example is Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as President of Nigeria. When President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s cabal was going to stop him from acting as President , other Nigerians fought for the Nigerian Constitution to be respected.
Yoruba people… felt marginalised under Jonathan but only retaliated with their votes in 2015. This principle should be borrowed and adopted by other tribes of Nigeria.
Your greatest weapon is your vote and not how many guns you can acquire and fire”.

Hope he realizes that the Niger delta or any other section of the country can decide to “retaliate” with their votes against the Yoruba tribe tomorrow, since no ethnic group has the monopoly on retaliation.

“The Igbos enjoyed no special infrastructure privileges under Jonathan but had a quasi-Prime Minister in Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. They threw their full weight behind him in 2015. Unfortunately, Jonathan was sacked from power”.

Oh my goodness!
Momodu is acting as if nothing changed in the South east. And that’s a very fraudulent claim to make, because I knew what south east roads for instance were, after the Civil War, and what they were in the 80s, then what they became during the Jonathan regime. I have travelled extensively all over the east and the rest of Nigeria and can say that Dele’s knowledge here is deficient.

“Let’s now fast forward. Nigeria is in big trouble. Suddenly, everyone is talking and crying wolf where there is none.
The virulent, violent agitators will not consider dialogue or compromise. They are fixated about breaking away from Nigeria”.

Is there really no wolf? And is this how he would address agitators?
This journalist was once a presidential office contender , for crying out loud !

“The liberals want Nigeria restructured fast and now. I support the latter and I have two fundamental suggestions to make…
The Presidential system we miscopied from America has become too convoluted and expensive. Nigeria can no longer sustain 36 States plus Abuja”.

Hurray. The questioner has answered himself on restructuring.

“The principle of federal character was adopted to give every part of Nigeria a sense of belonging”.

Hahahahaha! I thought Dele wanted to delete cohesiveness from our polity.

“The born to rule mentality of some people must be discouraged and curtailed immediately. Such puerile and nauseating statements credited to some Arewa youths that they donated power to Abiola
and later to Obasanjo, should be totally disregarded”

Dele, who are those with the “born to rule” mentality?

First you said those crying over marginalization are crying wolf where there was none.
Now you are pointing specifically at some wolves!
Wale Okediran once said that “writing is like walking naked”.
See what Dele’s zigzag foxtrot has done to his sleep. He’s walking in his sleep. Why can’t he stick to one belief?

“Democracy is a game of numbers and whosoever can mobilise enough Nigerians is the leader.
Any Nigerian is free to contest his popularity at the polls and should never be threatened into abandoning his dreams”.

Let freedom ring ~ Martin Luther King Jr

“Anyone who threatens the peace of Nigeria should be sanctioned and disciplined. A powerful Sultan Dasuki was dethroned and banished from Sokoto for whatever reasons. His son, Sambo, a once powerful National Security Adviser, has since been in indefinite detention under whatever guise.
A popular Shiite leader has been incarcerated without trial all this while.
Why should some pseudo-cultural leaders feel they are above the law and that they can insult fellow citizens to the bargain?”

In what section of the constitution is insult a punishable offence?

Who is threatening the peace of Nigeria, is it the marginalized or the ‘marginalizer’?

“Enough of that crap. The law should take its course within the confines of the Constitution”.

Abacha once used the laws to hang Ken Saro Wiwa.
Did it end any agitation?
Kanu, detained for so long and was denied bail.
What did these two incidences produce?

“The Buhari government should declare a state of Emergency on Education. The reason our youths are easily brainwashed is because of the preponderance of ignorance and poverty in our country. Educational pre-requisites should be brought to par in all States. Never again should we breed sub-standard students under the guise of educationally disadvantaged zones. Education is education and those who cannot meet the requirements should stay longer in classes to catch up on their studies.
No one should be admitted into a university if they can’t meet the cut-off marks. We’ve damaged our education almost irreparably by condoning mediocrity in the past. Our myopic and sectional leaders obviously did not know they were sowing seeds of backwardness (or did so deliberately to clone a nation of morons) and the result is the bountiful harvest of mass illiteracy and dangerous brigandage we have in our hands today”.

My son wrote the national common entrance from Kumbotso Local Government over ten years ago in Kano. He was the second highest scorer in the entire local government, still he got no admission then because his father is from Delta State, though he was born in Kano. The funding for the Federal Government Colleges come from the oil industry which devastates the farmlands of father’s home region. Children from the states in the north got in with low cut off marks, many of them, on full scholarship.
Would Dele Momodu suggest a restructuring there or not?

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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