Nationhood; Going Beyond Hausa, Yoruba And Igbo Arrangement—–Some leadership traits that were useful in the past might not be so today, because we are facing a situation that is totally different from the one that prevailed in the late 1990s or even in the early 2000s. We must, therefore, find new forms of leadership, because the sophisticated ventures we are considering today requires a higher level of initiative and creativity
— Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate.
Looking at the human carnage presently ongoing across the country-from the South East to South West, North East to North Central and similar human tragedies in the South West, North West, it is enough to cause dropping spirit among the vast majority of Nigerians.
This feeling orchestrated by the happenings becomes particularly worrying when one remembers that it is happening despite huge budgetary allocations to the security and defence sector. And coming at a time when recent economic policies in the country has already thrown hundreds of thousands of Nigerians out of employment while simultaneously driving more people into the ranks of beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders them insensible to all feelings of decency and self-respect.
Except in a peripheral way, if we truly analyze the characteristics of excellent leaders regardless of their nationality, we will find out that they are both creative and innovative. By contrast, while the creative and innovative leaders in the other parts of the world are thinking up, and doing new things because they possess the know-how, energy and, power to implement ideas, those lacking in these attributes passively conditioned their responses to leadership stimuli such as the present happenings in the country. Of course, right from independence in October 1960, successive leaderships in Nigeria developed automatic ways of responding to the political, economic and socioeconomic occurrences. They repeat this act, yet expect different results.
This leadership style partially explains why the nation is currently in grief.
With this highlighted, let’s focus on the larger frame of challenges that set the stage for the present challenge- the marriage of two unwilling brides who had no say in their forced and ill-fated union called amalgamation of the northern and the southern protectorates on the 14th February 1914.
Indeed, not that everyone agreed with the direction the amalgamation was taking. There was heated internal debate/opposition about whether we should be pursuing this multi-ethnic union. Some leaders of the protectorates, particularly from the East argued that we should go slowly for now. Such suggestions however, fell on deaf ears. But, again, it puts in plain words why the East had to wait till the 1920s before it was finally forced to join the union.
Despite the existence of an unequal relationship, the nation state from one British Colonial Amalgamated Entity was later, in preparation for the independence, restructured into three Federating Regions. The Northern Nigeria, led by an Hausa-Fulani ethnic Nationality, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Western Region of Nigeria led by a Yoruba ethnic Nationality Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the Eastern Region of Nigeria led by an Igbo ethnic Nationality, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, respectively.. The Capitals of the respective Regional Governments are Kaduna, Ibadan and Enugu respectively, while Lagos, though part of Yoruba land, was unanimously chosen as the Capital of the Nigerian Federation, during the Restructuring Meetings of the Amalgamated Nigeria in 1951 at Ibadan Western Nigeria. Please see the Report of the Conference to this effect at Ibadan Western Nigeria under the Chairmanship of the British Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Littleton.
The situation says something else.
As noted in my recent and similar piece, Nigeria, at independence in 1960, became a federation, resting firmly on a tripod of three federating regions-Northern, Eastern and Western Regions. Each of the regions was economically and politically viable to steer its own ship, yet mutual suspicion among them was rife. The British colonial overlords probably intended the protectorates to operate in asymmetrical manner with no part of the amalgam claiming superiority over the other. This arrangement conferred on the fledgling country the form of the Biblical trinity.
However, Nigeria has but unfortunately remained a castle without foundation. Our regional loyalty surpassed nationalistic fervor with every ethnic group seeking primarily what they can get from Nigeria.
Why do I share this painful history? The answer is not farfetched; apart from being verifiable facts, it points at why Nigeria is doing great in name but unfortunately, the people in it are not.
While this state of affairs continues to thrive, there are in fact, more stunning reasons and effective argument that if we are desirous of solving the nation’s present political and socioeconomic challenges, we must first, acknowledge that Nigeria, in absolute terms is made up of not just three but well over 120 ethnic groupings. And accept that the nation’s current challenge goes beyond the banality of ethnicity to include regions’ undercurrents. Above all, the nation must admit that most of these smaller ethnic groups are by no means comfortable with their blanket categorization under the three major ethnic groups. And such clumsy arrangement urgently needs to be recognized and these groups given their pride of place via a structural re-configuration of the political entity called Nigeria.
Readers with critical minds may ask; what is the evidence that tribal loyalties are stronger than our sense of common nationhood? And how can the piece justify the claim that the smaller tribes are not comfortable with the ‘trinity’? This piece will concentrate on two examples.
The first made manifest in 1957, during a meeting the British Colonial Authorities convened in London for Nigeria’s representative Political leaders from Northern Nigeria, Western Nigeria and Eastern Nigeria, respectively.
At that Conference, it was reported that Chief Harold Biriye, a leading Politician of Ijaw ethnic Nationality from the Niger Delta area of Eastern Region of Nigeria, pleaded strongly with the British Colonial Authorities to carve out the Niger Delta part of the Eastern Region of Nigeria to serve as the 4th Federating Regional Government of Nigeria in order to take care of its peculiar environment, culture, ecology and to develop at its own pace and factor endowments. Pleading time as the constraint, the British Colonial Authorities asked the Government of Nigeria, after independence, to undertake that assignment. To understand this account fully well, this piece will encourage readers to search and read the report entitled; scientific and Technological Innovations in Biafra (1967-1970),
Also, in the mid 1960s,Lee Kuan Yew, the pioneer Prime Minister of Singapore, who was in Nigeria for the Commonwealth of Nations meeting, observed thus; I was not optimistic about Africa. In less than 10 years after independence, Nigeria had had a coup and Ghana a failed coup. I thought their tribal loyalties were stronger than their sense of common nationhood. This was especially so in Nigeria, where there was a deep cleavage between the Muslim Hausa northerners and the Christian and pagan southerners. As in Malaysia, the British handed power, especially the army and police, to the Muslims. In Ghana, without this north-south divide, the problem was less acute, but there were still clear tribal divisions’.
From the above accounts, it is obvious therefore, that the nation urgently needs a higher level of initiative and creativity to address the ethnicity challenges, confront brutal forces and secure the masses while revitalizing the nation’s economy.
Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via;j[email protected]/08032725374.
JUST IN: Nationwide Protest To Remove President Buhari Holds On Democracy Day
JUST IN: Nationwide Protest To Remove President Buhari Holds On Democracy Day—-Which “democracy day” are they talking about – the real one (29 May) or fake one (12 June)? Whichever, anyone contemplating such a protest is naive and misguided, as naive and misguided as those expecting President
Buhari to restructure Nigeria!
It is an unfortunate characteristic of certain Nigerians to indulge in unreasonable expectations. Even when the solution to their problem is obvious to all reasonable minds, the unreasonable ones disturb our peace with their unreasonableness.
Look, Nigerians, take measures (including acquiring weapons of self-defence and fervent prayer) to avert a religious and inter-tribal war that is loading for 2022.
With that war averted and Nigeria getting another chance to exist as one country, massively support a South-Easterner to succeed President Buhari – on APC platform, of course.
With a South-Easterner as President of Nigeria from 29th May 2023, restructuring will happen naturally. Restructuring is South-Eastern as South-Eastern is restructuring.
What we see is that those calling for exit of President Buhari from office before 29th May 2023 and those unreasonably asking him to restructure Nigeria are mischievous individuals who want to truncate the very high prospect of a South-Easterner succeeding him on APC platform, thereby ending Nigeria violently.
They know that realistic promise of President of Nigeria of South-East extraction on APC platform from 29th May 2023 is now the only guarantee of Nigeria’s unity, peace, security, prosperity and true greatness – for the first time in history.
We shall not let them plunge Nigeria into avoidable destructive crisis from which the country will not survive. We must help them to stop that silly pressure on President Buhari to restructure Nigeria or to vacate Aso Rock Presidential Villa prematurely.
BOMB!!! FFK Says Bola Ahmed Tinubu Is Closer To 100 Years Than Claimed 69
The Genius Media Nigeria reports that FFK made this known in a recent tweet saying: If anyone tells you that the man in the picture below is 69 tell him that FFK said he is a liar.
If anyone tells you that the man in the picture below is 69 tell him that FFK said he is a liar. BAT is closer to 100 than he is to 69!
If anyone tells you that the man in the picture below is 69 tell him that FFK said he is a liar. BAT is closer to 100 than he is to 69! pic.twitter.com/N6ExAFEsWg
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) May 14, 2021
Recall that Jgaban celebrated his 69th birthday on March 29, 2021 as claimed, and Wikipedia page also confirmed that he is 69. However, what is confusing in the age issue is that his daughter who is the Iyaloja of Lagos, FolasahdeTinubu Ojo is 60 years, according to Wikkipedia, she was born in 1961
Ohanaeze Ndigbo And The Quest For President Of Nigeria Of South-East Extraction
Ohanaeze Ndigbo And The Quest For President Of Nigeria Of South-East Extraction—-Over the years, since South-East APC Integrity Group was founded in 2015 and its South-East APC Presidency Project 2023 was launched in January 2020, we have quietly and pleasantly observed the positive disposition of successive Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership to our quest for emergence of Nigeria’s President of South-East extraction.
Since His Excellency, Ambassador Professor George Obiozo became President General of the Igbo sociocultural organisation, he has taken that positive Ohanaeze disposition to a much higher and more determined level, and we must commend his patriotism, determination and focus.
However, Ohanaeze is not a political party and it is in fact not expected to dabble into partisan politics. By all means, let Ohanaeze express their sentiments on the question of where President Buhari’s successor would come from, after all, Ohanaeze leaders and members are equal stakeholders in the Nigerian project. But the issue of who would become President Buhari’s successor will be settled first at political party primaries.
And Ohanaeze, not being a partisan organisation, will not be in a position to dictate to any party the area that it should pick its presidential flag-bearer from.
So, the Ohanaeze advocacy on the subject must be understood to have limited expectations. What we expect Ohanaeze to do is to charge its members and Igbo persons who are members of the various political parties to engage their party structures with a view to persuading them to vote for the best South-Easterner aspiring for Presidency on their party platform.
That is what South-East APC Presidency Project 2023 has been going since January 2023 and will continue to do, that is, engaging APC structures to support the best presidential aspirant of South-East extraction that we will recommend to our party (APC) to become our party’s 2023 presidential candidate.
We expect PDP members and members of other parties who are of South-East or even Igbo extraction to emulate South-East APC Presidency Project 2023.
At the end of the day, following the presidential primaries of the various political parties, the South-Easterner picked by the most serious party will be presented to Ohanaeze, PANDEF, Afenifere, ACF, Middle Belt Forum and other sociocultural organisations for their support of that presidential candidate of South-East extraction.
For now, let PG Obiozo and his fellow Ohanaeze leaders go quiet on 2023 Nigeria’s presidential aspiration, lest their zeal and passion become deliberately misinterpreted by Igbophobes and other enemies of Nigeria’s peace, reconciliation, unity, security and prosperity.
Dr. Chinedu Jideofo-Ogbuagu,
South-East APC Presidency Project 2023.
08023163451, 08077010324, 07068400040.
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