the sole purpose of government is the welfare of the people – Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ
the optimum interest of the Yoruba people should be the prime focus of the six state governments at all times; all politics within the region must henceforth be guided by the philosophy of politics of development – The Six Governors of Yorubaland’s Southwestern States
Even as hegemonic attempts continue furiously towards “capturing” – I know no other word – Yorubas’ Southwest through divisive means, those in the saddle in the various corners of the region – the governors – all assembled in the Land’s political capital, Ibadan about a week ago.
This blogger has never been one to attempt to hide behind one finger or play a fence sitter on issues, social or political. I believe the news right now in Nigeria concerning President Buhari’s plan to ditch VP Ọṣíbàjò before the 2019 election and to replace him with Orji Kalu, one of the former Eastern States’ governors is not within the realm of possibility.
While most across Nigeria have been very disappointed in how Buhari has turned out, the Yorubas are decidedly more so because without them, especially the leadership provided by Tinubu, the former General would have become a four-times-unlucky-candidate-for-president.
Just last week in an essay before the Ondo rerun, I wrote the following as regards the blatant appearance of support by the electoral body for the president’s party – the party most of us in the Southwest massively supported in the 2015 election:
The president must not be so determined about 2019 – most in Western Nigeria are, to say the least, displeased about what he has made of the 2015 mandate they overwhelmingly gave him – that he’s ready and willing to throw Yorubas under the bus of his ambition.
The next person to be discarded is Osibajo for the pursuit of another voting block to prop up a government OF Nigeria FOR the president’s relations and ethnic group BY interchangeably other major ethnic groups?
That idea must remain a dream/nightmare that must never be allowed to see the light of day.
Personally, I do not see much wisdom – I must not say ‘sense’ – in considering the election of Mr. Akeredolu as Ondo’s governor as a “coming together of the family” or whatever description. APC is now a descendant of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) – if not in name, but in action and in fact.
The moment Asiwaju said – according to newsreports – that APC no longer sees the need for restructuring, one of the pillars of an alliance, was the moment millions like me in Yorubaland left that party.
The “victory” of APC in Ondo State is not credible to many from that state, including me, a belief I came to in following figures of returns from some of the wards – Akure, Ondo West … but that is merely academic now no matter how the three losers representing AD, PDP and SDP and their followers may rant and rave.
What is important is that Ondo State is really now a sort of Ground Zero in the grand design to “capture” the whole of Yorubaland in 2019 with nothing the region would gain more than remain as it has found itself right now, a footstool. Ekiti is next.
Nigeria is NOT a nation as the word is supposed to imply although it can become one, if the citizens would MAKE the leadership – legislative and executive work to achieve nationhood because it is what General Buhari, the Candidate, promised on the campaign trail. He and his party won but they chose to renege.
Okay, what are the impediments standing between Nigeria and nationhood?
- beyond Western Nigeria, whose language(s) do most Yorubas understand; ditto other areas?
- How many of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups share the same culture?
- What strong bonds unite us except when the football teams play other countries’ teams?
- Do we have shared values?
ALL ANSWERS ARE ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE.
I mention Nigeria’s non-nationhood because of a point I’d like to bring into the ramblings here.
I remember the old “southwest integration” that governors first embarked on included a great and grand idea: a rail line that would link the states of the region for economic development.
I also do remember that Asiwaju’s attempt to have Lagos get electricity supply that would be independent of the country’s corrupt and awful NEPA met opposition from the “federal” government: electricity distribution was in the central government’s “schedule” in the constitution or so!
Right now in the news is the laudable cooperation of Northern Nigerian Governors for electricity generation, a project that has already gotten to advanced stage.
While I really do not know if Lagos State was ever able to complete that visionary project, I also cannot say whether the Northern governors met any impediment with their own project.
Nigeria is NOT governed with equity, and that is really not saying much because all one has to do is look at continued lists of Buhari’s appointees to judicial, security … government positions which, despite hues and cries, the president apparently considers irrelevant to his scheme.
To become a nation, RESTRUCTURING IS A MUST in Nigeria’s case, the reason why it has been a hot button issue for a long time.
Restructuring would enhance healthy competition between the federating units in a nation where states would be treated alike without every politician believing they must cross to successive ruling parties to get their states access to what should naturally be theirs. A president in a restructured Nigeria would not be the STRONGMAN ruler to whom every governor runs even in a matter as simple as resolving the posting of returning officers, et cetera as presently happens.
It is very heartening to learn of the six governors finally able to come together regardless the parties to which they belong. We are one family and the links across state borders in Western Nigeria for many families, groups and communities date back centuries.
And by choosing to follow a template by our late Awo, our state leaders have chosen right. We are grateful to them all, and hope that they will ensure that no divisive force would come among them and that their focus will be as enunciated in their communique: the welfare of the people, the greater good.
Below are two articles from a recent issue of Odua Pathfinder on the meeting of the governors.
For the information of non-Nigerians, the first photograph is of Awo, the visionary leader of the old Western Region who led a government that scored many firsts not only in Nigeria but Africa, a situation that led the other two regions – the North and East – to healthy competition which resulted in Nigeria making giant strides in many areas.
In the second photograph from left:
Governors Ambode (Lagos); Amosun (Ogun); Ajimobi, Host (Oyo); Fayose (Ekiti) States, and representative of Ondo’s Governor Mimiko pose to mark the event.
Hope Rising For South-West:
As I browse gleefully through the communique issued at the end of their conference on November 21, 2016, I could not resist calling our leader, Chief Adebisi Akande, to share my ecstatic state of mind with him. I was particularly thrilled that the governors affirmed the principle championed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo that the sole purpose of government is the welfare of the people. This is expressed brilliantly as the first item on the communique: “That the optimum interest of the Yoruba people should be the prime focus of the six state governments at all times, and that all politics within the region must henceforth be guided by the philosophy of politics of development.” Governor Ajimobi’s welcome statement set the ball rolling: “Let’s face it. We cannot continue to pretend that we can deal with the issues confronting our region and her people on a case-by-case, insular State basis. It will not work…State by state solutions, desirable as they might seem, are no longer enough. The capacity to optimise the space for development lies in collective thinking and actions, as well as effective collaborative governance.”
Beginning of Renaissance in the Yoruba Region?(1)
Let no one be deceived, other regions are already ahead in the project of managing their economies beyond or without oil. For example, northern governors have been at this project since May of 2015, notwithstanding that the current president is from the north. Northern governors have gone abroad to look for loans and investments from both sectarian and secular institutions for development of their regions. They have also gone to get foreign investors interested in partnering with them to mine minerals in their regions and assist in modernisation of their region’s agriculture. Although the economic situation of the Yoruba region at present is worse than outsiders can readily apprehend, there is hope for revival and renewal of lost glory, but all hands must be on deck to craft right policies, programmes, and projects to develop the region in a sustainable way that can continuously address the welfare of its people.
Source: Oòdúà Pathfinder, November 27, 2016.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2016. 7:54 p.m.[GMT]