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Yoruba Voices on Restructure: “Rather than working on the next mega party …” preventing a “sinking Titanic” through dialogue is the way to go – Tola Adenle

September 21, 2017

Nigeria

Rather than working on the next mega party or rearranging the sitting and feeding order in a sinking Titanic, what is now imperative is for the nation to sit together in order to chart a new course for the Nigerian people. With economic sabotage bringing the country to its knees and with centrifugal forces seizing hold of its jugular from all directions, the omens are very dire indeed. 

[Tátalọ̀ Alàmú: Unitary federalism and its future in Nigeria] – Link at bottom of Page.

What was taken away by military autocrats and sustained by post-military constitution and rulers is proper relationship between the central government and subnational governments. Federalism has been removed since 1979 from the form and content of government in the country. This cannot be remedied by mere devolution. It can only be restored through establishment or re-establishment of federal system of government. Whether this is called political restructuring or restoration federalism, what is at issue is having a proper sharing (not devolving) of powers between the central government and regions or states (as federating units). 

[Rọpò Ṣekoni:  Devolution or federalism –  which way for Nigeria?] Link at bottom of Page.

 

FOREWORD to Voices …

The need for a political restructuring of Nigeria has been continuously articulated since the first military rule when a Civil War-era jingle, To keep Nigeria one/is a task that must be done transmuted into [a sort of] physical transformation of the country from an entity of three federating units – regions – that fostered economic and political development  into a single behemoth.

All directions, including those that used to be at regional levels  emanated from a Supreme Military Council headed by a military Commander-in-Chief whose words, including decrees and actions, became law and often, formed part of the country’s constitution.

An “Abacha Constitution”, for example – major portion of the present constitution – might be a constitution that came into being under the rule of late General Abacha, it was a document the goggled one reportedly tampered with extensively in ways that firmly planted the North as a perpetual overlord over the rest of the country. If the constitution had earlier shown a tendency to favor the North in allocation of appointments, resources and infrastructure, the Abacha-constitution nailed the coffin of a legal document that before his reign was barely working for the people.

Since the Abacha-constitution, Lagos, the most populous state in the country followed by Kano, now has less people than the two states created out of the old Kano State: Kano and Jigawa, mopping the floor with whatever remained of an already-lopsided polity that has now rendered meaningless the idea of “federal character” in allocation of resources and shared common wealth that is enshrined in the constitution.

Calls from the southern part of the country: Yorubaland, (SW); Igboland (SE), South-South (the oil producing areas) and the Middle Belt, but especially the whole of the south, have become more and more strident since the 1999 second return from army rule to civilian governance. If truth be told, the only parts of the country that hates the “R” word are in the core North.

Now, while most Yoruba of the Southwest may have the same destination in mind as regards direction Nigeria must go  to bring equity and development in a true federation as well as arrest the restiveness of millions of her citizens, many have resorted to name-calling, a not surprising thing for a people who are always generally tougher on themselves than on others.

We should not feel in anyway threatened by any Yoruba socio-cultural group as not being in a position to “speak for all Yorubas”.

After all, even in the Western world governance that Nigeria claims to copy, elected representatives do not generally go against the interest of their constituents unless, of course, such reps have determined not to seek re-election. Most representatives do NOT act in constituents interest, often acting as if they represent none but themselves. Most elected representatives in the two Houses want to be the people who would “restructure” the polity, “amend” a constitution that most believe needs to be completely re-written …

Here are two reasons among many why Yoruba cannot – and should not – at this moment rely on their “representatives” at the center:

APC, for which most Yoruba massively voted, campaigned with retired General Buhari (for whom this blogger went out from before his THIRD failed bid for the presidency) on restructuring the country but hardly had the election been won before the party lost millions of supporters when its leadership – Buhari, Tinubu and Oyegun – came out AGAINST restructuring. 

The second reason why Yoruba cannot trust their “elected leaders” is shown in the following.

While I have roots in Ekiti and Ondo States, I claim Ondo, as my home state; both are overwhelmingly Christian. Yet, one of the state’s reps at Nigeria’s Senate voted in 2013 for a bill supporting child marriage. How did Ayo Akinyelure cast a “yes” vote on Child Marriage in a state that has most children – boys and girls –  in school at primary and secondary levels?

He claimed to have voted “Yes” by “mistake” for which he wept publicly at Adegbemile House, Akure where he was confronted by his constituents.

In fact, of 35 “senators” who voted “yes” to the bill, thirty-three were – not unexpectedly – from the North and two from the South: Akinyelure was the only Yoruba while Ugbesia Odion represented Edo. 

Ayo Akinyelure, Ondo-Central’s “representative” at the Nigerian Senate facing a sea of  mostly women constituents at Akure the state capital, Akinyelure, scared as hell as he should be, looks fake with that Awo cap after that very reactionary vote!

Pink Flyer:  All Over gba rìbá  … ọ̀lá àwọ́n ọmọ wa – “All Over” (perhaps the guy’s nickname) got bribe from The Enemy … the future of our children!

White flyer (Left): Ṣé l’óòtọ́ ni All Over jẹ́ Ojúlówó ọmọ Yoruba? – Is “All Over” a real/legitimate Yoruba child?

A section of constituents, mostly women, who met Akinyelure after the protests

 Photos: saharareporters.com; Story: https://emotanafricana.com/2013/07/24/ondo-centrals-akinyelure-to-recant-vote-on-child-bride-sahara-reporters/]

ender age marriage

Photo of Yerima, former governor and now a Nigerian “lawmaker” & his Egyptian child bride gets a SAY NO makeover [OSUN DEFENDER]

Story  –  https://emotanafricana.com/2013/07/23/nigerias-lawmakers-we-did-not-approve-minors-marriages-ondo-states-lawmaker-i-voted-in-error-as-he-wept/

In above 2013 essay, I wrote:

Christians or Moslems, I dare say none of the 35 “lawmakers” from Southern Nigeria would vote for the medieval and barbaric practice in clear conscience or as representing the will of his constituents.

This is the latest clear pointer to the fact that Nigeria can no longer continue to operate this kind of fake “federation” in which people are led by a central government that is so powerful that it forces priorities of a single group over those of others in a supposed federal set-up. 

The latest assault on what’s-left-of-Nigeria’s-constitution is the “Federal” Government floating of a Sukkuk Bond, an action that the  Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has described as a violation of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution. The apex body that represents all Christian churches points out that as a secular state, “Sharia-compliant” bond/loan cannot be taken by Nigeria because Nigeria is NOT a Muslim country. The following is part of the statement issued by the Christian body.

‘’Our objections to the Sukkuk Bond and all forms of Islamic financing are as follows: Funds raised under Sukkuk MUST be used for Shariah compliant (halal) activities. Nigeria is not a Sharia compliant nation, it is a democratic country. Nigeria cannot operate two national Ideologies. ‘’The Sukkuk shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Islamic Law of Mu’amalatmaliyyah. We insist that there cannot be two laws for one nation. ‘’Sukkuk is asset-based banking system unlike the conventional banking that is asset-backed. While under the conventional banking system, the borrower provides collateral to back the loan and retrieves his asset after the loan is redeemed, under Sukkuk, the loan is based on an asset which is land and irredeemable. The Sukkuk holder (lender) accepts land as asset on which the loan is based. At no time does the title pass to the customer, nor is it expected to pass. If the customer wishes to retrieve his asset at a later date, a separate agreement has to be drawn up. ‘’The operation of Sukkuk is based on Islamic value system and Sharia Jurisprudence. This makes Sukkuk unconstitutional. The IMF says that the issuance of Sukkuk by non-Islamic states/countries is a breach of the religious neutrality of the government of such state.”  

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/sukkuk-unconstitutional-can/

 

Please make time to read not only the pdf “VOICES” but also the essays listed below. They all show that the position of various Yoruba groups – like that of majority of southerners, have always been consistent. I believe the same of SW governments but expediency seems to have led most of those who govern at state level to tow whatever line the “federal” government dictates, an aberration that arose from the cap-in-hand existence that states are forced into when the “federal” government sits atop a very lopsided share of revenues.

Restructuring will do away with such situations as well as surreptitious choice of state-appointed religions. We’ve been at this for decades, and such a favored religion has seen a grown man in a top “federal” position suddenly “converting” to Islam in his sixth decade of life under Shagari; ditto Yar Adua’s spokesman whose photograph in a Muslim garb, made me think Segun Adeniyi was a Moslem. I referred to him as Alhaji in writings about his ignominious role during Yar Adua’s illness until someone told me the man is a Christian and merely dressed up in “borrowed robes” of sorts.

No matter how small or poor a state is, its governor would not have to beg for what rightly belongs to the state from the central government in a true federation; Ditto local government chairpersons would not have to have governors collect their allocations and pretend to execute projects on their behalf. In the case of the latter, however, capable and competent people would have to be at the helm of local government levels.

TỌLA. 

 

EXCERPTS FROM YORUBA VOICES ON NIGERIA’S RESTRUCTURE

On the other hand, from blatant in-group favouritism, scaling and rating others with reference to themselves, to a dislike of and belief in the inferiority of other ethnic groups, Igbo have always shown greater tendency towards negative ethnocentrism. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe captures this negative ethnocentric trait that seems to define Igbo as follows:

It would appear that the God of Africa has created the Ibo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondage of ages … history has enabled them not only to conquer others but also to adapt themselves to the role of preserver … The Ibo nation cannot shirk its responsibility” (West African Pilot (Lagos), 6 July 1949, quoted in Coleman, J. S. Nigeria: Background to Nationalism(1958), p. 347.   – ABDULSALAM AJETUNMỌBI, PhD.

 

The Ibos are doing to Yorubas what the Chinese are doing to the rest of the world. Having taken near total control of our economic space, they are working very hard and fast to conquer the political space in Yorubaland, and once we allow them to achieve this objective, we will be nothing but slaves right in our own land.  – Adebayọ Ọpawọye

So, why then can’t we allow them go on with their dreamed nationhood? Are we poised to loosing things of big magnitudes if they go, more than the recurrent troubles?  – A. Adetoye

In Lekki Phase One, conservatively 45% of land is alloted to/purchased by hard-working Ibos on 99-year leases … Goke Omiṣore

Click on “Voices” to read the submissions from which above excerpts were taken. Tola.

VOICES

 

 

Related essays, including – first on the list – a communique by the Yoruba General Assembly in 2012 held at Ibadan with attendance by SW governors, leaders such as retired General Akinrinade and representatives from various civil society groups. 

https://emotanafricana.com/2012/08/31/yoruba-demand-regional-autonomy-state-police/

http://thepathfinderinternational.com/2017/01/29/tatalo-alamu-unitary-federalism-and-its-future-in-nigeria/

https://emotanafricana.com/2012/09/17/true-federalism-is-the-way-forward-alani-akinrinade-at-yoruba-assembly/

https://emotanafricana.com/2013/10/08/yoruba-national-ethnic-group-will-back-a-united-nigeria-based-on-true-federalism-retired-lt-general-akinrinade/

https://emotanafricana.com/2016/07/25/nigeria-must-restructure-or-break-up-retd-lt-general-alani-akinrinade-warnssunnewsonline-com/

http://thepathfinderinternational.com/2017/08/06/ropo-sekoni-devolution-or-federalism-which-way-for-nigeria/

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017. 10:18 a.m. [GMT]

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