Re: Much Ado about Restructuring

Re: Much Ado about Restructuring

By Oduche Azih


In his article  Much Ado about Restructuring of September 1, 2016  in Writers War Room, Ahmed Musa Husaini wrote: “Unfortunately, the federalism of the First Republic did not only fail, but ended in disaster, marred by regional political crises and a bloody military coup that culminated in a bloody civil war whose scars are still visible on our body politic.”

This conclusion is patently false. Neither the first military coup, the follow-up revenge coup, the unrelenting pogrom on Ndigbo and anyone who unfortunately looked like them (see Abraham Ogbodoh), nor the invasion of the East was caused by a constitutional deficiency.

The pre-1966 federal arrangement a.k.a. Constitution, was the only one ever negotiated and agreed on by the people of Nigeria and their elected political representatives.

It is amazing that anyone, including Ahmed Musa Husaini, would disparage that constitution, whatever its flaws, on the premise that a bunch of ill-educated military officers, more in the mould of Idi‎ Amin, somehow knew better. Obviously they are being very economical with the truth.‎ Which ones are the shining stars? Is it General Yakubu Gowon, General Murtala Mohammed, General Muhammadu Buhari in his first incarnation or General  Sani Abacha? Excuse me! Aguiyi-Ironsi never counted in this reckoning. General Ibrahim Babangida on his part showed some flashes of brilliance but then soon showed his hand for a personal agenda and derailed.

In short we have never had it so bad as far as lacking in a uniting and guiding philosophy is concerned. Husaini has said as much. Where then resides his argument against restructuring. He has lost me.

On INSTITUTIONS AND INTERNALIZED FOUNDING PHILOSOPHIES, Husaini‎ wrote: “Sadly, that is not easily achievable in a country where there is no nationally agreed version of our history, of our past; no nationally agreed consensus on where we are, who we are and where we want to be. On the contrary, each distinct ethnic or regional group has its own philosophy, perceived or declared, has its own aspirations, and these aspirations are for the most part mutually exclusive, mutually-rejecting and irreconcilable.”

‎This writer has clearly illustrated the institutionalized‎ disdain for our “correct” history by his statement quoted earlier where he discredited the pre-1966 Nigerian Constitution meticulously hammered out by Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo. It is amazing how, with self-imposed amnesia, revisionists refuse to give them any credit for their political sagacity in working out compromises that ACTUALLY kept Nigeria one. How could the latter-day apostles of this suffocating national “unity” of Jonah and the whale not have learnt that without their compromise, Eastern and Western Nigeria were poised to secure independence from Britain ahead of Ghana in 1957? There would have been no Nigeria ‎over which to subsequently disagree.

I am of the opinion that Northern Nigeria would have been far better off as an independent nation, ahead of Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso. It is a great pity that most of our northern brethren have been deliberately made to believe that they owe their survival to someone else.

Husaini also undermined his very own argument that things are just fine as they are and that we should simply soldier on.

The plain truth is that this arrangement which we allowed to be imposed on us over the past 50 years has not worked and will not work. The very group, the northerners, who claim to like things the way they are, would unfortunately not know what to do in the unlikely event that all oil revenues are appropriated for the north. It is as bad as that. We have addressed the Resource Curse enough that it does not need repeating.

The north can only settle down to plan its own development, and actually grow if, the region is thrown into the deep end of the economic pool and left to its own devices. Entrepreneurs will sprout out of all the cracks and the wood works. The people are neither stupid nor lazy. The parasitic elite have always given the hardworking northerner a bad name. Let me see who will call the much vilified but hardworking Fulani herdsmen lazy!

Oduche Azih


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