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Buhari, Osinbajo, Gowon, Obasanjo; where is the love of motherland?

By Folu Oyeleye on 16/09/2016

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 I pledge to Nigeria my country

To be faithful loyal and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God.
I see school children read this pledge with great fervor, while rulers read the pledge laboriously and with implicit treachery.
All about the pledge is love. Do they know what love means? Where is the love in President Muhammadu Buhari who claims to be fighting corruption, whereas he is obstinate on the political structure that breeds corruption, the constitution that is originally mendacious and imperial; the amphibious constitution that refers to the country as Federal Republic, but has content of a unitary system of government? The constitution that gives 52 per cent of the country’s revenue to the Federal Government to do little and irrelevances: I don’t know what concerns Federal Government with responsibilities of owning schools. I’ve never heard University of America before. In all the federal constitutions I know, the central government only has responsibility on international matters and national security.
Electricity is no longer a social service, communication has been privatised, airports have been commercialised, and petrol and diesel are now products of demand and supply chain. Please, tell me what the Federal Government is still doing with 52 per cent of the country’s revenue.
Where is the love in Mr Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the professor-lawyer, a pastor whose promises, most of the time, negate results; his pronouncements contradict realities, the head of economic team whose vacillating policies run against reliability? “What Nigeria needs is not political restructuring but economic diversification,” says the Vice-President. Hun! What a pity. I wonder why this man was not left in the classroom or allowed his pastoral fulfillment, but pushed into pitiful climate of intellectual vacuousness. Being a professor does not endow empirical knowledge. Could the Vice-President come out with the analysis of how he would diversify the economy within this political structure whereby under the present constitution, it is the only Federal Government that can explore the minerals under the belly of the country?
According to reports, Nigeria has more than a thousand mineral deposits still untapped under the ground. How capable is the Federal Government to explore all these? The oil mineral alone that they are producing and managing is still a nightmare, not to talk of hundreds of mineral deposits with complexity of exploration, especially ethnical. I can imagine how many militant groups would emerge in the name of protecting or avenging their abused environments. For God’s sake, isn’t there wisdom in Solid Mineral Minister’s declaration that states are better left with exploration of mineral resources? The present constitution has just made Federal Government a rapacious monster.
Where is the love of motherland in Gen (Dr) Yakubu Gowon (retd)? “I support restructuring, but not along ethnic lines.” Gen Gowon was the Head of State during the peak of Nigerian political crisis in history. His aversion for federalism was demonstrated when he refused to execute the peace resolution from the meeting in Aburi, Ghana. I am of the opinion now that his creation of 12 states in 1967 was not out of love of federalism, but to puncture the cohesiveness of the defunct Eastern Region, so as to whittle down the Biafran territory. Gen Gowon ruled from 1966 to 1975, after which he went for post-military rule university education in Britain. He studied political science up to PhD level. His statement that Nigeria’s restructuring should not be along ethnic group suggests that the General is doing post-PhD research. The outcome of the research must inform on the developed democracy that is multi-cultural and multi-lingual. If he refuses to name such country, it means his political education cannot prevail on his oppressive mind.
“I am a Nigerian first, before any other thing.” (Ex-President Obasanjo) Yes, he is a Nigerian first, before being a Yoruba man. You will need to read the Yoruba military General’s biographies to know how many of them suffered indignity and deprivation from Obasanjo. He ruled the country when Nigerian judiciary gave a judgement and immediately ousted the judgement from the record of reference. (Chief Obafemi) Awolowo was the plaintiff, (Second Republic President) Alhaji Shehu Shagari and the then FEDECO were the defendants. It was the famous 12.2/3 matter. While the country was still hopeful that June 12 election would still be actualised, Gen Obasanjo declared M.K.O. Abiola, winner of the June 12 election, as not the messiah Nigeria needed, and supported the installation of an Interim Government. The northern mafia so much believed in him that they dragged him into politics from prison and into Third Republic leadership in 1999. Meanwhile, does Gen Obasanjo’s being a Nigerian first translate into love for the country? No. Absolutely no! I will not agree that sycophancy, hypocrisy, obsequy, slander, megalomania, incontinence are ingredients of love.
“I and others brought Buhari to salvage Nigeria”— Obasanjo. If somebody is a laughing stock to me, I wonder what he is going to be to my grandchildren in future. I remember when we read in primary school about King Dosumu, who signed off Lagos to the colonialists because of the gifts of mirror and wine drinks. We turned the name Dosumu into a synonym of idiot. I wonder what would be the judgement of posterity over today’s self-declared heroes. They stopped teaching history in schools, but we shall continue to write stories about them for our children to read.
As it is today, so was it in 1984/85 that Buhari was the Military Head of State. The foreign currency was not there to satisfy our obsession for foreign products, the state governments could not pay salaries, and university dons turned their vehicles into kabukabu. Employment was at zero level. Corpses of the fallen hungry people littered the streets. Nigeria was very tough to live in such that many of my generation that remained in Nigeria were those of us who were not successful in our bid to escape to Europe for economic survival. (A gba kamu.)
Meanwhile, General Abubakar Abdusalami’s budget of 1999 was premised on $9.00 per barrel. Before December 1999, Nigerian crude oil was selling at $40.00 per barrel, and it has not been less than that till today. For eight years of Obasanjo’s rule, I need to be enlightened on what Obasanjo’s initiative and action was towards diversification of the Nigerian economy. All was noise. Where is his cassava bread? Where is his train? Where is his electricity? Where are his roads? Where are his refineries? All he boasts of is the amount he left in the coffers for his successor. Wealth is not the cash in the bank, but the structure on ground to always replenish cash in the bank. If Obasanjo had created structures that replenish cash in the bank, Nigeria would not be in this situation that she found herself. So, where is his professed love for his motherland?
Where is the love for motherland from the masses of this country? How many of us would not count casualties by tribal marks in case of revolution in this country? Nigeria’s problem is political. Nigeria is still in the debacle that emerged in 1966. We have only been perambulating since 1966. Nigerian rulers since 1966 – from General Gowon to General Buhari in his second coming – have been applying tranquilisers, instead of surgery.
Recommended Solution
There is need to restructure Nigeria along ethnic/cultural line. The Hausas/Fulani should have the liberty to live in their Islamic world. Every other ethnic group should live their culture. Tagging Nigeria as a secular nation is another fundamental falsehood. The revenue we lose and spend on religious matters in this country can build new Abuja every year. We should stop deceiving ourselves and put religion into consideration in our political structure.
There is also need to restructure the country along economic line. The present 36-state structure cannot stand economically. There is need to restructure along viability of states. States should be left to explore the minerals in her domain and create their own wealth. The Federal Government must devolve power and responsibility to the states. With this recommendation, true federalism will emerge, free enterprise will bring genuine integration, Nigerians will live in peace and her economy will flourish.
However, if we continue with the status quo, Nigeria will continue to wobble and fumble till she gets herself into gridlock and relics.
I am so grateful to all my readers. I am existing because you’re there for me. If it is the wish of God, I shall write another birthday piece next year. Thank you very much. Please share the post if you find it interesting.
Folu Oyeleye, whose photo appears alongside this piece, is a novelist and poet living in Ibadan. He can be reached via

Source News Express

Posted 16/09/2016 12:39:33 PM


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