Now that the quest for Restructuring/True Federalism has engendered the collaboration of all elected officials on an amendment to the 1999 Constitution setting the stage for a Constitutional framework for 2019 General Elections, the various Peoples are still being left out of the equation. We are being treated as “Objects”, with no identifiable marker and being tossed to and fro. We are not seen as “Subjects” whose existential realities are directly reflected in any form of Constitutional paradigm.
Historically, the North has always assumed its right to the Presidency, following the “rights” granted it by British colonial permutations, where, among others, the pre-Independence census was heavily manipulated in its favor thereby giving it a Parliamentary majority allowing it to establish its political dominance. It is also known that the British connived with France to manipulate the 1961 Plebiscite in Cameroon to lure Southern Cameroons into leaving Nigeria while encouraging Northern(Fulani) Cameroonians to stay within Nigeria with the sole aim of giving the North a population advantage over the South. Therefore, till date, the North always strive to ensure its continued control of the Center, and why it is insisting on getting its will to such an extent that its attempt to join the train of restructuring is predicated on this wish; the implication being a Northern(Fulani) equivalent of the Pax Britannica, a Pax Fulani-Nigeria.
For the Yoruba Nation, having being in the forefront of a Federal Nigeria since the anti-colonial days, and having being a victim of Pax Britannica through the instrumentality of a Northern and Eastern Alliance aimed at neutralizing our land, the following constitute the major trajectory: the attempt to decimate the Yoruba Nation by political means via the illegal and Unconstitutional declaration of the May 29, 1962 State of emergency; the “Treasonable Felony” Trial of our Leaders; the Plebiscite to create the Mid-Western Region out of the Western Region orchestrated in the Federal House of Representatives when such responsibility lay with the Regional Houses of Assembly while at the same time refusing any Plebiscite for the Middle Belt in the North and the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers in the East; the killing of our political and military leaders in both January and July 1966 military coups and the attempted invasion of Yorubaland by the Biafran Forces while Northern forces still remain in Yorubaland.
Some members of the Yoruba Intelligentsia at the time, because of their false Nigerian consciousness, became tools in these attempts through the following interventions: the creation of “Abuja”, a Yoruba word for “short cut”, anchored by Tai Solarin and Justice Akinola Aguda to promote the idea of a shortcut to “Nigerian nationhood”. Both later came to realize that they have been had. Babangida’s “economic team” was anchored by yet again a section of the Intelligentsia, notably Professor Ojetunji Aboyade who headed Babangida’s policy team and Chief Olu Falae, who, as Secretary to the Federal government and later the Finance Minister became the official purveyor of SAP which saw to the massive brain drain of the Yoruba middle class and the degeneration of our educational institutions and infrastructure. Yorubaland is now the worse for it, in all ramifications, although the effects were felt all over Nigeria.
Politically, after the sacrifices and tenacity exhibited by the Yoruba in the aftermath of the June 12 election annulment, a scheme was introduced to pacify the Yoruba. It was a military scheme in favor of one of their own. Referred to as the “Obasanjo Settlement” by some, it was aimed at checkmating the emergence of a solid Yoruba political Bloc embedded in the then AD political party. The “settlement” succeeded in that it wiped out that Yoruba solidity until some began to pick up the pieces, which has now led Yorubaland to where we are today.
Since there is no Yoruba military figure of Obasanjo’s stature and readiness to play the northern game, the aim is now to orchestrate an “Igbo Settlement”, the first step being the proscription of IPOB and its designation as a terrorist group with the active connivance of Igbo political elite with an eye to the “Igbo Settlement”, which will pit the Yoruba against the Igbo, the southern minorities in-between and with the North becoming the umpire.
As a sort of pincer movement, the military counterpart to the political move was begun with various “training Operations” aimed at intimidating the Peoples of Nigeria. Knowing that the military is a Northern agency, conducting such “operations” with deadly and carnivorous animalistic nomenclature only goes to show the seriousness the North attaches to its continued hold on power.
A Strategic and tactical intervention therefore becomes a necessity. Strategic in the sense that it will prevent the Fulani/North-as-umpire stated above; will attain a challenge to the age-long Pax Britannica and its Nigerianized version and Legitimize our natural quest for the Yoruba Nation in and for itself.
The North is already saying it is its “turn” to produce the next President, even if Buhari does not run; the PDP already “zoned” the position to the North while the APC is saying Buhari should run again and if he doesn’t, a Northern replacement must be found. In this mix is the APC attempt at “Restructuring” anchored on the idea that Nigeria is geo-politically sacrosanct—hence “Operations Python Dance and Crocodile Smile” as the defender of Nigeria with the North as the political driver. The APC attempt at restructuring therefore becomes an attempt at “working to the answer”.
A colonial Architecture of State was and is not intended for the benefit of the colonized—otherwise, the colonial powers would lose their dominance and power all over the world. Every post-colonial society that is now deemed developed, has found a way to disengage from the colonial architecture while creating their own; China, Singapore and India being prime examples.
It is in the above context that “reason” alone cannot and will not address the question of Restructuring in Nigeria unless such “reason” is Legitimized and which, in any case, is the purpose of the military operations as well as the electoral value attached to the Northern demands.
It is thus imperative for all the Peoples of Nigeria at home and the Diaspora to intervene directly and in such a manner that will present a credible alternative. It is no longer sufficient to present proposals for Restructuring as “Talking points”, “Agendas”, “Memos” or “Declarations” as it has now been shown that purveyors of these have fallen victims to a predetermined order flowing from the non-negotiability of Nigeria’s unity. Yet, Restructuring Nigeria is an admission of negotiating Nigeria’s Unity, no matter how Restructuring is defined. Denying this by huffing and puffing about non-negotiability is akin to sending all of us on a fool’s errand. What is needed are alternative Constitutions of the Peoples and Nations, prepared for themselves by themselves, as a counter to the military-imposed 1999 Constitution, amended or not. The Yoruba Nation has a Draft already in circulation and they would do well placing it at the center of all that needs to be done in the quest for Restructuring. A quick historical check will reveal that any time an incumbent government pursues an attempt at restructuring, everyone goes back to the drawing board, even if the new proposals are not different from what had been previously canvassed. The cycle therefore continues and it can only be broken when the Peoples create their own Constitutions as the alternative to what currently obtains, and making it the standard for Restructuring. No Nationality in Nigeria can afford to waste this opportunity by allowing the 2019 Elections to be conducted on the platform of a contrived Restructuring with the 1999 Constitution as its foundation. 2019 Elections must therefore become a clash of Constitutions.