OPINION/EDITORIAL, Politics

ATIKU AND THE RESTRUCTURING OF NIGERIA

 

Today I had a short debate with an old friend. He gladly told me that while in 2015 he supported Buhari, 2019 is for Atiku. And when I asked the reason for the change, he said Atiku would undertake Restructuring. He is Yoruba like me.

He didn’t say anything new. A few days ago, Afenifere, a dwindling clan of aging men in Ibadan said the same thing after declaring for Atiku. They claimed they spoke for Yoruba people!!

I have read the manifestos of the two parties. I even read all comments from 2015 when incidentally all political ads passed through my table for approval as APCON Chairman. I know the position of the parties from 2015 till now.

APC has shifted the post, but they will tell you with good reasons. I think the VP has vigorously explained the party’s fresh position. I have also read all that PDP and Atiku have said on the subject.

My conclusion.

Restructuring is deep and very fundamentally political. If indeed Atiku delivers on it as promised, the effect will be far reaching. He will become a hero. Why?

While the richest man in Nigeria is a Northerner, his chief assets are in the South, including the new refinery he’s financing. Oil and Gas are in the South. The South is better educated…by far. Key industries are in the South. Waterways and Ports are in the South. Lagos alone delivers more IGR monthly than 31 states combined. It is a southern state.

The only “asset” the North has is POLITICAL POWER. It will be hard for them to now casually give it up. This really is what they believe Restructuring will bring. The Centralised form of government we have encourages the advantages of population. Quota. Etc. The North enjoys these benefits.

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The current political power structure was solidified under the military that was populated and controlled by the North. It didn’t come by political negotiation. In my opinion, it will be hard to imagine it will be easily unscrambled by political negotiation when the North holds an advantage in this structure.

Atiku has for reasons of expediency made all kinds of promises because he wants the ultimate prize; all politicians do, after all PMB also promised to make the Naira and Pound Sterling equal in value. But Atiku alone cannot determine this Restructuring. He will need the nod and approval of the Northern power block. He knows and I know he will eventually hide behind this when he comes under pressure to deliver on this promise.

And in addition, a Restructuring process will be very rigorous. The President will need the approval of the National Assembly to start and even obtain the budget. Several bills must be passed and we know the history of our legislature and the passage of bills. The conclusion must go back to the same Legislature. Aspects of it must be debated and voted on by State Legislatures. A clever President can stretch this even while he makes it look like he is busy on it. The National Assembly may kill it or water it down. These will take eons.

All over the world and historically, Power is not casually negotiated away. Nations and groups fight and contend for it. Even our independence from the British was not easily granted. South Africans paid with their blood. Ditto Rhodesia before it transmuted into Zimbabwe. SPAIN is still dealing with its insurgents who want a separate state. See Somalia?

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POWER IS THE ULTIMATE ASSET. NO ONE HOLDS ON TO IT AND THEN CASUALLY GIVES IT AWAY. LET US IN OUR CURRENT FRENZY REMEMBER THIS.

The Lord bless Nigeria. Amen.

 

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