Yet, they are saying we have to live together on the Constitution made by the North. (Ayo Adebanjo).
Finding answers to who is Nigeria’s greatest governor ever, will be a tough knot. First, the class of all governors will include venerable names like Dr. Michael Okpara, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello. Though these big names were styled premiers of their then various regions, theirs were also regional administrations. In that sense, they too were governors. However, the matter is further complicated.
Because of a near-universal failure of governance in post-civil war Nigeria, Awolowo, Bello and Okpara, ABO, are today consolidated as some mythical figures. In India, men like ABO are taken as and called god-men. So, in a sense, there can be no objective assessment of who they are. History is rigged in their favour already.
In all, however, let us recall that the tribe of great men never finishes. Nostalgia is never transformative of the past. And neither the past nor nostalgia for it is paradise, is paradisiacal. These god-men were great, but there are great men at their tasks today too. It is just that it is perhaps a different bundle of issues that are confronting the new heroes. For instance, our times are decidedly anti-hero, unlike the times these god-men lived in. It is important to note this for a lay observer and the professional historian.
Another key and affective difference is that Nigeria has been irredeemably deformed. And it so happened that in a race to national self-destruction, General Yakubu Gowon, dictator and genocidaire, inauspiciously set up a fissionable and toxic bonanza. From his (northern) hegemony-seeking proclamation of 12 states, Nigeria began a descent into structural madness, metastases, if you like. In less than 30 years, the Gowonic 12 states were multiplied more than 300 per cent times into 36 plus states structure. It was a socio-political pandemic. Both its operating structure, logic and time frame have made sure Nigeria is now ungovernable. As one ex-General observed, even if you rented a saint he can’t run the present Nigeria. In fact, according to him, even an Awolowo, a god-man, would have failed in the present Nigeria.
And to perfect what the northern generals did with armed logic of coups, the hijacking of state and national treasuries, General Abubakar shunted in. He concocted a decree, a northern-driven decree, and called it a constitution. Abubakar apparently was operating or taking inspiration from the Arabs. For the Arab mind (see Ibn Khaldun, for instance) genius is in having things fixed as fait accompli. Thus the victims, essentially the rest of Nigeria, that is, non-northern Nigerians, had only one choice, to habituate into the generals’ northernisms. And these northernisms included habituating the rogue decree, the so-called constitution.
Nigeria as inherited by our forefathers, from the British, has been clearly, if cleverly, reconfigured, northernised. Today, to be a southerner is to be a slave in one degree or the other to northernisms. And a key assumption of this is their “we are born to rule fantasia. And these northern generals have restructured Nigeria to make this the inevitable outcome. If you are a southerner and you don’t understand this, then you may have lost your mojo. If you must, go and see your babalawo or pastor or imam.
So, it is clear that ABO ruled as governors in an era of political dignity, sanity, fairness and a jointly argued and jointly authored constitution for all. That is, the present governors, especially those from the South, are administering their states under a constitution forged by northern generals essentially to suit their northernist internal-imperialist agenda. The constitution and structures we run are northern Nigerian constitution and structures imposed on the rest of us by the guns and wiles of armed Generals Gowon, Murtala, Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar. These are facts and we have established them in many of our books too.
And in came the APC. Whatever else the APC is, it is a northern ploy to test if the northernism of the military can be practiced under a civilian democratic facade. It is important to remark that some of the guys who helped purchase this APC/northernism into the commanding heights of the nation are some of the big-name South-westerners. Venerable dudes like Chief Bola Tinubu and Professor Wole Soyinka were dedicated corner-men to the Buhariac victory. However, they were pre-informed, forewarned that what they were self-soliciting their own and their peoples’ enslavement and northernisation. But they disputed things, hinting that they knew it all. They claimed they were masters of the game. But, currently, they too are under siege of the emergent and brazen northernisation and arewanisation of Nigeria. Even the herdsmen sought out Soyinka in his secluded Abeokuta haven and despoiled it.
And, by the way, as the arewanisation is going on, the same arewaniser-architects and builders are telling us it is one Nigeria, as if one Nigeria is defined in the mode of the last NNPC anti-national diversity and employment scam: which is 14 plus northerners, three south-westerners, two south-southerners and no south-easterners. Ahiazuwa.
Logically thus, Nigerians are trapped in their own country. This explains why and how things are jammed and Nigeria is not working or even workable despite our best efforts. Of course, the great Nelson Mandela predicted this. According to the sage, a prisoner can’t make contracts. Indigenous peoples of Nigeria thus can’t be contracted or contacted to serve or save their country. They are all prisoners parading or paraded in a farce that is called national unity. But all that call for unity is a disguise for brazen arewanisation of Nigeria. The call for unity is a distraction. Their real game is arewanisation. Or are we to be united in arewanisations?
So, immediately it is understood that the governors of today are under a toxic regime, unlike the god-men premiers, due comparative adjustments can then be made. However, not to court too much controversy, let us restrict ourselves to the sitting governors. That is, all governors, APC, PDP, etc., both northern and southern, under this Buhari reign, are to be judged and the best garlanded.
Immediately that is done, it is obvious that the eagle feather goes to Peter Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State. No Nigerian governor in the South or the North comes near him in performance. Repeat, no Nigerian governor comes near Fayose in performance.
Why do we say so? Of all the governors, Fayose is the only one who has risked his neck to secure big freedom for all of the country. He is the only lion that has refused to be cowed by federal or feral might. He is the only governor who is openly and in courage against any gambits of APC to turn the rest of the country into arewanised legatee and subsidiary provinces. The fight is not ended, but at least Fayose is still standing, bloodied but unbowed, still fighting, and fighting for all of us. And he is so humanistic about it. He is not anti-North or even pro-South. He is as most truly great men, pro-truth and anti-unfairness. And he is these in the open. He is never closeted. He is a man of the open moves, which takes him into the league of Gandhi-King-Tolstoy saints. These are men who speak in the open exactly what they say in the shadows. These are men of uncommon courage. Fayose belongs with them.
The finer point in this is that we are not even considering his other achievements and performances, in economics, infrastructure and what not. But why? It is that freedom is the greatest economic good. One of the founders of modern economic thought, possibly the finest modern economist, was the Austrian-British dude, F. A. Hayek. Hayek was a visionary who saw tomorrow peering into the past, a rare feat. From his seminal works, The Road to Serfdom to Law, Legislation and Liberty, etc, he extracted from history its sustainable iron lore. And the unimpeachable conclusion is that development is only feasible along the paths paved by human freedom and courage. Of course, the Swedes were charmed and gave Hayek a Nobel Prize for his incomparable insights.
In a word: It is freedom that gives us sustainable prosperity and not prosperity freedom. So, if Fayose is able to secure big freedom for Ekiti and, ultimately, for Nigeria, by the logic of that alone, he is the greatest of Nigerian governors at work and play today. And the next point is that no serving governor comes a near second.
(To be continued)
Please, follow me on Facebook.
•Jimanze Ego-Alowes, author of many books including the latest, Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide Against The Igbo. Available at: LAGOS: Patabah Bookshop Shoprite Surulere; Enugu: Knowledge Hammer Bookshop, Dolphin Restaurant GRA/ 08065764065; Aba: Jibo Bookshops 135 Market Road/08074762452; Onitsha Chris Ajugwe and Associates 43 Old Market Road/08036680177; Owerri: Nwakanma and Co/08063022520; Nsukka: University Bookshop UNN; Nnewi: Life-changing booksellers opposite Diamond Bank, Uruagu 08037989242. Ahiazuwa.