In the last episode of the piece, we posed the question: “Have we always been doomed” “We answered it by highlighting some notable achievements by eminent Nigerians. We then considered the notion of Nigeria as a failed state where insecurity reigns supreme. This is continued in this week’s episode, after which we lament the spectacle of a prostrate government followed by suggested panaceas including practicing true fiscal federalism. Read on.

Insecurity reigns supreme (Continues)


•Lt. Gen Lagbaja, COAS


Even in Uwheru, Oreba, Ovwor, Onicha-Olona and Abraka in Delta State; to Okpanku, Ozzala, UkpabiNimbo, Ngwoko, Ebor, Umuome, Ugwuijoro and Ugwuachara in Enugu State, the story is the same: gory and hideous blood-letting and festival of blood. The greatest worry of it all is that these killers are not ghosts or apparitions. They are known. They even come out openly, thump their chests, confess and own up to their criminal acts. The Herdsmen umbrella, Miyetti-Allah, claimed the blood-chilling murder of over 200 Plateau citizens was because 300 of its cows were rustled. It boasted that no one could have expected peace without retaliation, under such circumstances. The same group has, over time, infamously given various reasons for its herdsmen’s killings: Nimbo massacre, Enugu State (deadly attack): “we killed because they stole our cows”. Benue State (several progroms): “we killed because of anti-grazing law”. Taraba State (several): “we killed because they blocked our grazing routes”. Adamawa State (many Communities): “we killed because they broke our cow’s leg”. Zamfara State: “we killed because the farmers said we were grazing on their farm lands”. Haba!

A prostrate government

For over seven years, there were no arrests, no prosecution, no arraignment, no convictions. Rather, some five Christians were arrested in Adamawa, tried and sentenced to death by hanging, for allegedly killing one Fulani herdsman. Some lives are now more precious than others. Rather than kill cow for meal to celebrate occasions, as we know it, we now kill human beings to celebrate cows. The government not only looks the other way, but actually condones the heartless cold-blooded slaughter. Nigeria cannot continue like this. The federal government must rise up to the occasion, draft military personnel to these volatile areas and wash its hands off, like Pontius Pilate, of compromise, condonation, aiding and abetting, of this national horror. The saddest and deepest of all the national cuts and travesty of justice is that there is no one to complain to. The president himself, the very C–in–C, who had promised to lead from the front during his campaigns in 2015, wrings his hands in utter helplessness, and moans (like any of us):“There is nothing I can do to help the situation except to pray to God to help us out of the security challenges”.

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Interpretation: “I am helpless; Be prepared to take what you get”. But, the Holy Bible tells us that “God helps those who help themselves” (Hezekiah 6:1). In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, we are admonished that “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. In the Holy Quran, it is, “Allah helps those who help themselves” 13:11; (Tafsir of Chapter 022 verse 40). Is the president being fed the true and genuine situation of horrific and grisly events across Nigeria? Can he, when virtually all his security apparatchik consists of nepotic and cronystic appointees from his ethnic and religious groups only: Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, IGP, DSS, EFCC, Immigration, Customs, NSCDC, Prisons, NSA, C of S, etc, etc? Are we in the Fulani Republic of Nigeria, or Republic of Northern Nigeria?

The non-prosecution of these marauding herdsmen has emboldened them to commit more crimes. Daily carnage and spilling of innocent blood have become the norm. Nigerians now appear unshockable. Many lamentably try to justify this modern day genocide with partisan political interpretations, pretending all is well. Meanwhile, Nigeria dies by installment. Most Nigerians have become more cowardly than ever before, afraid even of their own shadows. Nigerians should stand and speak up before we are all eclipsed in dismemberment. Reasonating voices appear suddenly mute. Where is the “Occupy Nigeria” group that vehemently protested against GEJ across Nigeria, especially in Lagos and Abuja. Even PMB had himself joined them. Where is General Yakubu Gowon and his praying Orchestral? Where is the voice of gap-toothed IBB? What of roving Ambassador, General Abdusallam Abubakar? Where is GEJ’s voice (even if he will be accused of partisanship, having lost the last elections)? Where are the human rights activists, emergency NGOs proprietors, CSOs, FBOs, etc? I cannot hear the voice of strong willed Ebitu Ukiwe? Where is respected Col. Dangiwa?

Why is everyone keeping silent when Nigeria is sliding towards totalitarianism, absolutism and even fascism? May God forbid “Ruandanization” of our already beleaguered contraption called Nigeria. Perhaps, to prick government’s conscience on the daily butchery of innocent Nigerians in their homes and farms, and the consequential seizure and renaming of their ancestral communities, we should implement the recent suggestion of my good friend, Senator Shehu Sani. He said:“We need a graveyard in the three arms zone of Abuja so that victims of the mindless killings in the country can be buried close to the seat of power. Then the Executive, Legislators & the Judiciary can feel the pains of the helpless widows and orphans we failed to protect.” Nigerians are crying. There is lamentation in the land. There is gnashing of teeth. Melancholy, despondency, hopelessness and regrets stare people in the face. These times are frightening.

Public trust that had initially been ballooned to a myth and anchored on the dizzying height of change mantra and PMB’s much touted integrity, has since considerably dwindled to a near zero level. Hear the sorrowful dirge of a victim of the Plateau genocide, Paul Wyom Zakka: “They told us to go to the farms because they could not provide us with jobs. We went to the farms without knowing that our produce were meant to feed their cows. When the cows came, we stopped them from destroying our farm produce; Today, they kill us daily so their cows can feed.”Thomas Jefferson, American president from 1801 to 1809, once famously said:“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”.

From the forgoing it can be seen that, in the words of Sulaimon Olanrewaju ([email protected]), “Nigeria is a paradox; so wealthy, yet so poor; so endowed, yet so deprived. Nigeria makes more money than many countries of the world but is unfortunately ranked among the poorest because many Nigerians live below the poverty line as they earn less than two dollars a day. According to the Brookings Institution in a report, The Start of a New Poverty Narrative, Nigeria is now home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty on the globe. Similarly, a United Nations report on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis, says youth unemployment is 42 per cent, while the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) puts the number of out of school children at over 10.5million. Infant mortality rate is 85.8 of 1000 live births, while the country has the highest rate of under-five mortality in the world. Malnutrition prevalence, according to the UN, ranges between approximately 46.9 per cent in the South West to 74.3 per cent in North West and North East.”

Nigeria panacea vide true fiscal federalism

Before the 15th January, 1966 Military Coup led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu Chukwuma from Okpanam, Nigeria operated true fiscal federalism amongst the then three regions-Western, Northern and Eastern Regions. They were later joined by the Midwest region which was excised out of Western region by popular Plebiscite and referendum on the 10th of August, 1963. The Architects of that federalist feat were Dr Dennis Osadebay (later Prime Minister); Oba Akenzua II; Dr Christopher Okojie; Justice Kessington Momoh, Chief James Otoboh, Chief Humphrey Omo-Osagie; Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh (Omimi Ejoh) abd Chief Jereton Mariere and Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom.

Section 140 of the 1963 Republican Constitution which replicated section 134 of the 1960 Independence Constitution provided that 50% proceeds of royalty received by the Federation in respect of minerals extracted from a region, including any mining rents derived by the federation belonged to a Region. Effectively, this made the Regions which also had their separate regional Constitution (with a Federal one at the centre) to control their resources. Only 20% was paid to the Federation; and another 30% shared by all the Regions, including those that had already shared 50%.

In the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Northern Premier who had sent his NPC Deputy (Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) to the centre to be Prime Minister, preferring to govern his people, utilized the resources of Northern Nigeria. With the famous Kano groundnut pyramid, cotton, Hides and skin, the imperious by cerebral Sardauna, who had valiantly fought for, but failed to become the Sultan of Sokoto at 29, losing to Sultan Siddiq Abubakar III, who reigned for 50 years till 1988. The great grandson of Uthman Dan Fodio (of “Conscience is an open wound; only the truth can heal it” fame), built the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) which stretched from Samaru, Zaria, to Funtua in the present day Katsina. He set up the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC); built the Yankari Games Reserve; the Ahmadu Bello Stadium; and the Hamdala hotel, Kaduna.

In the Eastern Region, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (First Premier 1954-1959) and later Dr Michael Okpara, and his Governor, Dr Akanu Ibiom and others with Dr Mbonu Ojike embarked upon major organ on revolution; they built the Trans-Amadi Industrial Estates and Presidential hotels in Enugu and Portharcourt. They built the University of Enugu; the Obudu Cattle Ranch and Resort, the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC);  Cement fatory at Nkalagu, breweries, textile Mills and Enugu Stadium. They could do this because they controlled their palm produce. This was time fiscal federalism at work. (To be continued).


Thought for the week

“Good governance is one of the most important factors in economic growth and social well-being”. (Joe Lonsdale).