Specifically, Britain’s High Commissioner in Nigeria, Andrew Pocock the other day was advising that Nigeria should not break up.
If we did not have bitter experiences after such interference in the past, the whole gimmick might appear well intended. Even then, no matter the good intentions, Britain and United States should for once, leave Nigerians alone to determine their future. The intervention of these two western nations at decisive moments of our national history had always left in their trail political time bombs, which, sooner or later would explode.
High Commissioner Pocock seemed to be trying to pre-empt Nigerians not to break-up the country. What if we decide to break up, of what concern except self-centered economy and military interest should that be to Britain and United States?
No foreigners, specifically Britons and Americans, must give the impression of loving Nigeria more than we love our country. Whether we are to break up or not, Nigerians should be left to decide their fate and bear the consequences rather than the harrowing experiences created for us in the past by these foreign do-gooders. Do we need any political sermon from Britain and United States? Surely not!
Britain on its part, cannot contemplate being discredited on its unilateral amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914. But then, which unilateral federation did not eventually discredit Britain? India-Pakistan? Trinidad-Tobago? Malaysia-Singapore? St. Kitts-Anguilla? Rhodesia-Nyasaland? Northern Sudan-Southern Sudan? Australia-New Zealand? East Pakistan – West Pakistan?
Britain therefore has no lesson to offer Nigeria on the imperative of a stranglehold federal system of government. Despite the national conference, uppermost must be the desire of all Nigerian peoples to remain one. That is all. Far too long, Britain in particular had misdirected Nigerians on all matters of determining their future.
Where was Britain when Soviet Union disintegrated? Why did Britain and United States not plead with the Soviets not to break? Were disintegration against national interest, why did the Yugoslavian federation disintegrate? Why did North and South Sudan separate? Do Czech and Slovak today not exist peacefully after emerging from the defunct Czechoslovakia? Britain and United States must not usurp the right of Nigerians to self-determination, which is what the national conference is all about.
The intervention of British High Commissioner in this national conference is as mischievous as it was in July 1966 during the political crisis. At that time, Britain won and Nigerians lost with the heavy price of a needless and avoidable civil war in which millions died overall. We must not allow Britain again to unwittingly drag us into another civil war. Britain has enough to cope with in the determination of Scots to break away from the United Kingdom.
It is the wish of Nigerians to be allowed to face the consequences of disintegration or continued co-existence as one country. Civil society groups must mount the campaign to keep Britain, United States or any foreign interests for that matter, out so we can all on our own determine our fate. Have Nigerians preached to Britain the advantage or risk of Scotland breaking away from United Kingdom? In this matter of determining our future, we do not need the ill will of Britain and United States inherent in their pursuit of economic and military interests. Surely, not again!
If the Nigerian federation is to be preserved, this must not be on account of Britain’s wish but because Nigerians want to. If on the other hand, Nigerians want to move apart, heck Britain and United States. In 1966, Britain stopped Nigeria from breaking up. In 1967, the same Britain frustrated a voluntarily agreed modified new political arrangement contained in the Aburi accord. What does Britain want in Nigeria? Must Britain and United States constitute a menace of conjoined overlords over Nigeria when less virile nations determine their own future?
In 2010, Nigeria had a constitutional crisis of succession during the illness of President Umaru Yar’Adua. Instead of allowing our constitution to work out, United States virtually assumed governance in Nigeria when a previous and serving secretaries of state openly ordered the line of action, right on our soil. Both in subservience and the National Assembly amended Nigerian constitution alluding to a strange principle of necessity.
The product of that foreign intervention is the current political bitterness over national leadership succession in Nigeria in 2015. In contrast, Venezuela had a completely similar political succession crisis during the illness and eventual death of President Chavez. Venezuelans not only allowed their constitution to operate, but never allowed any foreign intervention. Today, Venezuela is stable without political bitterness or uncertainty.
To rub salt into our wound, the same Americans returned to predict Nigeria’s disintegration in 2015. When that prediction was made, was that any goodwill for Nigeria? The more reason we should determine our future political arrangement without any foreign interference.
Britain, the self-assumed peacemaker in Nigerian crisis in 1966 and 1967, later turned round to exploit the consequences of its unsolicited intervention, which was the civil war. Britain had no qualms as the chief arms supplier to one side to kill the others in the war. Most wickedly, one member of British parliament justifying the arms supply policy openly called for what he called “quick kill” to end the war.
Ironically, both before and after the civil war, the same Britain refused to employ military force against the white minority regime of Ian Smith in the defunct Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) which declared unilateral independence in 1965. Unless halted, the latest British move on Nigeria’s future may lead to history repeating itself. Which side benefited from the civil war? The same Britain as Nigeria is more divided today than in 1966 or 1967. Nigerians bore the experience and must resist the remotest sign of foreign interference.
There is nothing unprecedented in a country’s disintegration but such must not be on the prediction or incitement of foreign interests. Nigerians must therefore watch out for agents of neo-colonialism.
Is it perfect in Britain? Definitely not! Does the United States on that account nose-lead Britain? Is it also perfect in United States? Does Britain therefore as ex-colonial power dabble into American affairs? Except in undertones of racial superiority, why must Britain and United States breathe over our neck every time? Why should Nigeria be different in managing its affairs?
No longer SURE even for PTDF
Nigerians are told overtime that the country’s economy is buoyant. Yet the evidence all over the place is that government is unable to meet its financial obligations.
In the past forthnight, at least two government agencies have alerted on their imminent fold-up.
The first is the so-called SURE P, which claimed that it might soon abandon its hurriedly arranged hangers-on each to whom a seeming handsome cash of ten thousand naira is handed every month. Surely, that big amount could not be a monthly wage for two reasons.First, the Federal Government standing minimum wage is at least eighteen thousand naira, and second, SURE P is a federal set-up. The hypocrisy of the federal government wage policy is therefore noticeable.
More than these, there was nothing sincere in the origin of the SURE P. The agency was hurriedly set up by the Jonathan administration to quell nation-wide public protest against the fuel price hike last year January. It was therefore obvious that it was a question of time for the fraud of the very SURE P idea to be known to the public.
Christopher Kolade should never have accepted the job. His personal integrity was exploited to confer credibility on that agency. Well, credibility without the necessary fiscal allocation means undeserved blame by the supposed beneficiaries of the SURE P program.
Unless Christopher Kolade threatens to resign or actually resigns, the outstanding allocation for SURE P will not be appropriated by the National Assembly. It is not clear whether it is worse for PTDF, which now expresses anxiety of being unable to pay staff salaries, etc anytime from now. The agency’s history is replete with theft of its funds by the very people expected to be funding the agency.
Was it not the same PTDF that provided the conduit for converting to personal use to settle private legal fees to the huge sum of a quarter of billion naira? What happened following the disclosure? Was anybody prosecuted?
National Assembly must not approve one kobo for PTDF in particular. Let it be established that in the past, the agency’s fund had been spent on its stated purpose.
Keyamo out in victory
Voters went to the polls in a bye-election to elect the senator for Delta Central last weekend. The initial interest generated for the election waned largely because of the absence of a candidate who should have been but was not nominated.Perhaps to borrow General Obasanjo’s assessment in the 1979 presidential elections, Festus Keyamo was the best aspirant among the lot who did not necessarily win the nomination. But should Keyamo bother himself? By not securing his party’s nomination, he might have in fact been saved unnecessary personal and financial stress by his party, which did not nominate him. It was not as if Keyamo would have won hands down, but he was a big masquerade in the All Progressives Congress (APC), and from his antecedents, the opposition might have thought twice before upstaging him with unfair tactics. Keyamo’s supposed or “might have been expected” core supporters, the masses, are their own worst enemies. Was the late Gani Fawehinmi not their Chief Advocate? Did they elect him? Femi Falana, if he too can be considered a friend of the masses, also failed to be elected as governor in Ekiti State.
That might have been the fate awaiting Festus Keyamo had he contested the senatorial bye-election in Delta central district. Masses would rather have fallen for the two hundred naira each offered by other candidates.
On another note, Keyamo’s reputation is an asset to any political party. But such value is of no interest to political godfathers. He might also turn out to be the Chike Obi of modern day Nigerian politics – a man of his mind, much dreaded by political leaders. But it is to his credit that he still remained a loyal party man, despite his not being fielded by APC. He backed the party’s candidate, and spoke against the conduct of the election, adjudged by many to have been largely less than free and fair.