In parts 1 and 2 of this essay it was pointed out that it was the resulting structural distortions, constitutional framework and political infrastructure that had been hoisted on this distorted state structure of Nigeria from its inception by Britain. and later by its seizure by the army. autocrats who have caused his socio-economic and political malaise from 1914 to the present day.
This malaise, since the late 1980s / early 1990s has been identified and defined or understood by Nigerians, in particular the victims, i.e. the southern minorities and later the northern minorities massed under the geopolitical entity called the middle belt as the “National Question”. and currently, it is best expressed as a “restructuring issue”.
The question of restructuring has been defined by various people and each person or group goes with the particular effect (s) felt. Thus, Nigerians’ perception of this restructuring issue is akin to the perception of an elephant by the Seven Blind People of Hindustan – each expressing their feeling of touching that part of the elephant that they felt. . As with the perception of the elephant by the Seven Blind Men of Hindustan, so have the Nigerian victims of Nigerian structural and constitutional problems.
Each victim of the faulty system by expressing his understanding of the restructuring issue gives a graphic description of the effects on him or his group. And like the seven blind Hindustans, each victim was right. Only a few of those affected by the Nigeria problem like Pa Ayo Adebanjo have been able to holistically define what the issue of restructuring is.
This varied response to the question of restructuring elicited a sort of cynical response or backlash from beneficiaries of the biased system. The response of beneficiaries of the flawed system has varied from a purported point of view of ignorance or lack of understanding of what restructuring is or that Nigeria’s state structure and constitutional framework are good and fair and that there is nothing wrong with the system. The usual mantra of beneficiaries is that Nigeria’s problem is the leadership problem.
Digging deeper, they would tell you that Nigeria has been unlucky to grapple with “bad leaders” and that once a good leader emerges, Nigeria’s problem will go away. These supporters of good or bad leadership will later impose the recycled leaders among them, but the problem will persist and no one will challenge them to justify their earlier claim, but they would have ready-made answers and excuses to offer. to explain the vicious circle.
If these beneficiaries thought that an explanation such as poor or failing leadership was an exercise that would waste their time, they would shut down the restructurers by accusing them that their restructuring proposal amounted to a plan to break up Nigeria.
Opponents of restructuring to show the powerlessness of the restructurers skillfully deploy intimidation to silence them with the line “Nigeria’s unity is sacrosanct”, “Non-negotiable”, or as issues addressed by the restructurers have been “resolved”. This mantra of “settled” issues or non-negotiable or sacrosanct unity is being promoted by the ruling class led by former military rulers and their cronies across Nigeria.
They have as their bulwark the socio-cultural and political establishment of the Far North which took advantage of the faulty system and its confusion which allowed it to somehow provide a greater number of leaders and managers of the system. Until recently, when General Olusegun Obasanjo made an official statement in favor of restructuring, he was an apostle of the “issues settled” and the “non-negotiability” of the unity of Nigeria, but his harsh experiences under the flawed system that almost consumed him under General Abacha may have caused him to rethink his earlier position as he happily wrote in his book, This Animal Called Man, that the unit of Nigeria he stood for was defeated was a unit based on “justice, fairness and equity” and that he could only be a believer and a supporter of “The unity of Nigeria and therefore the Nigerian nation, but this n is not unity at all costs.
In the same book, this animal called Man, General Obasanjo had advised dialogue to resolve all issues of contention between the constituent nations of Nigeria, rightly stating that denying the peoples of Nigeria the opportunity to dialogue leads to violence and he warned that “running away from the dialogue to solve a problem is an indication of the weakness of his argument and his position. General Obasanjo wrote this book during his difficulties under General Sani Abacha whose government imprisoned him and his former deputy, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, accused of a planned coup.
It was during this period of enforced isolation and life-transforming caring that he wrote the book, This Animal Called Man and one can see the moderate tone of the book as it captured the reasonable part of it. man, whom Obasanjo did not quite allow to guide. him during his presidency between 1999 and 2003. Another event that has transformed the lives of many Nigerian members of the party with “fixed” issues or “non-negotiable” unity is the emergence of the presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari that many of them helped install in 2015.
Whether it was due to the governance measures of the Buhari government or a mere coincidence that the harsh realities of Nigeria’s problem began to manifest to the discomfort of these locals and pillars of non-negotiable and sacrosanct unity. Nigeria and problem-based guardians of Nigeria, these great Southern Nigerians represented by General Olusegun Obasanjo and the MiddleBelt represented by Generals TY Danjuma, Zamani Lekwot, the late Joshua Dogoyaro, Y. Nom and other operating civilian leaders under the platform of the Northern States Christians Elders Forum have stunned Nigerians since 2018, when they began to reverse their earlier position that Nigeria was formed and structured by Britain and then seized by them as military rulers between 1966 and 1999 and evolved into its current monstrous, flawed and dysfunctional construct.
Curiously, these Nigerian manufacturers and operators have even sounded the alarm that Nigeria, by the logic of prevailing insecurities, is slyly subjected to the regime of “Islamization” and “Fulanization” and that Nigerians are doomed unless they are. they do not use their inalienable right to self-defense. A heightened concert of these incidents and the feeling of domination of the restructurers of the Far North power bloc over the rest of Nigeria convinced them that there can only be peace if Nigeria is restructured on the basis of justice and fairness.
But the restructurers have been less than able to articulate their position clearly and express it unequivocally. And being devoid of a convincing message, they lacked the structure, organization and strategy to make their proposal fruitful. Is there any hope of restructuring? The answer seems “yes” because it seems like an idea whose time has come.
In articulating the focal point of the restructuring, his supporters should stress the danger inherent in the fraudulent British structuring of Nigeria and its constitutional framework and political infrastructure with its deliberate creation of a Hausa / Fulani hegemony which ended up provoking crises in the country. Nigeria after independence as the beneficiaries naturally wanted to maintain its existence and position by overpowering the competitors / threats posed by the Yoruba and Igbo which led to the crises in the western region which culminated with the coups d’état 1966 and the Biafran War.
Now the Hausa / Fulani hegemony has been saved by the intervention of Britain and its ally, the United States, which supported the preservation of Nigeria against its balkanization, which the authorization of the Republic of Biafra would have meant. The military leaders of northern Nigeria on whose shoulders Britain imposed the preservation of Nigeria on August 2, 1966 was a compromise worked out by Britain and the United States including the High Commissioner (Cummings-Bruce) and the Ambassador (Elbert Matthews) with the help and support of the Northern minority military officers led by Major Martins Adamu and others, as opposed to Major Murtala Mohammed at the time, led hard-line supporters whose the initial program was to avenge the coup of January 16, 1966 and to withdraw the northern region of Nigeria by declaring itself the Republic of Northern Nigeria.
With the diplomatic success of Britain and the United States in preserving Nigeria, the new challenge was to guide and support the Northern-led military government to overcome the Biafra threat that Britain and the States face. -United had advised / warned Colonel Ojukwu.
In declaring the Republic of Biafra, Ojukwu was clearly swimming against British neocolonial interests in Nigeria which he was shamelessly protecting by using his advantageous diplomatic position in global forums, particularly the United Nations and the British Commonwealth to galvanize the world opinion against Biafra, and also backed Nigeria with military and technical expertise to win.