22nd September, 2010
Former DirectorÂ Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), Prof. John Ayoade says theÂ political errors of ex-Heads of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari and General IbrahimÂ Badamosi Babangida scuttled the domination of the northern region over the southern partÂ of the country.
Ayoade at a lecture said the political errors committed by the two northern militaryÂ helmsmen foiled the plan of northern political and military leaders to remain in controlÂ of the Nigerian state.
He traced the domination by the northern region of the countryâ€™s political system to whatÂ he described as the 1914 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates without anyÂ plan by British colonial administration to integrate the people and the massiveÂ recruitment of the northerners into the military and police.
Ayoade spoke on the topic: Nigeria: Positive Pessimism and Negative Optimism to mark hisÂ final exit from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, South West of Nigeria after spendingÂ four decades in service.
According to him, the era of northern domination in Nigeria has gone forever, adding thatÂ the 2011 general elections would further change the Nigerian political order and totallyÂ break the domination of the North considering intense apathy against its entrenchedÂ political leaders in all the northern states and increasing divisions in the rank ofÂ Northern Governors Forum (NGF).
â€œThe creation of states dealt a serious blow to the solidarity of the North. The divisionÂ of Nigeria into thirty six states still conferred its numerical superiority with 19 ofÂ those states. Its composite nature has become much clearer particularly in the absence ofÂ a northern leader acceptable to all the statesâ€.
He therefore explained how a recent meeting of the Northern Governorsâ€™ Forum to decideÂ whether the presidency was zoned to the North in 2011 showed lack of a common positionÂ among the state governors, arguing that their pattern of votes obviously reflected theirÂ agenda rather than what the region stands to gain.
â€œThe vote was almost evenly divided between supporters and opposition. The divisionÂ followed the majority/minority divide in the old Northern Region. The state creationÂ process equally weakened the Eastern Region which lost the minorities and becameÂ landlocked. The federal system also suffered a critical distortion,â€ he argued.
He stated that the 1983 military coup led by Buhari was organised â€œto prevent theÂ northern region from losing the political powerâ€ and that the northern ascendency inÂ Nigerian politics is the military largely comprised the northerners.
Even though the coup did not take place, Ayoade explained that there was an allegationÂ that the North â€œwould have abandoned the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) at the end ofÂ President Shehu Shagariâ€™s term in order to prevent power shift to the South. The NorthÂ would have adopted the Peopleâ€™s Redemption Party (PRP) of Mallam Aminu Kano. SenatorÂ Barkin Zuwo was being promoted as the arrowhead of the alleged deal.