Still On IBB’s Game Plan


Even if it was intended as a comic relief, it still was a depressant that left a  sour taste in the mouth. IBB for Presidency? Its far-reaching consequences are  fearsome and despicable. His bid is a fury of choking smoke, full of disaster,  signifying evil!

IBB carries a grotesque baggage and is yet to untwine himself from that albatross.  As an incubus, he left far too many questions unanswered in his earlier misadventure  as a military president.

In no particular order, they are: the muzzling of press; the yet unknown whereabouts  of Glory Okon; the murder of Dele Giwa; the Ejigbo plane crash in which a whole  generation of military officers, mainly of Southern origin, was wiped out; the  entrenchment of corruption (settlement) as a way of civic life; the embezzlement of  the Gulf War windfall of $12.4 billion; the destruction of the national economy and  civil society, especially the middle class; the enshacklement and wanton breach of  human rights; the disdain for, and deprecation of, the judiciary; the de facto  abrogation of Nigeria as a sovereign state via the annulment of June 12.

But is IBB so remorseless, shameless? Or, are Nigerians seduced with an ensnaring  ambrosia to wallow in paranoid amnesia? Have we forgotten so soon that today’s  crises of succession and zoning are the direct outcome of IBB’s perfidy of annulling  June 12? Have we resolved the nagging enigma that a man who won a free and fair  election was rewarded, first with incarceration, then the murder of his wife, before  finally being released as a corpse from unlawful detention?

IBB, like Gen. Abacha, his crony and cohort, is an Iscariot rather than a mascot of  national renaissance. The current zoning impasse is the same June 12 in slimmers and  IBB is the major domo of that catastrophe.

There has been an overdose of compromises––zoning in varying ramifications––to the  North that by now, one thinks, the North should feel suffused and saturated with it.  The North ought to be remorseful of the grief that these compromises to it have  wrought on this country. Again, we give a surmise of some of these zonings in favour  of the North. In no particular order, they are: the inconvenient, perhaps reluctant,   marriage of the South to the North so that the resources of the former could be  deployed to defray the deficits and administrative costs of running the latter; the  precondition that “we rule the rest or we pull out”; the delay and deferment by  seven years of our flag independence because “the mistake of 1914 has come to  light”; the counter-coup of 29 July 1966; Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon’s admonition to his  fellow Northern military mutineers in October 1966 that “…God in His power has  entrusted the responsibility of this great country of ours, Nigeria, into the hands  of yet another Northerner”; the defeat of Biafra. In real terms, it amounted to  self-defeat for the South. It was this self-defeat that enabled and emboldened IBB  to treasonably annul a free and fair presidential poll, won in 1993 by a southerner,  on the predatory pretext and fear of power shift to the South; the political carving  up of the country into insolvent States and Local Government Areas, with a  preponderance of them in the North and the consequent illogic of illegal transfer of  southern resources thereto; the sleight of hand of unitarism, disguised as  federalism

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A middle course for the apostles, apostates and iconoclasts of zoning is to  re-configure Nigeria. It is only such a therapy that can cure the terminal ailment  of failed state, staring us now in the face. To insist on the mess of zoning in a  porridge of banalities, inanities, orgies of grandeur and aggrandisement is taking  our luck too far and tasking the patience of true patriots.

The truth is that the North has always been defiant and adamant while the South is  compliant and pliant. We have nearly dissipated, or at least taken for granted, our  goodwill and goodluck. As a result, we have been rotating in the widening gyre of  zoning. Push has come to shove, and the servitors can no longer hear the  taskmasters. Methinks, we are now all at our own political Ground Zero and must  discuss and dissect our common interest  and stakes without fear or favour.

Consequently, it is now imperative to defang Nigeria’s imperial presidency so that  the quest for it would not always degenerate into a “do-or-die” affair. This can be  achieved through substantial devolution of powers to the residual components of the  country as was the case when the impossible amalgam, called Nigeria, was first  fructified in 1960 as a sovereign state. Nigerian unity cannot, and must not, mean  uniformity of her peoples. Neither must unitarism be substituted any further for  fiscal federalism as is currently the case. Just as zoning has only yielded  coercion, corruption, indolence and mediocrity, rotation has only delivered  retrogression. For all of 50 years, the categorical pair of zoning and rotation has  only rewarded us with political pestilence and unmitigated failures. In my opinion,  and thus far, there seem to be three political scenarios, discernible in  colonially-carved nation-states of Africa such as Somalia, the Sudan and Democratic  Republic of Congo, DCR

The circus show of zoning and weird dance of rotation will not cease unless and  until we, on our volition, choose the path of reason. It would be tragic, and most  regrettable, if the circumstances of our sorry existence, as in misery and acute  deprivation, compel it. To stop the drift, Nigeria should urgently be re-configured  on the basis of fiscal federalism and the six geo-political zones as the federating  units. Since 1999, we’ve had eight unbroken years of military misrule, sartorially  disguised as civil dictatorship, and more than three years of civil rule, anchored  on a stumbling presidency. Eleven years in all, hooded in the cloak of democracy,  have yielded only despair and ineptitude as our national score card. The time to act  is now to salvage our country and save ourselves the imprecations of succeeding  generations.

•Egbuns Kemakola wrote this piece from Port Harcourt.

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