8th November, 2010
Even if it was intended as a comic relief, it still was a depressant that left aÂ sour taste in the mouth. IBB for Presidency? Its far-reaching consequences areÂ fearsome and despicable. His bid is a fury of choking smoke, full of disaster,Â signifying evil!
IBB carries a grotesque baggage and is yet to untwine himself from that albatross.Â As an incubus, he left far too many questions unanswered in his earlier misadventureÂ as a military president.
In no particular order, they are: the muzzling of press; the yet unknown whereaboutsÂ of Glory Okon; the murder of Dele Giwa; the Ejigbo plane crash in which a wholeÂ generation of military officers, mainly of Southern origin, was wiped out; theÂ entrenchment of corruption (settlement) as a way of civic life; the embezzlement ofÂ the Gulf War windfall of $12.4 billion; the destruction of the national economy andÂ civil society, especially the middle class; the enshacklement and wanton breach ofÂ human rights; the disdain for, and deprecation of, the judiciary; the de factoÂ 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 ensnaringÂ ambrosia to wallow in paranoid amnesia? Have we forgotten so soon that todayâ€™sÂ crises of succession and zoning are the direct outcome of IBBâ€™s perfidy of annullingÂ June 12? Have we resolved the nagging enigma that a man who won a free and fairÂ election was rewarded, first with incarceration, then the murder of his wife, beforeÂ finally being released as a corpse from unlawful detention?
IBB, like Gen. Abacha, his crony and cohort, is an Iscariot rather than a mascot ofÂ national renaissance. The current zoning impasse is the same June 12 in slimmers andÂ IBB is the major domo of that catastrophe.
There has been an overdose of compromisesâ€“â€“zoning in varying ramificationsâ€“â€“to theÂ North that by now, one thinks, the North should feel suffused and saturated with it.Â The North ought to be remorseful of the grief that these compromises to it haveÂ wrought on this country. Again, we give a surmise of some of these zonings in favourÂ of the North. In no particular order, they are: the inconvenient, perhaps reluctant,Â Â marriage of the South to the North so that the resources of the former could beÂ deployed to defray the deficits and administrative costs of running the latter; theÂ precondition that â€œwe rule the rest or we pull outâ€; the delay and deferment byÂ seven years of our flag independence because â€œthe mistake of 1914 has come toÂ lightâ€; the counter-coup of 29 July 1966; Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowonâ€™s admonition to hisÂ fellow Northern military mutineers in October 1966 that â€œâ€¦God in His power hasÂ entrusted the responsibility of this great country of ours, Nigeria, into the handsÂ of yet another Northernerâ€; the defeat of Biafra. In real terms, it amounted toÂ self-defeat for the South. It was this self-defeat that enabled and emboldened IBBÂ to treasonably annul a free and fair presidential poll, won in 1993 by a southerner,Â on the predatory pretext and fear of power shift to the South; the political carvingÂ up of the country into insolvent States and Local Government Areas, with aÂ preponderance of them in the North and the consequent illogic of illegal transfer ofÂ southern resources thereto; the sleight of hand of unitarism, disguised asÂ federalism
A middle course for the apostles, apostates and iconoclasts of zoning is toÂ re-configure Nigeria. It is only such a therapy that can cure the terminal ailmentÂ of failed state, staring us now in the face. To insist on the mess of zoning in aÂ porridge of banalities, inanities, orgies of grandeur and aggrandisement is takingÂ 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 isÂ compliant and pliant. We have nearly dissipated, or at least taken for granted, ourÂ goodwill and goodluck. As a result, we have been rotating in the widening gyre ofÂ zoning. Push has come to shove, and the servitors can no longer hear theÂ taskmasters. Methinks, we are now all at our own political Ground Zero and mustÂ discuss and dissect our common interestÂ and stakes without fear or favour.
Consequently, it is now imperative to defang Nigeriaâ€™s imperial presidency so thatÂ the quest for it would not always degenerate into a â€œdo-or-dieâ€ affair. This can beÂ achieved through substantial devolution of powers to the residual components of theÂ country as was the case when the impossible amalgam, called Nigeria, was firstÂ fructified in 1960 as a sovereign state. Nigerian unity cannot, and must not, meanÂ uniformity of her peoples. Neither must unitarism be substituted any further forÂ fiscal federalism as is currently the case. Just as zoning has only yieldedÂ coercion, corruption, indolence and mediocrity, rotation has only deliveredÂ retrogression. For all of 50 years, the categorical pair of zoning and rotation hasÂ only rewarded us with political pestilence and unmitigated failures. In my opinion,Â and thus far, there seem to be three political scenarios, discernible inÂ colonially-carved nation-states of Africa such as Somalia, the Sudan and DemocraticÂ Republic of Congo, DCR
The circus show of zoning and weird dance of rotation will not cease unless andÂ until we, on our volition, choose the path of reason. It would be tragic, and mostÂ regrettable, if the circumstances of our sorry existence, as in misery and acuteÂ deprivation, compel it. To stop the drift, Nigeria should urgently be re-configuredÂ on the basis of fiscal federalism and the six geo-political zones as the federatingÂ units. Since 1999, weâ€™ve had eight unbroken years of military misrule, sartoriallyÂ disguised as civil dictatorship, and more than three years of civil rule, anchoredÂ on a stumbling presidency. Eleven years in all, hooded in the cloak of democracy,Â have yielded only despair and ineptitude as our national score card. The time to actÂ is now to salvage our country and save ourselves the imprecations of succeedingÂ generations.
â€¢Egbuns Kemakola wrote this piece from Port Harcourt.