Dr. Nnanna Egwu, former chairman of Awka North Local Government of Anambra State and management consultant spoke to POLYCARP ONWUBIKO.
WHAT is your appraisal of Nigeria, 60 years after independence?
First and foremost, you must know where we are coming from to know where you are going. It is an Igbo proverb. Good record keeping and passage of accurate information across generations are practices that have enabled great nations to attain and retain greatness. Should a group of people be privileged to have the rare opportunity of recording information from primary sources, all must be put in place to ensure that this is achieved.
Nigeria at 60 can be considered a failed project. The country is made up of over 300 ethnic nationalities and the British cobbled them together to form a country. The British toyed with the idea of colonising the country and in 1914, Lord Lugard amalgamated the two protectorates. The two protectorates have divergent socio-economic backgrounds, no similarity.
For instance, in the southern protectorate, the Igbos believe in communalism, democracy and are republican in nature; quite unlike the north which was dominated by Fulani oligarchy and Islamic fundamentalism.
By the time Nigeria got her independence in 1960, there were already entrenched disparities. There was realistic federal system of government and each of the regional governments was progressing but the Fulani oligarch allegedly goaded by the British officials, rigged the first census to create the impression that the north is more populous than the southern part of the country.
The scenario which played out in the general elections sowed the seed for socio-political crises that led to the civil war which led to the dumping of the federal system of government and the imposition of the quasifederal contraption that has created socio-economic and political challenges that have led the country at the brink of a failed state, hence my position that Nigeria has become a failed project.
The manipulation of elections has continued unabated because the Fulani oligarch does not believe in franchise since they believe that they are born to rule. The elections that brought President Muhammed Buhari in 2015 and 2019,were far from the global standard even as the effort to amend the electoral law by the National Assembly to have electronic voting was frustrated by the president ostensibly to return for a second tenure to concretise the Fulani conquest of the entire country.
For the country to be reinvented, the military imposed 1999 Constitution, should be thrown into the garbage heap of history; the representatives of the ethnic nationalities should come together to fashion a people-oriented constitution which will be a Con-federation to enable the ethnic nationalities merged in federating units to plan their socio-economic welfare based on their value system and world view.
The situation in the country where all the sensitive social and economic institutions are headed by the Fulani ethnic group, courtesy of the president portends disaster; hence the march to a failed state. The war against the Islamic fundamentalists, Boko Haram, has not impressed Nigerians even with the kid-glove treatment meted to the Fulani herdsmen which has been described as the forth terrorist organisation in the world proved that there is proven hidden agenda to Islamise the country.
The entire ethnic nationalities in the middle belt and southern part of the country should rise up and call for a people-oriented constitution where they will table their charter of demands similar to how the first republic constitution was made by the founding fathers of the Nigerian nation. Otherwise, there is no hope for survival for this country. Thankfully, the ethnic groups in the middle belt have revolted from the decades of slavery by the Fulani caliphate colonialist.
Where do you think Nigeria got it right or wrong?
Nigerian leaders got the first republic system of government right with the 1960 Independence Constitution and replace with the 1963 Republican Constitution. The realistic federal system of government with the constitution gave the regional governments opportunity to develop at their own pace and things were going on well until the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy threw spanner in the works which engendered political upheaval that threw out the realistic federal system of government only to be replaced by the military imposed contraption, the 1999 Constitution which centralised governance at the detriment of the ethnic nationalities.
What are the opportunities for Nigeria in the ‘new normal’ world that has been presented by COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 became a leveler. It brought every government the world over to their knees and the inabilities of every government.
In Nigeria, both the president and the federal government have been demystified. Nigerians have realised that the federal government is clueless in all the areas of governance. The needed competence to lead the country to align with the global standard of governance is woefully lacking; and that is what COVID-19 has exposed.
The only hope for the country is to re-strategise, if the other ethnic groups can mobilise themselves and go to the National Assembly to insist that this demonised 1999 Constitution should be totally abrogated for a new one based on the collective contributions of all the ethnic nationalities as was the case before the country’s political sovereignty in 1960.
Where do you want Nigeria to be in the near future, say 10-30 years?
Nigeria as it is today needs restructuring of the federation because it has proved totally unworkable and consistently retrogressive taking into consideration all the indices of development in real terms and sustainability. Until total restructuring is done, Nigeria has no future. I don’t see Nigeria remaining a county in 10 years time.
But if the ethnic nationalities in the middle belt and southern part of the country can come together, they will know that they have acquired political power to change the course of the political history of Nigeria and make it comfortable for them as it was in the first republic.
Remember that the Fulani oligarchy and colonialists have already bastardised the 1999 Constitution by practicing Sharia Law and some states in the north are conducting themselves as if the country is no longer a secular state. They have acquired the notoriety for doing whatever they like believing that nobody dares question them.
So since the constitution has been bastardised, it stands to reason that Nigeria has no constitution now. The 2014 National Conference recommendations; if they have been implemented by the present federal government since government is a continuum, would have solved a lot of the socio-economic and political problems but the same caliphate have stamped their feet that the recommendations will not see the light of the day. In fact, they are totally hell-bent on Islamising and Fulanising Nigeria. Those are the two agenda they have.
Consequently, there is no future for Nigeria because if the other ethnic nationalities will now rise up to move and say “to your tent oh Israel”, there is the end of Nigeria, and I can tell that I can foresee it within the next 10 years. It is a possibility.
But if by the grace of God, these other ethnic nationalities can come together and say we can no longer tolerate this nonsense, enough, is enough, they can go to the National Assembly and mobilise their representatives and put up a bill to set aside the 1999 Constitution and people-oriented constitution which will be a confederation which goes with resource control as it was in the first republic.
How can Nigerians allow terrorists masquerading as herdsmen which world organisations have recognised as the forth deadliest terrorists group in the world and the federal government’s self-styled “bandits and criminals” to go on mindless slaughtering and kidnapping of Nigerians while some drive away Christians like Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt, and some forests in the South-West and South-East of the country and take physical occupation of the ancestral lands of their victims who take refuge in makeshift refugee camps and dying with the federal government looking askance?
The Fulani ethnic groups do not have ancestral land in Nigeria but the federal government is positioning them as colonialists who dictate policy directions of governance. In this abnormal situation, how do you expect that Nigeria will be intact within a space of 10 years?
Wringing his hands in utter helplessness in the face of ever escalating insecurity, Buhari and the Inspector General of Police acknowledged that the herdsmen are not indigenous to Nigeria. But the question arises: if they are foreigners, why not allow the law enforcement agents to deal ruthlessly with them and drive them back to where they came from? Why this brazen double standard and prevarication?
Does it not depict an agenda to ‘fulanise and islamise’ Nigeria?
You allow Sharia states’ courts to pass judgment to amputate and pronounce death penalty contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, what sort of country is this? Will other ethno-religious groups tolerate these revolting and provoking atrocities in a supposedly secular country?
As we sojorn through nationhood, we must remain conscious of the roles played by our heroes past and deduce ways to build on the benefits we have been permitted by God to enjoy as result of their labour so that their efforts will not be in vain.
Without them, the giant of Africa status which Nigeria has been credited with would never have been attained or would have been ascertained of the country as the largest economy in Africa. Our collective conscience should challenge us to live out their dreams and retrace our footsteps to the right path.
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