In a Federal Republic, where there is unity of language,
culture and common ancestry, it is easier to reconcile
opinion, aspirations and goals.
In a Confederal Republic, like
Nigeria, where languages are different, cultures are
different, goals and aspirations are divergent, the
co-efficient of friction and the co-efficient of its
expansion is difficult to reconcile.
This is why it is wise to invite
all the composite units of the Nigerian Confederation to
discuss their yearnings, goals and aspirations. Their
thoughts, ambitions and visions (not 20-20-20) can be
codified as guiding principles of association between the
peoples of the Confederation of Nigeria.
What we have been doing in the
last fifty years is putting the cart before the horse,
writing constitutions that do not reflect the realities of
the Nigerian state and its different nation-states. These
have proved counter- productive.
We have based our constitutional
development and statecraft on alien political thought,
philosophy of life and sociology of existence, through
adaptation and adoption.
This eclectic approach to
governance has had the result that political wrangling, not
based on dialectical reasoning but on group dynamics has
been the bane of Nigerian statecraft.
There is always a measure of
uncertainty in the policies that are adopted within the
closets of the civil service and ministerial fiats, but
these do not represent the aspirations nor meet the approval
of the people.
Escapist proclamations and
shifting shifting visions 2000, 2005, 2010, the Seven- point
agenda and now 20-20-20, have served as political deceits,
which our gullible populace and the helpless population,
naively believe. You can deceive all the people all the
The awareness among the
population is now relatively higher than when two colonels
pushed us into a self-serving civil war, when military
officers, NPN and the PDP, ran governments by strongmen for
strong men as directed by military arrangements.
These political arrangements
excluded academics from governance except in subservient
roles as “advisers”.
Lacking in quality, there is
evidence that some men and women, who have governed
Nigeria since independence, were not prepared for
Frequent changes in cabinets
and governments provide the supreme evidence of what I am
The systemic failure of
governance in Nigeria, often throws up neophytes. As a
routine, there is the never-ending re-cycling of tired
hands, but who have the questionable means to stage
As a result of the mounting
demand for good governance and accountability among young
and middle-aged Nigerians, there is a discernible dichotomy
on the substance of governance between the Epicureans and
This has set both
centrifugal and centripetal force at work, which in turn,
has heightened the coefficient of friction in Nigerian
Thus, the instability in the
Confederal Republic has pushed the co-efficient of expansion
of doubt about 2011, inexorably.
The Epicurean logic of the
status quo is being vehemently challenged by Deltan
militants, whose Spartan disposition has unleashed both
centrifugal and centripetal forces within the confederal
Nigerians talk too much and do
very too little. Everyone is wise in his own eyes.
This is why we could not execute
the 7-point agenda, the Vision 2000, 2005, 2010 and now, we
are on another romantic mission, perching precariously on
the prophecy train to 20-20-29. “You cannot deceive all the
people all the time”!
We must empower the Confederal
states to generate wealth and not dissipate wealth.
Governors must be held
accountable for failures to uplift their people and not rely
too much on the Government at the Centre, which should
constitutionally play a regulatory role.
The outcome of the Edo, Ondo,
Ekiti Anambra gubernatorial overturns has led pundits to
speculate that in free and fair elections, the ruling party
could receive a political shock. The serpent of illusion may
crawl back into its hole.
The question is how mobilized is
CAN, the CPC, ACN and the CNPP? Will a party that suffers
defeat gracefully concede or will they resort to political
chicanery, intrigue and subterfuge?
So far, we have not seen
manifestoes, political statements that have depth and
meaning. This time around, parties must earn their
legitimacy. Crooked, manipulations of the electoral process
will be resisted.
So far, we have read lazy
snippets of promissory political statements, meaningless
public relations jingles, self- portrait advertorials,
commissioned speeches and inane postulations that depict
some political aspirants as shallow, unprepared, unserious
The Northern political stormy
petrel, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, has been expressing strong
views on contemporary Nigerian politics, vibing the
co-efficient of friction to A major.
Mallam Adamu Ciroma is a man,
who holds and expresses his convictions in unmistakable
terms. He is not used to tongue-in-cheek declarations. He
could be subjective and wrong, but he speaks with gusto.
Adamu Ciroma, a history graduate
of the University College, Ibadan, has pursued the “NORTHERN
CAUSE” since the 1970’s. As the post civil war editor and
later Managing Director of NEW NIGERIAN newspaper, he
defended and propagated the NORTHERN CAUSE, with relish and
His editorials were vitriolic.
Accordingly, he was rewarded
with the Governorship of the Central Bank, became the
Minister of Agriculture, Secretary-General of NPN and I
think that Madam Ciroma is also riding high.
In 1972, I came back from West
Germany (as it was then) after my studies in Law. I
travelled to Kano and became the Editor of New Era Magazine.
My publication interviewed the Emir of Daura, Alhaji
Muhamadu Bashir, Mallam Aminu Kano, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji
Inua Wada, the Emir of Gumel and we ran commentaries on
other famous Northern leaders. I had the privilege of
studying the Emirate system of administration. I got
acquainted with the Nigerian diplomat, politician and
nationalist, Alhaji Yesuf Maitama Sule, who was then the
Commissioner of Information, in Kano State. I met with him
regularly after each edition of New Era Magazine hit the
news stand. These Northern leaders were and are still strong
believers in the Nigerian project.
Adamu Ciroma seems to be engaged
in federal matters, but he does not seem to have uplifted
his local people in any remarkable way. Adamu should worry
that the numbers of Almajiris in Kaduna and other Northern
cities are growing, that flights from Kano to Lagos, Sokoto,
and Maiduguri are few and far between, slowing down the
movement of Northern business people, that the economic
generating power of Northern states is nothing to write to
Adamu about. These issues, which my then correspondents, Mr.
Eagle Chinagorom and Mr. Emmanuel Paida commented on
regularly, in their essays, still need to be addressed.
It is the Northern marginalized
group that should constitute Adamu’s worries. Zoning of
developmental responsibilities among Northern leaders is
more important than who appoints ministers, awards
contracts every Wednesday at Federal Executive Council
meetings and awards National Honours to both deserving and
In Nigeria, loud-mouthedness
surely pays. Remember the famous tailor, Wada Nas, who
became somebody, after he joined politics and the rural,
strongman of Ibadan politics, Chief Adedibu.
These politicians promoted
antiquated rivalries in pursuit of narrow interests.
In a Confederal Republic, some
composite units of the Confederation reap where they did not
sow and are not keen to sow
Yet, their speakers blab from
the roof-tops to orchestrate chaos, whenever they want to
catch the headlines from the Nigerian press that does not
know how to ignore jokers.
When the two colonels used
polemics and dragged us into a bloody civil war, the lie was
that they acted in the people’s interest. Let political
desperados not sink this country again.
The dialectics of the Sharia
imbroglio in Nigeria have been examined and put to rest.
There is need to always inform the citizens about
contentious issues and not to hide information or sweep
things under the carpet.
The language of political
dialogue must be refined, expressive and not crude, uncouth
diatribe, which tend to inflame passions.
The way we copy and mimic
Western political, economic and cultural traits worry me a
lot. Lord Lugard once observed that “Institutions and
methods, in order to command success and promote the
happiness and welfare of the people, must be deep rooted in
their traditions and prejudices” ( The Dual Mandate in
British Tropical Africa. London (1925) at page 215.
The level of literacy among the
political class is amazingly inadequate, because of their
initial low educational standards.
Yet, they aspire to govern by
relying on hack speech-writers and failed former ex-this,
ex-that, who actually have little or nothing to contribute
to the philosophy Nigerian politics.
Each time Government hosts a
conference, symposia or other events, the better time of the
event is wasted on frivolous recognitions of “dignitaries”.
When it is time to discuss serious national issues, the
“dignitaries” disappear to watch themselves later on
No state makes progress with
their leaders never-ending travels, ceremonials, gaieties
and social festivities, the cutting of tapes and other
Apart from being financially
wasteful, these social events stoke the jealous hearts of
ambitious opposition parties, who criticize their opponents
in vociferous manner, which hurt the ego of those
I was surprised and amazed that
the Nigerian Vice President, Namadi Sambo chose to ignore
all Nigerian universities and decided to present a speech at
Oxford University, England.
Statesmen usually present their
policy statements in their own universities for the
evaluation of their domestic audience.
I thought that the speech was
going to disclose earth-shaking policies resulting in
falling star dusts. It did not quite tell our story.
In this political dispensation,
debates must be issues-based, relevant and presented in a
Nigerians are now ready to vote
objectively and hopefully not for ethnic chieftains and
Resorts to primordial sentiments
.should have no place in the Nigeria of 2011. We should
fight the epidemic of tribalism in Nigeria, which
shamelessly displays preference for “sons of the soil.”It
makes living outside the confines of ones village drudgery.
How Nigerians treat their fellow
compatriots is directly responsible for the high coefficient
of friction in Nigeria.
Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh
Esiemokhai is the President of the proposed Afemai
University, Fugar, Edo State, Nigeria.