Was the National Conference a Plot to Split Nigeria? [READ]
By Muhammed Haruna
A supposed email exchange between Chinweizu, veteran columnist and author (The West and the Rest of Us, Anatomy of Female Power) and Professor G.G. Darah, communications teacher and prominent Delta State delegate to the just concluded national conference, has been making the rounds on the internet. If the exchange is true – and the style and substance of the exchange suggests it is – then we are in an even deeper trouble in this country than we imagine because of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The exchange, dated August 6, was copied to Mr Yinka Odumakin, an outspoken Afenifere spokesman, Col Tony Nyiam, Rtd, who, like Darah, is also a Delta State delegate to the national conference and the arrowhead of the 1990 attempted coup against General Ibrahim Babangida which purported to have excised much of the North from Nigeria, and to one, Professor Chinedu Nwajimba.
The chilling concluding paragraphs of the exchange is worth reproducing in full if only because of the possibility, even probability, it raises that it may have been the motive in convening the conference, if not of the authorities themselves, at least of elements at the conference who are known to be very close to the powers that be.
“The main point,” Chinweizu said in his email “is that we can’t afford to prolong our agony under Caliphate Colonialism. Our Liberation requires that they leave Nigeria entirely, and the sooner the better. If they are allowed to remain on any terms, even by return to 1960 Federalism or even Aburi, we’ll still have them polluting our polity. (Please see the attachment). So the sooner we get them out completely the better for us.
“And if we can defeat and expel them without recourse to shooting war, i.e. without bloodshed, that’s the best. So you guys should do it within the Confab walls. Excise them by talking and voting; don’t wait till you have to shoot and bleed. Political war is better than military war.”
Earlier in the roughly 800-word email, Chinweizu had expressed his happiness at what he said was a new division in the country the so-called progressives at the conference have engineered, something he described as the new “Greater/New South vs. Shariyaland geopolitical divide.” He then said although they were to be congratulated for their achievement in creating this new fault line, they should know that the battle had just begun.
“When the Confab returns to wind up,” he said, “if you can’t get them to walk out or can’t pass a resolution excising Shariyaland, Orkar style, then engineer a breakdown, with a Greater South separate Majority/minority report that creates the cleavage that would oblige the Prez to reconvene the Confab as Confab 2, ostensibly for reconciliation across the cleavage. But you’d seize the opportunity at Confab 2 to create a Peoples’ Constitution, without any compromises to accommodate Arewa/ Shariyaland. And you can there excise them if they resist the new constitution, as they will surely do. Am sure you and Yinka (Odumakin) can get that going and accomplish it. If all fails, at least get a resolution passed by the Greater South majority, postponing the 2015 election till after a new Constitution is approved by referendum.”
The reader will recall that in my column of January 15 on these pages entitled “The return of Chinweizu and all that” I had cause to join issues with the gentleman when he wrote in The Guardian of December 12 and 19, 2013 to take on the radical politician and Kano State delegate to the national conference, Dr Junaid Muhammad, and President Olusegun Obasanjo, one over his criticisms of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in press interviews, and the other over his since famous open letter to our No 1 Citizen which was even more critical of the president than Dr Muhammad’s interviews.
Chinweizu entitled the first piece “To Junaid Mohammed and the Shariyalanders.” What he said in it was pretty much the same as what he repeated in his email to Darah. It was also pretty much the same as his December 19 criticism of Obasanjo’s letter, except he did not forget to dismiss the 1999 Constitution under which Obasanjo returned to power as “illegitimate” and “a self-interested creation of Northern generals for the parochial interest of Shariyaland”. This was in spite of the fact, as we all now know, that the 1979 Constitution promulgated by Obasanjo as military head of state, which is essentially the same with the 1999, was authored principally by people like Professor Ben Nwabueze, Chinweizu’s fellow Biafran traveller and critic of the 1999 Constitution – thanks, in part, to the professor’s self-confession in a recent interview in Sunday Vanguard (March 20).
Chinweizu’s email begun with thanks to Darah for his situation report on the national conference and a plea that Darah and perhaps those he copied would “get it widely published in the media for the enlightenment of the Greater/New South (i.e. South + Middle Belt) Public.” Specifically, he wanted Odumakin to get it published in the Nigerian Tribune.
I am not aware than Odumakin has been able to do so but Darah’s report has been published in The Pointer (August 25), the newspaper of Delta State, at least in its online edition from where I was able to download the report. Darah’s triumphalism over his version of the outcome of national conference betrayed a malicious intent towards a section of this country – a malicious intent probably shared among those in power – which nearly turned the conference’s final sitting into a fiasco.
“There will be two layers of power. One federal, two states,” Darah said in his report rather cockily. “Local governments will exist as they are in section 7 of the section, but they will not be a tier of government. Get me correctly, they will not form a tier. There is no federation where councils are tiers. It’s only in Nigeria, and they did it to spoon feed those 419 local governments in the North.”
States, he also said, will design their own constitutions to cater for local interests. “It is so in India, Germany, Canada, it is so in America,” he said.
Darah is absolutely correct that in a true federation there can be only two tiers of government; the federal and the state. It would then be up to the latter to create any number of local and municipal governments it wants depending on its wherewithal and the wisdom of its politicians.
Problem is, Nigeria seized to be a true federation like all of Darah’s examples, from the day the military first seized power in January 1966. True federations come about by aggregation. The Nigerian federation since 1966 has been by disaggregation. In other words, instead of power being ceded to the centre from the component parts, it has flowed in the opposition direction, with all this implies for the autonomy of the component parts.
Even then I believe the conference took the right decision in abrogating local governments as a tier if only because they have no legislative powers except for bye-laws, and even though the decision smacks of vendetta against a section of the country. The ill motive behind the decision was apparent from the conference’s confusion in its decision to still allocate 22.5% of the federal revenue pool to the tier as against 42.5% for the centre and 30% for the states in its recommendation for revenue allocation.
This brings me to Darah’s explanation for what he described in his situation report as the “climb down” by delegates from the Delta region on the controversy over the size of derivation as a principle of revenue allocation, a climb down he chose to blame essentially on the Yoruba, in particular one Yoruba delegate from Lagos.
The merit of his position on this issue and on the major decisions of the conference will be the subject of this column next week, God willing. It will also examine Darah’s report as a wanton denigration of the North and as propaganda for President Jonathan.
Hackers at work
For the nth time in at least the last seven years, hackers seem to have taken a fancy to my yahoo mail. The first time they not only hacked into my first email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, they completely seized it and caused me to lose thousands of valuable correspondences. Next, they used the one I replaced it with, email@example.com, to solicit for money. This time, however, they did not seize the address.
More recently on July 7, they sent out solicitations for N500,000.00, supposedly from me, to be paid into the account number 2055979807 of one, Peter Fedude, at UBA Bank as a loan. I don’t think anyone was foolish enough to respond to them.
Still they seem undeterred; yesterday they were at work again sending out mails giving out a link which, fortunately, several of those on my mailing list who tried to open it couldn’t.
Please, anyone who receives any such mails in future purporting to be from me should know that it is hackers at work and should therefore never respond to them or even bother to open them.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
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