Now that the dust of the 2019 general elections seems to be settling down and matters arising that led to the inconclusiveness of some of the elections are being concluded.
The victors are partying while the aggrieved are heading to the tribunals to seek for the redress they may not likely get, just like during the elections “MONEY” and “POWER” will still remain the determinant factor.
This not withstanding, I now feel its a proper time to come out from the self imposed sabbatical and begin to comment on public affairs again. Hoping that the society is now ready to rationally absorb matters of National concern away from the prism of partisanship.
I wrote in my last piece on this blog, captioned “THE FINAL LAP” some few weeks before the elections, that the whole process would produce nothing meaningful and truly there was no change.
In furthering my discourse about the Nigerian situations. I would like caption this piece “the in convenient truth (1)” reflecting on my sojourn as a journalist, a civil servant viz-viz the political developments in Nigeria.
When I joined the Civil Service in the mid seventies. I was always mesmerised listening to my seniors reminiscing nostalgically over the period they were in the service of the defunct government of the Northern Region.
Their discussions centred on the good times they had, while on posting in stations such as Kabba, Ilorin, Kaduna Sokoto, Birnin Gwari, lokoja, Gusau,Adamawa, Gembu, Katsina Ala etc.
They speak about the family and friends they left behind. They relish the communality, unity and the hegemony the regional government provided to them. They talk about how the system worked. Not the cupidity, nonsense and nepotism we experience today.
I was always green with envy and amazed by the sense of loss they displayed each time their discussions took them down the memory lane.
I use to wonder why would they be feeling so bad, now that government has been brought to their door steps, courtesy the creation of states by the Military leader General Yakubu Gowon.
Little did I know, I too would be caught in similar nostalgic frenzies. When I look back to the period I spent in the service of the defunct North East Government.
As some one who comes from a minority tribe, life was better, more purposeful, meaningful and forward looking. We had our wishes and dreams for a better Nigeria. A Nigerian dream we are still chasing after 56years of independence.
In those days our relationships were not defined by which tribe or religion you come from or belong to, rather, we see ourselves as a people who share common historical and ancestral background. We inter marry, share common names, dress and eat the same food. It was arguably the most peaceful and interesting part of my career.
The North East Government represented what may be the aspiration of what General Gowon wanted “Nigeria to be”
When the union existed, the bonding, the shared hegemony, historical values and communality of purpose was phenomenal until when the military juntas that came after the Gowon’s government, bastardise and politicised the creation of states.
As the vulcanisation of the country continued by the Military, from the 12 state structure to 19,21 and 36 federating units. The process only succeeded in creating “Development Centres”. It failed to address the issues of minorities. In fact it created more minorities then envisage by the founding fathers of state creation.
The process polarised and further divided the people to the extent that it eroded their ancestral linages.
If the fundamental reason for the state creation was to address fears of minorities one can with benefit hindsight say the efforts ended in creating more minorities.
The hegemony that kept the society together was lost. It rather created a more acrimonious and heterogeneous society, disfranchised and debased. The society no longer feel, they are one people who shared common history, belonging to one nation sharing common geographical space called “Nigeria”.
Several years after the creation of states, Nigerians still feel the Nigerian nation is a contraption of an unholy alliances created by colonialism to serve its own purpose.
The agitations by some section of the Nigerian society for the restructuring of the country, the out right call for secession by IPOB amplifies the state of our fragile unity.
The underlying reasons why the separation failed, can be attributed to the lack of guidance by the central government. The Older states took advantage of the lacuna and short changed the Newer states in process of asset sharing.
It created a hydra headed demon that till today, has kept the once peaceful loving people separated for ever.
The process created serious dichotomy between the people who once shared common history and culture who now became irreconcilable arch enemies.
Recently in depending his decision for the state creation, General Gowon in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, while commissioning the newly built Bayelsa State Government House, echoed that he was “delighted to create those states…years ago.
According to him the political situation at that time was very difficult.
“There was fears of the country breaking up, fears of domination of the minority and the question was, what were we going to do in order to remove this fear causing problems in Nigeria?
“Fears of being dominated by majority ethnic groups? The creation of states was to solve these fears.”
My expectation is that the General with the benefit of hindsight ought to be procrastinating, why in the first place he created those states in the light of what state creation has failed to achieve.
For me the creation of the six geo political zones apart from it later political and subterranean undertones, may be the subtle recognition by the Military that their attempt to solve the problems of the minorities has failed.
The creation of the six geo political zones essentially, was therefore a revisionist approach towards unwinding the significance of the state system. We shall examine this in the next piece of the “Inconvenient Truth (2)”