Re­call process: No din­ner yet for Dino

Weekly Trust - - Analysis - Cre­ation/Merger of States: Deriva­tion Prin­ci­ple: Devo­lu­tion Fed­er­at­ing of Pow­ers: Units: BACK-HAND Form of Govern­ment: In­de­pen­dent Can­di­dacy: Land Ten­ure Sys­tem: Lo­cal Au­ton­omy: Govern­ment Power Ro­ta­tion: Re­source Con­trol: Shar­ing Type of Leg­is­la­ture: Any

Arewa Fol­low-Fol­low! For that is what we are, or have be­come. Oo­dua and Ohanaeze have since beaten us to it! Well, as they say ‘bet­ter late than never’, the North­ern States’ Gover­nors Fo­rum (NSGF) met the other day with North­ern Tra­di­tional Rulers to chart a way for Arewa on the cur­rent re­struc­tur­ing ag­i­ta­tions. We hope other kin­dred spir­its such as the Arewa Con­sul­ta­tive Fo­rum(ACF), North­ern Elders Fo­rum (NEF) and Ah­madu Bello Foun­da­tion (ABF) and even those Arewa Youths of Oc­to­ber 1 are car­ried along.

The Oo­dua States led by Afenifere and its side­kick OPC had since sat and risen with res­o­lu­tions for what they want. In­di­vid­ual states among them have pub­lished their own sub­mis­sions. Need­less to say, Ohaneze and its mil­i­tant arms MASSOB and IPOB were long on the road to re­struc­tur­ing, nay, se­ces­sion, in­clud­ing the vi­o­lent so­lu­tion be­ing presently en­acted by one Nnamdi Kanu.

While the Ibos, if IPOB rep­re­sents them (and it seems so), are keen on leav­ing the Nige­rian en­tity, Arewa lead­ers - po­lit­i­cal, tra­di­tional, spir­i­tual - are hoarsely shout­ing on us that this na­tion-state of Nige­ria is un­break­able and our be­ing to­gether non-ne­go­tiable. In­deed, we have seen ‘non-ne­go­tiable’ in the way ‘Awusas’ are be­ing hunted down, one mo­tor­cy­cle, one bus and one truck at a time.

For the Yorubas, we are for­tu­nate that the Afenifere ilk are NOT the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of the South West; they are only the tribal jin­go­ists. In 2003, Obasanjo dealt them a se­vere blow from which they had hardly re­cov­ered when Tin­ubu dealt them the sec­ond up­per cut (ma­hangurba) in 2007, and con­sol­i­dated his coup with APC merger and Buhari election in 2015. There­fore, Afenifere is all talk (but what a voice); pol­i­tics is in the hands of Tin­ubu and his ‘boys’.

The equiv­a­lent of Afenifere in the North is the ACF; OPC’s coun­ter­part should be those green­scarf wear­ing Arewa Youths of the Oc­to­ber 1 Kaduna Dec­la­ra­tion. In the South East, IPOB is more than that. In this kind of po­lit­i­cal ag­i­ta­tion, it is sad to say the South South is a non-starter, and that’s why the South East takes ad­van­tage to in­clude them in Greater Bi­afra (even though they have their own rab­ble to deal with).

So, then, the North­ern Gover­nors have em­pan­eled a com­mit­tee on ways for­ward on this vex­a­tious mat­ter. Most skep­tics fear that the com­mit­tee, as well as the main body, can never go far enough in their rec­om­men­da­tions for a way out - call the bluff of the oth­ers. They have the hand­i­cap of think­ing that the Oo­dua and Ohanaeze threats are ex­is­ten­tial to Arewa. No. The threats are only a dan­ger to the na­tion-state called Nige­ria - Arewa had been there long be­fore 1914.

Just be­fore the NSGF con­vened on the is­sue, the coun­try’s rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) also ad­ver­tised a Call for Mem­o­randa (Daily Trust Tues­day Septem­ber 5 page 35) an­nounc­ing in ef­fect that it had con­sti­tuted a “Com­mit­tee on True Fed­er­al­ism with a man­date to re­view all the ideas…tc, and ar­tic­u­late and align the public po­si­tion with the party’s man­i­festo and cam­paign prom­ises.” The APC then pro­ceeded to list thir­teen top­ics on which it seeks memos. Well done. Thurs­day Septem­ber 14, the APC came out (Daily Trust page 27) with a timetable for Zonal Con­sul­ta­tions.

One fun­da­men­tal step the APC must take is to pre­vail upon Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to con­vene his own Na­tional Con­fer­ence. Re­gional and Zonal Con­sul­ta­tions will just not do. We need another Na­tional Con­fab to oblit­er­ate and an­ni­hi­late the hor­ri­ble Jonathan 2014 Con­fab Re­port. That’s the only way to shut up Afenifere and Ohanaeze.

So, for APC, as well as for Arewa when they come round to ask­ing for mem­o­randa, the fol­low­ing are sug­ges­tions (based on the APC’s 13-item list):

1. No new state should be cre­ated, for­ever. It is sug­gested that States and Lo­cal Govern­ments should be ab­ro­gated, and the six GEOPO­LIT­I­CAL ZONES shall con­sti­tute the new Fed­er­at­ing Units (same as Oo­dua). Zonal Cap­i­tals shall be sit­u­ated at a present state cap­i­tal which ap­prox­i­mates the ge­o­graph­i­cal cen­tre of the Zone (Gusau is per­fect for the North West as Gombe is for the North East). In place of states, within each geopo­lit­i­cal zone, let ev­ery two mil­lion chunk of pop­u­la­tion, to the near­est two mil­lion, con­sti­tute a PROV­INCE. There­fore, while the present Nasarawa and Bayelsa states may be­come just Prov­inces au­to­mat­i­cally, the present La­gos and Kano states may have mul­ti­ple prov­inces each (based on the 2006 Cen­sus). Prov­inces could ne­go­ti­ate away (or in) their ex­tras.

2. Let deriva­tion be 20% in­stead of the present 13%. And it should in­clude not only min­er­als but hy­dro and food and an­i­mal re­sources. And VAT should not all be in the name of La­gos. All banks and tele­coms and other such work­ers should be taxed and the monies cred­ited where they work and live. Af­ter all, they en­joy the roads and the wa­ter and the at­mos­phere and the peace.

3. Let the Zones be self-gov­ern­ing and take care of polic­ing, pris­ons and other such. The Fed­eral Govern­ment should con­cen­trate on de­fence and fi­nances and other na­tional com­mon­wealth.

4. As sug­gested in 1, the six GEOPO­LIT­I­CAL ZONES shall con­sti­tute the new Fed­er­at­ing Units.

5. Fis­cal Fed­er­al­ism and Rev­enue Al­lo­ca­tion: A fu­ture lean Fed­eral Govern­ment should take 40% of all rev­enues; Six Geopo­lit­i­cal Zones 35%; and Prov­inces 25%.

6. A hy­brid is sug­gested. Let there be no more a sin­gle Pres­i­dent; let there be a Pres­i­den­tial Coun­cil of six hon­ourable peo­ple, one from each Geo-Po­lit­i­cal Zone. Each Mem­ber shall be elected from within the Zone and sent to the Na­tional Cap­i­tal for a sin­gle six-year term. Chair­man­ship (earn­ing, there­fore, the ti­tle His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent) shall be in ro­ta­tion al­pha­bet­i­cally by Zone (NC, SE, NE, SS, NW, SW) and by re­gion (North, South) for a pe­riod of a sin­gle twelve-month term. Should a Mem­ber be­come oth­er­wise in­ca­pac­i­tated, or dies, a bye-election shall be held for re­place­ment in the par­tic­u­lar Zone for the pe­riod re­main­ing. And if by that time the Zone is Mr. Pres­i­dent, it will go to the next Zone and re­turn to the bye-electee at the end of the ten­ure, to con­clude their Zonal term.

7. there should be.

8. There are too many killings in the name of land. Farmer-Herder and Com­mu­nal Crises are in­creas­ing by the day. Land Use Act should be a mat­ter of the Con­sti­tu­tion and man­aged from the Fed­eral Level with in­put from the Zones. (And Yes, just imag­ine; were the South East, which is land-chal­lenged, bor­der­ing on ‘Awusa’-land, they would have said we took their land ab ini­tio.)

9. There should be no more Lo­cal Govern­ments. Zones should be au­ton­o­mous. So should Prov­inces. 10. As sug­gested in 6.

11. As in 2. Min­er­als and other re­sources are owned by the host­ing Zones and Prov­inces to the ex­tent of 20% Deriva­tion. The Fed­eral Govern­ment should re­tain reg­u­la­tory func­tions.

12. We can’t af­ford a bi­cam­eral leg­is­la­ture. A uni­cam­eral cham­ber to be called The Na­tional As­sem­bly should suf­fice. There should be one rep­re­sen­ta­tive per one mil­lion, to the near­est mil­lion. With the cur­rent pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mate of 180 mil­lion, there may then be a Na­tional As­sem­bly of 180 mem­bers to sit part time.

13. Yes, PMB should con­vene another Na­tional Con­fer­ence. This time around, in the spirit of Change, let there be one rep­re­sen­ta­tive per one mil­lion, to be de­ter­mined by the Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion and INEC. That’s fair­ness. That’s eq­uity. And PMB should sub­ject all de­ci­sions to a ref­er­en­dum.

And may Al­lah make it easy for the Pres­i­dent and all of us.

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