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Friday, 16 November 2012

OIL WEALTH AND NIGERIAN PSEUDO UNITY

                                                                          
It is a known fact that oil wealth is what is keeping the country together today. This is so because Nigeria was founded on a faulty foundation as the various nationalities that made up the Southern and Northern Protectorates were not consulted before they were jumbled together in 1914 by Lord Luggard.The ethnic groups in Nigeria did not discuss how they were going to coexist before they were amalgamated by fiat. In January 1966, Issac Jasper Adaka Boro, having foreseen the devastation oil exploitation and exploration would cause the Niger Delta region, declared the Niger Delta Peoples’ Republic.
By February 23, 1966, Adaka Boro and his 150 comrades landed in Tontonbou to stage the revolution which lasted for 12 days. Therefore, the Niger Delta Peoples’ Republic existed for 12 days before the Head of the Republic was arrested by the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi. He was later pardoned by Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, the new Head of State after the counter coup of 29 July, 1966. He fought as Major on the federal side but was killed on May 16, 1966, under a questionable circumstance. The South East declared its Republic of Biafra in 1967 but was not allowed to go away because of the oil that was in that region at that time. The South West and the monolithic North also want to be independent but are afraid to break away from Nigeria because of losing the oil money that is derived from the Niger Delta region. The Yorubas threatened to secede from Nigeria when the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola was annulled. The first problem that confronted the country before independence was the fear of the minorities over domination by the majority tribes. That fear was allayed by the 1957 Minorities Commission which was chaired by Sir Henry Willink (Queen Counsel) and former British Minister of Health. Another litmus test for Nigeria’s unity were the results of the May, 1962 Census. The census results were not accepted by the Eastern Region while the Western and Northern Regions accepted the results because they favoured them. The results of the census were later cancelled and a fresh one to be conducted “in view of a loss of confidence in the figures for the various regions”. A new national census was held from November 5-8, 1963. The results were as followed: Northern Region: 29,777,986, Eastern Region:12,388,646, Western Region:10,278,500, Mid-West Region:2,533,337, Lagos (Federal Capital): 675,352 (Ojiako, 1981). After the release of the results, the Premier of Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara said, his government “completely rejects” the census figures…. taken as a whole, are worse than useless”. Chief Denis Osadebay, the Premier of newly created Mid-Western Region also rejected the census results. Chief Ladoke Akitola, Premier of Western Region and the Premier of Northerner Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, accepted the results. The Eastern and Mid-Western Regions vowed to boycott the general elections slated for December 30, 1964 if the elections were to be based on the results of the census. As complaints followed the 1963 census just as they trailed those of the 1962 census, President Nnamdi Azikiwe held a meeting in the State House with the Regional Premiers and Governors and the Prime Minister. North and West Premiers and Governors did not attend. After the meeting, the Prime Minister announced that the elections scheduled for December 30, 1964 would hold as planned. This was denied later by the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA)’s McEwen. Sir Ahmadu Bello accused President Azikiwe of trying to secede the East from the Federation “because of its oil interest” it should be allowed to do so in peace. Since the discovery of oil in the East the NCNC has been growing steadily colder about their relations with other parts of Nigeria and had tried to “make themselves so intolerable that other Nigerians will take the initiative of getting Eastern Nigeria outside the Federation and thereby winning sympathy for the NCNC in the world at large”. UPGA said it would not recognize any government formed on the basis of the elections which would be “Compromising with evil”. It called on the president to summon a conference of all political leaders to break up the federation peacefully”. The counter coup of 29 July, 1966 that claimed the life of the Head of State, Major- General Aguiyi Ironsi, was originally plotted to excise the North from Nigeria but the Northern army officers were advised against that plan by the British Government on the ground that the North depended on the South for its revenue. During the civil war that began on July 6, 1967, the Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon created new states, with three states created from the Eastern Region. The new states were East-Central State, South-Eastern State comprising Calabar and Ogoja Provinces and Rivers State comprising Ahoada, Brass, Degema, Ogoni and Port Harcourt Divisions. The oil rich areas of Southern Nigeria were completely excised from the control of Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu. However, if the North had oil like the South, it would have seceded from Nigeria and the Igbos would have been allowed to secede without a bullet fired. The civil war was fought to control the oil in Nigeria and not to unite it. This is confirmed because when the Ogoni crisis broke out, Tanko Yakasai, a businessman from the northern part of the country made a shocking statement about the civil war. Hear what he said, “How many local government do Ogoni have? Two out of 26 local councils in Rivers State. So like Biafra when it attempted to take away the oil, the man from Sokoto came and drove him away. So when next somebody comes to take it (oil) away, we are going together again. The man from Osun will go there and fight. We will take people from Osun and Ogun, and the likes of “Black Scorpion” (Benjamin Adekunle) to drive them away”. Recently, Prof. Ango Abdullahi said the North could stand alone if the country was divided. According to him, “Northern Nigeria is independent economically….” Prof. Ango was right in his claim because the North is endowed with agricultural and natural resources. Ground nuts and cotton were sources of revenue from the North before oil was discovered in Oloibiri in 1958. But ground nuts and cotton have been abandoned since the discovery of crude oil. This is why the North does not want to secede from the country and not because it love to be part of Nigeria. It is only the oil wealth that is making the North to remain in the Nigerian union. In the Sunday Sun on March 4, 2012, Dr. Junaid Mohammed granted an interview in which he vilified the Yorubas for calling for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). In that interview, he made it clear that the North was ready for the break up of the country. Dr. Junaid said, “If they want to initiate moves to break up the country, fine. If they want to secede and form their own Oduduwa Republic or reenact the Biafran tragedy, they are welcome to it. But they should know that it is not going to be their own decision only, it is going to be the decision of all Nigerians”. This followed a meeting of Northern academics, public intellectuals, businessmen and politicians he hosted in his Asokoro home in Abuja. They came up with a pressure group called Coalition of Concerned Northerners (CCN). Many Nigerians profess the unity of the country but are working against its unity in the secret. Dr. Junaid further said, “In the event of the break up of Nigeria, which will be very unfortunate, the North is the only component that will remain one united”. He continued, “And we will retain Abuja as the capital of that truncated Nigeria much to our displeasure. We also have two other cities which could serve as good a capital too. Don’t forget, Kaduna was the capital of Northern Nigeria. So, going back to Kaduna will be the natural thing for us to do. So, what is all the farce? What have we gained from being a part of Nigeria? Tell me! I don’t know what I have gained for instance. Look at the revenue allocation formula and tell me how it can ever allow peace and stability in any country, not just in Nigeria, which already they say is an artificial creation. And let me tell you that in event of the break up of this country, Ilorin and Offa will remain 100 per cent Northern Nigeria and not one inch of land will be ceded to them”. It is displeasing to hear Dr. Junaid complain of the revenue formula. When the North was receiving 50 per cent derivation, did he complain that it was too much and it should be reduced? The Yorubas threatened to secede from Nigeria when the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola was annulled. However, the Yorubas also threatened to secede from Nigeria when the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola was annulled. Thus, the South East, South West and the monolithic North want to be independent but do want to break away for now because of the huge oil money they are enjoying. When the oil wells stop flowing, those who claim they love the country and are singing unity, unity, today will be the first to opt out of Nigeria. So, if anyone tells you that there is unity in Nigeria, such a person is simply telling you a lie! To your tents, O Israel!

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