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The Oracle: Why Nigeria Needs Restructuring (Pt. 4)



By Mike Ozekhome


The word restructuring has become the latest word in the political landscape with political and non political actors pushing forward their ideas of the word that was not too long ago, abhorrence to many stage actors. Today, we shall x-ray further why Nigeria needs restructuring.


Before the 15th January, 1966 Military Coup led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu Chukwuma from Okpanam, Nigeria operated true fiscal federalism amongst the then three regions-Western, Northern and Eastern Regions. They were later joined by the Midwest region which was excised out of Western region by popular Plebiscite and referendum on the 10th of August, 1963. The Architects of that federalist feat were Dr Dennis Osadebay (later Prime Minister); Oba Akenzua II; Dr Christopher Okojie; Justice Kessington Momoh, Chief James Otoboh, Chief Humphrey Omo-Osagie; Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh (Omimi Ejoh), Chief Jereton Mariere and Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom.

Section 140 of the 1963 Republican Constitution which replicated section 134 of the 1960 Independence Constitution provided that 50% proceeds of royalty received by the Federation in respect of minerals extracted from a region, including any mining rents derived by the federation belonged to a Region. Effectively, this made the Regions which also had their separate regional Constitution (with a Federal one at the centre) to control their resources. Only 20% was paid to the Federation; and another 30% shared by all the Regions, including those that had already shared 50%.

In the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Northern Premier who had sent his NPC Deputy (Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) to the centre to be Prime Minister, preferring to govern his people, utilized the resources of Northern Nigeria. With the famous Kano groundnut pyramid, cotton, Hides and skin, the imperious by cerebral Sardauna, who had valiantly fought for, but failed to become the Sultan of Sokoto at 29, losing to Sultan Siddiq Abubakar III, who reigned for 50 years till 1988. The great grandson of Uthman Dan Fodio (of “Conscience is an open wound; only the truth can heal it” fame), built the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) which stretched from Samaru, Zaria, to Funtua in the present day Katsina. He set up the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC); built the Yankari Games Reserve; the Ahmadu Bello Stadium; and the Hamdala hotel, Kaduna.

In the Eastern Region, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (First Premier 1954-1959) and later Dr Michael Okpara, and his Governor, Dr Akanu Ibiom and others with Dr Mbonu Ojike embarked upon major organ on revolution; they built the Trans-Amadi Industrial Estates and Presidential hotels in Enugu and Portharcourt. They built the University of Enugu; the Obudu Cattle Ranch and Resort, the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC);  Cement fatory at Nkalagu, breweries, textile Mills and Enugu Stadium. They could do this because they controlled their palm produce. This was time fiscal federalism at work.

In western Region, the late Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, used proceeds from the coca product to build the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, the first television station in Africa, (1957); introduced free universal primary education and free health service; The liberty stadium and Cocoa House in Ibadan and the University of Ife (now OAU) were built by him. Because he controlled the resources of the West.

In the Mid west Region, Dr Dennis Osadebay spear headed the setting up of the Ughelli Glass Industry and the Okpellla Cement Factory, amongst others. What has changed? Why do we now operate a Unitary System of government, with centralized powers, a behemoth Central federal government and beleaguered, subservient states as federating units. Commissioners for finance congregate at Abuja at the end of every month to take state allocations under section 162 of the 1999 Constitution. Nigeria can never grow that way.

So much for the diagnosis. What about the prognosis? Is there a way back or out of this self-inflicted cocktail of challenges? If so, what does it take – and how do we realize or achieve it? In other words, what is the solution to the puzzle implied in the title of this piece? How do we pull Nigeria from the brink? There is no doubt that there are no easy answers to these posers and it is simplistic to assume that what has been tried successfully elsewhere will necessarily work here. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is equally true, however, that, while it is fool-hardy to seek to re-invent the wheel, valuable lessons can be learned from those who have trodden similar paths as ours and have emerged stronger, more prosperous and stable in every possible way. Indeed, in some cases – particularly, the so-called ‘Asian Tigers’, their transformation from Third World status to First World economies, has been as dramatic as it is unprecedented. How did they achieve it? Is there any magic wand? Is it appropriate to apply them to Nigeria or would that be comparing grapes to apples?


I believe the answers to all these posers are self-evident, given the common history of backwardness and virtually complete non-industrialization (with the exception of Japan) which the so-called Asian Tigers shared with Nigeria at independence. This is because all the Tigers – South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia – were, like Nigeria, under prolonged periods of colonial and/or military rule. Even Japan, which was a relatively prosperous and industrialized society, prior to the Second World War, had to start virtually from scratch afterwards, following its defeat in that conflict. Accordingly, these comparisons are in no way odious. The question, then is: how did these countries do it? In terms of strategy, it appears that the following are key to the seeming miracle achieved by these erstwhile developing countries:

  • Investment in skills;
  • Advancements in Technology;
  • Engagement of specialized agencies;
  • Establishment of pilot projects; and
  • Involvement of International Agencies such as the U.N.


Scholars have suggested that Nigeria can benefit from the experience of the Asian Tigers in the following ways:

  • Formulating and implementing deliberate government policies;
  • Strengthening the development of agriculture;
  • Encouraging industrial development;
  • Developing small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

The following have also been proffered as additional take-away from the ‘miracle’ of the Asian Tigers, which can be adopted or applied profitably in Nigeria, viz:

Focus on exports. Domestic production should be encouraged especially targeted at exports, through government policies such as high import tariffs to discourage the latter;

Human capital development. This focuses on developing specialized skills aimed at enhancing productivity through improved educational standards;

Creating a sound financial system. A well- developed capital market will facilitate mobilization of capital for industrial and economic development;

Maintenance of political, social as well as macroeconomic stability;

Leadership that priorities citizens’ welfare thereby motivating labour to increase productivity;

Encouraging a savings culture in order to increase capital formation (preferably through private institutions);

Developing export-oriented industries to produce selected goods with a relatively competitive advantage in world markets,

The Specific Case of Japan    

The following have been identified as lessons for Nigeria from the so-called ‘Japanese Miracle’, viz:

Massive investments in research and development with a view to developing, inter alia, efficient production techniques;

Adaptation of foreign/imported technology;

Massive investments in infrastructure and heavy manufacturing industries;

Proper and prudent management of our natural resources (particularly oil and gas);

A disciplined, relatively cheap, highly educated and skilled work-force, with reasonable wage demands;

Targeting high literacy rate and high education standards;

Private Sector-driven investment. The profit incentive of the private sector results in large-scale investment culminating in economies of scale in production.


In addition to the foregoing, it does appear that both Europe and the US offer valuable lessons in economic integration or co-operation with regional countries which will eliminate waste and create economies of scale and increase investment levels.


On a broader, political and macro-economic level, Onigbinde identified the following as key issues in the quest to solve the riddle of “How to Fix Nigeria,” viz: – Enhancing Security; Promoting National Unity; Improving Public Health; Economic Competitiveness and Diversity (away from oil and natural gas); Tackling the Revenue or Income Challenge; Putting People to Work; and Governance Accountability. He, then, concludes, insightfully, that “Nigeria will only move forward as a nation forged in unity, by optimizing every single public resource and making the health, safety and prosperity of its people an urgent concern. There are no short-cuts; fixing Nigeria requires a consistent, long-term approach, not those constantly watching four-year elections, like a ‘dieter watching the scale every hour”.

To the foregoing, we agree that tackling corruption, promoting the rule of law, and strengthening civil society organizations, are also relevant touchstones. Beyond even that, however, we must include leadership by example, as well as re-orientation of the citizenry on the benefits of a new national ethos of true patriotism, which de-emphasizes the prevailing culture of primitive acquisition of wealth by all means, fair or foul – and its obscene display.

The benefits of a committed and conscientious, leadership-driven attempt at re-directing the Nigerian ship away from its calamitous down-ward slide, are too obvious to need re-telling. Suffice it to say that it might literally be the difference between our survival as a nation and our much-predicted collapse or fragmentation into any number of sub-national, ethnic-based units. In other words, the challenge is simply existential. Such an outcome should be avoided at all costs – unless its benefits outweigh its costs. Such perceived benefits are, frankly, hard to envisage and, the more desirable option is to cultivate an elite consensus towards an orderly resolution by means of a suitable medium – such as a referendum.

Though it seems that many are averse to the potential outcome of this option (because, it is apparently a Pandora’s Box of sorts), the alternative might be far worse, with some predicting a Somalia-style No Man’s Land where there is no viable Central Government worthy of that name and where literally anything goes. This scenario might be unduly pessimistic but, the possibility that it will become our reality is a scenario which no reasonable person can dismiss with a wave of the hand. All hands must, therefore, be on deck to save this ship. This nation must not fail and, by the grace of God, it will not fail.

Given the above depressing scenario and narrative, the question to be asked is: how did we get here and how can be ‘get out of jail,’ as it were? How do we resolve our diverse, hydra-headed challenges?



Many solutions have been suggested, with constitutional amendment or reenactment top of the list. The reason is obvious: it is a country’s birth certificate; the foundation, basis or as we call it in law, the grundnorm. In this regard The 1999 Constitution is the product of the military led by General Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar. The explanatory note to the said Constitution is worth considering as it explains the purport of the Constitution. The explanatory note to the 1999 Constitution (the subject matter of this article), states thus: “The Decree promulgates the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 199 into law and provides for the said Constitution to come into force on 29th May, 1999.” The explanatory note above contains extra information to the effect that the explanatory: “…note does not form part of the above Decree but is intended to explain its purport.” The term “promulgate” means to spread an idea, a belief, etc. among the people. Whose beliefs and ideas are the military spreading and at what point did this idea or belief come into force? It is pertinent to note that the 1999 Constitution divested the military over the governance of Nigeria and re-enforces the original ideas and beliefs of the people at the time they got independence. (To be continued).


“People always want welfare, development, and good governance. As long as you are delivering, people are with you”. (N. Chandrababu Naidu).

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Fani-Kayode: The Man and His Belly




By Danjuma Garba
We are disturbed by the recent inciting comments by a former Aviation Minister and Director of News Media, All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Recently, the media has been awash with reports of Fani-Kayode’s inciting rhetoric targeted at causing ethnic disharmony and widespread violence across the nation. We can no longer continue to ignore his excesses as they pose a grave danger to our democracy, unity and security.
Recall that his ethnic profiling and inciting statements fuelled unprecedented violence against non-Yoruba voters in Lagos State at the just-concluded governorship poll. We find totally unacceptable, his recent threat to make the country ungovernable should Bola Ahmed Tinubu not be sworn in. This is a threat against national peace and security and should not be ignored by all relevant security agencies.
Already, his rancorous and misguided outbursts had attracted the attention of the international community. A British envoy addressed him and pointed out the dangers of his inciting statements. However, instead of retracting his statements, he went wild against the envoy with derogatory remarks and tirades unbefitting of a supposed statesman.
Femi Fani-Kayode is infamous in Nigeria for his opportunistic political misadventures. He is a rabble-rouser whose only political value is the noise he makes and the ripples of disaffection it causes.
He has never contested, won or lost an election. His is to parasitically attach himself to the winning side and look for any available financial opportunity to sustain his extravagant and drug-ridden lifestyle.
He is a craven man who rides behind the trails of valiant men to glean the spoils of war. And while waiting for the spoils, he can go to the extremes of verbal assaults, name-calling and denigration of opponents.
His method of political engagement is crude, savage, hostile and barbaric. He does not spare vices however indecorous in his quest to appear loyal to his paymasters.  He is a known groveler who does the “dirty jobs” for his paymasters in return for “food”. Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s description of him as a foodie who does the bidding of anyone who gives him “food” is very apt. He is a man with zero integrity and decorum.
As a result of his unprincipled approach to life in general, and to politics in particular, he has no allegiance to any political party or ideology. He has loyalty only to his stomach. And when he is done eating, he scatters the table and spites the host. His eloquence is fuelled by the sight of food rather than being inspired by a cause, reason or logic. He is a political pariah who, like a hawk, flies about looking for only what to eat.
Femi Fani-Kayode is such a despicable figure that is awful and abhorrent in private life and unfit for public offices.
No wonder, he has been married four times, and all four women left him. No one can cope with Femi’s childish, belligerent, narcissistic and immoral behaviour. His mouth is full of bile proceeding from the dark enclaves of his bankrupt and untutored soul.
One wonders what a man who has failed in virtually everything, is doing in the corridors of power. For being unable to lead his private life, he is totally unfit to lead others. He is a confirmed public and private failure.
The incompetent junkie once blamed

witches for the plane crashes that happened under his watch as the aviation minister.
But how did Femi Fani-Kayode come about? Available records show that he was born to Chief Remilekun Adekunbo Fani-Kayode. Femi trained as a lawyer, a supposed educated man.
In age, Femi is supposed to be a man in his sixties being born on 16 October, 1960, but in character and conduct, he is a delinquent adolescent always running in and out of trouble with his unbridled tongue.
With his unstable and volatile character, one doubts if his education goes beyond his ability to read and write. Education is beyond mere literacy; it refines character, shapes perceptions, enhances tolerance and imparts civility.
The sum total of these is what is called civilization. But Fani-Kayode lacks the basic ingredients of true education. His uncouth manners speak more of a pretentious barbarian at the gate of civilization than of a truly educated and civilized person. His ethnic bigotry smacks of a pre-historic man in a band of hunters and fruit gatherers. His level of clannishness and intolerance is totally antithetical to civilization.
What an educated head ruled by a bankrupt mind and moribund soul! He refused to allow his intellectual engagements to tamper with his ethnic crudity and absurdity.
He represents the fading generation of African elites who continue to hold on to sentiments that are intolerant of others and inimical to a free, fair and inclusive society. They are the worst hindrance to inter-ethnic harmony and national unity in Africa.
Femi pathetically carries underneath his flamboyant attire, a deeply troubled, stark naked, abysmally wretched and utterly miserable soul. Such a pity!
It is against all sensibility that such an unhinged and irresponsible fellow should be elevated to the point of having political visibility in a civilized and democratic society. In saner climes, moral imbeciles like him are quarantined as societal outcasts and persona non grata.
Though his ill-fated foray into politics began quite early, whatever patronage he has enjoyed came on the heels of his family’s name and influence rather than on the strength of his personal merit or capacity. He lacks in totality, the character and conduct of an adult, let alone the attributes of a statesman.
We, therefore, call on the ruling party to amend their initial mistake of appointing Femi Fani-Kayode into their campaign council by distancing themselves from his inciting and bigoted comments.
He is such a political liability and should not be considered for any political appointment in both the nearest and distant future. Already, he is trying to cause a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Kingdom with his recent tantrum against the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, who tried to address his excesses.
We would be forced to believe that Femi Fani-Kayode is doing the biddings of the ruling party to destroy Nigeria if drastic punitive actions are not taken against him.
Finally, we call on the Inspector General of Police, and the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to arrest within 48hours, Femi Fani-Kayode for posing a grave threat to national security with his ceaseless inciting statements and ethnic profiling. This is to serve as a deterrent to other tribal bigots, and overzealous politicians.

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Open Letter to Bayo Onanuga by Richard Akinnola




My dear Bayo,

I hope you are now happy and satisfied, that the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) has sanctioned CHANNELS with a N5 million fine, following your petition over the Datti Ahmed’s interview on CHANNELS.

Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dr Olu Onagoruwa ( both of blessed memories) were the best of friends for several years but that friendship was truncated when the latter decided to join the Abacha junta as the Attorney-General, churning out despicable Decrees. Their relationship ended and Gani publicly upbraided his erstwhile friend.

You and l have been friends for several years, fought many battles together against the military, particularly against their onslaught on the free press. I therefore feel terribly pained that l have to publicly upbraid you for your recent public statements, particularly your petition against CHANNELS tv, to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). Et tu, Bayo? I’m still trying to wrap my heads round your sudden 360 degrees against all you fought for under the military. You are yet to be in government and you have started exhibiting intolerance against the independent media, the same thing you fought for all your years, like Dr Onagoruwa did. I’m sure your principal, who has been a lover of free press, would be embarrassed by your position.

I watched the interview under reference and l must say, you are VERY UNFAIR to Seun Okinbaloye, the anchor man who repeatedly cautioned Datti Ahmed for making some seemingly inciting comments, to the anger and discomfiture of Datti Ahmed. So, in all conscience, what then is the basis of your petition to the NBC? Can you compare that to your recent incendiary post against an ethnic group? Why are you making enemies for your principal, instead of friends, in a country so polarized? While your principal is preaching unity and healing, you are busy trying to make more enemies for him. Yesterday, it was ARISE, today, it is CHANNELS. Is that a foretaste of what to experience in the incoming government? So, we should be fixated on NTA and TVC, isn’t that what you are trying to tell proverbially? To say that I’m totally embarrassed by your silly conduct, would be stating it mildly.

For eight years, despite all vitriolic attacks on the president, Femi Adesina, as Special Adviser, Media to the president, did not petition against any medium but you wey never enter, don dey censor the media. What a shame! I can expect the disaster that awaits us if you become the presidential spokesperson. Do l subscribe to unfettered press freedom? No. I believe every freedom comes with responsibility. However, when you create a perception that the incoming government would be intolerant of the free press, we need to sound the alarm bell.

My dear Bayo, it is often said that until a man tastes power or has access to money, you can’t judge his character. That may not be totally true because one of our mutual friends, Tunji Bello, has tasted both but has been his normal self that l have known for over three decades. His decent character has not changed, in and out of government. So, could it be that your real character is just unfolding? Just because you are now at the periphery of power, you are ready to obliterate all the values and principles you held all these years. What a shame!

TAKE NOTICE that we would fight this your planned “insurrection” against the independent media the way we, including you, fought Abacha’s dictatorship against the media.


Postscriptum: Before l wrote this open letter, l had informed some of our mutual friends, so that they won’t feel embarrassed.

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Voice of Emancipation: Who Will Pay Buhari’s Debt?




By Kayode Emola

In less than two months, President Mohammadu Buhari will relinquish the exalted position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He will however, not take with him the huge debt he bestowed on the country, and that would be left for both the incoming and future governments or their successor when Nigeria eventually breaks up to pay. The question remains as to who will pay this huge debt as there are over 130 million Nigerians living below the poverty line today.

Just this week, the Chinese government rejected Buhari’s further request for an additional loan of ₦10.1trn ($22bn), from the China-Exim Bank which was earlier approved by the morally bankrupt Nigeria National Assembly. The said loan was intended to fund the modernisation of the Kano – Kaduna segment of the Nigerian Railway. The obvious question to ask is, how much has that Railway line generated in the past 3 years to justify that humongous loan facilities for an outgoing government.

This is not minding the fact that Buhari is leaving the Nigerian people with ₦46.25trn ($101.87bn) external debt and a financially depressed nation. With the cost of living biting hard and many strong financial institutions around the world feeling the pinch, I believe it is time to take stock. We recall that Buhari came to power on a mandate of hope, however, if there is anything to go by in the last 8-years, it is anything but hope, in fact, I believe Nigerians should be very afraid of the direction the country is going.

A lot of the self-determination activists who are not well grounded in freedom struggle believe our quest for freedom stemmed from the extrajudicial killing by the armed Fulani militia. That is not the basis of our decision to leave an unproductive country like Nigeria. Many of our people are facing far more untimely death on a daily basis because of bad governance in Nigeria and this cannot continue without a permanent solution which is a total withdrawal from the Nigeria framework. The people in power are creating more havoc on ordinary Nigerians than all the armed terrorist groups put together.

This is a compelling reason why we must be more vocal and succinct in our message delivery to the ordinary man on the street, who is not well-versed or have reliable information. With our teeming population and abundant natural resources, Nigeria should be among the 5 biggest economies in the world. The recent developmental strides in Dubai and Qatar are supposed to be child’s play compared to Nigeria’s achievement in the last 62 years of independence. Our economy is however led by reckless government officials, who have riddled with loans that cannot be repaid if we continue on this trajectory.

To my fellow Yoruba countrymen who are happy that a Yoruba man is going to be President of Nigeria, a country with a fraudulent constitution, and hoping for a miracle. I will say, think again; as I pity our stupidity for lack of wisdom. We will come to bite our fingers in the nearest future if we don’t double our efforts right now to get out of Nigeria. If we remain trapped in this contraption called Nigeria for whatever reason, either by our own making or otherwise, then our children and future generations may never forgive our docility.

We cannot continue to live in a country where we the Yoruba contribute the largest share of its revenue, yet has nothing to show for it, order than parade political jobbers as an achievement. If that is not stupidity, then I will like to know what happened to free basic education and healthcare started over 70 years in Yorubaland by Chief Awolowo. Yet, many of our children are now out of school because their parents can’t afford exorbitant school fees in private facilities. Why are we allowing many innocent lives to die because of poor health facilities and a lack of adequate social amenities?

The lists of vices go on and on, which I wouldn’t want to dwell on. I will only want to drive home one fact, the only solution is the complete exit from the Nigerian structure. If anyone is thinking we can remain in Nigeria and develop our region, it is like eating your cake and hoping to have it again at the end of the day.

The time for ‘uhuru’ (freedom) is now and we must do everything within our power to get it. I see many power tussles going on in the self-determination struggle itself, and this is not a healthy environment to thrive. We need to consolidate our efforts, not by forcing people into submission but by dialogue, without which we cannot get a consensus. Without that, we will continue to toil endlessly with nothing to show for it.

I implore all the acclaimed self-determination groups to as a matter of urgency come together and chart a way forward for the Yoruba struggle. Without that, many people will be doing excellent work in their closest but may not be enough to reach the end goal which is a free independent Yoruba nation.

I hope talented people will be given the opportunity to thrive so that the necessary tools needed to accelerate our struggle are put to good use. The Yoruba nation is within reach, but it risks being jeopardised by many charlatans who know nothing about the struggle for an independent nation. We can continue to dance around, but if we don’t hit the nail on the head, we may remain on this mountain for a long time to come. My prayer is that we get it right on time so that we can save the millions of our trapped population in poverty with no hope of salvation.

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