It is now crystal clear that the Buhari Administration is following on the footsteps of the Olusegun Obasanjo-led 1976-79 Military Administration, capped with its 1978 Land Use Decree, vesting control of the country’s mineral resources in the central government and Legitimized by the subsequent civilian administration. Knowing that all military administrations since 1966 act on behalf of Northern, Fulani hegemony, of which Muhammadu Buhari was a major participant, it can be surmised that Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Head of State, pandered to their wishes with the understanding that he will be its ultimate beneficiary, with his leadership profile enhanced within the context of maintaining this hegemony.
Now at the helm, Muhammadu Buhari is cementing what was started in 1976-78, using political means to entrench centralization of all things critical to the existence of the Peoples making up Nigeria and making them subservient to the hegemony. These are exemplified by the recent Act granting “autonomy” for State Houses of Assembly, whose funding(and control) will now rest with the center; the impending “Waterways Bill” vesting control of river banks on the central authorities; establishing cattle ranches across the country by the center; and now with the rush to create a so-called State Police with provisions for a central police service commission ostensibly aimed at protecting the state police from their governors.
On its part, the National Assembly, especially the current Assembly, has become a direct participant in this centralization process. Its major preoccupation is in amending the 1999 Constitution as often as possible to ensure the continuity of the centralization process while protecting its own privileges achieved by a trade-off with the executive, since further centralization ensures continuity with its Legislative privileges.
The conclusion from all of these is that a deliberate methodology is being perfected to foist the military vision of Nigeria as a centralized State formation on the rest of us despite the country being in a constant state of rebirth and reinvention since the intervention of the military in January and July 1966; which interventions, through the neutralization of the Regions, were aimed at securing Nigeria in the military’s image, the military itself being a function of colonial preference for the colonized, and all of which were hidden under a “patriotic” or “nationalistic” motif and continuously legitimized by the National Assembly.
Despite these, different administrations had always provided political opportunities for the re-Formation of Nigeria, which were not usually taken advantage of, for all sorts of reasons, primary of which is political pragmatism leading to being overwhelmed by tactical considerations by which time the opportunities will disappear once such tactical considerations had run its course. The responses to these interventions are anchored on making use of what is available without considerations for deepening the contradictions embedded in the continuous attempt at sustaining colonial and centralized expectations.
It was thus not obvious that our quest for political power ought to combine economic development with the necessity to recreate the necessary political space for such development as a matter of course; and that, being at the minimum, Regional/Ethno-National Autonomy. There is nothing wrong in having a party in power pursuing a development agenda. The point is, such an agenda must go parri passu with the aim of making Regional/Ethno-National Autonomy its main goal.
What then is to be done?
It is obvious that the APC “Change” Mantra has become a change from the lackadaisical approach to centralization since 1999, where its force of Legitimacy was not consistently pursued, to a more determined effort to ensure its entrenchment such that, regardless of any party in power at the center, it will have no choice but to flow with it and any challenges to this centralization will be resisted, either with force as being experienced in the Middle Belt, was experienced with the Niger Delta agitation on Resource Control or even IPOB preference for Biafra, or politically with substituting Regional centers of power with preferences of the center, more so when centralization is now continuously legitimized by the National Assembly.
The first task therefore, is to de-Legitimize the centralization process by making the 1999 Constitution redundant. This will be done when all the Constituent Units in Nigeria, organized and mobilized as Regions or “Zones” or Nationalities, present their own candidates for the 2019 Presidential Election and ensuring that their candidates overwhelmingly win their Regions as well as preventing any other candidate from any other Region from securing 25% of the votes in any other Region. This will create a deadlock which will form the basis for a Re-Negotiation of the Constitution.
To prevent any possibility of negotiating away the demands and aspirations of any Region/Zone, each must have as its election Manifesto, its own Constitution. A victory in the Zone/Region thus becomes its own “referendum” on Nigeria under which basis a new and Federal Nigeria will emerge.
In case any reason is found for the impossibility of the above, the existence of each Regional Constitution provides a moral and political ground to challenge the fraud of the 1999 Constitution with its “We, The People” premise, as well as making the Regional/Zonal leaders accountable for surrendering to continuous centralization.
For Yorubaland, “ooduapathfinder” and Egbe Omo Oduduwa had made the call before; and it is repeating it now. Asiwaju Tinubu and the SW APC, being the dominant political tendency at this time, must take the lead in this process. He can either be the Yoruba/SW Presidential candidate or promote another, if necessary. The Middle Belt already shortlisted her own candidates; any strategizing between the leaders and Peoples of the Middle Belt, South-East, South-South and South-West must flow with this recommendation and not fall for the attempt to make the North a referee in any political fight in the south as being promoted by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the current central administration through making the political future of the South East dependent on voting for Buhari in 2019.