I was happy last week Friday to hear on radio and read in a newspaper that President Muhammadu Buhari has now embraced finding peaceful solution to the militancy in the Ijaw part of the Niger Delta, instead of his earlier vow to crush the militants militarily as he did with the Boko Haram insurgents in the North – Eastern part of the country. As the story went, this came to light when the previous day he met some leaders from the troubled region led by the Amanyanbo of Twon Brass Kingdom in Bayelsa State, His Majesty Alfred Diete Spfit, a retired navy Lieutenant – Commander and first Governor of the old Rivers State, now Rivers and Bayelsa States.
The good tidings included President Buhari’s promise that he would fulfill the amnesty commitments made in 2009 by late President Umaru Yar’Adua and deal with all the issues in the region once and for all as well as rebuilding the Niger Delta zone. As someone who last year July through September wrote three articles urging him to have rapprochement with the Igbos, whom he discriminated against in his non – cabinet appointments, I give the president a glad hand, which in popular parlance means hearty welcome, for his new born – again political stance and statesmanlike leadership.
With his new disposition to the Niger Delta people, I also urge the president to extend a similar hand of fellowship to the Igbos of the South – East, where like in the South – South in general he performed poorly during last year’s presidential poll, scoring less than 20% in all the states except Edo where he made about 44 per cent. An understandable occurrence since he was trying to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan, from Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta area of the South – South zone where the Peoples Democratic Party was in power in all the states, apart from Edo where the government was and still remains under the All Progressives Congress.
Some Igbo leaders had a meeting with the president a few months ago after my series. But unlike the Niger Delta delegation what he discussed or promised them were not made known. But not to do something for the Igbos soon would seen by the people of the South – East that Buhari still has a score to settle with them.
Indeed, I am writing this for the president to take steps to do what will make him popular and be in the good books of all the people in all the six zones in the country. So that he can leave legacies for which he would be fondly remembered as one of the best Nigerian Heads of State of all time. I am referring to the need for him to spearhead the return to the parliamentary system of pre – independence era and the First Republic which is also a major way to make the president’s war against corruption to be effective beyond his tenure and into eternity. With the grossly expensive United States – type of presidential system we practice the Federal and State Governments have limited money to develop the country and Buhari’s anti – corruption crusade may suffer under another president with less commitment to the policy.
The other step to redeem the country from instability and stunted development is the decentralization of power to the system in the First Republic. Where the regions (known as states now) were largely autonomous with the Federal Government serving as a coordinator overseeing only security, currency and foreign affairs matter and having no stifling power over them.
To be continued next week
Igbo, Hausa & Fulani, not Yoruba, are Nigeria’s problem (7)
Some well – meaning readers felt I should not have bothered reacting to those who said the Yorubas are Nigeria’s problem. But I had to because of the falsification of history by such people, some of whom might have done so ignorantly. Thus showing the need to put the country’s history in proper perspectives with regard to the prison where Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the Action Group, was serving term for treasonable felony and who released him in 1966 of Lt – Colonel Yakubu Gowon, the Military Head of State and Commander – in – Chief and Lt – Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, the Military Governor of the Eastern Region.
Also needing to be put straight is the allegation that the Yorubas let down the South in the 1960s supporting Northerners to fight the Igbos during the civil war in what was termed as Awolowo’s ingratitude to Ojukwu, whom they said released him, but whom he back – stabbed. And that as was the case fifty years ago, that the Yorubas teamed up with the Hausa – Fulani to bring Buhari to power instead of Jonathan a Southerner like them. A very funny accusation against the facts on the ground in the 1960s and now.
More on it next week