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Jonathan Okays Sovereign National Conference, SNC To Take Off Next Year / You Want A SNC?- Read This Full Minutes Of The Famous Aburi Conference. / Opc Dares Boko Haram: Calls For Snc: Says Amalgamation, A Mistake! (1) (2) (3) (4)
|Hell, What Is Snc? by jason123: 11:45pm On Feb 20, 2012|
Let me start straightaway by declaring that I totally agree that the current structure of the country’s administration needs to be tweaked for better efficiency and prosperity. For instance, we must sit down and ask ourselves why it is so easy for incumbents to rig elections and why votes don’t count. Could that be one of the reasons why there is violence everywhere? [/b]We also need to know why the nation could not invoke Section 144 of the constitution when it was very obvious that the then President Yar’Adua had met all the conditions for the invocation of the section. Are there reasons why we take the trust of governance so lightly? We must also sit down to discuss, for instance, why a President Obasanjo could impose a sick and terminally-ill candidate on his party and subsequently on the nation and no single person was able to stop him, even though every single person agreed that the former president’s action endangered the nation. Why was it that when Obasanjo started constituting himself into a national security risk, we all just sat hopelessly watching him achieve his whims?
[b]We also need to sit around the table to discuss and ask ourselves whether our democracy is working at all or we are simply lying to ourselves. Indeed, we need to look at our current resource control and derivation formula again. I am at one with those who have suggested that all resources on land or in any state should be owned, exploited and appropriated by the states and local governments through a new revenue sharing formula between the two. They should only pay taxes to the federal government on such revenues. The federal government should own, exploit and appropriate all offshore resources since such resources are kept and protected by the navy – well, the navy and now Tompolo. That means, for instance, that all the oil found onshore in the Niger Delta and states like Ondo and Imo should be owned 100% by these states. And the oil potential in the Bida Basin, Chad Basin, Benue Trough and Anambra Basin would be vigorously pursued by the states involved through individual initiatives since the NNPC has clearly refused to fund the projects.
The offshore oil and gas resources, which make up the bulk of Nigeria’s reserves, are large enough for the federal government if the revenues to be derived would not be stolen via payment of fuel subsidy again.
In the same vein, a state like Niger, for instance, can enter into joint partnership arrangement with mining multinationals for the exploration and exploitation of its huge gold, gemstones, marble, graphite, feldspar and glass sand resources. The same Niger can also become a world leader in the production of shea butter, rare forest-based woods, palm oil, sugar cane, and a host of others. Jos city, for instance, is sitting on large gas reserves and no one is talking about it because everyone gets free money at the moment. Restructuring could change everything.
With good leadership, which hopefully would be easier to achieve with a restructured polity, solid mineral-rich states of Nigeria could actually compete with a rich country like South Africa in the production of various precious stones in no time. Food production will most certainly receive a boost as it would be clear that states would have no choice but fend for themselves. There are many states in Nigeria, especially in the north, that could compete with Thailand and other south-east Asian countries in rice production.
With restructuring also, Nigeria can actually overtake Sudan in the production of gum Arabic, the magic cash crop that the United States does not seem to get enough of. For long, the US has been searching for an alternative to Sudan for its large gum Arabic needs. Borno, Jigawa and Kebbi have produced some of the best known gum Arabic.
In 1965, Nigeria was the largest producer and exporter of palm kernel and palm oil. With restructuring, it may be possible to re-enact this scenario because, as it is now, all the states in the south-east that used to produce these cash crops currently depend on free monthly allocations from the federation account. Today, state governors do not plan, and they don’t care. There was also a time we were the world’s largest producer of cocoa, groundnuts and rubber. We are still the world’s largest producer of cassava.
These and many more are some of the things that can be achieved with purposeful restructuring. But restructuring does not make the convocation of a sovereign national conference (SNC) necessary. SNC means different things to different people. Bola Tinubu, the ACN’s leader, for example, supports the convocation of the conference. But, as far as he is concerned, the issue of Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility is settled; so that is not his problem. A few days ago, he said so but added that, because we have all decided to live together, we must settle the terms of that living together. For many others, the SNC is an opportunity to break up Nigeria into pieces. They have not thought of how that can be achieved or whether it is possible at all, but, as far as they are concerned, the SNC would help them to divide the country. Many of them just think in terms of north and south. Some others think in terms of north, north-west, south-east and south-south. Yet others think in terms of the six geopolitical zones as if there is any logic therein. I met one of such dumb-headed exponents recently and I asked him how the knife would be applied to slice the country. He couldn’t give any intelligent or even intelligible answer.
Let’s start from the Niger Delta, for example. If separation is on the table, there are many Niger Delta ethnic groups which would rather not share the same country with their neighbours in the same Niger Delta. Niger Delta alone has more than 50 ethnic and sub-ethnic groups, each claiming to be different from the other. Depending on who is speaking, there are people who would say that President Jonathan, strictly speaking, is not an Ijaw because he is not of the Izon extraction. He is Ogbia from Otueke. I have an Itsekiri friend from Delta State who has said that whenever we are ready to divide Nigeria, the south-south would produce at least 10 countries as he, for instance, would not share a country with a particular ethnic group which I refuse to name. He went on to say that even though the Niger Delta is in power now, his own ethnic group has been completely shut out of the “sharing” game in Abuja.
Anyway, only an unhinged head would think that it is still possible to break this country. And those who do so have not even gone through the intellectual rigour of thinking it out. People who say there are about 250 tribes in the whole of Nigeria surely do not know what they are talking about. The north-east alone probably has more than 250 ethnic entities. And between Adamawa and Taraba states alone, there are more than 100 tribes. That is why it has been said that those who sit in Lagos and insolently order that we convoke a sovereign national conference of ethnic nationalities do not know what they are saying. Such a meeting would be pure chaos and, as many of the attendees would be so brainwashed and obtuse to know what is at stake, things could easily get out of hand and nobody would be able to control the process. And, as we know, the process can easily also be hijacked by foreigners who envy our size and reach to vigorously push their own agenda of breaking up Nigeria for their own self-enlightened interests. When Muammar Ghaddafi was alive, he was one of such proponents – and he had the resources to achieve it sitting on his throne in faraway Libya if we had had the SNC in his lifetime. And breakup has never been a solution to a people’s problem. Southern Sudan should be a test case. After the breakup from Sudan, they are now killing themselves. The Soviet Union ceased to be a superpower after its breakup, and Pakistan is now almost a failed state after exiting India.
So, agreed, the nation needs restructuring for efficiency and prosperity. But this can be achieved in ways other than an unpredictable SNC. And restructuring does not mean breaking up, as far as my knowledge of the English language and organised statecraft can carry me. We can achieve this ideal structure through the elected representatives of the people – the more reason why we must make sure that our votes always count.
Of course, there are many other propositions of the proponents which must not be allowed to see the light of day. The establishment of state police is one of them, and not just because of the hackneyed reasoning that state governors would turn them into their official thugs, but rogue governors and even amateur secessionists could arm their police and equip them into full fight forces designed to challenge the central government whenever that need arose. Only two days ago, at Ojukwu’s funeral, the Niger State governor said that if he were Ojukwu, he would have also taken up arms against the Nigerian state in the circumstance Ojukwu found himself. We may innocently start with state police but would surely end up with several state armies. No, we must perish the idea.
But, most importantly, what Nigeria needs is good leadership that is effective, competent, just and fair to all. A leadership that would see corruption as a national security threat and act accordingly. A government that cannot guarantee public order and security and generate jobs to gainfully engage the people cannot claim to be a good government. It is where there is bad leadership that agitations such as the type we are witnessing today abound.
E A R S H O T
Where Are All These Arms From?
It is now easier to buy weapons in Nigeria than it is for a politician to rent a crowd. And we all seem to have forgotten that the possession of arms without a licence is a felony against the state. The arms in the possession of MEND, Boko Haram, armed robbers and kidnappers are probably more than the total number of firearms with the Nigerian police. Our borders are so porous that the very dangerous arms deployed in war-infested Sudan, Chad, Niger Republic and Libya easily end up in Nigeria.
To effectively fight crime, we must go back to the basics. The government must start enforcing the law on illegal possession of firearms all over again. We should also look in the direction of countries that have effectively kept crime out of their societies. One of such countries is Singapore.
Arms trafficking in Singapore attracts the death sentence.
And the definition of arms trafficking? The possession of more than two guns!
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