Continuation of an interview with veteran journalist and administrator, Chief Adetola Adeniyi in which he noted that restructuring Nigeria was inevitable as it must be achieved either intellectually or by the use of force. In the first part of the interview conducted by BusinessHallmark’s Teslim Shitta-Bey and Obinna Ezugwu, Chief Adeniyi narrated how the Fulani over the years used the military and trickery to bring Nigeria to where it is today. Here is the second and final part of the interview. He sustains his argument on restructuring, insisting that the country must go confederate if it is to survive.
You are pushing for a confederation, but a lot of people I have spoken with from the South West have pushed for a looser federation….?
That’s the same thing as confederation. It is a matter of semantics. Canada for instance, may not call their own system a confederation, but Canada is a confederation. They have Quebec which is almost 90 percent independent of Canada. California is almost independent of Washington. In Ontario where I stay in Canada, if the Prime Minister of Canada is coming to the city, you may choose not to even see him, he has no business with the administration of Ontario. In Alberta where they have oil, Alberta controls its resources and pays tax to the federal government in Ottawa.
Would you say that the model that would work will be such that the confederating units you are looking at own their own resources, generate income and pay some kind of royalty on an agreed basis?
Yes, to the federal purse, because the federal purse won’t have much to do. If you take agriculture away from them, take education which is not their business away from them, take housing from them, what will they spend money on except to maintain the military? That is, to coordinate the military because every confederating region will have their own military; every region will have a military of some sort, but the central control will be in Abuja. Every region will have their own police; every local government will have their own police, so the federal government will have nothing to do with it. Although there would have to be federal police in Abuja, but the police would be just about 10 percent of what we have now. And the federal police will have no control, whatsoever, on regional police. In Canada, the Toronto police do not answer to the police Ottawa. In Britain, you have Scotland Yard, you have the London Metropolitan, almost every town in Britain have their own police. We have had it before here, we used to have local government police before the Fulani used the military to destroy the basis of our living together.
You agree that the 1999 constitution is fundamentally defective?
What Abdulsalami (Abubakar) did was just a decree; the 1999 constitution was a decree. Who did they invite before coming up with the constitution? Did they invite you? Did they meet in any hall? No, it was Yadudu and one other person who drafted the decree for Abdulsalami to sign. And of course, (Olusegun) Obasanjo was aware, but he knew he was going to benefit from it because he is a megalomaniac, he believes in power. That’s why they went for a presidential system in the first instance, they wanted this military command structure; it’s the military structure that they imposed on Nigerians. Therefore, there is no 1999 constitution, what you have is 1999 decree which they are using as a constitution.
You mentioned something, but the South West, the South East, the South-South can’t they form a solid flank to push for this restructuring?
That has already been done. Are you not following Prof Ben Nwabueze, the Southern Leaders of Thought of which I’m a member? We have been holding meetings at Rotimi Williams’ place. They were in Abuja recently to hold a meeting with people from Benue and so on. And Atiku (Abubakar) had written to them, he was coming to attend one of the meetings to represent the North East. The only problem we have is Katsina, Kano and Sokoto, and we must begin to talk about them; to identify them. We should not just be saying they, we should not be saying they will not allow restructuring, they are Fulani. No, don’t even use the Fulani, just say Katsina, Kano and Sokoto, they are the people holding Nigeria down. And we should let them know that it is either they follow the line of reason, or they will be isolated. Rome fell. Despite the power of the American slave owners, slavery ended.
In one of your articles in 2015, you identified some of the ills in the Jonathan administration. You pointed out that he performed miserably in many areas, and you had hoped that Buhari would tackle the challenges you identified. Looking back, to what extent would you say Buhari has met your expectations?
Yes, we drove away Jonathan… regrettably. But I wouldn’t query you if you have not been reading me because you read so many people. However, two or three weeks after Buhari came into office, I wrote an article where I said it was business as usual, nothing has changed. And I can, without fear of contradiction, say that this government is more corrupt than Jonathan’s government. I may not have evidence of stealing of government funds, but I have evidence of other forms of corruption which are even bigger than stealing money. Nepotism is the worst form of corruption. Where you have federal offices that you are to give to 50 people, and you give them to just your brothers, no corruption is bigger than that. Impunity that we had under Jonathan is about one thousand times bigger now under the Buhari administration; impunity is an advanced form of corruption, and that’s why (Maikanti) Baru or whatever he calls himself, will award contracts without clearing from the Minister of Petroleum and the president will give him a pat on the back. And they are saying they want to end the feud between the Minister and the NNPC MD, what crap! There is no feud between them, the man said that this man awarded illegal contracts and you are saying let us settle the quarrel between them, it is not a quarrel. The man said the MD was doing something inappropriately, doing things that could be termed misuse of office, and you are saying let the two of them come and sit down that you want to settle a quarrel, which quarrel? If (Ibe) Kachikwu had been a Fulani man, and Baru had been an Igbo, would this arise? They would have just thrown that Igbo man away.
But what I did in 2013/14, which I did even in 2011 was to highlight the fact that Jonathan was incompetent to rule a country this complex. All the things I said and wrote between 2011 and 2015 were directed at having Jonathan out, and I suggested in three of my articles that if the South South still wanted eight years, they had (Peter) Odili; I mentioned about 10 names from the South South who could take over from Jonathan. It was because we chased Jonathan away and there was no other alternative than the APC man that (Bola) Tinubu sold to us regrettably, including me because I funded the Global Intelligentsia for Buhari in 2014 in Canada with members in Australia, Britain; globally, and we raised funds for him both in naira and foreign exchange. I have (Babatunde) Fashola’s email to back my claim. He wrote to thank me as Buhari Campaign director of the finance or whatever that time. All the members of the Intelligentsia are biting their fingers today, they are regretting.
So what you are saying is that you are looking back in anger concerning your support, would you have done anything differently?
Yes… Well, my concern that time as I have said, was to chase away Jonathan. It was more or less a protest against Jonathan, not protest in favour of Buhari. Even though, given the antecedents of Buhari, I thought he would be able to stamp out corruption because the main reason I and my colleagues were against Jonathan was that we thought there was too much stealing under his watch and he couldn’t do anything about it. We thought if Buhari came, there might be a change and the stealing will stop. But we did not do our home work properly, because we ought to have known from Buhari’s antecedents that he is a Fulani irredentist; he is a Fulani to the core. He does not believe in Nigeria, and if he wishes to deny or challenge me, let him provide evidence that he believes in Nigeria. We want to see the evidence that he believes in Nigeria from what he has done so far. When you make your uncle, your cousin, your aunty; you populate the entire presidential machinery with your people, and you say you believe in Nigeria? Buratai and his colleagues ought to have left five months ago, you are still keeping them because he is being used to champion this grazing reserve thing, and Buratai is very ambitious; even though he is from Borno, he is more Fulani than the Sultan. He believes so much in the Fulani agenda; that the Fulani must re-conquer Nigeria. And that was why before we shouted, he was going to create grazing farms for soldiers all over the country. Just as they did in Plateau and they have now occupied the whole place. What they wanted to do in Nigeria was what they did in Plateau, that’s why they are killing people all over the place. The Fulani herdsmen which the UN said are the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world, and you are calling Kanu a terrorist; Kanu that doesn’t carry arms, doesn’t carry AK47 all over the place, but you have your own people carrying AK47 everywhere, raping 70-year-old women. So if Buhari wants to say he believes in Nigeria, he should come and tell us why he is condoning the Fulani herdsmen. Google the ‘Fulani herdsmen and condoned barbarism’ that’s the article I wrote about it.
The issues you raised are very fundamental. We have spoken to other people who say they want federalism but are not certain about what the constituent units would be, but you have said we should have six republics….?
Yes, let’s have a federation of six republics. The federal government will have only twelve ministers, so two ministers from each republic. Then each republic will have only nine ministers. Ahmadu Bello had only nine ministers, Awolowo had only nine ministers… they had only nine ministers. And if we are going to have a senate, but I believe more in the parliamentary system because, in the parliamentary system, you debate every day. The governor cannot steal because he will bring everything to the table. For Abuja, you have twelve ministers, then every region will be equal to the other. If you like, you can say your land starts from Sokoto to Calabar. And in this arrangement I’m suggesting, the Yoruba are going to be the ones to lose most.
Why do you say that?
Because when you have Yoruba region, you are going to send only two people to Abuja. The North West, North East, the South South or the Niger Delta will have two people each too, so it is going to be just like the UN where you have equal votes.
How would we come up with the decision on who becomes president?
No, there would still be federal elections. There would be Supreme Court, there would be a federal electoral commission, but the commission would have nothing to do with elections in regions because the regions will have their own commissions too. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a constitutional expert, the experts in those areas will now fashion out how the confederal arrangement would be made. If you are going to have an assembly, every region must have an equal number of representatives, so the West would have maybe 20 representatives, the Caliphate will have 20 such that you have only 120 representatives.
That means you are suggesting unicameral legislature?
Yes, so that all this big money we are spending on governance will go. We can even say, let every region decide on 12 people that will go to Abuja, and that is the beauty of the parliamentary system, not this system where somebody will lose in his hometown, and you make him minister over those who have rejected him. Akinjide became a minister, he contested against Bola Ige but lost then he became federal minister representing Oyo State. My cousin lost the election in Ogun State, you made him a minister. Adeniran lost the election in Ekiti, you made him Minister, Dare Bejide lost an election as running mate to Adeniran, you made him Ambassador to Canada, after Ekiti people had rejected him. That cannot happen under a parliamentary system. So let every region send 20 people to the centre. The party that has the highest number of representatives will then produce Prime Minister as they do in Britain, as they do in Canada.
So you are saying we should no longer have a presidential system?
No, a presidential system is so corrupt, it’s winner takes all. And there should be no second term, one six-year term because you waste more money on this second term palaver. So, six-year single term for the Prime Minister, and five-year single term for the governors of the republics