Chairman of The Patriots, Project Nigeria and Igbo Leaders of Thought respectively, Professor Ben Nwabueze, has regretted that despite his avowals that Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable, President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to work against the country’s unity.
Nwabueze said: “President Buhari owes it to the Nigerian people to admit that the divisions tearing the country apart are caused by his actions and utterances,” stressing that, “he should begin the process of self-correction, which involves the making of amends for his misguided past actions and utterances.”
In the statement made available to The Guardian, the eminent constitutional lawyer quoting the former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said Nigeria has never been as divided as it is now since the 1967 Civil War.
He noted that the divisive events, including, separatist agitations for the Republic of Biafra, Niger Delta Republic and Oduduwa Republic, as well as, quit notice issued by the Arewa Youths Coalition to Ndigbo to leave the North by October 1, 2017, and the menace of Fulani herdsmen rampaging the whole country, killing and maiming innocent people and destroying their farms and property, are pushing the country to the brink of disintegration.
Accusing Buhari of implementing a concerted programme of northernisation and islamisation of the country, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, recalled Buhari’s speech in August 2001 where he (Buhari) declared that he was committed to implementing Sharia law all over the country.
“The Islamisation agenda was significant factor in the APC presidential primary for the 2015 election. Voters at the said primary, the majority of whom were Moslems from the North, wanted a presidential candidate whom they could confidently rely upon to implement the Sharia agenda, and so voted overwhelmingly for Buhari.
“His position as a fervent apostle of the Islamisation/northernisation agenda was re-affirmed in a speech he, as president-elect, delivered before an audience of exclusively prominent northern Muslem leaders on May 2, 2015, at Queen Amina Hall, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. “I charge you,” he said with the ardour of a zealot, “to join me as we build a new Northern Nigeria in a generation …To achieve this, I have secured a northern rehabilitation fund…to rebuild the North after the devastation of Boko Haram insurgency…Join me my brothers and sisters and let us finish the work our forefather, Ahmadu Bello, started,” Nwabueze added.
On the issue of calls for restructuring, Nwabueze expressed dismay at the divisive course the issue is taking, lamenting that instead of a principled approach based on its merits and demerits as it affects the whole country as one entity, restructuring has divided the country into north and south.
The full text of the statement by Nwabueze reads: “In an Interview with the Vanguard dated Monday, October 16 2017, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said: “Since the 1967 Civil War, I do not think this country has ever been as divided as it is now.”
This statement, coming from a man known for his unstinted objectivity on matters of public affairs, represents the undeniable truth about the situation facing our country today. There are separatist agitations for the Republic of Biafra, Niger Delta Republic and Oduduwa Republic. There is the Notice issued by the Arewa Youths Coalition to Ndigbo to leave the North by 1st October 2017. There is the menace of Fulani herdsmen rampaging the whole country, killing and maiming innocent people and destroying their farms and properties. These divisive events are pushing Nigeria to the brink of disintegration.
To these must be added the divisive turn or course the issue of Re-structuring is taking. Instead of a principled approach based on its merits and demerits as it affects the whole country as one entity, Re-structuring has divided the country into North and South, according to how it is perceived to affect the interests of the North, or, as it is put in a report in the Vanguard of 15 October, 2017, in order to “ensure that the North is not shortchanged” by Re-structuring.
The interest of the North in the matter is defined to be to keep it (i.e. the North) “united” within a united Nigeria. The interest of the North, said Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State, is not Re-structuring, but to “address the dual challenge of poverty and deficiency in education in the region”. In his own contribution, even former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said : “The North has nothing to fear [from Re-structuring] because we have the land, we have the population and we have the resources. The North has nothing to fear because oil will soon become history.” It is indeed lamentable that a matter touching on the vital interests of the whole country as one entity is being viewed and treated as a matter in which the interest of the North predominates and overrides everything else.