WHO owns Nigeria? This question has been repeatedly asked over the years without any appropriate answer. Perhaps, the national conference which President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is scheduled to convoke on Monday, March 17, will find the answer. Nigeria is very unlucky that the British colonial masters deliberately created this problem of ownership before they handed over political independence to us in 1960. They left behind an unbalanced federation in which one region became a threat to others by its sheer size and doctored population which defied the natural law of geography. Ever since, a few elements from the North had been laying claim to Nigeria as their personal or family estate. In other words, they see themselves as divinely blessed to rule Nigeria in perpetuity. And for the nearly 40 years they had been in the political saddle, Nigeria has remained a permanent member of the third world club whereas many Asian countries, now known as the Asian tigers, which were members of the third world as Nigeria in the sixties, have since left the club to the first world while we continue to renew our permanent club membership every year. For how long can we continue in this way?
Members of the Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, would like it so as long as political power is in their hands. That is why they want power back by all means in 2015. President Jonathan seems to be the only obstacle to their ambition and therefore everything must be done to take back power from him next year. At their two-day meeting held in Kano from March 10 to 11, members of the NEF decided to adopt a new strategy and game plan in their campaign to clear Jonathan from their way. Part of the strategy is to disparage his person and the policies of his government. For instance, the communiqué issued at the end of the two- day meeting did everything to punch holes in the president’s intention and motive for convening the conference as well as in the selection of its delegates. A religious dimension was added to the blackmail when the communiqué stated that out of the 492 conference delegates, the Christians were 294 while the Muslims accounted for only 198. This issue was probably raised to poison the minds of the Muslims whom the NEF urged to reject the membership or outcome of the conference even though the federal government had no hands in the selection of majority of the delegates. Apart from campaigning against the national conference, the NEF also saw the president as the problem of the North in terms of under-development, insecurity and the pursuit of anti- North policies and progammes. We are alarmed by this campaign of calumny and have decided to examine all these issues in our cover story for this week entitled “Northern Elders’ Forum: The New Strategy and Game Plan.” It was crafted by Olu Ojewale, the general editor. It’s refreshing.
— Mar. 24, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT