FOUNDER and President of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr Fredrick Fasheun, on Tuesday joined other Nigerians in demanding that the country be restructured, declaring that time had come for President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to face the reality that Nigerians had drawn the roadmaps for the country’s unity and survival through the 2014 National Conference.
Fasheun made the call at a press conference he addressed at Okota in Lagos, saying the need for restructuring became imperative as the country could not continue to do things the same way and expected different results.
According to him, the 2014 National Conference report provides the sine qua non, the irreducible minimum requirement, for the country’s peaceful coexistence, saying its provisions should be implemented as a matter of urgency.
“OPC hereby joins other Nigerians to demand the restructuring of the country. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results.
“Time has come for the government to face the fact that Nigerians have drawn the roadmaps for the country’s unity and survival through the 2014 National Conference. Its report provides the sine qua non, the irreducible minimum requirement, for the country’s peaceful coexistence; and its provisions should be implemented as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Speaking further, the OPC leader, while expressing sincere appreciation for the revocation by Niger-Delta militants of the eviction notice issued to Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba citizens living in their region, following the same step taken by the Hausa-Fulani youths groups who earlier abrogated the October 1 deadline issued to Igbo dwellers in the North, urged President Buhari to refrain from creating an environment that would facilitate divisive tendencies to fester.
In particular, the OPC chieftain took a swipe at what he described as unhealthy and unbalanced appointments that the president had engaged in since he came into office in 2015 and the recent ones in the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as those that were being made allegedly in secret into Federal parastatals like the NNPC, NPA and CBN and security arms like the DSS and EFCC.
According to him, all these appointments were made in favour of his Hausa-Fulani group against the rest of the country, in an effort to ensure that those who voted less for him were excluded from benefiting from his government in terms of patronages.
“When he first took power in 2015 and began his initial appointments, President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated unbelievable insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity, unity and Constitution by unfolding a list of appointees clearly dominated and monopolised by his Northern kinsmen to the alienation and disadvantage of other regions, especially the South-East.
“For example, of the six security service chiefs Buhari has appointed, the North dominates with four appointees, to the South’s two, with the South-East, in fact, having none.
“By July 2016, President Buhari had appointed 47 Southerners and 75 Northerners into various non-ministerial public offices; again the South-East brought up the rear with 12 appointees, where Buhari’s North-West had the largest chunk 34 of political office holders.
“Buhari continues this unhealthy trend of Northern domination and Southern marginalisation in the nation’s security institutions, and today the North holds firmly to the leadership positions of: National Security Adviser, Inspector General of Police, Chief of Army Staff,
Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Defence Intelligence, Director General, State Security Services, SSS: Lawal Daura, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“Unfortunately, this far-from-nationalistic lopsidedness and Northern domination has been repeated in the recently announced directors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),” he said.
Fasheun, therefore, enjoined President Buhari to to immediately cancel the new NNPC appointments, failing which the Senate should bar the appointees from resuming in office.
“And OPC joins other well-meaning patriots to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately cancel the new NNPC appointments. Out of the 15 new directors, 10 (67 percent) come from the mostly Hausa-Fulani North, three are Yoruba, two come from the South-South and none from the South-East. President Buhari must urgently review these appointments to reflect Federal Character, failing which the Senate should bar the appointees from resuming in office.
“We understand that secret appointments into Federal parastatals like the NNPC, NPA and CBN and security arms like the DSS and EFCC have followed this trend, heavily skewed against the South in favour of the North,” Fasheun said.
The OPC leader contended that President Buhari had by making these Northern-dominated appointments contradicted the letter and spirit of the Constitution he swore to uphold, pointing out that Buhari must realise that favouring the North with his lopsided appointments was an act of impunity.
Besides, he such act of impunity had sparked the raging agitations for disintegration, ethnic separatism and restructuring, waring that continuing down this path would further overheat the polity.
According to him, the agitations for Biafra, for example, began and became heightened with the president’s flagrant disregard for the extant provisions of the Constitution and his failure to run an all-inclusive government.
He said some of his declarations, perhaps made innocently, had inadvertently only succeeded in dividing the nation, paving the way for unbelievers to keep agitating for the irreducible minimums like Restructuring, True Federalism and Devolution of Power.
“Impunity, as we see currently, is the precursor to corruption; and we have been fighting corruption since this government came to power. But what leaders and government say to the people of this nation do not confirm the leadership’s seriousness to fight corruption as obtains in other lands. Good leaders in other lands will say to their people what they mean and are not apologetic when challenged on their speeches because they mean what they say and say what they mean.
“PMB has said some things, some of them electoral promises, that he has since reneged on, and some things he said have left Nigerians more divided and further overheated the polity.
“He should remember, though, that where his pastime is dividing the people, every Nigerian was united in prayers for his safe, whole and healthy return to work.
“Today, the President treats Nigerians with different standards. The way he has portrayed himself since the inception of his regime, he has “governed” Nigeria with various shades of impunity, making some Nigerians more significant than other Nigerians, and one voting ethnic nationality more favoured than other ethnic voting nationalities.
“This open declaration, made with impunity, has inadvertently made one ethnic group superior to the other group, enabling them to declare what makes one ethnic group superior to the other, and thereby causing instability in the land,” Fasheun lamented.
On recession, the OPC leader remarked that it was not clear on which basis the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had made its pronouncement that the Nigerian economy had “eased past recession,” but quickly warned that glowing economic statistics would not put food on the table.
“The harsh reality is that Nigerians are suffering and government must put machinery in place to tackle spiralling inflation, especially in food prices, pump price of fuel, cost of funds for industries as well as the beleaguered value of the Naira,” he counselled.
On a final note, the founder of OPC enjoined President Buhari to learn from his predecessors, namely Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan, saying the currently democratic dispensation had endured for the past 18 years, making it the longest this country had ever known because those past presidents placed the nation ahead of their primordial interests and origins.
“This Republic has endured for the past 18 years, making it the longest this country has ever known. President Buhari must sustain the basic recipe for its longevity and survival: Past Presidents placed the nation ahead of their primordial interests and origins. This is why up till today, the Yorubas blame former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Niger-Delta vilify former President Goodluck Jonathan as failing to concentrate developments in their native zones.
“For these Buhari predecessors, it was the nation first. Conversely, today, we have a President whose body language, attitude, utterances, programmes and policies are skewed against ethnic groups that are not from his native North.
“The repercussions have been worrisome, and have provoked in people like the Reverend Father Matthew Hassan Kukah fears that the survival of Nigeria is more threatened under Buhari than under any other Nigerian ruler,” he said.
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