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Issues In The News

General Ibrahim Babangida’s Doctrine of ”Settled Issues”. by Femi Fani-Kayode

Babangida

Friday, 27 January 2012

”I can go back to fight a war to keep this country together even at 71…..some people are saying that should anything happen to President Jonathan, forget about Nigeria and so on. I know those who are saying this. Yes, they are supporters of the President. But I know the President is a sensible person so don’t waste your time saying that the world would come to an end if something happens to your son. Of course he is your son but he is our President. I have always respected these people but these things that they say amaze me. These are the same people that went to school, people who went to universities, people that are educated and people who have held positions of responsibility. There is a doctrine known as the ”Doctrine of Nigeria’s Settled Issues” and nobody should attempt to tamper with them.  Number one, I don’t want any one of us to tamper with anything to do with Nigerian unity. Number two, the republican constitution is also a settled issue, more or less. Number three, the states are the federating units of this country and number four we are a capitalist country. Anybody that wants to talk about this country must make sure that he doesn’t do anything that will disrupt these basic settled issues in our political life. Anyone that is talking about dismembering this country you should not listen to him. If we see such things as ”christian south” and ”muslim north” we should disregard it. Even if such people say it the media should ignore it because you know it is not the truth, so you should not even write it”-  GENERAL IBRAHIM BABANGIDA, The Daily Trust Annual Dialogue, Abuja, 26th January 2012.

I have nothing but the deepest respect and affection for General Ibrahim Babangida and those that know me can attest to this. He is not only a great and profoundly good man that has sacrificed so much for our nation but he is also one of the very few truly detribalised leaders who genuinly and honestly loves Nigeria and who passionately believes that the interest of every Nigerian is better served if our country remains as one. I do not for one minute doubt General Babangida’s sincerity of purpose or his deep sense of partiotism. Anyone that can take a bullet to keep Nigeria one must always be given his due respect and honour. Yet despite my personal feelings and affection for the general I am afraid that, from an intellectual and political perspective, I have to respectfully and humbly disagree with him on this issue. I do not believe that there is any such thing as a ”Doctrine of Settled Issues” in our body politic and neither, in my view, is Nigeria as we know it today a sacrosanct, unbreakable or unchangeable union. It is trite that the only thing that is certain in the life of men and nations is change. Whether we like it or not change is like an irresistable tide and, when it’s time comes, it is like a moving train and a raging wind which crushes or blows away anyone or anything that stands in it’s way.

You either bend with it or you break. I am a student of history and it may interest those that subscribe to this rather arcane and anachronistic theory known as the ”doctrine of settled issues”  that Nigeria remains the only mega-nation and forced union of incompatibles that the British colonial masters cobbled together at the beginning of the 20th century that still remains together today. There were actually three in all and the other two, namely India and the Sudan, have broken into three and two pieces respectively over the years. Why should Nigeria be any different? More importantly why should we be told that Nigeria MUST be different? Would this have been so if there was oil in the north? Again when one considers the delightful and miraculous ”crumbling” of the almighty Soviet Union (another forced union) or the breaking up of the old Yugoslavia and the emancipation and creation of many new countries in the Balkans and eastern Europe which came as a consequence of that magnificent change, I ask again, why should Nigeria be any different? The right to self-determination and to forcefully resist what many feel is an internal colonial system is a legitimate and inalienable right of all free men and women. You cannot hold me down and keep me in your house on your own terms and deny me the right to be free or to say or do as I please. If you do not treat me fairly and if you continue to make me feel worthless and full of fear of your terror and ability to inflict violence on me and mine, then eventually, whether you like it or not, I will leave. No one signed their life or their future away to bondage and none of us subscribed to the view that decisions about our country and our furure can and have been made by our past leaders and heroes and that they can no longer be changed or altered. I say that they can if the circumstances determine that this must be so. And if you do not give is our rights eventually we will exercise them by force and regardless of how you feel.

As much as I am amongst those that have criticised the Goodluck Jonathan administration forcefully, objectively and vigorously over some of their policies in the last few months let me make two things clear. Firstly my criticisms are borne out of my concern for our country and nothing else. I have nothing against Mr. President personally other than the fact that by not getting it right he is playing into the hands of the ”born to rule” northern cabal who believe that he does not have a right to be President simply because heis an Ijaw man. This cabal believe that no southern christian should have the right to rule in peace without being told what to do or being teleguided or controlled by them. They have sworn to make the country ungovernable for Jonathan and we are now seeing the results of that threat. For the record let me just warn these ethnic supremacists and religious bigots that they must not misconstrue the position that some of us have taken when it comes to this government and it’s policies as an endorsement of their deeply conspiratorial and despicable ethnic agenda. I should also add that Jonathan must not die under any mysterious circumstances and neither should he be removed from power in any unconstitutional manner. If either of these two things were to happen there would be no Nigeria left afterwards. This is because we that are from the south, together with our compatriots from the Middle Belt will rise up, join hands together and resist the Phillistines, the Amalekites and the usurpers to the last man. By the time it is all over they will know that it is only when you kill a madman that you will know that he has friends and family. The new Nigeria has no place and no room for those that believe in the ”born to rule” philosophy or any form of islamic fundamentalism or domination. We will not tolerate it, we will not bow to it and we will resist it with every fibre of our being.

I have said it before and I will say it again- if Nigeria is not a place that every ethnic nationality and every religious faith is regarded as being equal and is treated as such then let there be no more Nigeria. There is nothing that is sacrosanct about a forced union of incompatibles. If you are in a bad marriage you get out of it before you kill each other. The Lugardian ”poor husband of the north” cannot force the ”rich wife of the south” to remain in this unholy and iniquitous union for much longer unless the terms are right and unless there is equity and justice for all. The mistake we made in 1967 by not standing on Aburi will not be repeated. The days of the master/servant relationship that we have witnessed between the north and the south and christians and muslims for 51 years of our national existence are long over and they shall never return again. This country is moving forward and she is not going back and if Presdent Goodluck Jonathan can just get his act together and vigorously resist the hegemonists and islamist giants in the land he would have my full support and that of millions of others. This is the time for a new vision for our country. It is the time for new leaders who are ready to stand up and speak the truth about our precarious state of affairs and about the direction in which our nation must go. It is the time to talk about the convening of a Sovereign National Conference and to answer the Nationality Question. It is the time for courage. Let us not take our unity for granted or treat it as ”a given”. Nigeria must change, she must be restructured, she must be reformed and she must make every single ”Nigerian” believe that he or she can get to the top regardless of their nationality or faith. Other than that, whether we like it or not, Nigeria will eventually break.

About TransformationWatch

TransformationWatch is an online news site founded by Henry Omoregie It is focused on keeping tabs on the Transformation Agenda set out by the Nigerian leadership in the Local, State and Federal Governments. My mission is to observe, analyze and report milestones or slowdowns in promised service delivery in all the facets of governance in Nigeria (2011 and beyond). Readership is open to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria alike, regardless of Tribe, Religion or Political divide. We are all in this together

Discussion

21 thoughts on “General Ibrahim Babangida’s Doctrine of ”Settled Issues”. by Femi Fani-Kayode

  1. Thanks you so much Sir for your words

    Posted by Isaac | January 28, 2012, 8:36 am
  2. Hey mister u spoke abt nigeria not being 1 if johnathan is harmed or removed. U didn’t talk abt if he did something that will remove him constitutionally, wot GEJ did in lagos is an impeachable offence. Occupying lagos wit soilders is wrong when there was no security threat, am sorry 2 tell u dat pple will rejoice if GEJ is taken out 2day it is fools like u who benfit from his lack of direction , corrupt driven government dat will b willing 2 fight 4 dis hopless man n his entourage

    Posted by sonikela | January 28, 2012, 10:04 am
  3. I’m not a fan of Femi Femi Fani-Kayode, but I completely agree with his reasoning. Nigeria is ripe for change. There must be a wholesome paradigm shift. This colonial creation called Nigeria must be critically examined. If its not working, we need to pull the plug.

    Posted by Femi Runsewe | January 28, 2012, 11:20 am
  4. . I agreed with Fani kayode on his publication Nigeria is united today because of oil in the south/south the gaped tooth general is one of the our major problem of these country. Let him publicly condemn the act of secterian violence in the north,after all it was because of him several threats were made by adamu ciroma, tanko yakasai and others he should hide his head he’s nolonger relevant in our polity,it is obvious that the signs of our devision are playing out now

    Posted by dennis kantee | January 28, 2012, 11:25 am
  5. Femi started brilliantly as a patriotic nigerian, but derailed along the line to a tribal and religious bigot . As Nigerian’s we should all learn to think and act above our religious and ethnic sentiments. So many Muslims as well as Christians died in the Kano massacre. So usually our enemy is a common one irrespective of where we come from and which direction we face in prayers.

    Posted by Lawal Lukman Ademola | January 28, 2012, 11:55 am
  6. I hate this man FFK with a passion,but the outburst I saw on twitter,which made me †̥ look for this article is different from what I just read.He had not said something different from reality,the issue of break up in Nigeria is not settled,infact there’s no part of our national life that has been settled and Nigeria is suceptible †̥ break up,that’s why d leaders should be careful with what they do
    I supported Buhari in d last election,not that I don’t know about ‘born †̥ rule’ mentality among d hausas,but because I believe he can fight corruption which I see as a prelude †̥ Nigeria’s break up! Poeple,please don’t crucify the man.

    Posted by jude | January 28, 2012, 12:49 pm
  7. Those who beg for war eventually cry on the battle field.
    “born to rule” this is a phrase i av always heard from critics who really av no basis for arguement. Quot a single northern leader who have ever bragged over “born to rule”. Infact i av only heard it from critics like u. Any right/religious thinking person knows that power sharing comes from God. Obj got a huge % of his vote from the north so did abiola, gej got atleast the required votes he needed to win his election here in the north witout a second election. eventhough it has been speculated that it was rigged by our leaders who u now accuse of a “born to rule” syndrome.
    Mr T let me ask u dis mighty question of making a country ungovernably. If a christian group from the sourth wants to make the country ungovernable to a muslim president from the north, will start the bombings of innocent pp from the south or north? Where will there actions be mostly carried out? For me since i’m sane, i’ll start destroying the northern presidents region first since i know destroying the south will really baseless they are my own brothers n sisters so do the maths on what is happening in the north on your comment of northern leaders making the country ungovernable.
    Pls dont misjudge me in this ungrateful “wife” wants to leave peacefully, it will give me grate pleasure to let her loose since she is now rich wit oil and is now bragging over it. She has forgotten how we both fot 2geda 4 independence, how we both drank garri “groundnut” 2geda to make d marriage (refinery) work etc. So ofcourse i should let her go but remember dat the ungrateful wife seeks divorce from her husband is showered with the Lords wrath “what God has joined together, let no man put assunder”
    As much as i am against ibbs’ agendas’, give the old man a break he was only trying to express his nationalist side which most nigerians presently lack, considering the fact dat the fot many wars to make the nation one. Have seen his CV? How many have u fot?

    Posted by Ibrahim | January 28, 2012, 1:31 pm
  8. Those who beg for war eventually cry on the battle field.
    “born to rule” this is a phrase i av always heard from critics who really av no basis for arguement. Quot a single northern leader who has ever bragged over “born to rule”. Infact i av only heard it from critics like u. Any right/religiously thinking person knows that power sharing comes from God. Obj got a huge % of his vote from the north so did abiola, gej got atleast the required votes he needed to win his election here in the north witout a second election. eventhough it has been speculated that it was rigged by our leaders who u now accuse of a “born to rule” syndrome.
    Mr T let me ask u dis mighty question of making a country ungovernably. If a christian group from the sourth wants to make the country ungovernable to a muslim president from the north, will they start the bombings of innocent pp from the south or north? Where will there actions be mostly carried out? For me since i’m sane, i’ll start destroying the northern presidents region first, since i know destroying the south will really be baseless becos they are my own brothers n sisters. so do the maths on what is happening in the north on your comment of northern leaders making the country ungovernable.
    Pls dont misjudge me, if this ungrateful “wife” wants to leave peacefully, it will give me grate pleasure to let her loose since she is now rich wit oil and is now bragging over it. She has forgotten how we both fot 2geda 4 independence, how we both drank garri n “groundnut” to make d marriage (refinery) work etc. So ofcourse i should let her go but remember dat the ungrateful wife who seek for a divorce from her husband is showered with the Lords wrath “what God has joined together, let no man put assunder”. For better for worst, in sickness n in health
    As much as i am against ibbs’ agendas’, give the old man a break he was only trying to express his nationalist side which most nigerians presently lack, considering the fact dat they fot many wars to make the nation one. Have seen his CV? How many wars have u fot?

    Posted by Ibrahim | January 28, 2012, 1:45 pm
  9. The most sensible position I have ever heard from Femi Fani-Kayode. This is totally the position of the vast majority of NIgerians from the middle-belt downwards.

    Posted by Tukdat | January 28, 2012, 2:08 pm
  10. just love your simplist but indept analysis..ur a great communicator ,not many has this gots in today Nigeria..

    Posted by kelvin | January 28, 2012, 3:27 pm
  11. I quite agree with FFK here even though he is one of those nigerians I hate so much. Truth is always truth no matter who says it. How come it is only our nothern past and present leaders that keep re-emphasising and insisting that nigeria must be an indivisible country? Are they saying that the age long slaughtering and killings of the southerners especially the Igbos living in the north should continue? Those northern leaders including IBB must be insane!. Am happy that the rest of southerners have started seeing the hand writings on the wall as Ojukwu saw it years ago. The fact remains that Nigeria is going through all these crisis pepetrated by the north simply because a southerner is our president. I end up by saying “For sure Nigeria is due for break-up” whether we do it now or late, we will surely divide the country!!!!!

    Posted by maxwell | January 28, 2012, 5:04 pm
  12. Fani,I love the way you made it plain and simply. We are not the same people,culture and otherwise.we are different.

    Posted by Terry | January 28, 2012, 7:26 pm
  13. Ibrahim could you please answer this question, If all the oil was in the north (God forbid) Do you think they would still be with the rest of the country. Why does it always have to be with the northerners, If they are not fighting the igbo’s, its the yorubas or killing christians, Why should we be one nigeria?, Pls tell me. We don’t share the same culture, values or even the same regard for human life. one Nigeria without the northerners if you ask me. They don’t even contribute jack to the country yet they wanna impose sharia law on us. Obviously not all northerners think like that but trust me most are.

    Posted by Jan Klaassen | January 29, 2012, 2:02 am
  14. Well sumarised and these our so called “Icons” who bled the country dry of its values and wealth while revelling in the filthy lucre delude themselves as heroes or role models, what a shame. IBB in other climes would be a long serving guest in a correctional facillity.

    Posted by Osa. Osa. | January 29, 2012, 2:51 am
  15. Fani’ was an important member of OBJ’s government and that government did everything possible, including intimidation to frustrate all the people calling for a sovereign national conference. It’s an irony now to see Fani’ fanning the flames of SNC. Was OBJ and Fani afraid of something or some people then or they were just being self centred. I personally will not trust Fani and his like within the SNC advocates, you see credibility once lost cannot be re-established just by wearing new clothes. I support the call for SNC but would wish Fani and his like to please remain outside the ring.

    Posted by Peter Avan | January 29, 2012, 4:11 am
  16. Any structure whose weight of the component members are not properly resolved will certainly collaps. Nigeria can not be different. It can not survive on the terms of the north alone. Equity demands equal rights of all stakeholders. If war will establish this in Nigeria, so be it.

    Posted by ESSIENKAN E. E. | January 29, 2012, 6:00 am
  17. All we need is REVOLUTION, and it most surely come true. you all think you are UN-touchable right? you guys succeeded in all you did because of fathers are fools, they lied to us but watch out this generation, there will be no peace being together and living this way, all we need is Revolution.

    Posted by Larry Hova | January 29, 2012, 9:26 am
  18. yo true talk, our fathers were fooled bcox they dont no shitt. 51 years without light, no food, killing ppls dream, no plan, no shitt, no love bro, we anit fool no more, lets try the other way round, (REVOLUTION) i bet you, wen we gat out of Revolution, then we will understanding the real meaning of LOVE. FUCK YA ALL

    Posted by THUGNIFICENT | January 29, 2012, 9:33 am
  19. Mr Fani-Kayode, thank you. You have written a good and thought-provoking piece. However, it lacks the substance necessary to convince me that your thoughts produced ideas for the solution we need.
    Your views still attempt to feed the two key issues – regional sentiments and religious fervency.
    Our problems can be traced to these as part of the problems along the way to the root.
    The root is the lack of a Nigerian identity and along the way we have issues like the regional- religious divisions, the lack of effective, accountable and transparent leadership, indiscipline from the bottom to the top and poor deployment of the skills and expertise to develop, maintain and sustain our infrastructures.

    You also talk of the South and Middle-belt joining forces to fight the North. Who is the North? The ordinary Northern is just as oppressed through culture, class and religion and we must note that the South is not that much different as many are oppressed by Christian charlatans.

    If Nigeria began to disintegrate, trust me, it will not just disintegrate into three discernible parts but we will see a break-up that goes down to quasi-tribal lines.
    The President is acting weak in the face of these so-called cabals whether they be those wanting political supremacy or those operating in the electricity sector. He is the President for goodness-sake! He has executive powers and he received the mandate of the Nigerian people to act in their best interest.

    What is stopping him from issuing executive orders on the key things that the ordinary man/woman need?

    The media and everyone with access to a Wordprocessor keep talking about Cabals. Where are the Investigative Journalists of Nigeria? How come no one has researched and exposed the members?

    When each person; particularly the leaders and those in positions of influence, fight for Nigeria, take decisions and actions that benefit the Nation and we all see each other as Nigerians first before our factional labels, then and only then can we begin to address and embrace the change taking place within and outside the nation.

    Posted by Patrick-Spencer Salami | January 29, 2012, 12:03 pm
  20. Mr. Fani Kayode, by the way, Who were your legacy, while, you were in government?

    Posted by Hope Edebor | January 30, 2012, 12:11 pm
  21. Mr Fani Kayode, when people like you pontificate as you normally do, my heart bleeds. You were a big shot in the Obasanjo administration. What were your legacy? Please, can you advice us on the latest with the corruption charges, against you? It is on record, that Mr Obasanjo, held so much promise on coming into office. However, apart from betraying the people, we witnessed monumental corruption, crass lawlessness and sheer incompetence. There is not much difference between Abacha, Babaginda and Obasanjo. It is also on record, that he made some people mega rich. My advice to Fani Kayode and the likes of el-Rufai, please, keep your opinion to your self, we are not interested!

    Posted by Hope Edebor | February 7, 2012, 4:31 pm

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