FRIDAY Column BY Engr. Abubakar A. Fari
The final but by no means the only issues on the table on RESTRUCTURING would focus on devolution of powers. With respect to the RESTRUCTURING hullabaloo, I was invited by the Governor of Katsina state along with the timber and caliber of Katsina state to discuss this important national issue as I was made to understand. The meeting took place on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at the new Government House. My humble self has never held a public office. Nor have I ever awarded a one kobo contract in my life on behalf of “we” the people. Perhaps for one lucky to be out of those who awarded juicy and earthquake shaking contracts may be raw in understanding what is really about RESTRUCTURING. So I would consider myself a siddon look among the ex-this and ex-that.
Looked from another perspective, with no temptation from the award of contract, would perhaps be a better candidate to proper objective position on RESTRUCTURING. For the struggle is to climb to positions whatever the permutations and combinations in RESTRUCTURING may be to be the alpha and omega in the approval process in governance. Given the corruption cases with the EFCC that involves virtually all public office holders minus Buhari, makes it ugly. The number of ugly Nigerians that are dishonourable is unfortunate. They even come out shamelessly to say they will stand for President. All I would like to say is that, it would appear to me a huge mistake to always recycle people who in public service were and remain part and parcel of the problem that brought Nigeria to this endless confusion.
Both from the worldly and the spiritual planes, a corrupt leader or who had the chance to impact on society but rather served self or narrow interests has nothing to offer. Unfortunately, the tradition has become to saddle responsibility to a former government functionary regardless his antecedents in public office. Why should a former head of state, governor, minister, chief judge, IG, Chief of Army State and the likes be given responsibility to fashion out a policy direction while he was found wanting in public office. Or indeed any that has compromised and even perhaps contributed to the backwardness of his state. Or people with no records of helping his community socially, economically, religiously and politically. If any that he accumulated properties in Nigeria and abroad carrying traditional title and gallivanting from one ceremony to another.
When we met with Masari for the dialogue, he stroke the note appropriately. Masari stated in Hausa on restructuring and I wrote it down to the effect “yaya za ayi zaman”. In other words how will the so-called “ethnic nationalities” form the union? How as they say do we co-exist in the contraption or geographical expression called Nigeria? I did not have chance to say a word. It did not bother me since I have the platform to air my views on my Friday column with the Peoples Daily. This is the fifth series which the public might have read including the principal actors. I have sent the copies to the Governor through his Special Advisor Muktar Lawal. His press secretary Abdu Labran Malumfashi was a former editor of Peoples Daily. Wada Maida, the Chairman of Peoples Daily was a Press Secretary to Buhari as Military Head of State. As usual we have sent to the media including the Daily Trust and others but have not seen it within their judgment to publish in their dailies. All the same they are in the public domain.
Initially, Masari thought the dialogue would work out a Katsina position on the RESTRUCTURING hullaballoo. But the elders were of the view that it was tight if at all justice would be done to the subject. It was agreed that a Committee be allowed to assess and recommend. Nonetheless ideas were generated. I found the suggestion that the north-west zone be split into two sensible. Why not even three given that Kano state alone has population greater than each of the south-east zone and or south-south zone. Why should a zone with a third of population of another have the same say. So they have 3 Senators each which is not fair at all. They are even asking for more states, while our northerners are sleeping. When you allocate resources to them instead of creating 3 Universities by the Federal government in your zone you end up with one. Instead of building more highways in your zone and more funds for health, education and agriculture you are short-changed. Why should south-east zone with one-third be at par with north-west zone?
As expected devolution of powers to reduce “fat” or “kitse” in the Federal government was identified in the DEVOLUTION of powers. Many areas in the Constitution should be surrendered to the states and of course more cash to support these responsibilities. Ironically, the Governors have not devolved powers to the LGAs. If one accuses the LG Chairmen in Nigeria of stealing from their allocations well and good. But have the Governors shown exceptions on same from the resources of the state. If there is devolution, they should barrow a leaf from the Federal government from who the professionals and the middle class get empowered. Imagine the President of Nigeria in charge of every contract in the MDAs. The fedral government will grind to a halt. If every kobo contract must be approved by the President!!!
In the state governments, a Governor attends to 1000 files. Every contract even of N0.5 million a governor goes with his brief case. A commissioner is mere title holder and a scavenger. While Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executives of Departments and Agencies and many on the down side have Authorities to Incur Expenditures. If one devolves power to an arrogant and greedy governor who has to spend every kobo, how can the citizens be empowered. Personally, I do not support given them more money to die and quench. If any it should be reduced. If one goes to the Secretariat in Katsina and other states will not fail to notice the chairs are more of sleeping beds. They have worn out by idle and frustrated workers who eat hunger food every day. In contrast, the grandees in the Government Houses are riding latest cars and eating sumptuous.
Whatever talks and fine tunings we craft, will shine if the hearts of the operators, learn to shun corruption, religious bigotry, tribalism and injustice. The justice system where lawyers and citizen treat as donkeys to manipulate and use as a cover to commit crimes against their fellow men because the highest bidder gets away with crime with police and the courts will only heat the polity. The abuse of court processes where leaders use to rig themselves in to power and seek protection therefrom has to be reformed radically. A case or as they say justice delayed is justice denied is what the current status co is all about. Money the root of all evil is the bane of crime and instability. Buhari who has come to tackle corruption and any Nigerian with such tendencies must be supported.
We must revert to the use of the colonial order where operating procedures in governance are coded in the General Orders (GO) and Financial Instructions (FI) which spell out prudence in government administration and procurement processes. If Nigerians could work in commercial banks and are not embezzling depositors fund why not in government. If the cashiers in banks behave as civil servants, banks will go bankrupt. Above all the fear of Allah (SWT) and for those who say Jesus the Lord should be real and not mere lip service. It is only if and when there is justice in society that a country can develop. If however, the RESTRUCTURING hullaballoo is one take “lion” share and wishes the other the “baboon” there will be endless RESTRUCTURING and perhaps a fragmented Nigeria.
While the Fayoshe and the Tiv and elements in Benue, Plateau, Taraba and others wish to deceive themselves on contriving ANTI- OPEN GRAZING LAW, if any believes he can stand alone, let the country break. The herdsmen/farmers clash is artificial based on tribal and religious considerations and envy. There are no cattle roots and to argue for a ranching policy should be done along modern farming and not primitive one that obtain in Ekiti, Plateau, Taraba, Benue and over 95% nationwide. To contrive ranching is heresy and targeted to Hausa-Fulani and which cannot stand the test of time in a country where these corrupt governors and legislators to go to jail for life are evading justice. But diverting public attention through obnoxious laws called Anti-Open Grazing Law and daydream ranching in line with so-called global practices that they do not practice in any way.
The dailies of Tuesday, October 31, 2017 reporting Former military head of state Abdussalami saying Nigeria losesUS Dollar 13.7 billion to herders and farmers clashes. Today, travel from Katsina to Kaduna and all over north-west and east, there is open grazing of cattle. Why the Benue and Taraba and the conflicts in Plateau an exception if not for politics. Before Nigeria secured independence, the herdsmen and farmers have been co-existing till the Ayo Fayoshe and CAN came to the scene spreading hate speeches in churches. If the mosques take similar stand, there will be no beer parlours and breweries and wine shops and prostitutes from Benue and other enclaves openly parading themselves in hotels in the north-weast zone. If one reads the Qur’an and the Bible, before Jesus came to the scene, will read about the herders/ farmers clash and how Prophets Dawud (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon) handle the cases. These are revealed in Al-Anbiya:78 as follows:-
“And (remember) Dawud (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon), when they gave judgment in the case of the field in which the sheep of certain people had pastured at night; and We were witness to their judgment.”
So we should continue to pray for Buhari so that justice and fairness will prevail and posterity will be the beneficiary. For now the narrow mindedness based on politics and religious bigotry from strange bed fellows in the minority enclaves and a PDP noise maker from Ekiti is nothing other than the nature of black man with slave mentality that the colonial missionaries in planted to serve their interests.