Yorubanisation, quest for balanced resource allocation, development- Ahmad Bala Abdullah Gaduwama
By Ahmad Bala Abdullah Gaduwama
Rightly or wrongly, it is gradually assuming an accepted Nigerian political tradition, members of the ethnic community of the eventual winner of elections, see his victory, as “their turn, to enjoy dividend of the Office”.
What that impliedly suggests is, that they unapologetically sit down to share amongst themselves, the most lucrative offices, while the rest country’s ethnic Communities are left to share the remaining “crumbs”.
And since no group, dominant or minor seems perturbed, it will be right to presume, all have come to accept it, at least given the body language of the leading political elites.
Since the ascension of the current APC/Tinubu/Shettima Administration, there however still remain pockets of discomfort, on ethnic lopsidedness in appointments.
Interestingly, while commentators sympathetic to the administration do not seem to lose any sleep, some do not even see the justification to warrant any outcry, given the antecedents of past administrations.
The PDP Administration of OBJ/GEJ, were heavily criticized, during their times, for allowing affairs be directed & teleguided by own kinsmen. Obasanjo’s development efforts were criticized, on account of being excessively pro South West.
At the zenith of GEJ reigns, his kinsman elder statesman Edwin Clark, rightly or wrongly saw himself larger than the Nigerian Federal government. In fact even renowned lawless characters, heading armed militant groups, with a history of destroying & sabotaging Nigeria’s major sources of foreign exchange, were treated with reserved dignity.
It was alluded, under GEJ administration, leaders of Armed Niger Delta militia Groups, like Gen. Atekete, Tompolo & Mujaheed Asari Dokubo could summon a serving Minister, at will.
Tragically, this unfortunate culture appeared perfected & massively abused, under the 8yr APC/PMB tenure, where almost every major appointment of relevance, was seemingly reserved & cornered by Northerners, particularly from his state of Katsina & those alleged to have had strong family connections with either the President, or the powerful cabal of Northerners, that surrounded him.
Under PMB, all major security establishments were exclusively manned by Northerners. So also were Ministries, Departments, and agencies perceived as lucrative & juicy. Protagonists therefore argue that Asiwaju isn’t doing anything spectacularly new, strange, or extraordinary.
Opponents of this argument however insist, regardless of whatever dominance Niger Deltans might have had, under GEJ Administration, national resource disbursement/citing of development projects were much more fairly distributed.
Unfortunately, despite the numerical dominance of Northerners, under PMB Administration, greater resources & citing of development projects were, by acts of commission or omission tilted in favor of the South, much more than to the North.
Then Vice Pres, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, along with the all-powerful Works Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, allegedly methodically collaborated to not only win the confidence & goodwill of the President but ensured more than enough resources were consciously challenned for high profile projects in the South, as the 3rd Niger Bridge & the Social Investment Program.
Put simply, from a pure development perspective (which is the primary essence of cornering key government positions), the South smiled home, in no way comparable scope, to the North.
Tragically, under a government, supposedly dominated by Northerners, including the Headship of entire security establishments, the state of security deterioration in the North-West, North-East, and north-central, completely paralyzed the fabric of Social and economic livelihood.
Abduction of women, out of their matrimonial homes, in broad daylight, became a routine. Entire villages were ransacked & inhabitants, in their numbers abducted for ransom.
Farming & commerce, the livewire of the region, were forcibly paralyzed & abandoned, thereby worsening the already horrifying state of impoverishment & economic degradation. So while Northerners could claim to have had the numerical dominance of the PMB Administration, their kinsmen holding juicy, privileged positions never reflected in their material well-being. If anything, it worsened it.
Northerners were more prosperous before PMB’s ascension and were left more impoverished & economically degraded by the time he left office.
The intricate act of extracting development projects, devoid of any manifestation of disloyalty or discontent, remains the biggest challenge to Northerners occupying key strategic positions in the current administration.
While it is not debatable the instrumental role played by President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the emergence of both the VP, Dist. Sen. Kashim Shettima and the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudden Abass, their constituents will naturally look up to them, for deliverance.
And while Speaker Abass may find it relatively easier navigating his NASS terrain, through cajoling, lobbying & persuading Members to support & do his biddings, HE Kashim Shettima may not, and may therefore require some astute political dexterity to surmount & overcome obstructive barriers already erected by the immensely resourceful & articulate Yoruba intelligentsia, that have not catapulted into significance.
The Yoruba cabal, have for over a decade now, not only carefully & meticulously cultivated an articulate roadmap to get them to where they today find themselves but have in place an equally well-thought-out development Agenda & strategy to catapult the South West region to unassailable development strides, unseen in many regions of Africa.
They dream of becoming the next Malaysia, Taiwan & Singapore & rightly even think they have the basics to rub shoulders with Japan & China.
The political machinery of both the VP & the Speaker must therefore not only learn to work for hands in gloves but must rise to evolve their own strategies to ensure the North is not abandoned to languish helplessly.
They must therefore be seen to rise up & strive for the take-off of vital development projects as a revival of Education, abandoned Mambilla Hydro-power project, opening doors for large-scale Mechanized Agriculture, taming insecurity, and ensuring enabling environment to attract local & foreign Agro-Allied Investment, large scale mechanized Mining, tackling menace of drug abuse, youths restfulness & job creation, Poverty alleviation & Economic Empowerment, resuscitation of the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel project, tackling the menace of Almajirci & the growing number of out of School children, a continuation of oil exploration, etc. If adequately captured in well-thought-out plans & ensured incorporation in National Annual Budgets, a lot will be accomplished.
These aspirations will however never be raised, in an environment suffocated by the twin evils of Banditry and insurgency. Must therefore decisively tackle, or in the least reduce to the barest minimum their adverse consequences. Unfortunately, as if to remind the regime of their potency in the North West, the bandits struck not too long ago & were alleged to have abducted over 24 female students of FUG, in Zamfara State.
If Northerners, particularly Vice President Kashim Shettima, Speaker Rt. Tajudden Abass wish to assert their influence in the governance process and exert some degree of authority & influence, it will be measured by the degree they strives to help bring home the manifest dividend of democracy to the North.
Then they can look the other way and allow sit-tight ethnicists, parading corridors of power continue to catch the headlines & the lavishness of political relevance, while they quietly reap the rewards of the emulation of the Yemi Osinbajo/Babatunde Raji Fashola strategy, of bringing development to their region, with little or no sweat.
Gaduwama, writes from Hadejia in Jigawa State