Recently 150 men who reside predominantly in the north of Nigeria held a meeting in Abuja to accomplish an unusual objective, to wit: How to prevent Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the 2011 Presidential Primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, thus paving the way for someone from their ranks to emerge as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in May 2011.
Since that meeting these 150 men have began putting machinery in place to accomplish their unusual objective of preventing Goodluck Jonathan from exercising his constitutional right and as part of their strategy have unleashed a barrage of opinions, statements, and declarations, in the public domain in support of their cause.
Reading through some of the newspapers that these 150 men have utilized to put forward the reasoning’s behind their unusual objective what is evident is that Nigeria is caught in a Teutonic struggle regarding whether it will continue to be defined by its past or it will be pulled by what many have always said is its awesome potential destiny.
This Teutonic struggle is akin to the June 12 crises which culminated in the acceptance of the Nigerian military of their true role as the primary defenders of the nation from hostile threats from other nations as opposed to their assumed role of governing this nation which they had done for much of its life since independence in 1960.
From the pre-colonial era to the colonial era and then the post-colonial era made up of military and pseudo-democratic governments, the objective had always been to restrict the access to the resources of the state to a few at the expense of the majority by putting in place systems like Zoning Formula or Power Rotation that protected the access of a few.
With the return to pseudo-democratic government in May 1999, the Zoning Formula or Power Rotation, a carryover from the failed political experiment of the 1979-1983 era, was reintroduced to balance the access to the resources of the state by a select few using an “It is our turn to eat” approach or what I more appropriately call a code of honor among thieves.
Government control has always been synonymous with control of the resources of the state and the management of those resources for the benefit of a few at the expense of the majority hence the need for instituting a code of honour for sharing these resources while maintaining a graveyard peace for the rest of the people.
Those preserving the status quo have in time past resorted to using crises with religious, ethnic, sectarian, political, educational, energy and other colourations to ensure their unhindered access to the resources of the state and this is what has continually defined the last 50 years of Nigeria’s existence and stunted our development.
The opposition to the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan first as acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in February 2010 and then as the substantive President is hinged on the possible derailment of the access to the resources of the state by those who will have patiently waited for 12 years by 2011 for their turn to eat.
This is why these 150 men, some of who hate each other, have banded together to preserve their turn to eat the resources of the state even if all they are left with by 2011 are bones and they have every intention of cracking those bones and sucking out the bone marrow even if that will plunge 150 million Nigerians into an abyss.
The successful conduct of the June 12, 1993 elections where Nigerians opted for two candidates of the same religious faith offered glimpses of what could be achieved if given an opportunity to be pulled by the awesome potential that exists in this nation’s destiny and this more than any other reason explains why that election was annulled.
The military ultimately paid the price for that annulment as they were forced to eventually cede power to civilians in May 1999 but the access of Nigerians to the resources of the state to be utilized for their welfare and wellbeing has been curtailed by the Zoning Formula or the Power Rotation principle that has been in place.
It is this cause that these 150 men have chosen to uphold at the expense of 150 million Nigerians, and just as the forces that were unleashed after June 12 upended military participation in government so also the defeat of the “It is our turn to eat” system will allow Nigeria to step away from being defined by its past to being pulled by its destiny.
“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi