The title of my presentation is derived from the speech at a Colonial Service Dinner in 1913 by Lord Harcourt the then Secretary of State of the Colonies, (after whom Port Harcourt was named). He summarized in a humorous metaphor, the dependence of Northern Nigeria on the British Treasury for sustenance, when he said:
“we have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the Treasury. The promising and well-conducted youth is now on an allowance “on his own” and is about to effect an alliance with a Southern Lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant! The Nigerias are not designed to be a great “Trust” but a great “Federation”.
I shall attempt, within the short time and space available, to examine whether after 102 years of this “marriage”, Nigeria has been “fruitful”, “constant” and, above all, a great “Trust” or a great “federation” I will leave you to decide whether the marriage has failed in any or all the aspirations enunciated by Lord Harcourt.
“The agencies and methods that the British adopted to bring the whole of modern Nigeria under their control varied, as did the initiatives and reactions on the part of the Nigerians. Yorubaland was won by the missionaries and the Lagos government; the Oil Rivers by the missionaries and the consuls; and Northern Nigeria by both the National African Company (from 1886 the Royal Niger Company) and the British government. The main weapons used by the British were diplomacy and military confrontation. Nigerian reactions therefore varied from open military confrontation to temporary alliances and submission. As a result of the activities of the missionaries, British influence and trade had penetrated from Lagos, occupied in 1851, to most parts of Yorubaland, and a number of anti-slave trade and trade and protection treaties had been concluded between the British and many Yoruba rulers by 1884. In 1886, the British administration was also able to convince Ibadan and the Ekitiparapo (comprising the Ekiti, Ijesha and Egba), who had been at war since 1879, to sign a peace treaty.”
The positive encouragement provided by colonialism (peace and order), Christian missionaries and Muslim clerics pushed their activities further inland.” The new Lagos was made up essentially of the Christian villages of the different missions joined together.
Lagos was the first location where political party or parties were formed, the first in Nigeria where Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) were formed, the first where strikes took place, the first where Churches, Schools, Colleges were established, where the first Executive Council in Nigeria held its meetings. In 1906 and in preparation for amalgamation, the colony of Lagos and Southern Nigeria were merged and named the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Thus Lagos became the original “Lady of means”. Lagos provided the first metropolis in Nigeria.
The marriage between the “well conducted Youth of the North and the Southern Lady of means” became necessary for two reasons (1) the well conducted Youth (North) relied on the British Treasury for subsistence and (2) the affection the British colonialists had for the Fulani people (the Negroids) at a time when racism was an important factor in human history. The British knew that sooner than later, the British Treasury would stop augmenting the finances of the well conducted Youth of the North. “The Negro South or Southern Lady of means, on the other hand, had surplus as a result of import duties collected at Lagos Port especially import duty on liquor which grew from 3s to 3/6p per gallon in 1901 - 5/6d in 1912 and, by 1913, the revenue from Gin was £138,000. The grant of British tax payers to the well conducted Youth averaged £314,500 for 11 years ending March 1912.” Southern Nigeria, helped to complete Northern railways from Baro to Kano, thus the need to have one treasury for the two countries Southern and Northern Nigerias became apparent. A common railway policy was preferred to two. These were the main factors responsible for amalgamation. To this day, the “South” based on arbitrary latitude, remains the Southern Lady of means as an oil producing Region with Lagos as the original.
Status of the Couple and Matchmaker
The North had a mixture of Negros and Negroids of Arab descent who provided Muslims education and culture in the 18th century. The Arab descent of the Kanuri stock occupies parts of present day Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroun. The Arab descent of Fulani occupies part of present day Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Sudan. The Negro of the North were the indigenous people of the Middle Belt including Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau etc. The Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri had dominated the North as rulers and elite class with the indigenous Negros who were able to access Western education and civilization through Christian Missionaries as their subjects. The spread of the Fulani/Hausa and the Kanuri in other West African countries may be responsible for their divided loyalty to Nigeria. They see themselves first as Muslims, Fulani, Hausa or Kanuri before their status as Nigerians. To them, the Nigerian passport is valuable but Sudanese passport is priceless. Other Ethnic nationalities in Nigeria with dual nationalities see themselves first, as Nigerian before their acquired country. The well conducted Youth was thereby classified as Muslim North and the Southern as Lady of means, made up mainly of indigenous Negros as Christian South. We must not forget that Nigeria was protected from European invasion by mosquitoes unlike South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. “Of the forty-eight Europeans who had steamed up the River Niger in three ships in the years 1832 – 4, thirty-eight had died of fever.” Otherwise Nigeria would have had European settlers as was the case in East and South Africa. It must also be appreciated that “everywhere on the continent, the bond between religion and society remains strong. As Felix Houphouet-Boigny, the late President of the Ivory 'Coast, (and he, as a Roman Catholic, knew what he was talking about): that "from African archbishops to the most insignificant Catholic, from the great witchdoctor to the most insignificant Moslem, from the pastor to the most insignificant Protestant, we have all had an animist past.” Except perhaps the Arab Negroids of the North.
In 1939, the South was divided into East and West to form what Willink described as “a Federation of an unusual composition, in that one of the three constituent elements was slightly larger in population than the other two put together, while in each of the three Regions, it was possible to distinguish between a majority group of about two-thirds of the population and minority groups amounting to about one-third.” Thus Nigeria federation was not only unusual but also a tripod of three major tribes Hausa/Fulani North, Yoruba, West, and Nd’igbo, East in the image of the matchmaker - Great Britain made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The difference, of course, is that Nigeria has over three hundred and eighty-six other Ethnic Nationalities, unlike Britain with only three. The well conducted Youth as head of this polygamous household East and West became adept in “harem politics” whereby he ensures that his two “wives” never united to prevent conspiracy against him. The youth comes closer to the East when it suited him, then he turns to the West but always ensures that his two “wives” Nd’igbo and Yoruba though part of the Christians South never agreed. The superior education of the two wives seemed to be ineffective.
The metaphor of Lord Harcourt showed that the marriage was arranged. It is therefore necessary, at this stage, to understand what the matchmaker (British colonial power) stood for in 1914. In the book Ghost of Empire, Kwasi Kwarteng wrote:
“the empire was not simply a forerunner of the modern pluralist democracy so valued in the West. It was something entirely different. It is simply misleading to describe the British Empire, as one historian has done, as the champion of 'free -market liberalism' and democracy.' Such a judgment pays too little attention to what the empire was really like, or to the ideas that motivated the people who actually administered it. Notions of democracy could not have been further from the minds of the imperial administrators themselves. Their heads were filled with ideas of class, loosely defined, of intellectual superiority and of paternalism' 'Benign authoritarianism' would be a better description of the political philosophy that sustained the empire.”
The British Empire was not merely undemocratic; it was anti-democratic.
The population of Nigeria in 1914 was estimated at 17 million by Lugard, today the Nigerian population is estimated at 170 million. Kwarteng concluded that:
The British Empire is a bizarre model to follow for fostering stability in today's world. Indeed, much of the instability in the world is a product of its legacy of individualism and haphazard policy making.”
Kirk-Greene added to Benign authoritarianism when he wrote “one is reminded of the quip about the mutual hostility and regional loyalty of the Administrative staff of the Northern and Southern Provinces up to 1939; if all Nigerians had withdrawn from the country, there would have been a civil war between the two groups of Europeans.” This hostility has existed till this day by those who still regard themselves as Northerners in the competition against a non-existent Southerners. Divide and rule and made-in-Nigeria (MIN) colonialism is the practice that has polarized the nation. Some people still classify Nigeria into monarchies, chiefs and subjects contrary to the provisions of the Constitution that provided for equality of all Nigerians.
Sudan also played an important role in shaping Nigeria in two ways; first British officers stationed in the North were mainly ex-soldiers who got their first taste of colonial assignments from Sudan before coming to Nigeria. The last Governor General of Nigeria, Sir James Robertson was transferred from Sudan to Nigeria and he guided Nigeria to independence modeled after the Northern and Southern Sudan pattern. The second, was Nigerians who visited Sudan before independence. Sheikh Gumi who had part of his Quranic training in Sudan, remarked thus: looking back at it, one can say that, in a way, all of us had been individually affected by our stay in the Sudan. Personally, I count the time as the first close training I had in Arab life and culture. I was able to understand the Arab social world and situate it within the context of my Islamic reading.“ A country modeled with the contradictions of Benign authoritarianism, unhealthy rivalry and Sudan ideology must develop complications.
The grandstanding by some Fulani in Nigeria, constitute a bravado because, unlike Sudan, with the Nile linking that country to Egypt, the Middle East and Arab world, the Fulani Hausa and Kanuris of Nigeria have no such access. They will be, in my view, the last Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria that would want to leave Nigeria. All they are asking for, to my mind, are two caliphates, one in the West, the other in the East that are opposed to Democracy and, in the process, promote Sharia as the source of all legislation in Nigeria not a Constitution. The concept of superior individual or religion is fascism which is an ideology of hate that cannot succeed in 21st century Nigeria.
Successors to the Imperial British and the Promotion of Made-in-Nigeria (MIN) Colonialism
Lord Lugard had planned that the British would be succeeded by the Fulani. He wrote thus:
My desire to utilize the Fulani as rulers has been described in a former report and has met with the approval of the Secretary of State. They are unfit at present to exercise power except under supervision; nor do I hope for any great success in the present generation, but I hope and believe that with careful guidance, their sons and grandsons will form invaluable rulers under British supervision, and that their superior intelligence can be developed as a useful asset in our administration ...” [Emphasis supplied]
Lugard did not stop there even after retirement. “In a lecture at London’s Birkbeck College in 1928, Lugard stated firmly that ‘only those institutions will survive which are in harmony with native mentality and tradition. He praised what he called the ‘African system of Indirect Rule’, in which rulers would continue to be under the guidance of a ‘higher civilization’. Although his lecture was given in 1928, Lugard was still beating the drum of 1890s imperialism. He told the students of Birkbeck College, many of whom would have been too young to have fought in the First World War, that England was ‘writing our epic on the world’s surface’, which, he believed would be a mark that would endure even if England herself should cease to be.” It is very clear that amalgamation is unsuccessful. We have the duty to make this arranged marriage a success.
It is also necessary to point out that “the colonial powers were, by and large, suspicious of the new African elites and sought to restrict their growth by slowing down the expansion of schools, while those who succeeded in graduating from the schools were frustrated through being denied fitting jobs in the colonial service.
It is suggested that it is because the well conducted Youth (North) did not struggle for jobs in the hands of the colonialists nor participated in the struggle for independence that resulted in their being favoured by the British. Olaniwun Ajayi reproduced part of a letter between colonial officers, part of which reads:
it is therefore clear that the North, if it can stay united, has every prospect of dominating the Federal Government for many years to come. Sharwood-Smith remarked to Tafawa Balewa and said: " .... the key was to avoid fragmentation of the North; an undivided North was one that would be the major player in an independent Nigeria. The government must therefore stand firm against demand for a Middle Belt Region ..." Even after decolonization, the British intensely disliked a southerner becoming the president of Nigeria.”
I submit that this explains why the Hausa/Fulani, Kanuri never forgave General Gowon to this day for the 1970 creation of twelve states with six in the North and six in the South. However, they were able to neutralize the effect of Gowon’s twelve states creation by splitting Nigeria further to 36 states, with the North having nineteen and a Federal Capital Territory, while the South has seventeen. The above historical perspective is intended to show that the marriage between the “well conducted Youth” of the North and the “Southern Lady of means” was ill-conceived in some ways. The human elements within Nigeria were less hostile to one another because Lagos, the “original Lady of means” provided the manpower and platform for Nigeria’s unity. For this purpose, the presenter has chosen three Lagosians as role models: Mohammed Shitta Bey one of the returning slaves, pre and after amalgamation, Chief H.O. Davies a legal and political Icon and Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, a soldier and gentleman in the hope that Lagos will return once more to its position of leadership for the new Nigeria of the 21st Century.
Mohammed Shitta Bey
By the late nineteenth century, the name of Mohammed Shitta Bey was being identified with the entrepreneurial success of the immigrant Saro community in Lagos, and across Nigeria. He was increasingly identified with religious piety, primarily because of his role in single-handedly financing the construction of the first modern mosque in Lagos, which was opened with great fanfare in 1894.
Many of the Muslim Saro in Lagos took the stance that education was the most assured route to "a better way of life," and thus assumed the role of an agency of modernity. Mohammed Shitta was a teenager when his father, Sallu, decided to relocate the family from Freetown to Badagry in 1844. In 1893, there were 42 Muslim students officially enrolled in the government-assisted mission schools in Lagos, which was said to have accounted for about "12 per cent of the total number of children in these schools" and many other Muslims remained adamant about placing their offsprings under the supervision of Christian missionaries. In an attempt to assuage the fears and suspicions of the Muslim communities, the colonial government instituted a legal proviso in the Education Ordinance of 1887, essentially requiring the government-assisted schools to refrain from imposing mandatory attendance on Muslim children in classes for scriptural instruction.
“Many of the Saro Muslims in Lagos took the stance that education was the most assured route to a” better way of life” and thus assumed the role of an agency of modernity in advocating the establishment of schools in their communities.”
“The Yoruba people as a whole demonstrated great tolerance for religious diversity and, consequently, the efforts of the Muslims hard-liners were not always successful; this was the case in 1859, for instance, when Muslims in the Ibadan town council unsuccessfully sought to prevail on a Saro Muslim, Atere, to block the Reverend Hinderer (a CMS missionary) from engaging in evangelical activities in the town.” Has the Yoruba man changed? My answer is I hope not, that is why Nigeria in this peculiar mess [penkelemesi] must look to the original “Lady of means” for leadership and direction.
Shitta did not live long enough to see the completion of the mosque in Central Lagos that still bears his name to this day. By 1910, Muslims, Christians, and those who still adhered to traditional religious practices, or became enmeshed in religious syncretism or dualism, found common ground in their shared cultural, commonality, and the existential realities of commercial self-interest. It is therefore strange to some of us that some Muslims could declare “Boko Haram” - Western education a sacrilege 100 years after amalgamation.
Chief Hezekiah Oladipo Olagunju Davies
Chief H. O. Davies was one of the few in politics of Nigeria that was trusted. His grandfather belonged to the Ogunmade Ruling House of Lagos, a Wesleyan and, one of the young princes who stood round King Docemo of Lagos when he signed the Treaty of Cession of Lagos to the British Crown in 1861. His grandfather was known as Prince Ogunmade of the Ogunmade Royal House of Lagos but when he became a Christian, had to change his name to Davies because the Missionaries objected to ‘Ogun’ meaning the god of iron. Davies attended the Wesleyan School, Olowogbowo Lagos, Wesleyan Boys High School and Kings College, Lagos. He was, in 1924, appointed Assistant Master at Kings College where he taught Mathematics. He was later employed as a civil servant and posted to the Northern Provincial Civil Service in Kaduna, where he discovered how and when Certificate of Occupancy became a legal instrument.
It was an inviolate rule (he wrote) to the British system of Government, that no land should be acquired for public purposes without just compensation being paid to the owners. It turned out that the owners of the land required by the British Administration, had fled the towns and villages and were refugees in unknown parts of the country. So it was left to the ingenuity of the British official to work out a compromise that led to the idea of “Use and Occupation.”
It is this method that was used to deny all the 389 ethnic nationalities of their land through the back door and without compensation under the Land Use Act.
Chief Davies formed the Lagos Youth Movement in 1934. His activism ensured in 1944 that Africans were enrolled as members of the European Ikoyi Club formed in 1938, six years after. He was also one of the founding members of the Island Club in 1947. H.O. Davies was both a lawyer and a nationalist. So was late Chief Rotimi Williams. My other mentor, Professor Nwabueze is very much around. Today, African democracy has stalled-or even gone on the reverse, a situation which requires Lawyers and Activists (not just Lawyers) to do something about. It is my hope that lawyers will not shy away from this responsibility as activists. Chief H. O. Davies was in the forefront in the struggle against colonialism. He was there in defence of Udi miners in 1949. He was there in the defence team of Jomo Kenyatta on charges of organizing Mau Mau in 1952. Today, the Nigeria Bar Association of which I was one-time National Treasurer, has, unfortunately, turned ‘lawyers in the protection of the status quo or lawyers in the protection of hate ideology. The Nigeria Bar Association is in dire need of more activists in the protection of Democracy and, at the same time, in opposing to hate ideology. Only Democracy can provide the conducive atmosphere for an emerging middle class and the Legal profession.
Mobolaji Johnson aka Mubu Gas and size 13 feet, the Original Administrator of Lagos, the Southern Lady of means.
On May 31, 1967 at the age of 31, he was thrust with responsibility of building Lagos from scratch, Mobolaji Johnson was not only interested in reading history books, he made history. He was investigated along with other State Governors under an ideology of hate. His narrative on his retirement from the army runs thus: “We were then asked if we had any question, to which I raised my hand. I said, "None of us wanted to be retired at this early age. Will you assist our integration into the society, so that we would get a chance to discover ourselves? I have been a soldier all my life and I have never known anything else." They promised to assist with our re-settlement. On the following day, Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo addressed us, and this second meeting now included all the military governors. We were told that Murtala was now the Head of State, and he, Obasanjo, was the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (Second in Command). Further, we were informed of our retirement from the military. Afterwards, Obasanjo said that Murtala had asked to see Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi, who was the Military Governor of the West, and myself. When I went in to see Murtala, he said, "Bolaji, you know that we have done our own investigation and we know that you are clean. We would not like to waste your type of talent, and so we would like you to join us." Johnson replied, "Murtala, sorry I am not used to addressing you as Head of State yet. It is like a football match. Once you have given a red card to a player and side-lined him, he cannot be brought back into the team. I would like to stay on the side and give everything I can to support you. I cannot join the team." Effectively, I turned down Murtala's invitation to join his government.” Late Dr Gabby Williams, who wrote concerning Brigadier Johnson:
many of us who own property in Victoria Island today would not have been able to achieve this without him. Hundreds of boys and girls benefitted from this programme. He was never intoxicated by the position he held, the power he wielded, or the patronage he dispensed. He is a man with tender and sympathetic heart. As soon as I presented the man's case, Bolaji was shocked. He exclaimed "what? X was not given an allocation?" Immediately, he gave instruction, in my presence, to the official handling the exercise, and an allocation was made. The concerned Nigerian was full of gratitude. He built two houses on the spot, rented one out and lived in one with his family.” [A case of teacher getting his reward here on earth]
A number of Nigerians were retired in 1975 in the promotion of an ideology or Negroid race. It is only in Nigeria that a 30 year old public officer is retired, and some have been receiving pension for over 40 years. These retirements for ideological reasons continue with the retirement of 26 Deputy and Assistant Inspector Generals in 2016. Ideological retirement is mainly reasonable for 70% of Budget re-current expenditure.
Lady of means
On May 16, 2016, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode declared that Lagos has officially joined the league of oil producing states in Nigeria following the discovery of crude oil by Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited in Badagry, Lagos. Governor Ambode said that it took 25 years to get to this stage costing about $400 million dollars with the fund having the capacity to produce at least 12,000 barrels per day and a possible increase to between 25,000 to 50,000 barrels per day in the nearest future. No doubt buoyed by this achievement, he made the following demand – “unbundling” the potentials of each state by way of re-arrangement. It was reported on August 25, 2016, that Governor Ambode said:
“There is a great need for all of us to decide once and for all to unbundle the potentials of each state; take the comparative advantages of each state and fuse them together for the needs of our people. The federal government collects total revenue on Value Added Tax (VAT) and various revenues on behalf of all of us and make us to come to Abuja and more or less share it to us as peanuts thereby not allowing us to reach our potentials as competitive states individually,”
The Governor continued:
“there is just one economy in this country and so we need to first of all accept the fact that there is nothing like private sector as against public sector; there is nothing like Federal Government as against State Government. We are collaborating together to drive the economy of this country. So if that describes what Nigeria is and what it ought to be, we also want to say that government should be seen as an enabler; a platform that more or less creates the enabling environment for the public sector to thrive. “We all must be in one set and whatever that we are doing in terms of policy; what it is that we are doing in terms of what I now refer to as re-arrangement, we should now focus on people and then we should be people-friendly. And that is the only way we can create that inclusive growth,” he said.”
Nigerians who believe that the country needs to be re-structured (including this presenter) must be very pleased that Lagos, the original Lady of means, now wants to assume its leading role as the Original Lady of means in the interest of Nigerians. It is important, in the circumstance, to draw attention to the role the original Lady of means played with respect to the question of Land, Mineral and how the well conducted Youth completed what the British colonialists tried to but could not accomplish.
The Original Lady of Means and Minerals
The British, as colonial power, decided that all minerals in the colonies were the property of the Empire. Lugard wrote: “in furtherance of the desire of the Imperial Government to explore fully the mineral wealth of the Empire, a geological survey has recently been inaugurated. I thoroughly subscribe to the view that all mineral syndicates should produce proof that their capital and control are predominantly British. Since minerals in Nigeria are the property of the Government, this presents no great difficulty. An editorial spreading among Southern Nigerians that their holdings were to be converted to the Northern land tenure practice wherein all land was vested in the Crown. This rumour may have originated in the terms of reference of Committee on West African land tenure set up in 1912 by the Secretary of State to report on what improvements might be made ‘either on the lines of the Northern Nigeria Lands Proclamation …” The Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society formed in 1912 with a branch in Lagos was the most successful of the mouthpieces of the elite and traditional rulers of West Africa and the greatest opponents of colonialism.
During this period, it was announced that a notice had appeared in the “Nigeria Gazette” above the signature of A.R. Pennington KC to the effect that all land in Nigeria would be placed under the direct control of the state. The notice was brought to the attention of the Lagos Auxiliary of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society under the presidency of Bishop James Johnson. A delegation was dispatched to London in 1898 which met the secretary of State for colonies. This Bill was withdrawn. However what the British was unable to accomplish was made possible during the Murtala/Obasanjo regime when all land in Nigeria became the property of government. Thus the well conducted Youth became the made-in-Nigeria (MIN) colonialist of our time. The Land Use Act also became part of the Nigerian Constitution. The original Lady of means needs to inform the well conducted Youth that Nigeria is independent, a free country and free economy.
The Character of the Well conducted Youth in the 21st Century
The Economist of July 25, 2016, in an article on the Niger Delta Avengers: titled: Danegeld in the Delta, wrote:
“The people of the Niger Delta have genuine grievances. In theory, the region gets a generous share of the nation’s oil revenue. In practice, much of the money is stolen by federal or local bigwigs before it reaches schools and clinics.”
Danegeld means an annual tax formerly laid on the English nation to buy off the ravages of Danish invaders or to maintain forces to oppose them. It afterwards became a permanent tax. The above statement, though unfortunate, is true. This, no doubt, was the basis upon which Mallam Aminu Masari, the Governor of Katsina State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives said:
“for six years, we had a Niger Delta President. Let us see what difference he made in six years when he was President. When the excess crude account became pocket money, how much of the money went to the Niger Delta?” [Alleged misuse of funds: Masari blasts Niger Delta leaders Vanguard August 30, 2016]
Before making my own comments, I agree totally with Ochereome Nnana when he wrote in the Vanguard:
“what has the North done with its own billions which it unilaterally allocated, just as it liked, through censuses, creation of states and local governments and the sharing of federal electoral constituencies? Through these, the North zaps the oil-fed Federation Account every month based on “population” and landmass which were also used as the criteria for the creation of states and local governments.”
“the North remains the most underdeveloped in most areas of the human development index as evident in all available statistics, particularly in education, health, rural development and the welfare of the girl child. The North is also the most violent part of the country due to wrong religious orientation which appears to encourage intolerance. On the other hand, the top echelon of the Northern society is the most affluent in the country. The emirs and titled men live in heaven on earth, usually off the oil wealth of the Niger Delta; while the common people toil all over the country as shoe shiners, farmers, petty traders, artisans, water vendors, gate men (maigad) herdsmen for the big Alhajis and ready to tackle any job that locals look down on. Some of the cities in the North are more beautifully appointed than most cities in the South because they are the abodes of the ruling class, while the rural areas are dumpsites of destitution. So, the question is valid: what has the North done with over 40 years of power, and the moneys of the nation which they shared, keeping the lion’s share for themselves? --- It is no secret that the Northern elite believe the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to them, but not in the same sense that it belongs to all Nigerians. Even their professors who should know better claim the oil was washed down from the desert to the coast! Others say it to remind everyone, especially the Ijaw and other Niger Delta agitators, that they led Nigeria to defeat Biafra in the war, therefore it is their booty. “What have you done with all the money you have been given” is a query from a “master” to a “vassal” justifying his refusal to “give” more. And the now genuinely liberated Niger Deltans are replying: “what business of yours is it”
Here is a governor whose region produces less than 1% of the national income having the audacity to query the region that produces 80% of the same income to explain how the 13% allocated to it is spent. As a made-in-Nigeria (MIN) colonialist, the Governor of Negroid descent believes that as one of the “masters” of the South/South Negro colony of Nigeria, he has the right to demand for its report on how the 13% of is 80% was spent. That is the irony of the Nigerian situation. The Negros must always be on the receiving side.
The well conducted Youth, since 1960, has assumed the position of made-in-Nigeria (MIN) colonialist. He has become the owner of Niger Delta and insists that the Lady of means must account to him. It is my view that all that happened in Nigeria since 1960 did because the Southern Lady of means with her education, civilization and sophistication was forced into silence as a “faithful wife” otherwise she will be “kobokoed”, “horsewhipped” and violence will be deployed against her. In other words, one section of the country has succeeded in colonizing the whole country by force and stealth jihad of Boko Haram through Fulani herdsmen. One wonders what Governor Masari’s feeling would be if his State, Katsina produced 80% of the common purse and 1% Niger Delta asked him to account for its 13% derivation. It is time that we re-negotiate Nigeria peacefully, wherein the component parts will use what they have, to get what they want.
Permit me at this stage to thank my friend, Professor Wole Soyinka for inviting me to Freedom Park to make this presentation. There is no more fitting place to propose the “toast” of Amalgamation. Freedom Park (former Broad Street Prisons) reminds me of my early days as a Cadet Sub-Inspector of Police in 1959 until I left Lagos in 1970 as a Lawyer to practice in Benin City. The three Nigerians that I had referred to earlier, Shitta Bey, H. O. Davies and Mobolaji Johnson are icons of Lagos State to show that Lagos belongs to all Nigerians. Even now that we have a new Capital City of Abuja built with surplus oil money from the Niger Delta, Lagos still remains the original Lady of means. I also lay claim to being a Lagosian, having contributed to the development of the State. I played football for Lagos Amateur Football Association (LAFA) and, later became its Publicity officer between 1959 - 1964. One of my two daughters (Ifueko) was also born at the Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos.
Some Nigerians who call themselves Lagosians did not approve of Professor Wole Soyinka and Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru’s participation in the affairs of Lagos State. The Guardian report states: “there is an uproar among prominent Lagos indigenes over the appointment of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka as the co-chairman to head the Lagos at 50 Celebrations Committee. The indigenes also rejected the appointments of former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as Chairman of a Committee to manage N25 billion Employment Trust Fund.
It is instructive to emphasize that Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui–Okauru was born at the Island Maternity Hospital in Lagos, attended St Mary’s Primary School, Lagos Island, Queens College, Lagos and University of Lagos where she made a First Class in Accountancy. She later attended Imperial College, London for her Post-Graduate Studies and Harvard University USA. Professor Wole Soyinka is an international figure that can claim any city in any county in the world as his home city and country and would be warmly accepted. It is obvious that when the Lady of means lost its ideology of diversity, Nigeria also lost that ideology that made USA, China, India, Hong Kong, etc great. Ideology of diversity has been replaced by the ideology of hate. The original Lady of means must return to her former role and thus make Nigeria great.
My first visit to Lagos was in 1954 as a form I student at the Immaculate Conception College, Benin City. We came for the Marian Congress of that year. It was the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean with my naked eyes. Takwa Bay and Kuramo waters were tourist attractions then. For some of my classmates, it was the first time too they saw a train. Badagry was also a tourist attraction. So was the Museum and Botanical Garden at Onikan including the Race Course now Tafawa Balewa Square. Tourism can only thrive where there is peace. Tourists do not, presently, visit Aleppo in Syria. Hiking was part of scouting and then a young Nigerian could hike from Benin to Sokoto. Tourism cannot develop in Nigeria because security as provided by the Police Force developed out of hate ideology and therefore cannot protect all Nigerians. There is the need for the preponderance of non-indigenes as, basis for attracting federal grants and in the process, help to promote accurate Census. Nigerians have to develop tourism by themselves before outsiders can come visiting. Tourism cannot develop unless we re-introduce the ideology of diversity to replace the existing ideology of hate. This must start with Lagos the original Lady of means.
I have attempted to summarize the relationship of a Negroid well conducted Youth and a Negro Southern Lady of means of 102 years of ‘marriage’ into a 15-page food for thought for all well meaning patriots. The object is not to show that the Southern Lady of means has been defiled and abused as many men do to their spouses but to suggest why there should be a family meeting (conversation) to resolve the problems of this forced marriage and to chart a brighter future for the relationship. Returning to Lord Harcourt's metaphor, it is for you, the participants, to determine whether the union has been fruitful with a population of about 17 million in 1914 to 170 million in 2016 despite the prevalence of malaria, cholera, ebola, polio etc. On the question as to whether the couple had been constant. you are required to appreciate the fact that the Southern Lady of means has always been the bread winner and remains so. Her major fault however, is the fact that she has been too submissive. The matchmaker arranged a Catholic marriage between a Christian and a Muslim when it was contracted in 1914 and the Youth behaved as a Muslim but today, he is, in some way, behaving more as an Islamist/Jihadist and custodian of hate ideology. This fundamental change can lead to the dissolution of the “Catholic” marriage. It is my hope and prayer that the marriage subsists because the well conducted Youth will lose his allowance and the British Treasury cannot come to his aid. The Southern lady is asking for “Trust” which the British did not design for the marriage. The degree to which the Nigerian Negros (indigenes) trust the Nigerian Negroid; (Arab descendants) and vice versa, is measured in terms of honesty, fairness and benevolence of one group to the other. Trust which is the basis for unity is lacking. In any case, the British colonialists never contemplated Nigeria as a Trust but as a great Federation which unfortunately, Nigeria cannot be without trust. Thus the South is asking for a Federation not a tripod that tilts to one side, I therefore recommend a Yoruba speaking Lagosian, Igbo speaking Lagosian, Hausa speaking Lagosian, Edo speaking Lagosian i.e. for anybody born in Lagos or has stayed in Lagos for 10 years and paid taxes in the state to be accepted as indigenes. This should be the same in all states of Nigeria. Only then can the unity necessary to build a nation be realized. We must not forget that Nigeria is a product of the British Empire which has been described as ‘a bizarre model to follow for fostering stability in today’s world. Indeed, much of the instability in the world is the product of its legacy and haphazard policy making.” Nigeria must, therefore, based on the above facts, re-construct its strategy for growth and development as a country in the 21st century world especially now that the well conducted Youth is better educated and the world has moved from the age of discovery to that of space exploration and information.
God Bless Nigeria