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Jibrin From Sudan, Atiku From Cameroon, But There Are Really No Nigerians By Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo


Before 1914, the geographical space called Nigeria existed in bifurcation – the northern and southern protectorates. And before the British savaged and carved out the area for immanent exploitation, there were thriving kingdoms, ethnic groups, cultures, traditions, and civilisations.

In the stout bushes of the eastern section of the lower Niger, a republican system of government, more organised than that of the ancient city-states of Greece, flourished among the Igbo people. There were sacerdotal institutions upon which the society pivoted.  And the people never referred to themselves as “Nigerians”, which is originally an alien appellation and colonial tag.

And in the western plains of the lower Niger, a form of constitutional monarchy, more polished than that of the British, burgeoned among the Yoruba people. There was a sophisticated system of checks and balance, a boisterous culture and civilisation. But these people never referred to themselves as “Nigerians”.

In the hills and archipelagos of the upper Niger area, a disciplined monarchical system flourished among the Hausa people.  And they never regarded themselves as “Nigerians”. In fact, they fought one of the bloodiest battles against the progenitors of “Nigeria”.

Casting off pretension, the founding fathers – Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello did not operate in the consciousness of “Nigeria” because the construction was not organic. They acted in cognizance of their “nativity”.

In 1947, in his book, ‘Path to Nigeria Freedom’, Awolowo expressed concern about the artificiality of the colonial heritage. He said: “Nigeria is not a nation; it is a mere geographical expression.  There are no Nigerians in the same sense as there are English or Welsh or French. The word Nigeria is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.”

Taking inspiration from Awolowo, “there are no Nigerians” in the true sense of the word. Nevertheless, owing to today’s realities, it is convenient to describe those occupying the “Niger area” as Nigerians.
However, Awolowo’s statement should not be construed as an expression of hopelessness in Nigeria’s unity. In fact, he was advancing reasons for unity and why each entity within Nigeria must be allowed to grow at its own pace.

But is Atiku Abubakar Nigerian or Cameroonian?  In my essay, ‘Nnamdi Kanu is right; Atiku’s Adamawa was in northern Cameroon’, I had expounded a historical argument about his origins.

I said: “On 11 February 1961, a plebiscite was held in British Cameroons to determine which parts of the territory would stay in Cameroon or align with Nigeria. While northern Cameroon favoured a union with Nigeria, southern Cameroon wanted an alignment with the mother country.  On 1 June, 1961, northern Cameroon became part of Nigeria, and on 1 October 1961, the southern territory dissolved into Cameroon.

 And really, much of the present day Adamawa state in Nigeria is part of the old northern Cameroon. In fact, there is a region called “Adamawa” in Cameroon today. And even the kingdom of the Lamido of Adamawa stretches into Cameroon. Atiku’s hometown, Jada, was a part of Ganye, which was the headquarters of the British Cameroons.”

However, it is ludicrous to allege that a man who became Nigeria’s vice-president, who has lived, invested and paid tax in the country for years is not a citizen.  And by the way, northern Cameroon was constitutionally wedded with Nigeria in “holy matrimony”.

But when it comes down to it, no one is really a Nigerian. Awolowo says so.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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Sowore’s TakeItBack Movement Demands Immediate Reinstatement Of Rusticated Ojo Aderemi

The TakeItBack movement has called on the management of the University of Ibadan to immediately reinstate its suspended Students’ Union leader, Ojo Aderemi.

The Students Disciplinary Committee (SDC) of the institution suspended Aderemi for four semesters after being accused of conducting an illegal congress of the union, leading a protest, and breaking the glass of an office while a lecturer was inside — allegations that were denied by Ojo.

Condemning the decision of the institution, Juwon Sanyaolu, National Coordinator, TakeitBack Campus Unit, said that the Idowu Olayinka, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, is deliberately silencing students in the university and denying them of their democratic rights.

He also described the suspension as “despotic and unbefitting of a democratic clime”.

Sanyaolu said: “Everywhere in Nigeria, there is a renewed and conscious attempt to completely kill the tradition of radical students unionism. And this is because there is a looming attack of fee increment on every institution of the country including the University of Ibadan.

“This is why the TakeitBack movement views these attacks beyond the question of democratic rights of students but also an attempt by the government to undermine our ability to resist imminent attacks on the living standard of the Nigerian people.”

Sanyaolu also made reference to the recent 100% hike in tuition fees by the management of Sokoto State University, describing it as part of plans by the Nigerian government to make the country uninhabitable for the poor.

“Just this month, the state government of Sokoto and management of Sokoto State University had increased fees of the institution by 100%. The Nigerian government is on the verge of launching several attacks on the poor people of this country,” he said.

“As we can see, the government would be increasing the price of fuel and VAT very soon. This would definitely put a strong strain on the economy and pocket of the poor man. These would also translate to the increase in all commodities including fees.

“This is why there is a plan to first smash our ability to resist these attacks before introducing several draconic policies.”

Juwon maintained the readiness of the TakeItBack movement to join forces with Nigerians and mass of students to demand the immediate reinstatement of the students’ leader and restoration of the illegally banned students Union.

He also challenged every student to reject any attempt from any tertiary institution management to victimize and silence students.

“It is to this end that the TakeitBack movement calls on the mass of students and well meaning Nigerians to reject all conscious attempt to reduce our university into mere barracks and turn our democratic space into an arena of tyranny,” he said.

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‘I’m Tired Of This Country’, Says Motorist In Akure As Petrol Scarcity Bites, Price Reaches N180/Litre

Consumers of the Premium Motors Spirit (PMS), best known as petrol, in Ondo State are groaning following a scarcity of the product, with one of them telling Saharareporters: “Honestly, I am tired of this country.”

Findings by SaharaReporters on Saturday showed that the scarcity has made many of the consumer to engage in panic buying of petrol in the few gas stations in the state capital, Akure, where the product is available. 

A SaharaReporters correspondent who moved round the state capital reported that the scarcity became noticeable late on Friday.

The scarcity was visible in some of the gas stations visited, as their gates were shut while consumers of the product, mostly motorists, were stranded.

However, the few gas stations that sold — at Alagbaka, Oyemekun, Oke Ijebu, Ijapo, Ondo Road and Oda Road — experienced long queues in a stretch of about 200 to 300 metres, thereby causing traffic on the roads.

Long queues were seen at NNPC Mega stations on the highway in Akure, as other gas stations on same route up to Shasha market were closes, aside the popular Showboy Petrol Station.

The Bovas gas station, which is the most preferred choice of motorists on the Oke Ijebi route, shut its gate as workers said there was no fuel to dispense to consumers. 

Our reporter observed that these gas stations, which are mostly retailers, have started selling the product at N150 and N180 per litre, which is against Federal Government-approved pump price of N145. 

Investigations showed that the major marketers in the state that have the product are now rationing it on high price among Independent marketers willing to cooperate.

It was also noticed that many of the motorists rushing to queue up for the product had no idea of the cause of the sudden scarcity, and  the station’s owners were unwilling to talk.

A motorist, Tijani Olakunle, said the situation might worsen from Monday if the government refuses to intervane. He also accused the government of insincerity on the scarcity of the product.  

“They are telling us that there is fuel everywhere, thank God you said you are a journalist; can you see the product here now? At least you saw us in the queue sweating inside our vehicle to get the product.

“I don’t think the Federal Government is being sincere with this scarcity of fuel. How can they say there is fuel everywhere while we are suffering to get it here? So, I am calling on them to better act immediately before this scarcity will get worse by Monday becuase people will want to travel back and go to their places of work.”

Another petrol consumer, Babalola Orimolade, whose wife sells cold food inside the Oja Oba Market, said the scarcity is now bitting hard and will have a knock-on effect on their business. 

“We need petrol to power the generator to freeze the food inside our refrigerators, and I cannot even stand the queue at the gas station. You can see everyone sweating here to get the product.

“Honestly, I am tired of this country — because it seems it is only we the common man that bears this brunt and those at the top don’t feel what we are feeling. And is this the next level that they came to promise us.

“Here, there is queue and they are selling for us at N150 per litre. If you cannot stand the queue, then you will get black market for N200 per litre. Is this not a big shame on us as country that has oil and still we refine outside the country?”

Niyi Adesida, a commercial driver popularly known as ‘taxi diver’, said the long queues at the gas stations forced him to resort to getting the product from the black market.

“The scarcity is already bitting hard on us as taxi drivers, and the N50 per drop is no longer comfortable for us becuase we now get the fuel at the rate of N180 and N200 per litre from the black market. 

“The filling stations are not openining for sale and I learnt they don’t have the product, but where are the black market guys getting it from?”

Shina Amoo, Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in Ore depot, told SaharaReporters on the phone that the “slight” petrol scarcity was that the product was not readily available in the depots. 

Amoo explained that many of the independent marketers were now buying from private depots at an expensive rate to serve the state.

He added that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was aware of the situation and had been working to proffer solutions.

“My brother, the truth of the matter is that the product is not available for consumption and we are getting the ones we have from the private depot,” he said. 

“Just imagine, when we are buying the product to serve the people at the rate of N139 per litre, excluding other expenses of landing cost at the petrol station. But, like i told some persons not too long ago, everything boils down to the Federal Government to make petrol available. I hope this will be resolve before the end of next week.”

Speaking, the Operations Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) in Ondo state, Oseni Adewale, accused the marketers of hoarding the product against the consumers in the state.

Adewale said there was enough petrol to last the state beyond the Easter season, noting that any of the markters caught hoarding the product will be dealt with it. 

Similarly, the Ondo State government has promised to arrest the owners of any gas station caught hoarding the product from consumers. 

A statement signed and issued by Doyin Odebowale read: “The Ondo State Government views, with grave concern, the latest attempt by some unscrupulous persons to create panic through the hoarding of PMS, fuel. 

“This assault on decency is coming at a time when the NNPC continues to reiterate facts on the availability of the product. Nigerians have been assured of regular supply of the product and this Government has no reason to disbelieve the organisation.

“It is against this backdrop that the Government warns, sternly, all petrol dealers in the State, to desist from any unpatriotic acts which may inflict pains on the people.  We, on our part, will resist and sanction any untoward practice, conceived and/or executed, to engender hardship in the Ondo State. Any dealer caught hoarding fuel will be arrested and prosecuted.”

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Former Appeal Court President Mamman Nasir Dies Three Months After Escaping Abduction

Justice Mamman Nasir, a retired former President of the Court of Appeal and the District Head of Malumfashi in Katsina State, has died, aged 90.

Alhaji Ibrahim Bindawa, the Information Officer, Katsina Emirate Council, made the announcement on Saturday in Katsina.

He said the late Galadima-Kastina died Saturday afternoon at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, after a protracted illness.

In line with Islamic rites, a funeral prayer was conducted for him in Malumfashi at 4:00 pm.

The incident comes three months after some gunmen failed in their attempt to abduct him, although one of his aides simply identified as Aminu was taken away by the kidnappers.

Nasir was on Dayi-Malumfashi road in Malumfashi Local Government Area of Katsina State when some gunmen suddenly blocked the road, searching vehicles to see whom to kidnap.

He quickly switched vehicles to escape the kidnappers, but his aide was not quick enough to escape and was taken away along with other travellers into nearby bushes.

Justice Nasir was born in 1929 and attended Kaduna College, where he obtained the West Africa School Certificate in 1947. He later attended the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a certificate in Latin.

He proceeded to the Council of Legal Education in London for his bachelor’s degree in Law in 1956, and was called to the bar — Lincon Inn — in the same year.

He returned to Nigeria in 1956 and was appointed a Crown Counsel; and in 1961, he was appointed as Minister of Justice, Northern Nigeria — a position he held for five years before he became the Director of Public Prosecution, Northern Region, in 1967, the same year he was appointed Solicitor General, North Central State, now Kaduna State.

Late Justice Nasir held this position for seven years before he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1975.

In 1978, he was appointed President of the Court of Appeal, a position he held until he retired in 1992 to ascend the throne of Galadima of Katsina and was turbaned on May 9, 1992.

He headed the three-man committee that dismissed the allegation of lying on oath against Justice Ayo Salami, also a former President of the Appeal Court.

The retired judge was also the Chairman Committee on Transition to Civil Rule during the Abacha regime.

Until his death, Justice Nasir late was the Chairman of the Katsina State Development Fund, otherwise known as Gidauniyar Jihar Katsina.

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