UNTIL the late intervention of reasonable lawyers from the North, some fellows were going to break the Nigerian Bar Association into two for responding positively to the pressure of Open Bar Initiative to dis-invite Governor Nasir El-Rufai to the recent Bar Conference.
Their argument was that a man who operates on the opposite lane of the rule of law should not be allowed on the platform of lawyers to make hypocritical declaration on the subject.
In the classic case of the person whom they said should not be made a chief because he curses all the time and reacted that “thunder will kill the person who said so”, El-Rufai‘s divisiveness was the first response to the corrective action.
There was no reflection on a governor openly boasting that he “settled” killers because they are of the same ethnic stock with him or threatening international community members that they would leave Nigeria in “body bags”.
Resorting to that bully tactics reminds us of when the Action Group through Anthony Enahoro moved the motion for Independence in 1957.
The North opposed the motion and thereafter walked out of parliament. The Kano riots followed later and an eight-point demand was issued to return to Nigeria: for the following: (1) That each region shall have complete Legislative and Executive Autonomy with respect to all matters except the following: External Affairs, Defence, Customs and West African Research Institutions;
(2) That there should be no Central Legislative body and no Central Executive or Policy making body for the whole of Nigeria; (3) That there shall be Central Agency for all regions which will be responsible for matters mentioned in Paragraph (1) and other matters delegated to it by a Region;
(4) That the Central Agency shall be a neutral place preferably Lagos; (5) That the composition and responsibility of the Central Agency shall be defined by the Order-in-Council establishing the constitutional arrangements. The agency shall be a non-political body.
(6) That the services of railway, air, posts and telegraphs, electricity and coal mining, shall be organised on an inter-regional basis and shall be administered by public corporations. These corporations shall be independent and covered by the statutes under which they are created by the board of experts with a minority representation of the regional governments;
(7) All the revenues shall be levied and collected by the regional government except Customs revenue at the port of discharge by the Central Agency and paid to its treasury;
(8) The administration of the Customs shall be so organised so as to assure that goods consigned to the region are separately cleared and charged to duty. Each region shall have a separate public service.
We became independent in 1960 and in less than seven years we were already at war. And we have never really been at peace as a country really. It has been low-intensity war even in our peace season.
One of the major causes of our warfare has been resource allocation, which is why peace-loving Nigerians have been advocating for an all-round productive Nigeria through restructuring.
That agitation is currently being given practical effect by Governor Bello Matawale of Zamfara who is making the state the face of productivity through the exploration of solid minerals.
He has used all the political skills to move across party lines to get the President to buy into this productivity line that will benefit the whole country.
There should be less tension when we get to the negotiating table now as we are no longer talking of sharing the resources of a section of the country. The Yoruba say that eating together is not a pleasant experience if it is only one side who brings food to the table.
What the local boys are washing at the moment is of more value than the allocation the state is taking from the federation sharing: a clear potential of benefits in Zamfara for the state and the rest of Nigeria. We showered all these only on maps at the 2014 National Conference. Matawale is bringing stuff out and he is getting all the encouragement he needs from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Our conversation in Nigeria under productivity will change from warfare to love and good neighborliness. Those who are embroiled in warfare now will key into peace.
Zamfara was a land of war before Matawale came and in a year, it is now a new territory where young people hear the voice of their governor urging them to key into productivity.
The Ooni of Ife (Alatunse) listened with rapt attention to the governor and decoded the meaning of what is happening in Zamfara for Nigeria as a whole.
He lauded him and prayed for him. He went a step further to say he shall become his chief soon as the Obapero of the source (he who brings calmness), a worthy appreciation for doing well for the community.