Now that Dr. Jonathan has assumed the position of Acting President and Commander In Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, three things have happened, which may not be obvious to some observers:
1. The North-South political dichotomy, which the ruling party, the PDP had imposed on the body polity in
2. (1) is, however, dependent on Dr. Jonathan’s performance in office in the few months leading to the next presidential election.
3. The fortune of the “minority” nationalities in the emerging
The political power brokers in Nigeria since political independence in 1960 have carried on as though there were only three nationalities in Nigeria—The Hausa/Fulani, the Igbo, and Yoruba. The collaboration between the Middle Belt and South-South regions in
Although there may be the suicidal temptation to forcefully remove Dr. Jonathan from the leadership of this nation, I warn against this for the following reasons:
i. Any harm which befalls Dr. Jonathan at this hour will be viewed by the victims—and we are many—as an audacious rejection by
ii. Those who will attempt in the usual stale manner shall have no nation to rule.
The good health and absolute safety of Dr. Jonathan at this defining period of our history must be the overall engagement and interest of both friends and foes. Even if there will be any forceful revolutionary intervention, it must be an unusual one, which will place Dr. Goodluck as the head of a civilian caretaker council, with a well-articulated reform and restructuring agenda, which may not be accomplished in the present quasi-democratic environment (Please, see my article “Re-engineering Nigeria, Part 1”).
THE NECESSARY THINGS:
Dr. Jonathan must take urgent steps to accomplish the following:
1. He must send a communication to the National Assembly seeking to peg revenue derivation at 50 percent (pre-military level), having regard to section 162 (2), which sets it at a minimum (not maximum) of 13 percent. In fact, all revenue sharing formulas are predicated on the derivation principles. Section 162 (2) states as follows:
“The President, upon receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density:
Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen percent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any resources.”
Have you noticed that internal revenue generation is one of the allocation principles that must be taken into account? The proposals by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) have not reflected this. States are neither punished nor rewarded based on their internal revenue generation profile. There is plenty of sloth and waste at the state level because idle state governors, who are bereft of ideas, simply wait to receive free money from the Federation Account. The framers of the constitution never intended to accommodate neglect of revenue-generating opportunities which exist in the States of the federation. President Jonathan should question this. The constitution does not vest in the national assembly the powers to propose the derivation; such powers are vested in the President, who lays the proposal before the national assembly. The President receives advice from the RMAFC; but the final revenue sharing proposal which he submits to the national assembly is his final input. Dr. Jonathan should see to this.
2. Without delay, President Jonathan should scrap the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission (the commission, by seeking a legislative repeal), and directly remit to oil-rich States monies which are due to them by virtue of section 162 (2). Creation of phantom agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of Niger Delta, and channelling to those, revenue which should go to the oil-rich states in accordance to section 162 (2), are actions not known by the constitution; they only encourage corruption and waste. The creation of a Ministry to cater for just one region is an aberration of the constitution. It is an aberration because it violates the principle of equality of states. The constitution caters to differences in natural wealth endowment only through the derivation principle. Any other arrangement with the same objective is not recognized by the constitution. Dr. Jonathan must take the bold steps required to stamp the authority of the constitution. The “Amnesty agreement” (I question the congruity of the phrase) is only cosmetic; the permanent is always constitution-driven.
3. Dr. Jonathan should push for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and similar bills, which will among other things articulate the enforcement of the provisions of section 17 (2) (d), to wit: “exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community , shall be prevented.”
President Jonathan should understand his new position for what it is—To defend the weak and minority in
4. The Minister of power who presided over the monumental failure to give Nigerians the promised 6,000 mega watts of electricity by December 2009 must be fired without delay. The Minister of oil and petroleum who oversees that Ministry, that has failed to stop the hardship thrown at the people of an oil-producing country like
5. Indiscretionarily cancelled contracts by Yar’Adua, such as the dual-track modern railway project, the 774 rural health-care centres etc must be re-activated.
6. I join other Nigerians to impress upon Dr. Jonathan the necessity to have the Uwais Electoral reform proposals passed into law in the next 90 days.
7. Both the Freedom of Information Bill and Constitution review must get the attention of the Acting President.
If Dr. Goodluck does the things above, 2011 shall not be his destination but a milestone in his political journey. He would then have succeeded in breaking the North-South divide which his party, the PDP has willy-nilly foisted on the nation. He would have atoned for the egregious sins of the PDP, and won it at least a partial redemption.
I shall address other issues in my sequels.
Leonard Karshima Shilgba is the President of the