A former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and a member of the Northern intelligentsia, Prof Ango Abdullahi has described the strident calls for restructuring as a tool for “cheap blackmail whenever a Northerner is at the helm of affairs” in Nigeria.
Speaking exclusively to The Daily Times at his Garmin Zaria, Kaduna State, the professor who is also the spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, noted that the southern political elite have invariably used the persistent calls for restructuring as a weapon for extracting political and economic patronage of the Federal Government in favour of their regional interests whenever political power resides with the North.
Ango recalled that the strategy of whipping the Northern political leadership into submission started with “the National Question campaign” during the era of former President Shehu Safari.
He argued that whenever southerners held sway as Nigerian presidents, “the proponents of restructuring that you are seeing today lost their voices”.
He went on to say that throughout the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and later “the five or six years of President Goodluck Jonathan, there was no such thing as the strident calls for restructuring because their own was at the helm of affairs”.
Turning to the challenge of increased poverty, unemployment and insecurity, Abdullahi said, “These are all the fallout of poor leadership, which, at best ends results from bad governance.”
He lamented the political culture that has made elections more important to elected representatives than their records of performaces in office, adding that “this was the culture that shaped the 2015 politics and must be avoided in 2019 to give room for deepening democracy.
Turning to the reports of giving special premium to ongoing alliances across the nation ahead of 2019 and the question of performance by elected representatives, Abdullahi said it is misplaced.
He explained that the culture of being re-elected taking precedence over performance that could impact positively on the lives of the electorate should be discarded.
He then urged Nigerian voters to “look before they leap in 2019, to avoid bad electoral choices with dire consequences to their socio-economic advancement”.