It is necessary in the light of my previous appeal to the Yoruba nation and especially considering the conduct and consequences of the last Presidential Election to revisit my position. In my article, I posted the popular belief that the Yorubas never picked the crumbs. I was jolted by the responses, mostly favourable, which I received from across the nation, some in print media, and many more in the social media.
My position then was, and still is, that the Yoruba as a nation has never been opportunistic; they give fair hearing to all contestants in a dispute and they apportion blame or right whichever is appropriate. The results of the last presidential election must be a lasting lesson to many Yoruba leaders especially octogenarians, who despite their age, experience and exposure chickened out like banana fruits. These people have deceived us for a long time with their assumed posture as progressives, activists and welfarists. Up till today, some swear by Awolowo’s name. the question is why should these people fall prey to the maneuvers of mischievous politicians? Is it poverty? No, it can’t. Is it greed? Yes, it could be. Is it envy or perceived enemy within the Yoruba nation? Most probably.
The carrots thrown up about the last Confab that the resolutions would be implemented have earned them the sticks. None of our leaders needs to be deceived that it is only the National Assembly, and at least two thirds of state assemblies can effect any change in the constitution of the land.
Many Yoruba leaders including this writer cautioned these people into attempting to put into the compartment the whole nation. That we, as a people, have never been known to speak with one single voice. That we inherit a culture of high integrity and diversification of views. That we never sleep in one room, all facing one direction.
The above position was borne out vividly during the Awolowo days. Sure, Awolowo had his Ayo Fasanmis, Akin Omoboriowos, Sam Alukos but so he had his S. G. Ikokus, A. U. Umoren, he also had his J. S. Tarkas and Olawonyins who operated freely in their environment and who gave necessary advice to the leadership of their party. Hence, the Awolowo group though mainly in South/Western Nigeria also had its tentacles in the Cross Rivers that now constitute Cross-River and Rivers State. The party also was substantially represented in what is now Middle Belt Region especially Kwara, Kogi, Plateau and Benue.
Let us admit it, the voting pattern for the various major nationalities that constitute the Nigeria nation shows the culture, the openness, the healthy diversity and civic orientation of the Yoruba people. In the elections in South-West, APC scored 2,433, 193 while the PDP made 1,821,416. In almost all of the states that constitute the zone, the two main parties achieved the minimum requirement of 25%. That is how it should be. But the story is different in the South/South, South/East and North/West in particular where some candidates scored less than 5% of the votes cast in some states. The efforts of the do-gooder leaders and self appointed Yoruba crusaders fail to measure up to civilized behaviour.
Now looking ahead, the new Federal Administration should be inclusive. Some people have already been biting their fingers for their brazen and thoughtless mindset. A situation should be avoided by Gen. Buhari whereby a group could corner 70% of senior management positions in government. A recent story in one of the national dailies indicated that out of fifty top positions in the Federal setup, the Yoruba occupy only two while a particular nationality had above twenty –five. Nigeria is a country of nationalities and should be so represented in all organs of government especially at senior political and public service levels.
Another thing which the incoming administration should have a good look at is the allocation of resources at Federal level. Presently, about 85% of the nation’s revenue go to recurrent expenditure comprising mainly salaries, wages, other benefits and overheads. In a country crying for development, this is unacceptable. In particular, wages and other benefits that are now enjoyed by National Assembly men deserve public scrutiny. It appears the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has been completely incapacitated that it can no more carry out its constitutional duties. Key of these duties are recommending revenue formula among the three tiers of government to the National Assembly. I am not sure this has been successfully done in the last fifteen years; this is due mainly to the impunity of the occupiers of Aso-Rock who unilaterally alter the figures and ratios recommended by the Commission. The duty of the President is to forward the recommendation to the National Assembly unaltered, but the Executive distorts them.
One other important duty of RMAFC is to specify the numerations of political office holders and judicial officers of the country. Today, nobody knows what our Senators and Members of House of Reps are earning. It is a secret that is not known even to the President. Unconfirmed reports state that a Senator earns more than twenty million naira including other benefits per month. This is atrocious to say the least as our legislatures represent the highest paid lawmakers in the world. The new administration should roll back this national extraordinary bonanza and let the recommendations of the RMAFC stand.
As we are now embarking on a new journey, the incoming administration should identify such projects that are of benefit to the Nigerian people and should actively pursue them. Not all aspects of our life were totally bad; some programmes after evaluation should be continued. Meanwhile, our do-gooder and false social activities should step aside for once and let this country move forward. God help new Nigeria.
*Chief Fasuan (MON), a frontline social commentator, is a retired Permanent Secretary in old Ondo State.