How Ebele could have lost all the election goodwill including Nigeria’s cohorts of El-Rufai and Ribabu beats the heck out of many. He had most people in his grace. All you have to do is look back at his voters’ spread. By all means, Ebele was not a charlatan, always cool and collected. A man that was close in temperament to his President as a Vice-President. Both Yar’Adua and Ebele are examples of how a few extremist views can derail good people and better intentions.
One of the training most get from a doctorate study no matter your field is the ability to research, think deep and reflect on issues. This is Jonathan. But in politics, the game changes. What brings you into power may not keep you there. So there are realities based on security intelligence, even if skewed; some allies with their selfish reasons and those interests of the opponents that attack no matter what the incumbent does right and wrong.
Anyone that wants to rule Nigeria has to deal with the dichotomy of North and South. It is also a fact of life that a Northern President must form alliance with receptive groups in the South. The reverse is true that a Southerner must include favorable groups in the North. Whether it is right or wrong, that is reality. It makes good sense since either North or South cannot run smoothly without alliances. Even in military governments, to a lesser extent, it was done.
In the past we had the Progressive North willing to work with the South. Solomon Lar, J. S Tarka, and our only Saint so far in the Country, Aminu Kano. On his personal wealth, Waziri Ibrahim (Politics without Bitterness) worked with the South for the good of the Country. On the other hand, the South-south always worked with the North mainly from fear of domination by Yoruba and Igbo neighbors. The same is true of Igbo at the Federal and Yoruba at the states levels.
Cohorts of El-Rufai and Ribadu are important out of their willingness as young radicals of the days Rimi and Balabe Musa found it easier to bring North and South together. Both featured very well in OBJ and Yar’Adua governments but were soon displaced by the old conservatives in the North. The fact that each suffered under Yar’Ardua was a golden opportunity for Ebele.
He missed them by a long shot. It is bad enough to miss but to lose to the biggest crooks in Nigeria like Babangida, Gasau, Tinubu and Co is worse. It could have been a good opportunity for young radical Nigerians from the South and North to work together and finally overthrow the old cargoes in these regions that remain as godfathers to the detriment of the Country. Some have been involved in leadership since Independence; in every coup and refuse to let go.
Ebele could have seized that opportunity to bring the North, South, East and West together as reflected in his victory. However, selfish exuberance by voters from some parts in their only interest dominated his kitchen cabinet. There were South-southerners that rightly think their time has come for an opportunity to claim Nigeria main income zone. To be sincere, we cannot blame them because they have been neglected for too long especially in their own oil sector.
However, no matter how much is made from raw oil, a leaky treasury gathers no moss. Oil theft is not the exploit of petty thieves in our local markets but that of big men and big corporation operating big ships and tankers across the borders. They steal the future from our children. Those without raw oil that lack opportunity to loot were the worst perpetrators when in charge. Save your diagnosis and analysis. Concentrate more on alternate solutions to generate your own internal income. Oil income has poisoned our relationships and divided us even more.
Ebele had a delicate task but he could have managed it better. It got worse by not standing up to crooks in his cabinet. This is how most Nigerians that are not from Delta see it. But if you are from that area, it is preposterous for anyone to think that son-of-the-water from Niger Delta stole his/her own money. What defines leader is the ability to stand up to friends and opponent fairly. Nevertheless, Niger Delta fear is: if they do not command their raw oil income now, when?
Complainers from the West claimed that Ebele betrayed them when needed most led to the loss of 3rd most powerful position of Speaker. The problem with that can be seen in leaders that went to Abuja to complain. It was about personal interest and appointments. They know that the only time the West progressed was when they did not rely on the Federal Government but generated internal revenue to benefit their own future. Awo did it in the old West even after Agbekoya revolted, Jakande followed in Lagos; but Tinubu repeated it for his own pocket.
Blaming the East for opposing their Federal hand-outs also fails because any area that has been marginalized through the War as Ndi-Igbo, would fight for anything they can get from Abuja. That The East claims Ebele should not be surprising either. Indeed, it is reconciliation of Igbo relatives in the old West or Mid-west under Ebele that other Nigerians must emulate.
If Yoruba and Hausa could reconcile with their cousins as Igbo did, there would be no need for 250 different ethnic groups but a unified people regardless of major ethnic affiliation. So if Igbo could influence Ebele to their advantage, so could Hausa and Yoruba under the South or North young cohorts of former radicals like El-Rufai and Ribadu. That would wake us up from slumber.
It was up to Ebele to mix the delicate balance with the Northern young radicals he lost. They could have helped in extending hands across the Niger. For a long time, it has always been the hope of Southern politicians that once our Northerners sisters and brothers have embraced modern education as the South, environment would change old conservative domination to progressive opportunities lifting our Country out of ancient centuries’ religion and information.
This is the opportunity that Ebele lost. Blame Obasanjo as much as you want, he was more successful as a leader when most parts of the Country played prominent roles in powerful and strategic positions than any other time after the War. The stars of his administration were the same Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, Soludo, El-Rufai, Ribadu and old man Danjuma.
In order to build any country, loyalty must come before royalties. Niger Delta thinks the oil sector is their sole property and other Nigerians believe it belongs to the whole Country. Not even Solomon in his wisdom can marry both views perfectly. It will be folly to say with the amount of resources placed before our politicians that every Nigerian, no matter where they come from never had the opportunity of a good education, food and shelter provided by better investments in finished products from agricultural and mining jobs in the North and South.
National Conference Resolution maybe too late. Ebele woke up late to disguised terrorists and fanatics distractions. He has nobody to blame but himself if he is not re-elected since no one starts fortifying a house in the face of a Tsunami. The foundation has to be there from the start.
The mistake did not start with Ebele but must end with someone. Nigeria’s young radicals know that lack of locally finished oil products, enough to export is our problem, not cheaper raw oil from our backyards. Think about how much raw oil we can buy with finished oil products.
Article written by Farouk Martins Aresa