'Why 2015 Will Decide Nigeria's Future' [interview] (allAfrica.com)

At a recent media chat with journalists in Abuja, the nation’s capital, a leading management and financial consultant, Mr. Odilim Enwegbara discussed some current political and economic issues facing the country as she goes to the polls this Saturday.
Recently in Ibadan, South-west political leaders declared for Jonathan because a vote for Jonathan is a vote for fiscal federalism and economic regionalism. What is your take on this?
Chief Awolowo in his infinite political wisdom was the first Nigerian leader who saw that true federalism should be enshrined in the constitution of this great country, not political federalism with economic centralism. That’s why it baffles me to see that APC, having its stronghold in the South-west not only refused to send some delegates to represent the party in the recent national conference, but also has refused to take a definite position on the report, particularly if an APC government is ready to implement one of the most important recommendations of the conference, which is restructuring Nigeria and making it become a true federal system where political federalism meets fiscal federalism or not.
One understands why the South-west has finally discovered that it would have been shooting itself in the foot should there be no gain with Buhari on the issue of economic regionalism as the conference recommended in its final report. Our brothers and sisters in the South-west are right that a true federalism cannot function without fiscal federalism as it is the case in the US, UAE, Canada, India, and Germany whose federating units are also fiscally autonomous.
In other words, there is no way we too shouldn’t have an arrangement like the one in UAE where Abu Dhabi and Dubai are running their own economies based on their pace or where in the US New York State and California State run economic marathon at their own pace. Lagos State and Sokoto State should be running their economies based on every state’s own human, natural, and entrepreneurial endowments.
This way each state and each regional economy should be forced to wake up from its long slumber and begin to be innovative and competitive, without having to be dragged backwards by its uncompetitive neighbours.
Our South-westerners have come to discover that since Jonathan started this confab thing, to ensure that during the next four years our sick country is finally cured once and for all, Jonathan should be re-elected.
I think that rather than vote against Jonathan for fear that his implementing the conference recommendations of a true federal system, the north being the most endowed economic region in the country, should be seeking fiscal federalism because with this new arrangement its vast agricultural and solid minerals sectors should witness surprising investment and growth, making the north not just Nigeria’s food basket but the world like California is both America’s food basket and the rest of the world.
In fact, developing its vast solid minerals endowment will make northern Nigeria far richer than South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana. That’s why fiscal federalism and economic regionalism should be pushed by north the same way South-west is pushing it. That’s why North should vote for Jonathan as someone who has finally come up with the best way to engender healthy federalism in Nigeria in a way that promotes growth and economic prosperity.
If north is like that hunter carrying an elephant on the head, it’s ironic that same north is fighting over its own share of a rabbit with many other hunters.
Buhari has been popular not only in the north but also recently in Washington and London to the extent his government will be offered military supports which the Jonathan administration is currently being denied. How do you relate with this?
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that western governments are refusing to sell arms to us because they hate Jonathan and will sell to us if Buhari is elected because they love Buhari? Something like they support Buhari because they think he will be a better president to relate with.
In order words, you are saying that it is the western powers who will tell us who we will choose as our president? Are you sure that the west truly likes Buhari as the next president or simply exploiting and magnifying Buhari’s divisive popularity in the north and Jonathan’s popularity in the South-south and South-east to play the north against the south with the end goal of eventually achieving a kind of stalemate designed to trigger the much talked about subdivision of Nigeria along both religious and ethnic lines?
This has long been demanded by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who as America’s foremost foreign policy theoretician and strategist, has served several US presidents and advised many, including the current President Barack Obama. This devoted believer that the current African map created at the Berlin Conference in 1885 by the then European powers to serve European commercial interests has not fully served America’s economic and military hegemonic interests, has been championing that large African states like Sudan and Nigeria be further subdivided into smaller, micro-states mostly along ethnic and religious lines form any form of resistance to the US 21st century hegemonic interests in Africa.
Are you are saying Washington’s game plan is to use the 2015 presidential election to the much talked about Nigeria’s disintegration?
In fact, the plan to create the needed standoff between the predominately Muslim North with Gen Buhari as their preferred presidential candidate and the predominantly Christian South with the incumbent President Jonathan as their preferred candidate is to create such a dangerous stalemate which could degenerate into two parallel governments being formed by both sides.
They are creating the inevitable ticking bomb that could easily explode into an uncontrollable conflict and an irreconcilable North-South divide with the possibility of agitation for self-determination, starting with the two southern geo-political zones of South-south and South-east.
And should this happen and the agitation gather more momentum, the US would demand that the UN Secretary General should intervene by inviting all the parties to the negotiating table, which acting behind the scene Washington would do everything in chaos.
Is this why Washington and London along with western media are supporting Buhari? That is why I strongly believe that the Nigerian people should know that there is something very sinister with this ongoing US’s and UK’s support of Buhari’s presidential ambition. I sincerely believe that we should all know about this game or lest we should be shooting ourselves in the foot out of our sheer ignorance. We all know that if we know the truth, the truth shall set us free.
Let our leaders know that a leader without superior foreknowledge of events can never be said to be a leader because the one thing that will separate a leader from the masses is knowledge… . Knowledge about the game plans of foreign enemies of Nigeria. How will our today’s leaders want to be remembered? As the ones who out of ignorance, supervised the fragmentation of Nigeria into four micro sovereign states the same way Sudan was recently subdivided into Sudan and Southern Sudan?
The only way to avert this potential disintegration of our great nation into a pack of micro states is to use our votes to stop the US realising its long planned agenda of using the 2015 presidential election to begin this process of subdividing Nigeria. Jonathan will only be there for another four years and in 2019, power will shift to the north for eight years without the north having to go cap-in-hand to share power with the Tinubu-led APC to be able to occupy the Presidential Villa.
Are you suggesting that the north should abandon Buhari and vote for Jonathan in the interest of the unity of this country?
My sincere appeal to our patriotic brothers and sisters from the north that fought to keep our great nation one is to be patient and allow Jonathan from South-south another four years so that, in 2019, power will shift to the north for eight years. I say this because this is a time to pay back the South-south that has remained astute partners of the north both during the Nigerian civil war and the 1979 presidential election when the South-south overwhelmingly voted for Shehu Shagari’s NPN without which, Awolowo’s UPN would have defeated Shagari in that presidential election.
It is also important for the north to bring out a young and dynamic presidential candidate – people like: Sanusi (Emir of Kano), Tambuwal, el-Rufai, and Ribadu – because the work ahead is huge, challenging and tasking given that it is almost a ’24-hour-7 days-a-week’ job. Should the northern political elite agree that power should return to the north in 2019, not only should power remain eight years in the north but also should not have to share the power with ambitious and manipulative southern politicians like Ahmed Tinubu, whose sole reason for wanting Buhari to become president is simply to extract economic and political capital from such a government.
In an era of economic regionalism and fiscal federalism, north should invest a lot of time and energy in the development of the country’s agriculture and solid minerals sectors because of their immense comparative and competitive advantage to the north.