Published On: Sun, Sep 18th, 2016

NIGERIA: A Country Deeply Divided And In Need Of Restructuring -By Efiye Bribena

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The recent publications and comments on the ownership of $34m by Mrs. Patience Jonathan shows how deeply divided Nigeria has become along religious, ethnic, social and sectional lines. This episode clearly demonstrates that Nigeria is no longer one and is in desperate need of restructuring if the nation is to survive as a united entity.

The publications and comments trending almost at the same time with the ownership of an N120m Rolls Royce by the emir of Kano clearly buttress this point. The entrenched systemic/ institutional corruption and structural deficiencies in the nation is fast destroying the very fabric of the society as shown by our world views on issues.

It is strange that despite the fact that the two individuals in question (Patience Jonathan and Malam Sanusi) have similar background in public service in the sense that they both have a career pattern that cannot justify their stupendous wealth, some people don’t see anything wrong with Sanusi’s claim but see everything wrong with Patience Jonathan’s claim. Others don’t see anything wrong in Patience Jonathan’s claim but see everything wrong with Sanusi’s claim. Security agents are geared up to “persecute” one but are not bothered to “persecute” the other. We should take a moment and reflect on why it is so.

It is the same reason why, to some, there is nothing wrong for Buhari to use Lagos state and Rivers state funds to run elections but there is everything wrong for Jonathan to use state funds to run elections.
To some there is nothing wrong for Jagaban to own half of Lagos through the common wealth of the state but there is everything wrong for a Tompolo to be paid N13b through a FEC approval.

To some all is well for lucrative oil wells to be arbitrarily awarded to an Alakija and Mai Deribe to become stupendously rich but there is everything wrong for a Diezani to enrich herself as minister of Petroleum not minding that other ministers before her have stupendous wealth that Cannot be explained.

Some will call for Mrs. Jonathan to explain the source of her wealth but they will not call on Aisha Buhari to explain the source of her wealth and expensive jewelries. Buratai can buy expensive properties in Dubai as a serving military officer and is not investigated and prosecuted but Mrs. Jonathan must be investigated and prosecuted for owning $34m.
While people from the Niger Delta are saying that their kith and kin are entitled to benefit from the proceeds of the corrupt system just like others, people mostly from the north and south west are saying that they are the only ones that should benefit from the proceeds of the corrupt system.

As far as such people are concerned people from the Niger Delta are not entitled to benefit from the proceeds of the corrupt system and must be compelled to return any benefit derived from the corrupt system while they keep their loot. That is the message that is resonating loud and clear and the major cause of the current Niger Delta crisis. This is at the heart of the crisis currently rocking the nation. Somebody should please tell me the difference in these cases and explain why any truly patriotic Nigerian should support one and not the other or condemn one and not the other.

The fault lines in our society have become more pronounced under this government and the country will likely disintegrate if urgent steps are not taken to restructure the nation and correct the systemic/institutional corruption and structural deficiencies.

Nigeria has become a dysfunctional state in need of urgent remedy.
Systemic corruption driven by nepotism and cronyism perpetuated by the current regime is fast destroying the soul of the nation, bringing to fore tendencies that can only create disunity amongst the various ethnic and religious groups.
Reading recent comments by Prof Soludo and Malam Sanusi on the economy confirms that the main reason the country is sliding to the abyss is because of wrong policy decisions by the present regime on the economy. Making an already bad situation worse. Yet most analysts shy away from stating the obvious.
The question we might want to ask is what is responsible for the wrong policy decisions? The root cause for these wrong policy decisions is the effort to propagate, project and pursue narrow sectional and religious interest at the expense of national interest. That is the bane of our society.

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Efiye Bribena is a Public Affairs Analyst

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