Federal Government Is Not Treating Igbo People Right – Yerima
Alhaji Shettima Yerima, an activist and president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in this interview, blows hot about the way the people of the South-eastern part of Nigeria have been treated by the government, and why he thinks the agitation for Biafra is justified even though it is not the best option.
The fiery leader of the AYCF also suggests solutions to the crisis.
Alhaji Shettima Yerima, a activist and president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum
How did this agitation come this far?
Well, it’s been a very long journey and for people like us, it is not surprising. The agitation for Biafra is not news to us because it has been there over time especially since 1966 with what gave birth to the overthrow of the Aguiyi Ironsi government after the killing of some top leaders. The agitation has been there and that was what led to civil war in 1967 when Odimegwu Ojukwu came on board against the state and the reconciliation in the 1970s. Ever since, there had always been one agitation of the other. But the truth of the matter is that nobody is happy about the situation and all of us felt that it would not augur and it is not even in the best interest of this country for any part to secede now. This is a critical and very challenging time. And it is high time we began looking at the issue critically. We are only pretending that Nigeria is a nation, it has never been a nation. We just pray that it would become a nation. There are very fundamental issues that need to be addressed by any government in place and, to do that we must apply the principles of equity, justice and fairness to all. The moment we begin to say this group of people must be dealt with decisively because of their mindset or thinking that they are being marginalised, then there is a problem.
READ ALSO: Gowon Slams Biafra Agitators
The government must be seen to be doing justice and discussing issues the way they are. If we continue to pretend that things are normal and people are saying they are not normal and are agitating, one day it might not be funny. In as much as we pretend that things are well, you can see this call for Biafra is getting more popular internationally. I pray and I pray the leaders begin to see reasons to look at the issues critically. If they feel they are being marginalised and you underestimate and threaten them by arresting them and incarcerating them, just know that the more you do that, the more they get international and local sympathy. At the end of the day, you would be marvelled at what that amounts to. It could metamorphose into something beyond your expectation. Detention and arrests are not the answers to the issue. Issues must be brought forward for discussion. We must disagree to agree so that we can form a nation. We are not yet a nation. Under international laws which Nigeria is signatory to, the right to see for nationhood is guaranteed. Thus, if people decide that they don’t want to be part of your project, there is nothing you can do about it. Whatever you do is just to buy time. So why don’t you look at the issues the way they are and address them once and for all? This is what I think and it is absolutely my opinion.
Those sympathetic to President Muhammadu Buhari believe that the agitation became intense because the average Igbo man does not like a Hausa man being the President. Do you subscribe to this?
I do not subscribe to that because before Buhari, there were leaders who came from the Nort. Umar Yar’Adua was from the North and we could see the support from the East until lately when there was this problem of misgivings just before the recent elections. The perception of those in the camp of President Buhari is that the South-east was against him and that he did not get enough votes from the area and so what they bargained for is what they would get. Again, I do not share that perception. This is because this is a democracy where everyone has the right to decide where he wants to stay and if a government is finally formed at the end of the day, that government must be seen to be all-inclusive and carry everybody along irrespective of whether you got votes or not. You must be seen to be more civilised and behave in very civil ways so that we will all feel we are part of this democracy. But where things went wrong and you want to pay back, I do not think that is nationalistic.
And when the issue of appointments came up and some positions that should be shared nationally went in one direction as far as we were concerned, some of us raised alarm we did not raise alarm because we don’t enjoy Buhari, but because we know he is human and those who work with him are also human. So where something is going wrong, there is no problem in calling the person to correct it. I do not think it is in the best interest of Nigerians to play politics with things like this because the only reason Buhari is elected is because people gave him mandate to be President of Nigeria and so issues of a section of the country not giving him their votes should not arise. The perception became more glaring and visible because certain things happened in recent times, especially just before the election, after the election and in appointments. It is not because they hate Buhari but certain things have gone wrong and it is better to address them. As long as they remain part of the country, what belongs to them must be given. But where we believe that some parts of the country should be treated as second-class citizens, then we are not doing justice to the nation or that we want the country to survive. This is just the truth of it.
There is also this argument that the South-east is not ripe enough to call for secession because there is not particular leader to take them out of the woods. An analyst recently cited the case of South Sudan. What do you think?
That they are not mature enough, how is that our problem, the problem of anybody or a section of the country? By law, how is that a problem? It is either you decide to carry them along or if you feel they are burdens to you, then, allow them to go. When a child decides that it is time to come out of her mummy’s womb, you can’t stop the child. Oftentimes, we make the mistake of comparing Nigeria with other countries forgetting that we do not share the same culture. We are people from different backgrounds, religions and environments. So I do not share that sentiment. There are also countries that broke and the seceding countries are living on their own. Have you ever seen where a country breaks up and the parts come back together because it was a mistake? It has never happened. So who is afraid in the case of Nigeria? If we cannot do justice to all, then let everyone go peacefully.
For me, I do not think the entire North should be held responsible for not allowing the East to go. For me, if they choose to go, so be it. The day we feel tired of this project called Nigeria, we, too in the North would say we are going. Let nobody hold anybody to ransom. I only just think going our separate ways is not the best answer, but let’s also begin to decide for them as if we should tell what they want or not. If we cannot bring equity and justice to this table and discuss it, then what is the essence of this pretence? We don’t have to pretend; the country is sick and we need a man who truly believes in the nation to govern it rather than heating it up. And this is where I differ because with the problem at hand like insurgency in the northern part of the country, there should not be any reason to create another monster in another part of the country. Leaders must be seen to be low-headed at this time. Let us not be fooled, this is the best time for leaders to put their heads together and see how things would be solved and appreciate the fact that we come from different backgrounds. Let us not abuse this opportunity. If found wanting, let us address the problem and stop behaving like there is no problem. The moment you begin to say some people should be sidelined, then you are not bargaining for peace.
In resolving this problem now, do you suggest that the report of the last National Conference should be looked into?
The report of the National Conference cannot be a reason to start looking at a new Nigeria because even some of us have issues with the Confab and its composition and how it went. This government must be open because if we cannot sit down and discuss it, then there is a problem. This government must create an atmosphere and engage everyone. I believe a Sovereign National Conference is the answer to this whole thing and there must be no no-go area. People must be allowed to discuss issues. Often, when the issues of national discourse emerge, these mischief makers, these crooks who are 80 percent criminally-minded people at the National Assembly would tell you that they are the ones to discuss them. You cannot be the manager of Nigeria because they voted for you. You cannot just wake up one morning and declare that the sovereignty of the people is now your own. Allow the rightful owners decide how they want to live together and move forward.
The constitution we have today is fraud. We challenge the legality of the preamble of the constitution. You cannot move a country forward where there is problem. The country is sick! We can only buy time, but the day it would escalate, everyone would start running helter-skelter. And I am afraid that the prediction of America that Nigeria would break would not come to pass. Unfortunately, the government of the day believes so much in America. In fact, they even consult America before introducing some local policies to us. You can see how bad it is that after 55 years, Nigeria has not grown enough to decide how we want to govern ourselves. Must we consult America? Why can’t we do our thing our own way? Who even tells you America is in support of Nigerians uniting together? History has shown that so many wars and insurgency around the world have the imprint of America. Can’t we learn from history? Do we want to go into another civil war? I can tell you that if Nigeria goes into another civil war now, we will not survive it.
Often times its the Signs,’ Nick Savoy says, ‘She Really Wants You
If she’s guilty, there’s a good chance she wants to be more than friends.
I command you to grow-the growth I mean is manly maturity! Pick this, if you’re a guy
When it comes to moving from ‘just friends’ to dating, most men don’t know how to read a woman’s signs. Worse yet, some guys embarrass themselves and see signals when there are none.
For the unvarnished truth, we went to Love Systems’ Nick Savoy, an expert on female psychology and dating, who offered up these seven signs she’s game for being more than a friend.
1. She always returns your texts—and more quickly than you return hers
This all relates back to the basics of how to attract women through texting. You never want to seem over-eager, or invest a lot more than she does. “Investment” here can be measured in text message length, amount of emotional content, how many texts get responded to, and how quickly you answer her texts.
The same signals work in reverse. So if she’s responding more quickly, more often, and with longer and more emotional messages than you are sending, there’s a decent chance that she’s interested in you.
2. She’s the last woman standing
While some women will proposition their friends (or at least drop hints), most tend to hang around, structure an opportunity for you to make a move, and see what you do.
So if your friend never seems to leave the party or the night on the town before you do, she’s probably into you—or she’s the world’s best “party friend.” This counts double if she makes things happen such that the two of you will be alone at the end of the night (e.g. asking you for a ride home).
You can also test to see if she’ll accompany you on mundane tasks and errands. Ask her to keep you company while you go grocery shopping or drop off dry cleaning. If she does, she’s either got nothing to do or she really likes spending time with you.
3. There’s sexual tension where there wasn’t any before
When a friend wants you, there’s almost always some physical/sexual tension. This is different from when you’re attracted to someone you don’t know, where the first few steps are usually about spending time together and getting to know each other. But if you’re already friends, you’ve presumably done a lot of that already. Her wanting you means that she wants to take things to the next level.
If there’s more sex talk and sexual joking in her conversation with you than there was before, that might be her way of showing that she wants you. Similarly, if she starts dropping hints about how “it’s been a while,” she might be signaling that she’s not currently sleeping with someone—and that it’s time to make your move.
4. She’s “touchier” with you
One thing we teach a lot at Love Systems is that “body language rarely lies.” If she touches you more than she touches her other male friends (usually on the arm, shoulder, back, etc.), she might be showing her intentions.
If she’s starting to make those moves, use the “ping test.” Touch her arm or hand when you make a point or tell a joke. Does she find an excuse to touch you back? Throw your arm around her playfully–does she seem uncomfortable, or does she curl in?
One warning: Some women don’t like to be touchy-feely in public, or where their friends can see them. Test this out somewhere private.
5. You’re funnier all of a sudden
A classic way for a woman to show she’s attracted to a man is to laugh at his jokes. Having a good sense of humor is important for meeting and attracting women anyway, and there have been some good discussions on the Love Systems forum on how to develop your sense of humor.
If she seems to laugh at little louder and more quickly at your jokes than she does with other guys in your social circle, she might be sending signals. Or your sense of humor just happens to appeal to her – which isn’t a bad sign in itself.
6. She’s randomly up to date about your life
She follows you on Facebook and “liked” you status update about getting off work early. She commented that your new profile photo looks great. When you run into her, she asks you how that new sushi restaurant was – because you posted last week that you were going to check it out. This is the social media equivalent of making eye contact at a party. And it’s just as good of a sign of her interest.
It doesn’t have to be online. Does she notice every time you have a haircut or get a new outfit? Does she ask you how your date went last Thursday? If she’s not typically like that, it means that she’s paying attention to you.
7. She never tries to set you up
OK, this one’s not true.
It’s a bit illogical, but often a woman who has a crush on you will try to set you up with someone else – especially if she’s seen you a bunch of times and you haven’t made a move yet.
Regardless of the situation, be flattered if this happens. It means she sees you as being attractive enough to stake her own reputation on. And if your friend is single, it’s almost always a good sign if she’s interested in your dating life – even if she’s supposedly trying to set you up with someone else.
The Jagaban of Borgu has been slain politically upon his high places. How are the mighty fallen!
Many monuments have been built in honour of the man Bola Tinubu. He is acclaimed as the political genius of our times who not only engineered the taming of the PDP juggernaut, he caged it and confined it to the backwaters of Otuoke. Since the APC defeat of the PDP in the presidential election, Tinubu the tactician has been feted, celebrated and praised to high heavens. But all these encomiums have proved to be highly exaggerated.
The truth of the matter is that Tinubu, the veritable Jagaban of Borgu, is a master of political illusion. He is remarkable for the distinction of characteristically pulling defeat out of the jaws of putative victory. He mid-wifed the birth of the APC, only to be shut out of its vice-presidential sweepstakes. He engineered APC victory at the centre, only to see his arch-enemies take over the posts of Speaker and Senate President in the Natiuonal Assembly. He piggy-backed Buhari to the presidency, only to be shut out of a say in the president’s cabinet nominees.
Tinubu is called the National Leader of the APC when there is no such post in the party’s Constitution. When a critical meeting of APC bigwigs was called to address the party’s imbroglio in the National Assembly, the “National Leader” could not attend because, in actual fact, he is not even a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
Sowing and reaping
In 2011, Tinubu was hailed for cutting his nose to spite his face. The PDP nominated his kinswoman, Mulikat Akande, as Speaker of the National Assembly. However, Tinubu conspired with recalcitrant PDP party-members to frustrate the plans of their party for his South-West homestead. Instead, he engineered the election of Sokoto’s Aminu Tambuwal, an APC wolf in PDP sheep’s clothing, as Speaker.
In 2015, Tinubu received payback for these shenanigans again to the detriment of his native South-West. The same Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto he schemed into the position of Speaker in 2011, repaid Tinubu by frustrating his efforts to install his Lagos acolyte, Femi Gbajabiamila, as Speaker in 2015. Taking a leaf straight out of Tinubu’s 2011 playbook, Tambuwal conspired with opposition PDP members to install another Northern PDP turncoat, Yakubu Dogara, as Speaker.
Tinubu’s comeuppance here is particularly savage because it was actually Gbajabiamila who reportedly convinced Tinubu that Tambuwal would readily act as traitor to his PDP party in 2011. It is therefore veritable poetic justice that the same Tambuwal became an equally ready tool of the PDP in the frustration of Gbajabiamila’s ambition and the interests of Tinubu and the APC in 2015.
Moreover, Tinubu was repaid for his 2011 manipulations with interest. The same treachery employed to Tinubu’s political disadvantage in the House was also duplicated in the Senate. Bukola Saraki, another PDP turncoat, refused to abide by the dictates of APC Central, firmly controlled by Tinubu’s ACN. He snatched the position of Senate President without official APC approval, but with the support of the opposition PDP. So doing, he sidelined both Tinubu’s first-choice of George Akume, as well as his second-choice of Ahmed Lawan.
Just as Tinubu was licking his wounds at the denial of his “rightful inheritance” in the National Assembly after the APC victory at the polls, the news came that his political cookie had equally crumbled at Aso Rock. It had been popularly alleged that Tinubu’s portion in Buhari’s presidency would not be limited to the appointment of his political godson as vice-president, but would also include the allocation of no less than nine choice ministerial nominees to the discretion of the Jagaban of Borgu.
But by the time Buhari unfurled his ministerial list two weeks ago, the alleged dedicated slots had shrunk to zero. Many of us had warned in the heady days of the formation of the APC that those insistent that power must return to the North would be determined to checkmate Tinubu if and when the election was won. We warned Tinubu that even as he cannot conceivably be accepted nationally to rule Nigeria as president, even so can he not rule Nigeria by proxy. We warned him that the North would never allow Buhari to be his Man Friday in Aso Rock.
However, Tinubu was too far gone to listen. It would now appear that he even failed to take out insurance policies against such probable eventualities.
But once elected, Buhari started a romance with Babatunde Fashola and Kayode Fayemi designed clearly to sideline the Jagaban. While these former governors were previously members of Tinubu’s inner-circle, they had since run out of patience with the heavy handedness of their boss. Therefore, during the election campaign, both of them campaigned for Buhari above and beyond the call of party duty.
Fashola, in particular, was clearly fed up with being under Tinubu’s political shadow. In the struggle for who would be the APC gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Tinubu did not allow Fashola to choose his successor, in the ignoble tradition of Nigerian governors. While Fashola favoured Supo Shasore, the former Attorney General of Lagos State, Tinubu railroaded in Akinwunmi Ambode as the APC candidate.
While again, in the ignoble tradition of Nigerian politics, governors promptly transform themselves into Senators when their term as governor ends, this option was closed off to Fashola because Tinubu had already installed his wife as the Senator from Fashola’s constitutency. The only option left for Fashola politically was a presidential ministerial appointment and, even there, Tinubu had put up a road block against him.
Tinubu prefers to nominate political nonentities for higher office in the South-West, so that he would be the only Iroko tree in the forests of the region. Therefore his candidates for ministerial appointment from Lagos were his little nationally-known former commissioners, Wale Edun and Yemi Cardoso, who could pose no threats whatsoever to his ascribed South-West political supremacy.
But when Fashola and Fayemi accompanied Buhari to the G7 meeting in Germany in June 2015, alarm bells started ringing in Tinubu’s Bourdillon Road mansion in Lagos. This was clearly a signial that these former governors were intent on by-passing the official godfather of the South-West by applying to be member of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet on their own recognisance.
The Tinubu brigade would have none of this. Therefore, a campaign of calumny was launched to cut Fashola in particular to dimunitive size. Suddenly, the “memo” was sent out implying the former governor had developed political leprosy. When two books were launched simultaneously celebrating his achievements as governor, none of his APC colleagues from Lagos dared to attend for fear of entering the bad books of the dreaded Jagaban.
In order to nail the coffin on Fashola’s ministerial aspirations, it was leaked to the press that a whopping 78 million naira of public money was spent on the construction of his personal website. 139 million naira was also alleged to have been spent on two boreholes constructed in Government House, Lagos during his tenure. The intention here was to ensure that Fashola becomes ineligible for ministerial consideration on grounds that he would not pass Buhari’s anti-corruption integrity test.
However, Buhari was apparently unimpressed by these political shenanigans. When his list of ministerial nominees were unfurled, Fashola and Fayemi featured prominently among Buhari’s “first eleven.” None of Tinubu’s nominees made the list. Other nominees from the South-West were precisely the kind of people Tinubu did not want in Buhari’s team; people who would not be indebted to Tinubu but to Buhari.
While Buhari completely ignored Tinubu’s candidates, he included that of another South-West bigwig. Obasanjo’s favourite son, Prince Olagusoye Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State, was included in Buhari’s list. Thereby, the president asserted the saliency of Obasanjo’s South-West influence in Aso Rock over that of the Jagaban. He even pointedly appointed Obasanjo as his special envoy to Guinea-Bissau.
This is certainly not what Tinubu bargained for when he decided to pitch his tent with Buhari and the APC. If he were to be furthermore overlooked in the appointment of BOT chairman of the APC, the marginalisation of the Jagaban in the post-election APC would be complete.
Some of us saw this coming. In the heady early days of the APC coalition, we warned that Tinubu would be used and dumped. But we were labelled as PDP lapdogs and charlatans. That is why I say today: let no one cry for Bola Tinubu.
Anyone who hears Tinubu’s recent vicious attack on Saraki would realise these are the tokens of a frustrated man. Tinubu could not attack the President, therefore he poured all his venom on the Senate President. He accused him of indiscipline and disloyalty; the very things he celebrated in the PDP rebels who joined forces with him against their party in 2011.
The recent declaration that Buhari appointed Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation at the instance of Tinubu is a face-saving device. The Tinubu camp forgot to tell us this until now. At the time of new SGF’s appointment, all the uproar was about the Northern lopsidedness in Buhari’s choices.
Observing the sidelining of Tinubu by Buhari, Senator Femi Okunroumu said: “I am having a good laugh. This is what I expected. In any case, Tinubu is stretching his luck too far as he wants to dictate who will rule Nigeria. Tinubu’s wings need to be clipped. With the ministerial list, Tinubu has been dumped. He should not just be dumped, he should be disgraced.”
On his part, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said: “APC is not a party; it is a gang of people whose sole aim was to remove Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as president. In a real party, you share the spoils of office before elections not after elections. This is what is happening in APC. We warned our people, but they failed to listen.”
In the new politics of today’s APC, it is better to be the enemy of Bola Tinubu than to be his friend. The enemies of Tinubu become Senate presidents; they become Speakers of the House of Representatives; they become ministers of the Federal government. But the friends of Tinubu are sent to Siberia.
The Jagaban of Borgu himself has been slain politically upon his high places. How are the mighty fallen!
It is the greater part i know in life and seem always to love its light to direct me. It is simple to put forth, but mountainous to attain. It is the portion of a man that is the more strikingly good enough that brings men to remember him some time, at his dawn. Life is good, i hear people say. And i laugh at them and get away. What do they who hold out such comment know? Most part of it taste death. Have you not found? Did you not fall once, almost into despair with someone you had concluded that life and nature were unfairly treating?
We have just a small portion of life that taste pleasure, delight and live. It has been argued, and i was among of the folks who say that if living is the way men do it, all people from the families of mankind need to still go and take learning about how best to live and live long. There is one reason they say so.
If life is to be chosen, and we’ve always done so over death and its cruel acquaintances, then, wherever the discussion on how to sustain life and keep it going would be had,death should be invited to take part. did you shout why. tell me another foe that life has. When you look before you leap, knew and the recall that tomorrow is portentous is maxim enough to focus you, you’re wise.
Life is short and death is longest, fit to be a factor that directs our entire living. And the entire living, in the subject, entails how we treat those who we have undue penchant to treat the way human in them refuse to accept. Have you bothered yourself to do a simple ponder and come out with the realization that if you’re anything, it is only humans that know that exactly? If you have, then, it is ONLY with humans, that those who might claim any time, that they’re capable could be making the boast and would of course, in the end be greater than those who are not.
That LIFE AND Living ARE ideally simple. In the end It is humans alone, IE, our neighbours that determines how well we must have lived; they too have at our departure words fit and adjudged fair to have about how we lived.
How well spoken of we’ll be cried about at death is important. Otherwise is known but no one would like that. Let us always remember death and have pity both on ourselves and those we bring under our violent action. we’ll do well to take heed. reason, a fellow’s neighbour, is, of course, his brother. and if he is not a man, his sister.
We’re one, all of us. Look at the next fellow and see yourself. What you hate, he/she is likely to hate and what you like, she/he is likely to also like. Tell me how we’re not?
a wife or husband are wares that are sold in the market in sacks that never got opened even after having bought until the buyer got home. it is a market of luck, those who opened their sack and saw python and those who got fortune from their own sacks. may you both find fortune in the item, marriage you have entered.
the world is jinxed, or it is heading towards the direction. And one thing, everyone one is dislocated. There is one reason i want to talk. You, yes, you, must jump into the fray and begin your little contributions if the world would stay afloat from this terrible quiver. if you fail, the government of your country, and that of the world most powerful nation are already overwhelmed with troubles of governance and will not help out. We tend, always to think that there is one country under God that can pick the weight of colossus. That must have been the feature of yesterday. This time, to bring about the desired change all hands must find a point on the deck. if you knew one song, ‘all other ground is sinking sand’, it is mostly applicable to now-times. no one can save anything now. But if you think otherwise, then, it is the beginning of the disappointment of those who so thinks. there, surely is a black snake in the thatch!