Nigeria Needs To Be Restructured – Omababa | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria Needs To Be Restructured – Omababa

Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 1:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Barr. Abuka Omababa is an Abuja based human rights lawyer and President-General, Middle Belt Indigenous Peoples Network. In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH; he speaks on the struggle of Middle Belt people, the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State and other issues. Excerpts…    

What role does your organization, the Middle Belt Indigenous Peoples Network intends to play in the development of the region?

Bar. Abuka Omababa

Bar. Abuka Omababa

Middle Belt has a history of long struggle for self-determination and to own its natural resources. Therefore, we the people of the Middle Belt demand that this country, called Nigeria, be restructured to accommodate all ethnic groups, if it must make progress.  It has to be restructured to its foundation so that love and justice would exist among various ethnic groups in the country.  Because, as it is now, there is no love; a situation where some groups are oppressed cannot lead to the growth of the country.  The practice where the resources of every community are taken to Abuja and we all converge on Abuja to share the revenue is most unacceptable. If we continue that way, it would not lead us to anywhere. If you look at the struggle in Abuja for instance; it is all about self-interest. All we are saying is that if we have the centre that is weak and allow the regions to develop according to their own pace, the better for us.  That is why you see majority of Middle Belt indigenes in major cities of the country doing menial job like riding okada while the zone has over 140 solid mineral resources untapped. We are of the opinion that if the solid mineral and other natural resources in the Middle Belt zone is properly tapped and the people are allowed to control it, the place would be better than it is at the moment. Look at the present situation of Ajaokuta Steel industry, that company would have been a rallying industry for the Middle Belt people, but it has remained moribund for decades.  You may shed tears if you have the opportunity to visit the site and see how the place was left to rust. If we restructure the country, the regions would develop at their pace and the idea of rushing to Abuja at the end of the month for federal allocations would stop. The country cannot move forward if it continues in that way.


How do you assess the performance of governors from states regarded as Middle Belt states?

It is all about selfish interests. The governors, during their campaigns, promised the people a lot of things but when they won the elections, they failed to deliver on their electoral promises. It is time for the people of the region to have to look for leaders that are committed to delivering on dividends of democracy. I believe the practice of bringing people to impose on the people whether the person is competent or not is gradually fading out. I am sure that in subsequent elections, the people of Middle belt would elect competent leaders like Babatunde Fashola, Adams Oshiomhole, and Sullivan Chime of Enugu State.  If we have this kind of leaders I mentioned, Middle Belt would move forward.


The governorship election in Kogi State is about four months away and one issue that is agitating the mind of the people is power shift. Do you think our problem is that of shifting power among the three senatorial zones?

The real issue is not about power shift.  The important thing is to look for somebody that can pull Kogi State out of the doldrums. The state was created in 1991 and from that time till now, the state cannot stand tall in the comity of states.  My interest is that the governor can come from any part of the state provided the person is an agent of change.  The people deserve a change and not for somebody to be there because he needs to be there as governor. In a multi-ethnic society like Kogi, all we need is to look for the best among the people, irrespective of where the person comes from. We must forget about sentiment in this case, because the issue of governance is not about sentiment but about who can deliver.  The vital question is who is the next person that can move Kogi State to Eldorado?


What is your assessment of Buhatri’s first month in office in view of the criticism in some quarters that the administration has nothing to show in its first 30 days in office?

I don’t support the idea because the past administrations had brought the country to a point that it is difficult to survive. Our leaders have pushed the country to the point of near end and if something has to be done to return the country to life, it should not be done with the mentality of immediate, because we have done that in the past and it does not work.  So if we take our time and solve the problem that affects us, it would make meanings to our life. It is not even up to three months that he took over and people are already crucifying him, let us wait and see how he would sort things out. Others came in and could not sort things out in the country rather they made things worse for us as a country.  If you remember in the days of late Yar’Adua and Obasanjo we don’t have anything like Boko Haram insurgency as we are having at the moment and gradually we are sliding into other problems in the country.  In this country, corruption has been on the rise and the last government did not help matters at all.  Even the EFCC that was established some years ago has been inactive and could not effectively prosecute any past leaders who succeeded in plundering the resources of the country to their own advantage. So if we must pull the country back from the state of near collapse that it has been plunged into, then we must consider restructuring because it is very important to our growth and development.