A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, has questioned the rationale behind the reactions of some Northern elites to the decision of Southern governors to ban open grazing in their region.
In an article, Ozekhome stated that the unexpected kick by the Northern elites over the resolutions of the governors was not only worrisome but also illegal and unconstitutional.
He averred that the Northern elites were probably afraid that the South had finally woken up from playing ‘slaves’ and might finally achieve overdue liberation.
Ozekhome asked why Northern governors, who held a virtual meeting on February 9 about the urgent need to ban open grazing would question the authority of the Southern governors to hold a similar meeting and come up with similar resolutions.
He wrote, “The sudden unexpected kick by some Northern elites against the patriotic resolutions passed last week at a meeting held in Asaba by the 17 Southern Governors of Nigeria is quite worrisome but definitely uncalled for. The kick is illegal, unconstitutional and even immoral. I have since termed the Asaba resolutions the ‘Accord Concordiale’.
“The sudden hoopla and ruckus seem to suggest that these few vocal elements are suddenly scared of certain manifold effects that the unanimous resolutions by the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Benin, Anioma, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Ibibio and Efik leading lights may throw up. What are they afraid of? I do not know.
“Or, do you? But, let me do some guesswork here. They may probably be afraid that the South has finally woken up and shaken off its Stockholm Syndrome. I guess they are scared that the assumed long-suffering ‘slaves’ of Nigeria may finally achieve their overdue liberation, liberty and freedom, and attain their independence from the asphyxiating grip of perpetual overlords, ‘slave’ masters, neo-colonialists and territorial expansionists.
“Perhaps, theirs may be induced fear that the over-belaboured geeze whose backside now aches sorely may finally stop laying the golden eggs for their domineering consumption and bacchanalian and self-centred ‘chop-chop- alone’ attitude. They may fear that under a true fiscal federation, anchored on the true principles of federalism, everyone will now be required to contribute to the baking of the National cake and not just merely sharing it.
“Let my fellow Nigerians please, remind these historical revisionists that we are not all suffering from collective amnesia like the Bourbons of European history, that learnt nothing and forgot nothing. Let them know that we can clearly recall that it was the Northern Governors that actually first set the ball rolling at their virtual meeting of 9th February, 2021 about the urgent need to ban open grazing.
“Their communique was to the effect that open cattle grazing should be immediately abolished. The forum had then set up a four-man committee headed by its Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, to implement their decisions.
”This meeting was immediately followed, upon the Northern Governors’ prodding, by the 25th virtual meeting of all Nigerian Governors’ Forum, two days later, on 11th February, 2021. It was presided over by its Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State. At this meeting, all the 36 state governors unanimously agreed to end nomadic rearing of cattle; to end the open night and underage grazing in Nigeria, and to transit to ranching and other modern systems of animal husbandry, in view of its adverse security effects on the country.
“At this meeting, Governor Lalong even presented an update on the Northern Governors’ steps at ending the scourge. So, what has changed between February and May? Why the sudden and inexplicable Esan Egbabonalimhin acrobatic summersault by some of the same Northern elites? Why the dripping lachrymal effusion? What are they worried about? What do they know that the rest of us Nigerians don’t? Do they really want this country united under agreeable terms of social justice, equity, egalitarianism, mutual respect and ethnic and religious tolerance?
“Have they ever read about the historic Aburi Accord in Aburi, Eastern Region of Ghana, hosted by Ghanaian Head of State, Lt-Gen Ankrah, between Federal Government delegates led by Lt Col Yakubu Gowon and Eastern Nigeria delegates led by Lt Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu? Are they aware that the 3 years of bloody fratricidal and genocidal civil war which claimed over 3 million lives and unleashed misery and pains on Nigerians, especially Biafrans, finally broke out because of the insincerity that attended its implementation, especially with the passage of Decree no 8 of 1967, which made a mockery of matters mutually arrived at and agreed upon?”