2015 And The Gathering Storm By Dr Deborah Nelson

Since advent of Jonathan’s administration, many challenges have conspired to make Nigeria  ungovernable and frustrate him out of office. Some of the challenges are Boko Haram terrorist activities and widespread destruction of lives and properties in Northern Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen. However bloody these terrorist acts may be, core north politicians, A C F and APC often celebrate and use them to justify their incessant calls on president Jonathan to resign. In order to undermine the presidency, they constituted themselves into New PDP, frolicked around Nigeria like headless fowls then finally emptied themselves into APC. However, they left Governors Babangida Aliyu and Sule Lamido behind in PDP as mole to continue from where they stopped. At National Conference, core north delegates made it a point of duty to consistently work against Niger Delta. They wanted the restoration of offshore onshore dichotomy and reduction of derivation to 5%. In the NASS, they ensure the PIB does not see the light of the day because of a clause they feel will benefit Niger Delta only. They said Jonathan must not contest in 2015 and that power must return to them in 2015. With recent allocation of additional 20715 polling units to the north and only 8414 to the south by Professor Attahiru Jega’s INEC without any logical explanation, Jega had surreptitiously demonstrated his readiness to use INEC to help his kinsmen, core north politicians back to power in 2015. If each polling unit is for 500 voters as chorused by Professor Jega, it means Jega had used his office to allocate 10,357,500 votes to the north as against only 4,207,000 votes to the south. With above masterstroke by INEC Chairman, core north politicians do not need even a vote from the south to triumph at any presidential election.

About 69% of GDP of Nigeria is from the sale of gas and crude oil from South South Geopolitical Zone, 20% from South West Geopolitical Zone and 11% from South East Geopolitical Zone but not a single kobo from the north. But according to core north politicians,  north is the backbone of Nigeria. This is to say the least ridiculous because the ‘backbone’ can neither feed, clothe nor house itself without monthly handouts from the south.  Prior to amnesty, Nigeria could only produce about 700,000 barrels of crude oil daily due to disruptive activities of militants in spite of the fact that president Yar’ Adua saturated Niger Delta with soldiers from core north under command of core north military officers such as General Sarki Y Bello [retd] to restore normalcy but all to no avail. In order to forestall economic strangulation, president Yar’ Adua had to adopt the amnesty option. The militants who confronted the Yar’ Adua’s war machine are still very much around, with even more converts to disrupt crude oil and gas production if considered necessary.

If a core north politician becomes the president of Nigeria next year, it is very likely that the people of Niger Delta will do everything humanly possible to make Nigeria ungovernable for him. This is because they strongly believe that core north politicians use Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen to perpetrate widespread destruction of lives and properties in order to make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan as they promised in 2010. Consequently, however credible the presidential election may be, emergence of Buhari, Kwankwaso or any core north politician as Nigerian president in 2015 will usher in unprecedented shortage of revenue due to massive and sustained disruption of crude oil and gas production by Niger Delta militants. It will never be business as usual because relying on gas and crude oil revenue will be a very costly miscalculation, hence core north politicians must make adequate arrangement for alternative sources of revenue in order to forestall manifestation of these consequences.

Even at the current production of over two million barrels of crude oil per day with a barrel of crude oil going for over $100, most states can not even pay the national minimum wage. With the exception of Lagos state, every other state will find it extremely difficult to function in absence of crude oil and gas revenue. Fuel scarcity will be persistent with no end in sight. The multiplying effects of these inevitable developments will be all encompassing with enormous capacity to ignite mob actions across the country against the ruling class. But for Niger Delta people, it will be a blessing in disguise because further plundering of their resources will be halted until when they will be free enough to freely harness their God given resources for the benefit of their people.

Initially, Lagos state will be able to generate enough revenue to function normally while all other states will find it extremely difficult to even provide essential services. Consequently, the harsh economic conditions in these states will force their citizens to migrate en mass to Lagos state. This huge and sustained influx of both skilled and unskilled Nigerians to Lagos will overwhelm the state and generate enormous social problems. Within a few years, the crime rate and all sorts of vices will be on the increase and slowly but surely, Lagos state’s government will find it increasingly difficult to function optimally due to lack of funds. Note that Lagos state must service huge domestic debt which runs into billions of Naira as well as $1.2 billion debt to international creditors.

All independent power plants scattered all over the country are powered exclusively by gas. Even at the current level of gas production and supply to these power plants, the quantity of electricity generated is not even enough to enable Distribution Companies break even. The inevitable disruption of gas production and supply to the power plants will lead to permanent shut down of these independent power plants thereby resulting in substantial reduction in electricity produced, hence there will be no power to either transmit or distribute. Many manufacturing companies will collapse due to lack of gas and NGO to power generating plants and generators respectively. Production of good and services will be negatively affected with unemployment, retrenchment, poverty, social vices on the increase.

Generating Companies and Distribution Companies will incur massive losses as there will be no gas for them to generate power from. The Commercial Banks which bankrolled some of these companies will be left with huge bad debts that negatively affect their financial well being. Those who invested in these Gencos and Discos will be enmeshed in massive losses and impact of these on the economy will be disastrous. Meanwhile, the Federal Government will be fighting two wars because while Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen will continue with their terrorist activities in the north, crude oil and gas war will be rumbling in the creeks of Niger Delta simultaneously.

Additionally, revenue from South West Geopolitical Zone and South East Geopolitical Zone will also be drastically reduced due to low power supply and many other negative indices generated by the two wars. Faced with these two wars and very little or no revenue from the south as usual, Federal Government will be seriously handicapped in its effort to either prosecute the wars or provide essential services. The conditions so created will provide enabling environment for seamless establishment of a Caliphate by Boko Haram  in the north and inevitable disorderly fragmentation of the Nigerian state.

This can be averted. In 1999, only the Yorubas were asked to provide a president for the nation from amongst themselves in order to heal the wound inflicted by Babangida’s endless transition program. The degree of hatred and mistrust between core north politicians and people of Niger Delta has reached a very dangerous level. Core north politicians have every right as enshrined in the constitution to vie for any elective office in the land, but caution is required to avert the gathering storm next year. They have resolved to return power to the north, no problem. However, for the sake of national unity and survival of Nigeria, core north politicians should throw their weight behind any northerner of their choice to contest for presidency. If such a person is elected freely by the good people of Nigeria as their president, fine and good. But irrespective of the method used, be it through military coup or the most credible presidential election ever held in the entire universe, emergence of a core north politician as president in 2015 may usher in a series of events that may culminate in irreversible disintegration of the Nigerian state. This paper is not aimed at encouraging Nigerians to either oppose or support Jonathan’s political ambition. Rather, it is aimed at drawing the attention of Nigerians to the gathering storm which can dismember this nation if not well managed.

 Dr Deborah Nelson

Views Expressed are Solely Author’s                                                                                                         

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