THE political dichotomy between the North and South appears to be festering quietly ahead of 2015.
Going by the communiqué issued after a meeting of northern stakeholders in Asokoro, Abuja, two weeks ago, it is clear that all is not well with the unfinished national question.
That meeting was a reaction to series of meetings by stakeholders from the South-South-Southwest and even Southeast on the grave security situation in the country, which Southern leaders suspect to be the realisation of alleged threats by a section of the North to make the country ungovernable for the Jonathan Presidency.
While President Jonathan’s men were still weighing the effects of this politicking from various geopolitical zones, the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, upped the ante, by joining calls for the restructuring of the country.
He used the opportunity of inauguration of a Foundation for the late Ahmadu Bello to attack Nigeria’s revenue allocation formula, which he said was skewed in favour of the Niger Delta.
Aliyu, speaking on behalf of the northern governors, blamed the poor development index in the North on low revenue accruing from the Federation Account.
That outburst coincided with a story published in an Abuja-based newspaper, which said about 30 per cent of the capital votes in the 2012 budget had been earmarked for the South-South states, notably the Niger Delta.
The story warned that the North had enough numerical strength in the National Assembly to block approvals in the two chambers of the federal legislature.
Specifically, it is alleged that some northern leaders are not happy with the huge budget for security, which in 2012 runs into a daily estimate of about N1 billion.
It is also reported that some persons are not happy with the reforms going on in the Petroleum Ministry and the power and money the Minister of Petroleum Resources wields and control.
According to investigations, there are also worries over reported presidential protection for the minister, in spite of sordid revelations from the National Assembly probe of the oil sector’s activities.
The dissatisfied persons feel that the minister, who presided over alleged monumental illegalities in the oil ministry, is still the one setting up committees to reform the ministry and the NNPC.
They think the president is not sensitive about people’s feelings to do something about the revelations on the oil subsidy scam.
For this reason, 2015 politics has taken off in Abuja through various means and the North has begun a strategic move to checkmate the East, which is alleged to have high-jacked the top echelon of the administration in league with their South-South neighbours.
It was revealed that the North will continue to come up with all sorts of strategies to ensure that Jonathan, who is suspected to have set-up a 2015-2019 structure, cannot contest or hand over to the mantle of Nigeria’s leadership to person of the Southeast extraction.
However, the presidency is said to be angry over such political scheming and harassment from some sections, and disturbed by behaviour of some members of his cabinet clearly seen to “praise him in the open and lambast him in the night when they are with their people.”
It was said that Jonathan is peeved by insinuations that because the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Azazi Owoye and the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Ita Ekpenyong are from the Niger Delta, the country must be made ungovernable to compel government to change the officers.
But a study of the wall of the NSA’s office, where photographs of past NSAs are displayed, reveals that Gen. Owoye is the first National Security Adviser (NSA) from the South since Independence.
It was also revealed that a former NSA, who brought in a former deputy NSA before going into politics, orchestrated the appointment of the current helmsman of the SSS.
“It was the former Deputy NSA who suggested the appointment of the current DG, SSS and not President Jonathan. The president never knew Ekpenyong,” a presidency source explained at the weekend.
“The person who brought the Deputy NSA then should be asked why the deputy he recommended to the then President Yar’Adua, recommended the two officers — the just retired IGP, Hafiz Ringim and Ekpeyong.
“Why should they recommend a thief to raid a farm and at the same time call the farmer to come and catch the thief they had recommended?”
As the source queried: “While Jonathan’s boss and predecessor was in power, it was permissible to have the NSA and the SGF from the North. But why is it not permissible in Jonathan’s time?”
It was learnt that President Jonathan is “closely watching a number of his ministers, who engage in double-standard and intrigues, including those who are promoting religious sentiments.” This has given rise to speculations in the polity that some of these Ministers may be given the boot soon. .