EDITORIAL: A Much Needed Midterm Appraisal

The issue of peaceful co-existence amongst the various nationalities in a multi-ethnic society
will never go away.  For this reason the ‘national question’ will always be on the front-burner as we move towards (with due acknowledgement to the framers of the American Constitution) ‘an ever perfect union’.

We therefore give great kudos to Urban Media Resource Limited, organisers of today’s One-day conference on the second anniversary of the South-West involvement in national governance, with the major theme: “South-West to Abuja: A midterm appraisal”. The conference goes to the heart of several key options that have always starred the South-West region of Nigeria in the face.

Historically, there have always been contending forces and factors in play, trying to determine the role the South-West should play in the centre. This dilemma came to the fore after the pivotal 1959 pre-independence central (it was not yet federal at the time) general elections. The somewhat disappointing results of the dominant party in the then Western Region, the Action Group (AG) as well as the subsequent inability to put together a working alliance with other parties in order to attain the majority in the Central House of Representatives needed to form a government was the trajectory that opened up the schism which eventually created a rupture in the party.

We must learn from the cause and effects of the tragic events leading to the fracture in Western Nigeria in 1962, as we are again at a significant crossroad. Urban Media’s midterm appraisal is therefore a way to answer the eternal question – ‘What is to be done?’ The organisers in the attempt to unravel the puzzle have sensibly divided the central theme into three sub-themes. These will encompass – Sub-Theme I: The Southwest in National Governance: An Appraisal of the First two years by Prof. Bolaji Aluko. Sub-Theme II: From Osun To Abuja: Investing in Social Infrastructure in a Recession by Dr. Charles Adediji Akinola. Sub-Theme III: Federalising Political Parties to conform with Local needs – APC as a case point by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi.

In discussing the sensibly laid out sub-themes, a very seminal core will undoubtedly come out. We are full of commendations for this sensible, methodological approach. For as the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has with characteristic foresight pointed out, the critical issue of our epoch must not be reduced to vacuous sloganeering which bifurcates the real issues. We expect the issues to be as distilled as can possibly be in the circumstances that the country, nay the Southwest has found herself. The forewarning of Ogbeni Aregbesola has since been endorsed by Prof. Wole Soyinka, who this week stated that “…So, when people use words like ‘restructuring, reconfiguring or call it reconfiguration, return to status quo, or call it reformulating the protocols of our association or used a single word like restructuring, it doesn’t matter. Everybody knows what we are talking about. That is number one.

“Also, there are those who try to divert the attention away from the main issue by mouthing platitudes…”

 Once again, we commend Urban Media Resource Limited for introducing analytical rigour into the discourse, this is a vital ingredient in the construction of a pathway for lasting solutions to the nation’s multifaceted problems.

The output of serious minded initiatives such as the midterm appraisal will be a very good roadmap and resource material as the country’s nationality groupings and components work out a vitally needed, national democratic agreement on the basis of peaceful co-existence in one country. In this view we must have at the back of our minds the German view of achieving consensus. According to the Germans – “A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest pie”. Of course the old but undying art of forging consensus can be quite ardous to the point of being frustrating at times; what history informs however is that the outcomes are oftentimes more enduring.

As we forge the necessary national compromise, the vital inputs of serious-minded consensus seekers and constitutionalists such as our own Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Chief Bisi Akande, Prof Wole Soyinka and groups such as Urban Media Resource Limited will be acknowledged.‘