Conscience is not a native of any country; it is not white, black, yellow or brown. Conscience is human. It is a living entity that is beyond race. It is beyond religion --- It is beyond sectarianism and it is domiciled in our souls. Without conscience, we are not a living soul but just passing shadow. Conscience is an open wound only the truth can heal it. Conscience is nurtured by truth and the truth is sacrosanct, constant and consistent. It is on this premise and foundation of the truth about the reality and situation of Nigeria including some part of our misadventures that I will be writing today.

I was privileged to spend close to three decades of my existence in the Northern part of Nigeria and worked very closely with top leaders at both private and the highest echelons of the system. By reasons of my proximity to the highest office of the land and the gladiators, I was privileged to be in the know of certain gentlemen agreements and arrangements with particular reference to zoning. Today, as I listen to the statements of our elder statesman Mamman Duara, my mind raced to the genesis of the present dispensation and the whole undercurrents.

The truth nothing but the truth is that General Olusegun Obasanjo repressive regime destroyed the entire fabric of our conscience, trust, cohesion and betrayed the gentleman agreement with the noble men from the Northern part of Nigeria, who in their wisdom deemed it fit to redress certain anomalies occasion by the annulment of June12 election. It was then decided that the South-West should have the first shot of one term presidency of four years, followed by South-East and back to the Northern part in the same sequence. This would have successfully addressed the issues of marginalization and sectionalism.

General Olusegun Obasanjo and his hireling did not only abandon the gentleman agreement with the Northern elders, he went further to engage in criminal and anti-democratic tendencies of malevolent third term gambit, hatred, political intolerance and corruption in the entire system. It was surprising, how Obasanjo said, "Nigeria may be cursed with poor and irresponsible leaders" while reviewing the history of Nigeria after independence as a keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit by the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, and African Sustainable Development Network in the year 2013. Although he didn't exclude himself from his speech, it was like a good sermon from a fake saint.

Hear him: “We had some people who were under 50years in leadership positions. One of them was James Ibori, where is he today? One of them was Alamieyeseigha, where is he today? Lucky Igbinedion, where is he today? The youngest was the Speaker, (Salisu) Buhari; you can still recall what happened to him. You said Bola Tinubu is your master. What Buhari did was not anything worse than what Bola Tinubu did.

“But in this part of the world some people covered up the other man. The man claimed he went to Government College, Ibadan, but the governor (Oyo State) went to Government College and packed all the documents so that they would not know that he did not go there.

“I wanted someone who would succeed me, so I took Atiku. Within a year, I started seeing the type of man Atiku is. And you want me to get him there?

“I once went to Tanzania because Julius Nyerere recognised Biafra. He told me not to mind his aides and others in government. They would say they have one house in town but their five-year-old sons and daughters would have houses all over.

“Some of you who are condemning the leadership would get there tomorrow and it will be a different story. Only very few are actually good. Abacha, my predecessor got $750m. Through our lawyer in Switzerland, we recovered $1.25bn and the lawyer still said there is probably still another $1bn to be recovered. In 1979, we had 20 new ships specially built for Nigeria. When I came back 20 years after, the national shipping line had liquidated.

“It is sad that after 53 years of independence, we have no leader that we can commend. The problem in Africa is that when one person takes over he would not see any good thing that his predecessor did. Let us condemn but with caution."

Therefore, I completely align myself to the statements of the elder statesman, Mamman Daura about the position of zoning. We have mismanaged the boom from the revenue of oil in the past 20 years, we have completely destroyed the trust and confidence in each other.

Conclusively, permit me to share with my compatriots that with profound gratitude to God Almighty and deep humility, I have had the privilege of greater visibility and information, whereby I put my life on the line for the sake of equity, fair play and justice. Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble. We lack quality leadership and that has been our bane.

Odusanya is the convener of Africa Covenant Rescue Initiative

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