Tony Momoh
Prince Tony Momoh, the journalist par excellence, a bibliotherapist and cultural engineer is the 165th child of Momoh the first. He is the third of the four children his mother had for Momoh the first and his mother was the junior of the three groups into which the Momoh Household of 45 wives and 245 children were organised.

Nigeria Wastes Half of its Budget on Public Officers

At 70 and looking at the country today, is this really the Nigeria of your dream?

Dreams remain dreams until they are downloaded on earth to be seen to manifest life in the environment in which people
live. Dreams are happenings in another dimension, and all you have to do is to draw them down, download them. Dreams are what have happened ethereally, and you must have to bring them here to the earth to manifest them.

If dreams remain dreams, then the people who say they are dreaming are only hallucinating. They are not dreaming.So the Nigeria of my dream is right here, and that Nigeria of my dream is a Nigeria, which remains one country and can fulfill a mission.

When I was doing Letters to My Country Men, I said Nigeria does not just have a future, but that it also has a mission. And if you look at Nigeria, it’s one of the few if not the last of those federations put together in the first half of the 19th or 20th century still standing.

So if it was meant to die, but we are packaging it in such a way that it remains, peopled by about 374 nationality groups, the largest concentration of the black people on earth, I think God must have had a programme for it.

If the collapse of Nigeria was its destination and it has not collapsed, then there is a mission for it. And I’ve been singing this song of the mission for Nigeria and I now see it clearly. In the next 25 years, Nigeria will be a world power. There is nothing anybody is going to do about it. And that world power is going to be anchored on spiritual recognitions.

If we cannot achieve that mission, if those of us here cannot achieve that mission because of our preoccupations with filthy lucre, those who will achieve it will come. And God’s missions have never failed. The light has never failed. The darkness can distract the light for some time but the light has never failed.

Jesus was a mission to us. Mohammed, the prophets were all missions to us. They gave us messages that would have redeemed us, but we undermined or killed all of them. We were stoning Mohammed in the streets of Mecca for 13 years, we broke his ankles, but his mission was still achieved. Jesus came 2000 years ago, we were hunting down his followers for more than 200 years, saying we wanted to destroy the cult of Jesus.

We killed all the apostles. The last, John the Apostle, was sent to the Island of Patmos. All the others were killed by the people of the time who said they were God’s people, but look at what Christianity has done now.

What I am saying is that with the darkness surrounding Nigeria now and the desperation in the hearts of people to make it, they shouldn’t think that the dream has failed; I am telling you the dream will be fulfilled.

The darkness is always wanting to manifest where the light is. If you have this much turbulence, distractions, then the darkness is here because it knows the light that will permeate Nigeria, that will make Nigeria the world power it must be in the next 25 years is here.

But most Nigerians are afraid that the present crop of leaders may not help the country to actualize the dream you talk so eloquently about…

That’s what I mean… that where, for instance, those called to prepare the ground, fall, then others will come to do the work. The present crop of leaders will all melt away. They will all be vapourized. Anybody who does not achieve a mission through doing good will be vapourized and that’s a natural law.

The law of taking has held the world to ransom and we achieve this taking through what we call competition. When you are competing, you want to win, using all the tricks. So we rig elections, deceive our people in businesses, do 419, launder money – all these are aspects of taking.

The one that must prevail is the law of giving, which is the law of love, which is the law of Jesus, which is the law of all religions, which is the law of God. Give, because it is only in giving can you have. Everything you take is a burden, is a debt you must pay.

Our leaders are all taking; they will be vapourized materially, spiritually. Anybody who takes and does not give that little that you can in recognition and in appreciation of what God has given to you, that person will pay dearly. There are no two ways to it. I’m cork sure of what I’m saying; no two ways about it.

So every Nigerian should bear in mind that the very acceptance of the law of taking will put them in that category of people who are takers and therefore Satanic.

You think the Niger Delta crises which have become protracted are not enough to destabilize the country?

The fact is that it will direct the country to where it belongs. And where the country belongs and where it can really fulfill its mission is through regionalization. In other words, the decongestion of the political space. If you don’t do so, you won’t achieve that mission and that mission must be achieved so it must be done. How it will be done, the light knows.

Where you have an arrangement in which the centre can make law in 93 areas (exclusive and concurrent lists), you are telling the president to execute law in 93 areas. Who is a human being that can achieve it.

All federations all over the world have centres that are not stronger than the component parts, or too strong to make the component parts irrelevant or powerless. We had four regions before and things were working. We now have six regions God has given to us – the geo-political zones. Why can’t we get hold of them, and make them the federating units in our federal structure? Move the members of the House of Representatives to the Regions to form the Regional Assemblies; retain the Senate as the law-making body;have an elders council of one person from each state of the federation and Abuja; move most of the powers at the centre now to the regions and let them progress at their own rate.

So if you have a decongested arrangement here, you now discover that fiscal federalism automatically emerges, where all regions generate their own resources and contribute to running the centre. It happened before. Why can’t it happen now?

The Niger Delta is the sore on the Nigeria foot and is like an ulcer. It will eat up the foot and may destroy the body but Nigeria will not be destroyed. So the restructuring that will make Nigeria achieve this mission must come. How it comes I say I don’t know.

Are you saying that all the agitations from MASSOB, OPC, Egbesu Boys, and Niger Delta militants cannot make the country to disintegrate…?

They are seeds of the revolution that will bring that change. You can’t write off any of them. One thing I’ve discovered is that you have youths all over Nigeria. They believe more in a future Nigeria than in leaders now who are preoccupied with sharing resources. We are eating the future in the present but anybody who overfeeds is constipated and purging has a way of coming in different dimensions, and it must come.

How do you view the amnesty the Federal Government granted the Niger Delta militants?

Amnesty is a good thing but on what conditions? You cannot give carrots for projects. You give them N4 billion or N100 billion or whatever it is and the boys go enjoy themselves and then the squalor remains; you are now growing people who will be more deadly.

The Isaac Boros that will emerge, where you have amnesty without attending to what gave rise to the struggle, will destroy more than build. So if you are talking of amnesty, settle the conditions and it’s easy. You have Ministry of Niger Delta now. Structure it to supervise projects–educational projects, health projects, job creation projects, industrial projects– and put money there. Not just that. Give the work to those who have the expertise to deliver, be they from the USSR, China, Japan or the United States of America.

We would like to know your opinion on Constitution review.

Yes. Constitution review is what we have been talking about. Any Constitution review that does not decongest the political space is no review. You have to have a Constitution where you have the powers at the centre considerably reduced. When you have the powers of the National Assembly in preponderant lawmaking reduced from the huge 93 or so to no more than 15, then we can be talking about reviewing that is meaningful.

We are copying the American System. America is a federation, Canada is a federation, Australia is a federation. Why haven’t we looked at them to know what they do there?

We must decongest the political space and then the resources in Nigeria can be grown, more seriously attended to by the federating units.

There is no state in Nigeria that cannot grow or tap its own resources to ensure that it grows within the Nigerian polity. But when you wait for donations from a particular source, nobody is going to seriously question how that money is spent.

So this Constitution review will have meaning only when it addresses the fundamental question of restructuring. In a non-restructured Nigeria, there is going to be problem, and as I’ve told you, I’ve no doubt in my mind that Nigeria will not break up. I have no doubt in my mind that Nigeria has a future and I have no doubt in my mind that Nigeria has a mission. And because that mission will be achieved by decongesting the political space, then the decongestion of the political space must surely come but how it comes, I don’t know.

The issue of rampant kidnapping in some parts of the country, particularly in the Niger Delta region and South East zone, do you think the government is tackling it well?

How can the government tackle it very well when you discover that kidnapping is an aspect of a revolution? People don’t know a revolution is on their hands and kidnapping is an aspect of the revolution, where people see that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

If it is not an aspect of a revolution, why is it that people who have big cars and they are in the South East, or even in Edo State, they now hide their very big (expensive) cars because people identify who has money from the big car you ride or if they give information on your status, that you are so, so and so important person?

Have the kidnappers captured the child of a beggar? They only capture those they think have money. It is the same thing we have been having in armed robberies where, for instance, robbers of luxury buses deliver beautiful speeches, telling you they are graduates without jobs and apologizing for inconveniencing you after they have taken everything you have from you!

So when they finish robbing you, they only apologize and say sorry. But that is derailment. We want to channel these energies to more productive ends. Look at what’s happening. Many companies are promoting certain activities and you are delighted at the

channeling of energies of the young into more [productive areas.

So you think the revolution has already started?

This is how revolutions start and when for instance, there’s an explosion, which I don’t pray for, you see all these dissident bodies, emerging and united, moving against those they regard as perpetrators of the injustice.

How can you have 17,500 people in the political class, political appointees, taking almost half of our own budget in the name of emoluments? It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Anywhere you say you are accepting a particular system of government, you always structure it to the size of the cloth you have. Any structure, any institution that spends more than 20 or 25 per cent of its resources on nourishing a system, is not a serious one. Here we spend more than 90 per cent!

So how can kidnapping be stopped?

Decongest the political space. Make politics a service rather than a business. Create the

environment for decent businessmen to do their businesses. Build schools for children to go to; create jobs for the teeming jobless by developing the infrastructures.

Let people have avenues to explore themselves. Nigerians on earth today…they are a nation that is waiting to discover that they are called, like the Jews, like the Germans because the average Nigerian today, anywhere he is, within three months, affects the environment and that is the quality of minds, the quality of human beings, the spirits that are incarnated in human bodies in Nigeria today, and we must take advantage of this opportunity to be of service to mankind.

Why is it that Nigerian churches are spreading all over the world more than any other in history? It’s because of the quality of minds there. There may be abuses, but this is to tell you about the heaving and seething of spiritual presence. Whether you like it or not, many people in the world do not believe in God but the fact is: there’s a power that protects, of which you are a small outlet and you must reckon with that power and so be consciously empowered.

That’s the only empowerment we need. Someone is in charge of that power, and we are outlets for the flow of that power. That’s why I say Nigeria is the next port of call in civilization and is going to be anchored on spiritual recognitions. It takes millennia to prepare a people for a mission, a spiritual mission. But to build infrastructures, within a few years you have done that.

Yes only a few years it will take to build the schools, the hospitals and equip them. But

What of building the human person! People are around for a purpose. We in Nigeria are there for a purpose and every Nigerian should be happy that they have an opportunity to be Nigerian this time and try to grow it.

So if we don’t the environment for growing the country, we will continue to have kidnappings, armed robberies and all these things that are happening.

Can you comment on extra – judicial oath-taking, should it be encouraged?

Yes, there is oath of secrecy in law. Before independence, every public officer took an oath of secrecy to the Queen of England. Now, since we are a republic, you take an oath to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and you have two oaths: The oath of office and then the oath of allegiance.

The oath of allegiance under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is constitutional. Then the oath of office is the particular oath you take for being in office and under section 14 of the constitution, the people declare that sovereignty belongs to them and through the constitution, they give power to all organs of government.

Thus, the Constitution is a documentation of delegated powers. Anything you don’t find in the constitution does not exist for you. So when you now have a situation where anybody starts bringing any form of activity not in the constitution, then the person is working outside the constitution.

And one of such areas is oath of secrecy. But oath of secrecy is in the laws today. Lagos State has its own oath of secrecy where you swear an oath to be faithful to the governor, the person who appointed you into political office.

But those who are occupying specific positions, the National Assembly people, the House of Assembly people, the judicial officers; they have oath of allegiance and oath of office. Even civil servants have their own oath of secrecy and then the oath they take is to serve the government.

For instance, where you have oath of secrecy being taken by those who didn’t appoint you, in other words, where you take an oath to an individual as a person and not in respect of an office, then we have problems.

Interview by Tony Adibe, WEEKEND POLITICS, SATURDAY CHAMPION, JULY 18, 2009, PAGE 12

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