The popular cliché “if it is not broken don’t fix it” is inappropriate in the case of Nigeria at the moment, as our political system ‘Presidential’ borrowed from United States is dysfunctional and begging to be fixed.
Recent developments and happenings in Nigeria are clear indicators that the system is muffle and incapable of functioning to acceptable global standard.
The decimation of the North East on a daily bases by Boko Haram terrorist group, Fulani herdsmen manslaughter in the North Central region, #EndSARS agitation that was vicarious but now hibernating, arm banditry in some North Western states, pockets of random kidnappings across states in the federation, cult activities and kidnaps for ransom particularly in the South South/South East regions are all clear messages that the system needs urgent rejiggling in order to not only address these abnormalities but as well checkmate proactively, possible reoccurrences.
Recalibrating the form and manna governments does its business is a global trend. The British government for instance in 2018 identified the need to exit the European Union. East Germany on October 3rd 1990 abandoned communism and rejoined West Germany now rechristen Federal Republic of Germany. And Nebraska, a state in U.S where Nigeria copied the Presidential system of government has a unicameral legislature, instead of bicameral as in the other 49 states. The said house is called-Unicameral and representatives are addressed as Senators.
The decision of these countries and state to make these far-reaching choices is not unconnected with the untoward developments they were facing at the time. Nebraska domesticated the Presidential form of government to suit her peculiar status. Nigeria should follow suit to avoid the collapse of the impending tide on us.
There is ongoing as in other times, war of words, soundbites and blame games on whether Nigeria should be restructured or allow status quo. Tremendous emotions erupt whenever this subject is mentioned because of its sensitivity and often misconstrued impact of its application.
The divergent views and perceptions generated about the topic have made proponents and critics of restructuring to hold extreme positions. Already, commentaries from both sides are not in short supply as such I soliloquized momentarily on what new information or facts is at my disposal to be exposed in this piece.
I shall be focusing rather on stimulating the minds of readers on how to process the subject with a view to, in my opinion, discern appropriately. I shall as well intermittently make references to comments on both sides to complement the writing.
At this point, I shall progress the discourse with this prologue: An activity like typing using the traditional typewriter or modern-day computer hardware provides a glimpse of the kind of change that is required to gain convenience, flexibility, speed and accuracy which the later offers. Imagine the subtle flaws of the typewriter- irritating noise, finger strain because of the degree of hit on keys on boards, smearing of typed copy/perforation in some of the instances, enduring duration of typing, mono function (i.e., typing only) et cetera. All these reeled shortcomings are dwarfed by computer which has seeming less window for users.
Now, how many of the diehard critics of restructuring are still cuddling their IBM typewriters or patronizing vendors who offer allied services using the typewriter.
This prologue fits into my core narrative supporting change in the political architecture of Nigeria though cautiously. Change as a concept is globally acknowledged as constant. If we as Nigerians identify ourselves as global citizens, we ought to treat issues with global coloration globally, instead of selective picks.
An elder statesman and former head of state, Rtd. General Yakubu Gowon recently in a virtual meeting for award presentation to some young Nigerians at an event tagged, “Sixty Nation Builders at 60,” reiterated his familiar lines of ‘keeping Nigeria one.’
A quote from a portion of his presentation published on paragraph 4 in Lens Newspapers Online, Saturday read, “Addressing the gathering, the revered elder statesman enjoined Nigerians to close ranks and resist agents of destabilization or any contraption including talks of restructuring targeted against the unity of the country.”
Ordinarily, this is an amiable thought but it is like focusing on one side of the picture. The other side should be looked at as well to better comprehend and be in good stead to proffer appropriate solution on the matter.
This is one of the many misconceptions about restructuring Nigeria and which I suppose is the reason why critics are more paranoid about it. It is deeply concerning to me because restructuring in the true sense of the word has very little, if at all, anything to do with breaking up Nigeria. I think it is time to scale back this oneness mentality and do the needful if we want Nigeria to make progress. Anyway, has there been a time that the country was one. A teaser I suppose for another time.
But the irony of it all, perhaps aside Gowon, on this vexed issue is the monumental insincerity among the so-called critics who chameleon for their selfish interest. Unfortunately, these crops of people occupy high profile and strategic positions in government at all levels. And with this vantage position, they manipulate either way, depending on their motive at the time, the perception about restructuring-worthy or worthless.
This is why track records of institutional and systemic fraud on restructuring Nigeria is glaring for all to see. Politicians exploit this sentiment of Nigerians for political gain. In 2014/15, electioneering eve and year, APC then in opposition made a mold hill of the subject. Restructuring was, though unsure now, one of the 7-point agenda of the party for Nigeria if voted into office. Indeed, the voodoo worked for them as Nigerians particularly from the South West ran with it.
The status of that promise even when the party is in its second tenor is a farce. Again in 2018 overlooking the election year, the party now in mainstream, played the same card by dishonestly calling for papers and presentations on restructuring. And as it were reflecting the ill intention, the subtle effort fizzled and is still in coma after the general elections in 2019.