Restructuring is reform, a meaningful change. A rearrangement or strategic repositioning in a manna that enable managers of state resources to produce and distribute essential deliverables (tangible and intangible) to the people.
Voices supporting restructuring at the moment are not only climbing but cloud and deafening. There is massive shift already in rhetoric and public opinion about restructuring the country. And notwithstanding however, FGs insincerity in assembling a team in 2018 to collate information from the public on restructuring with a view to implementing it, the mere fact that the conversation had taken place underscore the shift in dynamic of government on the subject.
Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly very recently talked about devolution of power at the center and strengthening the regions instead to function properly. He referenced the 1963 Nigeria constitution where there was healthy competition among regions. He cited some landmark projects executed by regional governments at the time and stressed that restructuring is the way to go to progress Nigeria.
Other loud voices are NGOs in advocacy and social works, seasoned commentators, especially on national issues et cetera. The Pan Niger Delta Forum, an apex socio-cultural organization for the South South geo- political region has been hammering on resource control which is only possible through reform.
The failure to restructure or adopt change in the mechanism of governance in Nigeria at the moment is invitation to anarchy. A forced union as is obvious in Nigeria’s case, irrespective of the degree of intensity- hard or subtle, is prone to dysfunction aside resistance by parties especially at receiving ends.
A news item I read, a long time though, in a national tabloid may perhaps increase our comprehension on how coerce unions impact relationships. The case was that of murder of two men in their thirties by a supposedly married 14-year minor in one of the core northern state. According to Police statement, she confessed to disrupting the meal with rat poison before serving the three individuals said to have return from the farm. The third victim that was spared said after taking the initial dip, he complained of the awkward taste and withdrew but the duo continued. Her reason for doing it according to Police report was her disapproval of the marriage which was foist on her by her parents.
Resetting my earlier stand, restructuring as I know it does not amount to disproportionate thought to deny hitherto beneficiaries of stipulated largesse or to secede. But let’s assume, though unlikely, that we find ourselves at the fringes or even crossing the red line, the outcome is still desirable. Indeed, it is a win win package that provides succor for parties involved notwithstanding the degree of gain which may unequally be treasured.
The oil sector in the country has suffered serial setbacks primarily because of the unwillingness on the part of government to reform. Petroleum Industry Bill which is a product of good research and convergence of industry views has been hanging in the national assembly for upsetting years now.
The traditional fire brigade approach to quelling public dissent is brute, offensive, extreme, yet produce incommensurate result. The recent resolution from the meeting of IGP with security captains based on intelligence report on resurgence of #EndSARS protest is uncalled for. Specifically, aside the usual lines of warning, the IG threatened that new protests would be treated as treason to overthrow the government and would carry the full weight of the law. This matter is beyond tough talking. Government should do the needful, not quick fix, but retuning the structure of governance.
And dwelling on two of the challenges highlighted in part 1, not by reason of importance though, but exigency, are security and employments/appointments.
The security lapse in Nigeria particularly in the north east region of recent is to say the least, worrisome. President Buhari was quoted recently as saying in response to the Borno farmers incidence that “government has given all the needed support to the arm forces to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory.” This feels like a helpless comment from the Commander-in-Chief or what’s your thought.
The Chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum and governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi while referencing the gruesome murder of some farmers in Borno state said, “the reality that we can all see is that our military is overwhelmed, our military is no longer in a position to single-handedly tackle this menace effectively.” The Northern Elders Forum lamenting on the incidence as well, said, “under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizen are coming under the influence of criminals.” These twin comments, exacerbated by Mr. Presidents cluelessness, gives us a reasonably clear picture of the pathetic state of security in Nigeria at the moment.
Already, there is strong agitation among states for state police. This is a thorny issue already on national spotlight but is disproportionately embraced along North and South trajectory. The three southern regions are at different stages of implementation while the states in the north are still indifferent. FG has frowned at this move by states to engage in community policing, insisting it is unconstitutional. But restructuring will enhance flexibility as well as make room for any of the component units that feels strongly about any issue to proceed on actualizing it.
It is observed and rightly so, that FG employments and appointments in Nigeria are lopsided. The tilt is in the direction of wherever the occupier of the office of the president hails from. At the moment it is observed that candidates from the southern part of Nigeria seeking FG jobs are disproportionately placed in juiceless positions, sometimes not commensurate with their qualifications. The same fate plagues appointments. People from particular regions depending on the occupier of the Villa, are rewarded with juicy positions and portfolios at the peril of other sections of the country. Holistic reform will reasonably address this abnormally of tribal profiling faced by Nigerians in turn or perpetually.
The way out of this deadlock I think is for government at all levels to genuinely earn the trust of Nigerians by allowing government to work for the people. In order words, government should work for the people to earn their trust. There is no gainsaying that lack of trust among our leaders is a monumental challenge. It is this trust deficit of Nigerian leaders that generate multiple and divers shade of rebellion from the people. The followers literarily would submit their freedom of choice to a leader they can trust. To make progress, our leaders must be ‘born again’ in the management of the resources of the state. And over time with diligence, trust will gradually return.
This factor is key. It would rob off on all aspect of our lives as nationals of Nigeria. It of course impinges on our psyche which in turn regulate our mindset. I want us to reflect for a second what an impact, a positive mindset would have on this country over a period of time. Literarily, desired virtues like patriotism, moral rectitude, nationalism et cetera will be emboldened. Corruption and other vices that has retarded the progress of Nigeria these number of years will wane because aside the fact that laws in this dispensation will be enabled to function proportionately, leaders identified as corrupt would encounter dire reproach from their communities.
I think the National Conference, notwithstanding the criticism and perceived flaws, supported by other worthy efforts at proffering day time solution to some challenges Nigeria had and is still facing, would be a good starting point.
The National Conference convoked in 2014 in former President Goodluck Johnathan administration, I believe is still about the most inclusive effort at redressing the country’s many setbacks. The engagement of some 500 Nigerian delegates, drawn from all parts of the country and representing diverse interest, makes the National Conference ideal because the eventual 600 resolutions as documented in the 10,335-page report accommodated divergent views and interests.
The five months conference to tinker on the country’s political system and the future of Nigeria made some landmark resolutions, having identified the key problems, brainstorming on them and taking papers from the public who are critical stakeholders.
Some of the areas torched in the resolutions are revenue allocation which proposed reducing share of national income going to the federal government and increasing share for the states.
Modified presidential system of government that combines the presidential and parliamentary systems of government. The president was to pick the vice-president from the legislature
Again, power should be shared and rotated at all levels of government. Presidency should rotate between north and south and among the six geo-political zones of the country. Likewise, the governorship post should rotate among the three senatorial zones in each state.
My take on this issue is that government should move fast to implement the necessary changes as the path to progress and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria is actually in restructuring.