Nigeria’s Unity Is Worth Sacrificing For; The Component Units Should Look At The Bright Side Of Restructuring Because It Remains The Only Way To Go.” –Atiku Abubakar
If Nigeria is now concurring that she is at a crossroad and obviously confused as to which direction to go, I come in today’s musing providing the radar of restructuring as the viable route to the desired destination.
If this country is really serious in tackling its problems, if she is interested in curing the disease and not the symptom, if she is serious in identifying why the country is not moving forward but remained on a revel chair, she should stop playing politics with the issue of restructuring.
Anybody thinking that this country would move forward with its present structure is not only living in the past but deceiving himself. The wheel of the Nigerian state cannot roll with its present structure; this is an undisputed fact that must be embraced now.
Why because it breeds injustice and like Mother Jones said “Injustice boils in men’s hearts as does steel in its cauldron, ready to pour forth, white hot, in the fullness of time” And the great Nelson Mandela did warn that “as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”
Nothing but selfishness and greed would make anyone want a system that has proved to be impracticable and that breeds injustice to continue. Nigeria whether we like it or not needs a new chapter in its political life.
It is bad structure that makes a public officer who stole the people’s money to still remain popular and unfazed about the consequences of his action. It is a bad structure that makes somebody ruling a plural society continue to carry on as a husband with one wife when he has wives.
The current so called federal structure in the country is obviously not working and cannot work as it is. If Nigeria after about fifty years is still nostalgic about certain of their leaders like Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North, Dr. Michael Okpara in the East and Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the West, it’s not that they had different DNA from leaders of today, but the truth is that they operated under a system that encouraged them to bring their best for their people.
If Bello was able to create the historic groundnut pyramid in the North, it was because he was not looking at the almighty Father Christmas at the centre to come and develop the region for him because there was none; he had all the powers and was developing the north for the Northerners.
We recall that even when the Prime Minister position came up at the centre he declined and chose one of his subordinates Abubakar Tafawa Belewa. In the East, the agricultural revolution of Dr. Okpara is still being felt by all the states of the South East and South South where he held sway.
Ditto, the Western region where the legend Awolowo in effort to make his region best among equals established virtually every development projects first for others to follow. It was a healthy and robust competition that helped grow the country before injustice against the people strolled into the system and brought us into the current system where over 50 per cent of the nation’s resources are domiciled in one person’s hand while the 36 states share the rest thereby making whoever is in charge at the centre the Lord of the harvest and woe to you if he does not like your face.
How do we expect families to be effective and result oriented in their outputs when they know that the large chunk of the proceeds are taken to the village square for sharing to all including to those who were not willing to make effort.
President Muhammadu Buhari should be shocked by now that thieves he is catching with stolen commonwealth of the people are not being rejected by the same people. If for instanceCol. Sambo Dasuki, the alleged current black sheep of corruption in Nigeria is freed, he would return to Sokoto not as a thief but as a hero of some sort who has helped to empower his people.
He could even contest election and win. Last week Iyiola Omissore after spending days in EFCC cell agreed to return a billion naira but he arrived Ife his town in Osun State not as a thief. Something is grimly wrong with such society. Is it not here that our Police go for peace keeping mission outside our shores and are highly rated when at home they are among the worst public officers?
The truth is that even if Buhari rules for donkey years, corruption would not stop in Nigeria because the system encourages it. It’s unfortunate that rather than appreciate the need to have a fundamental change in the system, President Buhari is still relying on war slogan handed over to them as young officers nearly fifty years ago to work today in a democratic setting “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done” With all the waters that have passed under the bridge, how can the task be done.
With the glaring imbalance in the land, how can the task still be a must? It’s against this backdrop therefore that I am totally aligning myself with the views copiously expressed by some prominent Nigerians that restructuring is the inevitable option left to get this country going again. Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, in a paper he presented at the Late Gen.Usman Katsina Memorial Conference, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Memorial Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna, last week said that he had been an advocate of restructuring for over a decade because he truly believed it was the key to solving some, if not most of the nation’s prob-lems.
According to the former number two man, the option left is to restructure the country, “Since the various amalgamations that created the entity that we now call Nigeria, different segments of Nigeria’s population have, at different times and sometimes at the same time, expressed feelings of marginalisation, of being short-changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, or even targeted for elimination.”
For those apprehensive about restructuring particularly in the North, the Turaki Adamawa has this to say “The North and Nigeria have not been served well by the status quo and there is need for change. “Who among us who went to primary and secondary school in the 1960s had much to do with the federal government? Did the Northern regional government wait to collect monthly revenue allocations from Lagos (then National Capital) before paying salaries to its civil servants and teachers or fixing its bridges and roads?”
The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma speaking to journalists on the issue in Enugu this week said that “Nigeria is negotiable because people are wounded; people are being side-lined and this is what is causing this spate of bombings by Avengers and all these people who are agitators.
According to the cleric, “Restructuring will surely be done because the way things are going, it has to be restructured. South-East is the only zone that has five states. You have to restructure because without restructuring there will be marginalization.”
Today, it is on record that virtually all the umbrella ethnic nationalities in the country are also itching for restructuring. Against this context therefore it would be foolhardy to hold on to the dogma of Nigerian unity not being negotiable when in reality the union has been on reverse gear since 1960. Who is afraid of restructuring, after all is it not just rearrangement of what is not working for it to work? God help us.
By Ike Abonyi – New Telegraph