I am not as old as the 2nd republic, but the little history has taught me revealed that every general election in Nigeria gears up specific themes targeted at reviving the nation. However, there is never a period within these timeline that these themes have pragmatically stood their course. The 1979’s Green Revolution; 1993’s Hope campaign, 1999’s Power Agenda, the 2011’s 7-point Agenda, 2015’s transformation Agenda and the 2015’s Change Mantra. 2019 is around the corner and we are planning to sing a new song.
Our cry for ‘Change’ in 2015 was amazing. Everyone seriously wanted a real change in the then status quo of in orderliness. Our politicians saw the anxiety; picked it up and personalized it. It superbly got them the key to the Aso Villa and ‘Power’ succinctly conceded to ‘Change’. The problem wasn’t in the mantra but in the lack of direction and motif. Now the change we all wanted becomes wavy to handle. ‘Change the Change’ is the counter slogan to employ.
Only suddenly have we now discovered scattered reasons and facts on why we cant co-exist with one another. The Cat and Dog story have been revived to suit their aim. The germane issues of governance are left unattended to and accusing fingers are pointed at one another. Nigeria is a made up of 6 geo-political zones and (amazingly) 5 out of it are feeling cheated and segregated by the only one. As it stands, secession is the new threat in town.
Some have argued that these secession calls are misleading and thus having the influence of religio-ethnicity in conjunction with the fear of dominance. But in a situation whereby the people aint receiving the dividends of the called change, how do you preach the gospel of ‘One Nigeria’?
Apparently, those currently in charge of the Change government are stylishly dancing to the tune already even though our President once said ‘it isn’t negotiable’. They have decided to join in the new song of Restructuring with a hope that people will key into it.
With the new opposition structure, their version of the song will meet a fierce competition. Recall that the Supreme Court of the Federation settled the leadership crisis in the PDP just recently. This will strengthen them in preparation for 2019. It is now down to the Musician with the best lyrics. But lets answer this begging question: Is restructuring the way forward.
QUESTION: IS RESTRUCTURING THE WAY FORWARD?
Restructuring is the new theme song for 2019 and we can only hope we get it right this time. From all indications, if secession shouldn’t be allowed, then a proper restructuring plan should be in place.
I have argued over and over for the return of Regional system as it is the best bet for a multi-dimensional Nigeria. In favor of my argument is also the fact that majority of the achievement we celebrate today are products of Regionalism.
Let’s face it straight: Nigeria can never be washed clean of Religious sentiments and ethnicity. Like algebraic expression, we are unlike terms forced to work in the same equation. We can only but make use of these differences as strength if well employed.
There are other numerous benefits we will gain from this pseudo-united structure (regionalism) than living forcefully together. ]
- Regionalism and Governance: Without much ado, I shouldn’t even stress myself talking about how great a Regional governance will help the country. We can take cue from the 1960-66 system. Apart from the high handedness and corruption of the leaders and personalities of that republic, we know how strong each region was in terms of governance and deliveries. In fact, there was less tussle for power at the center as everybody were focused on the governance of their region first. The competitions will strengthen deliveries and performance within the regions. By so doing, Zonings and rotations will make common sense at the center. The 8th assembly are trying to free up some items on the exclusive list to ease the load the center.
Regionalism and Accountability: the concept will help the masses know directly who to hold responsible for certain issues and parastatal. Unlike the structure we have at the moment where there are so many offices (from the state level till federal) for only one issue. These politicians won’t just be sitting in offices collecting monies without doing anything.
Regionalism and Education: as part of the current challenges in the education system in Nigeria are poor governance and management, poor funding, poor training facilities, poor teacher’s welfare and lack of proper monitoring. The attitude towards the quality is bad. The UBE (Universal Basic Education), for example, is failing because its non specificity in control. UBE is neither fully managed by the FG nor by the States or local authority. So why not leave it strictly in the hands of the regions (when formed).
Regionalism and Economy: without dispute, fiscal federalism (in tune with regionalism) will strengthen and revive this falling economy. The country cant flourish with over concentration of powers at the center. The Federal government is handling too much. Unless powers and resources are need are dissolved to regions and states.
Tinubu, while speaking at the 91st anniversary of the Daily Times newspaper in May this year, addressed this issue succinctly:
One of the notable features of the 1963 constitution was the extensive powers granted to the regions which enabled them to carry out their responsibilities as they best saw fit. This was because the regions inherently had a better sense of the direct needs of their population simply by virtue of the fact that they were closer to the people than the center. I am opposed to the federalism operated as a unitary monster. As a lagos state governor, I challenged several federal government decisions to overreach and for violating the principles of federalism.”
5. Restructuring and Politics: Nigeria’s political system and ideology right from 1923 till date have largely been regional with limited outlook. These are clear indications that political thoughts are factors of regional supports. A Hausa man will always vote a Hausa man and an Igbo man will vote his tribesmen. So it is better we restructure the settings to allow electorates stay more active in their elections internally.
6. Regionalism and Language Development: Nigeria is a country with over 500 indigenous languages. Three languages (Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa) serve as National languages. Because of the complexity of the present structure, other languages are relegated and dying. English, a foreign language, is enjoying a smooth ride and proportion as the official language. If regionalism is giving a chance, I believe that these weaker languages will be given some breeding space to survive in a closer structure within the regions.
Having said all these, I will leave you to ponder-on before the next Editorial. However, the only challenge I see here is about the direction of the grouping for effective structure. In the meantime, it’s simple: Let’s COLLECT THE LIKE TERMS.