Over the last couple of years, there have been a torrent of agitations from different segments, groups, as well as prominent individuals in the country for the split of Nigeria nation.
However, more than ever, those voices have now assumed an incredibly disturbing dimension, so strong that it dominates the entire political sphere and airwaves in all the nooks & crannies of the country.
The voices are deafening & resounding enough. That government should live in denial and delusion by ignoring them will be catastrophic and dangerous for the unity & togetherness of our dear nation, Nigeria. For emphasis, one of these prominent voices is one of the usual suspects – Ohaneze Ndigbo, PANDEF, Afenifere.
Also, adding their voices to the list of the above-named groups are the touch bearers of the Oduduwa Republic agitation, a couple of CLO, CSO, as well as eminent and highly revered Nigerians including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christain Church of God, Pastor E.O. Adeboye, who government can’t afford to ignore.
Its tragic enough and regrettable that, the band of the groups, segments, and respected Nigerians clamouring for the split of the country are on the rise daily. The agitation gospel is fast becoming infectious that government, as a matter of fact, must change its approach of indifference and act immediately to curtail the situation.
But, it’s also instructive to announce to several voices of disintegration that if the split of the country starts, no one could predict with a measure of certainty when & where it would end. Those who witnessed 1967-70 Nigerian civil war would exclaim loudly, never again!
For sure, disintegration would diminish Nigeria as Africa’s most virile & sought after Brand. It would definitely reduce our values. Of course, it would cost us the leadership of the African continent, which we most covet. It would also open the country to a series of external attacks & aggressions.
Its indeed unfathomable that, while the nations that truly matter in the political & economic affairs of the globe – America, China, Korea, Japan etc, are daily craving for political & economic integration, as well as seeking ingenious ways to expand their coasts, Nigerians, even those who should know better, are vigorously clamouring to reduce and whittle the country’s influence & respect in the international diplomatic & economic spheres.
Let me also submit to the agents of disintegration and in eloquent terms that, not every split provides the expected solution. I, therefore, advise those who are beating the drums of disintegration to endeavour to enquire from South Sudan, if their economic & political woes are now over after separating from Sudan.
In fact, it’s getting worsening by the day! They should also make spirited efforts to connect those countries that separated from the then Yugoslavia, if the political & economic reasons that necessitated that development are now part of history, and of course, the world is not oblivious of further pains & tribulations that those countries that parted ways, from the then dreaded USSR are presently going through.
The centrepiece of this write-up is to announce to all groups, segments, as well as eminent Nigerians clamouring for the split of the country, the path to tread is for all of us to collaboratively appeal, as well as mount pressure on the federal government on the need to urgently RESTRUCTURE the country and not beating the drums of disintegration, which would lead to us to nowhere.
What should be paramount and of utmost priority every Nigerian is to collectively build a nation, where peace & orderliness, as well as, equity, fairness and justice, will always prevail to Nigerians regardless of creed, sex, ethnicity/religious bias, age, ideological leanings etc. I would therefore proceed to suggest the areas we need to collectively spell out and highlight to the government for urgent restructuring.
With the present arrangement where power is excessively concentrated at the federal level, Nigeria can never become a better nation.
That’s why competition and quest for elective office, as well as craze for an appointment at the federal level, is so fierce and intense. For us to move forward as a nation, the power & authority at the federal level must be devolved to the 36 federating units, including FCT, Abuja.
The 68 items on the Exclusive Lists is obviously a cog and serious barrier to Nigeria’s quest for true & genuine federalism, with particular reference to fiscal & political federalism. In the 21st Century, items like Construction and Alteration, as well as Maintenance of Roads, Traffic on Federal Truck Roads passing the States, Census, Police & other Government Security Services, Posts & Telephones, Prisons, Public Holidays, Stamp Duties, Taxation, Pensions & Gratuities, Prisons (Correctional Services) and to some reasonable extent, Mines & Minerals, have no justifications whatsoever to still be part of the Exclusive Lists for the exclusive preserve of Federal Authority to keep on solely legislating on. Indeed, it’s absurd and unacceptable that those items are still there.
If we sincerely desire the growth & development of the country, and most importantly, her unity, those items must be immediately transferred to the Concurrent Lists for Federal, as well as State Authority(s) to start legislating on. This could be conveniently achieved through the on-going CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW by the National Assembly.
Secondly, the cost of governance in all the 3 Tiers of government is overwhelmimg and has also constituted a serious challenge to the national march to posterity. The enormous cost of governance at all levels has dogged the path of efficient & effective governance in Nigeria over years. Except we decide to continue to live in disillusion and self-deceit, there is no way the country would progress and attains her full potentials under the present arrangement.
For the fact that the nation adopts American brand of Democracy does not suggest, we need to adopt all the components of their democratic order hook, line & sinker. There ought to have been the need for adjustments here & there, in order to suits and accommodates our peculiarities. For crying out loud, I sincerely don’t think that the country needs 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives. Doing what? I’m not an advocate of Unicameral Legislative Chamber, however, 2 senators/state, as well as 6 Reps members/state is good enough, with special consideration given to Lagos, Kano, Oyo, Katsina, Akwa-Ibom, Osun and perhaps Imo, on account of their dense population. In all, the country could do conveniently with 73 senators(including 1 FCT senator) and 240 Reps members. On Executive side, it’s not compelling that every state must have a Minister in FEC. A model that will ensure 4 Ministers from each geo-political zone could be adopted, with each Minister constitutionally compelled to appoint only 2 Special Advisers from the states in each zone that would not have Minister in the Federal Cabinet. With this arrangement in place, there is no justifiable reasons why the cost of governance would not significantly come down, and with the resultant revenue savings from the squandermania of nation Treasury diverted to Roads, Medical, Education Infrastructures, as well as channelled to revamp the nation manufacturing sector, and some also routed to reposition & re-engineer the power sector. The nation expects National Assembly to also visit this, in the on-going constitution review. Any attempt to sidetrack the reduction in cost governance, as well as Exclusive Lists barrier would only render the as a mere COSMETIC exercise.
Its also an auspicious time for the Federal Government to revisit White Paper Report of Oronsaye MDAs Rationalization & Restructuring exercise, with a view to adopting it, essentially to complement other cost governance cost reduction initiatives.
Thirdly, it’s saddening & regrettable that a country purporting herself as leader of the African Continent in the 21st Century have no National Industrial, Infrastructural, Electricity/Power policies. A nation desirous of prosperity, growth and development would find it absolutely difficult to move forward without deliberate and conscious policies, in above-highlighted areas. Nigeria as the giant of Africa, must of necessity have a national industrial policy that would propel and drive the development of strategic manufacturing companies that would create employment for the teeming youths, as well ignites economic growth & development. Nigeria as a strategic nation in global politics must provide values for the rest of the world, as well as for her citizenry.
The country also needs to be deliberate & resolute in instituting a national infrastructural plan for the periodic enhancement & facelifting of Roads, Railways, Bridges, Airports, as well as plan to build new ones in the strategic locations within the country, perhaps at intervals of say, 5 years.
The nation must also make conscious efforts to battle to a standstill, the economic, political and social barriers, as well as bureaucratic bottlenecks & officialdom that have for decades, constitute a cog in the national quest for a reliable power system. The challenge is unarguably the major obstacle on the path of the nation to economic freedom, political liberation and infrastructure advancement. For the purpose of emphasis, lack of power cause havoc to general economic activity and employment generation. The abysmal state of power in our country affects significantly productivity in all sectors, inflates costs and has really caused a collapse of the industrial sector. All manufacturing companies that relocated from Ikeja, Ilupeju, Agbara, Apapa Industrial Estate to neighbouring West African Coasts did so on account of epileptic power supply in Nigeria.
Then, there is an urgent need for a total restructuring of the Nation educational system, particularly at the Tertiary level. The present educational curricula in Tertiary Institution can no longer support the country economic, political, infrastructural as well as socio-cultural developments. In the 21st Century, it’s important that a Nigerian graduand must be able to come out from the school fully loaded with entrepreneurial & technological initiatives. The era of pursuing white-collar jobs are gone. With financial grants from government and other entrepreneurship assistance, Nigerian graduates of this era should be able to hit the ground running. It’s therefore important that the existing curricula in the nation Ivory Tower must be structurally adjusted in consonance with the contemporary reality.
Finally, let me passionately appeal to all Nigerians that, we must refrain from having grudges with the president with respect to his indifference to restructuring. We need to appreciate that, beyond being the president, he’s also human. Of course, it would be difficult for him to come to the realization of the fact that the vociferous and resounding voices of restructuring are so pronounced & profound during his time.
But, the president must also reflect on his prosperous and unusual achievements, for being just one of the 2 Nigerians in history that have been accorded honours of presiding over the affairs of Nigeria both as Military, as well as Civilian leader. God’s ways are not our ways, likewise, His thoughts are not our thoughts. The best the president could do is to allow for the restructuring of the nation in order to keep her togetherness & unity. I also advise him to be on the right side of history by being the president that ensures the oneness of the country.
Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB, ACS, MBA, BSC)
LAGOS BASED FIN & MGT CONSULTANTS