The fundamental aspect of Nigeria’s national life that must be restructured is the current structure of governance of Nigeria.
In looking at the calls and clamor to restructure Nigeria, I cannot but give kudos to one eminent Nigerian, like him or hate him, who has come out and unequivocally lent his voice to this matter of urgent national importance.
In a paper he presented at the Late Gen.Usman Katsina Memorial Conference, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Memorial Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna, on Saturday, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) stated “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 marginalization, of being short-changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, or even targeted for elimination.”
He went further to say “previous initiatives aimed at addressing these concerns have not yielded the desired results as mutual suspicions still exist adding that, “If anything, our unity has been fragile, our democracy unstable, and our people more aggrieved by their state in the federation.”
In view of the fore-going avowals by Alhaji Abubakar and in order to make sense of this call by some Nigerians, the 10 questions below have become pertinent in order to make sense of this clarion call for the restructuring of Nigeria:
1) Is the current Federal System of Government (quasi-Unitary System) wherein the federating units are feeling short-changed and oppressed working?
3 Are some federating ethnic nationalities of the Nigerian State truly marginalized and dominated by some?
3) Should Nigeria go back to Regional (Provincial) Government which gives the federating regions greater autonomy to manage their resources and grow at their own pace?
4) Is the bicameral Legislature (Senate & HOR) too expensive for Nigeria, given the growing poverty and urgent need for basic amenities for the people? Are the Representatives truly representing the people or themselves?
5) Are the items on the Exclusive List top heavy for the government at the center?
6) For how long will oil remain the main-stay of Nigeria’s economy? What happens the world’s appetite for oil dwindles or better still oil is no more? Should the various States begin to look inward for alternative sources of revenue? If so then…
7) How will resources be shared? Should the emerging Regions (Province) control and manage their resources while contributing quotas to the center as opposed to the current system wherein States go cap in hand to collect from the center?
8) Nigeria purports to be a Secular State, has there been religious neutrality and tolerance by government and the people since Amalgamation?
9) Is there Respect for Rule of Law & Order, and the Constitution by government and citizens?
10) Is there an urgent need to re-orientate citizenry’s mindset toward nationhood, morals, tolerance and high standards?
These are some of the questions we must answer as we widen the discourse for and against the call for restructuring Nigeria.
One thing is certain, Nigeria as constituted and operating hangs on a cliff. Nigeria is simply not working and we can’t continue to pretend that it is.
Nigeria can be likened to an animal kingdom wherein everyone is going for the opportunities and advantages therein. Many no longer think of nationhood because the nation state that their heroes past sacrificed to keep as one has failed them.
If Nigeria continues to postpone the evil day, it wouldn’t be long before it melts in our very before. Therefore every citizen must rise up and support the urgent need to truly and faithfully restructure Nigeria along the lines of these question; then and only then will our children yet unborn be hopeful of a country called Nigeria they will be proud of.
Comrade Shedrack Fubara, a public affairs analyst writes from Alberta, Canada