From Aloysius Madu, Enugu
After the Nigeria-Biafra Civil war in 1970, the Igbo have always felt marginalised. Their cry of marginalisation heightened when the South-East zone was left with only five states while the other zones in the country got at least six states.
Besides, the Igbo felt they have not got their due in the country as a federating unit. Thus, recently it became fashionable for the Igbo to begin to agitate for the restructuring of the country.
To reinforce the voice of his kinsmen, prolific author and erudite professor of Public Administration and Comparative Federalism, Prof. Ralph Nwokedi, released two books recently, one of them dissecting the federal system of government as practised in Nigeria and proffering solutions to the myriad of problems.
The two books: Politics of Nigerian federation: Past, present and the future; and Storm over revenue allocation and resource control in Nigerian federation were unveiled and presented to the public at the African Heritage Institution in Enugu State recently.
The book on Nigeria’s federalism specifically dealt with the defects and problems of past and present federal system and suggestions in restructuring Nigeria to become a true and fiscal federation.
Former governor of Cross River State, Dr. Donald Duke, who chaired the occasion, commended Prof. Nwokedi for his courage and wisdom in writing the books, which he said were very critical and invaluable contributions to the current national discourse on restructuring the country.
Duke who was represented by his special adviser, therefore, called on political and opinion leaders to read the books, which he said have provided most of the solutions to political tensions and agitations by the marginalized ethnic nationalities.
He observed that the books have provided viable options for re-organizing the polity in order to achieve lasting peace necessary for the preservation of national unity.
Prof. Nwokedi said the books were intended to provide backgrounds and visualization on federalism in the country.
According to him, the books x-rayed what must be done to salvage Nigeria from the perennial political crises, agitation and militancy by disenchanted ethnic nationalities and interest groups, which had retarded the socio-political and economic development and stability of the nation.
He, therefore, urged Nigerian leaders to first think “inside the box” before thinking “outside the box” in order to realise that Nigeria’s unity was negotiated by Nigerian leaders of various tribes, political parties and interest groups during the British colonial rule towards national independence at various political and constitutional conferences held in London and later at Ibadan from 1951 to 1958, saying that they have to work out the basis of its national unity, but not the sovereignty of the nation, which he said is sacrosanct.
It was trite to negotiate Nigerian unity as in the past, so long as her sovereignty was not compromised in order to evolve a more fiscal and classical federalism, he said.
Giving options on the way out, Nwokedi said: “The first was to draft a completely new constitution, which relied heavily on recommendations of 2014 Confab, to be ratified by a national referendum to replace the grossly defective 1999 Constitution or in the alternative adopt the second option, which was that the National Assembly should repeal the 1999 Constitution imposed on Nigerian people by a military Decree 24 of 1999, which was unconstitutional and consequentially resuscitate the popular people’s 1963 Constitution, which in reality, was merely suspended by the military which constitutionally could not been abrogated by the military.”