The restructuring of the country is possible this year if Nigerians especially southerners are prepared to do the needful. I began writing on the issue five years ago with a seven – part series published from August 10 through September 21, 2016 with the title: Why Nigeria must be restructured. Two years later, on March 21, 2018 I followed it up with: What can make restructuring happen within a year.
The final one came up seven months ago in a five – part article captioned: Time to force restructuring through, which was on from September 20 through October 28, 2020. The message was that only civil disobedience could make restructuring happen peacefully and that if this was not done in time would lead to a serious crisis that would threaten the country remaining one.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office six years ago, on May 29, 2015 people have been calling on him in vain to restructure the country and this is in spite of the fact that his ruling All Progressives Congress had it in its manifesto for the 2015 presidential poll. Given this, I thought people should have realized that Buhari and the legislators in the National Assembly and those in the Houses of Assembly in the 36 states who can make restructuring possible will not do so, unless forced to act.
From the press statement issued last Friday after the Northern Peoples Summit in Kaduna it is now clear that northern leaders are only ready for a restructuring limited to the creation of state and community police. In other words, they are not for true federalism type of restructuring in which there will be devolution of power with the states controlling their resources and paying only tax to the Federal Government.
If the northern leaders want true federalism and a return to parliamentary democracy they would not have opposed zoning and the rotation of the presidency to the South in 2023. This is because in the parliamentary system the President will be a ceremonial Head of State with the Prime Minister the leader of government only first among equals in the legislature. He would not be authoritative as the Head of State in the type of presidential system will now have. Given this, northern leaders would not have minded a southerner becoming President in 2023 since the person would be a ceremonial First Citizen with the Prime Minister who would be a northerner having the executive power to run the country.
As I advocated last year it should be clear that only civil disobedience will force President Buhari and the legislators in the National and State Assemblies to act. The legislators in the National Assembly who are said to be earning more than two hundred million naira a year will not want parliamentary system where members will only earn sitting and other allowances which may not be more than two million naira a year. Ditto the legislators in the State Houses of Assembly who go home with about one hundred and fifty million naira a year.
For me, the type of civil disobedience to be embarked upon should not be the declaration of an indefinite strike. This is because as we saw in previous ones such acts did not last more than three to four days before they collapsed. For the reason that people cannot stay at home for long because they need to work to make money to eat and take care of themselves and members of their families if they are married.
As a result, what is required are industrial actions that will last three days every week until restructuring is achieved. With this type of strike action people will have the opportunity to work for two days every week to make money to sustain themselves and their families. Consequently, they won’t mind if the industrial action goes on for six months or more.
As stated in the column of two weeks ago, March 24, southerners especially the people of the South – West and Niger Delta in the South – South should be blamed for allowing President Buhari to bluff them. And this is unfortunate because they have the weapon to make restructuring possible within a few months or less than a year.
Seventy to eighty per cent of the country’s earnings every year come from the oil and gas in the Niger Delta, while 60 to 70 per cent of the industries and commercial activities in the country are carried out in the South – West particularly Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States. As a result, the three – day a week industrial action staged every week in the South – West and South – South will paralyze the nation’s economy more devastatingly than the effect of insurgency, kidnapping and banditry in the North.
Civil disobedience was what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 68) used in the United States in the 1950s and 60s to achieve emancipation for African – Americans. It was also what the workers and people of the Republics of Benin and Kenya employed in the 1990s to achieve the political reforms that took their countries to the path of peace and progress,
It is also what is needed in Nigeria. If it had been applied in 2018 when I recommended it the worsening insecurity in the country in the last one year would not have arisen. In other words, not hearkening to my suggestion is what has led us to the situation in which some people especially southerners are now talking of secession.
What the leaders in the South, North – Central and parts of the North – East need do is to let their people know that industrial action is what they need as sacrifice to achieve true democracy in which the states will control their resources. They should also make them realize that with restructuring that their states will be better and witness desirable economic changes and social upliftment. Civil disobedience and industrial action are what Sunday Igboho, the leaders of the OPC in the South – West, MASSOB and IPOB in the South – East and the militants in the South – South should ensure is effectively carried out in their zones. I don’t believe that three – days of strike action or work stoppage every week will go on for up to six months before President Buhari and the legislators at the federal and state levels cave in and do what is necessary.
To be continued next Wednesday
Aboriginal & non–indigenous Lagosians
Two weeks ago I made the point that only the Awori and the descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, Brazil and Sierra Leone are true or genuine Lagosians. While in last week’s column I had it that only the Yoruba who were not from royal, chieftaincy, wealthy or prominent families in their ancestors’ towns of origin are the ones claiming that they are indigenous Lagosians.
To prove this, I am telling the story of two men, the first being Prince Michael Adebayo Ogun (a.k.a Boyzie) from a town in Ijebu land. Born on Lagos Island on Monday, June 24, 1946 he had his primary education at Christ Church Cathedral School, Broad Street, secondary school at Igbobi College, Yaba and tertiary education at the University of Lagos where he studied Mass Communications.
His father, Prince Michael Adedipupo Ogun (alias M.A. Natural) was a wealthy man and one of the first Nigerians to establish an indigenous advertising company in Lagos and the country. He was also the owner of Rendezvous Nite Club along Broad Street on Lagos Island which was one of the best and most famous in Lagos in the 1960s & 70s.
He acquired the nickname M.A. Natural because of his initials which he said was M.A. derived by birth and not one earned as a university degree. Although Bayo, his son, lived in Lagos throughout his 63 years on earth like the Doherty’s he never claimed to be an indigenous Lagosian, because he was from an Ijebu royal dynasty.
The other person whose dad migrated to Lagos and was born and bred in the city was my older cousin, Mr. Ayodele Adedipe, a Pharmacist whose father came to Lagos more than 100 years ago. He made it with my dad, another younger brother and a nephew.
Cousin Ayo, a member of the Elemo Adedipe Chieftaincy Dynasty of Akure, who was born on Lagos Island on Tuesday, July 24, 1934, had his primary education at Government School, Epetedo, Lagos and secondary education at King’s College, Lagos and tertiary education at the Nigeria College of Technology, Ibadan which later became the University of Ife.