Over the last couple of years, there have been torrent of agitations from different segments, groups, as well as prominent individuals in the country for the split of Nigeria nation, but more than ever before, the voices have now assumed an incredible & very disturbing dimension, so much that it’s already dominating the entire political sphere and air waves in all the nooks & crannies of the country. The voices are deafening & resounding enough, that government would be living in denial and illusion by ignoring them, and this will be catastrophic and dangerous for the unity & togetherness of our dear nation, Nigeria. For emphasis, prominent and very loud of those voices, are those of 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 agigation, 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 clamoring for the split of the country keeps on increasing on daily basis and the agitation gospel is fast becoming infectious, so much that, government as a matter of fact must change its approach of indifference and act immediately to control the situation.
But, it’s also instructive to announce to several voices of distingeration that, if the split of the country starts, no one could predict with measure of certainty when & where it would end. Those who witnessed 1967-70 Nigerian civil war would exclaim loudly that, never again! For sure, distintegration would diminish Nigeria as African most virile & sought after Brand. It would definitely reduce our values. Of course, it would costs us the leadership of African continent, which we most coveted. It would also open the country to series of external attacks & aggressions. Its indeed unfathomable that, while the nations that truly matters in the political & economic affairs of the globe-American, China, Korea, Japan etc, are daily craving for political & economic integration, as well as seeking ingenous ways to expand their coasts, Nigerians, even those who should know better, are vigorously clamoring 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 expected solution. I therefore advise those who are beating the drums of distintegration to endeavor to enquire from South Sudan, if their economic & political woes are now over after separating from Sudan. Infact, its 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 centerpiece of this write-up is to announce to all groups, segments, as well as eminent Nigerians clamoring for the split of the country that, 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 prioprity to all Nigerians, 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 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 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 quest for true & genuine federalism, with particular reference to fiscal & political federalism.
In 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, its absurd and unacceptable that, those items are still there. If we sincerely and strongly desire the growth & development of the country, and most importantly, her unity, those items must be immediately transfer 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 constitute a serious challenge to the nation 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 under illusion 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 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 coiuld 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 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 channeled to revamp the nation manufacturing sector, and some also routed to reposition & reengineer 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.
Amzat writes from Lagos