The present Nigerian situation, where insecurity has generally overwhelmed the country, is pathetic and every concerned citizen should be worried that the nation is fast sinking and may be difficult to salvage except concerned leaders intervened forthwith. It is no longer news or strange that the nation is bleeding and bleeding so profusely without adequate arrangement put in place to stop the bleeding. Nigerians have wailed and wailed so tirelessly because of the seeming hopelessness of their situation. And it appears that nobody is caring to stop the drifting of the national edifice.
They have looked forward for a messiah to come up and save them from the impending doom. As a result of the festering insecurity, Nigerians are no longer shocked by the orgy of violence and killings going on in the country. They are now used to abductions and killings of students and other Nigerians for no just cause. They have lamented and become so tired of lamentations to no end. Rather, what shocks them is the near absence of leadership and the unwillingness of our leaders to rise to the occasion and address the nation’s pressing challenges.
They have heard enough promises of hope and they have become tired of hearing more and more of such empty and impotent promises. It is good that the nation’s intractable challenges are known to our leaders and notable Nigerians have proffered many solutions to solve these problems and their recommendations are there at the archives gathering plenty dust. Unfortunately, the solutions are not being implemented by the government in power which promised Nigeria ‘change.’ Before the All Progressives Congress (APC) assumed power in 2015, one of their change campaign promises was the restructuring of Nigeria and making things work for all Nigerians.
They also promised to tackle corruption, fix the economy and fight insecurity headlong. Six years down the line, they are still tackling the three problems without much success. Since 2015 till date, the ruling party has not kept faith with Nigerians in ensuring that this edifice is remade or reconfigured to function effectively despite every vile thing they said against the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before they captured power. Interestingly, the APC leadership is aware of these problems and the recommended some solutions. But they have vehemently refused to touch them even with a pole.
It even set up a committee chaired by Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, on restructuring the country. The recommendations of that committee are still in the archives waiting for implementation. Prominent Nigerians such as the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Ayo Adebanjo, some northern leaders and others have over and over again called for the restructuring of Nigeria to make it work.
And on each occasion, such calls are rebuffed by those in power. Sometimes, the rationale behind them is questioned. At times, the presidency will ask them to go to the National Assembly or they foreclose any dialogue to that effect or say certain annoying things to Nigerians. It is based on the foregoing that one welcomes the recent patriotic intervention of the 17 Southern governors and their agenda to reset Nigeria and make it a country we shall all be proud of once again. The governors, who met in Asaba, Delta State, within the week, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum, proffered far-reaching suggestions on how to move the country forward.
Top on their 10-point agenda is the call on the Federal Government to urgently convoke a national dialogue to address Nigeria’s persistent challenges. The governors also called for the restructuring of the country and an end to open grazing in the southern parts of the country to stem the excesses of armed herdsmen. The governors made a case for the creation of state police as a way to enhance the nation’s overall security as well as a review of the current revenue sharing formula.
They also want appointments into federal government agencies and security agencies, to reflect federal character as well as the nation’s diversity. What the governors said is not new. They are not even basically different from what their northern counterparts have earlier said. Many Nigerians from all the geo-political zones have made similar suggestions. Therefore, President Muhammadu Buhari should listen to the Southern Governors and other Nigerians and see what he can take from their agenda to end the crisis facing the country at the moment.
The president can liaise with past Nigerian leaders and leaders of ethnic groups on how best to resolve our national issues without dragging the country into another civil war. No nation ever survives two civil wars. Perhaps, this is the right time to start the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference. Other Nigerians can still factor their views on how best we can forge ahead as one united country without the ongoing bloodletting and abductions.
It is sad that what is lacking now is the political will to implement them. Our problem now is the inability of our leaders, the executive, the legislature and even the judiciary at the federal and state levels to really see these suggestions as something that should be done now to save the nation from drifting. The nation as presently constituted is not benefiting anyone or any zone. The insecurity has reached every zone and no zone is safe anymore. The Nigerian nation is still a work in progress and therefore we need continuous dialogue and exchange of ideas on how to make the union work from all the geo-political zones.
Nation-building is never a work that is done and finished in one day. It is a continuous process. There is absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever with all Nigerians contributing ideas on how to move the country forward. It is not a job we should leave for elected officials alone. After all, the elected officials derived their powers from us. Anybody foreclosing a national dialogue at this point in time is not wishing the country well and such a person does not really love the country. That is why government’s spokesmen, advisers and even ministers must see their work as a patriotic call to serve the nation and not necessarily to the person that appointed them.
They must work to defend Nigerians and the constitution at all times irrespective of the pressure they face in the course of duty. It is not their duty to talk down on Nigerians or arrogate to themselves the power of all knowing. Interestingly, Nigerian people are not hard to govern. They don’t even depend on the government for their daily needs. Nigerians are not lazy. They are hard working people. They excel in their country and elsewhere they find themselves. They need basic necessities to enable them function effectively.
They want steady power supply, potable water, good roads, functional healthcare system, good schools, security and enabling environment to eke their daily living. There is no doubt that a restructured Nigeria will be suitable for all Nigerians and usher in the much needed development. It will lead to healthy competition among the federating units and ensure good governance at all levels. Only a restructured Nigeria based on equity, fairness and justice can benefit all citizens. Let the federal government do the needful now and stop the nation from disintegrating.