THE restructuring argument, like old wine, is getting sweeter, aromatic, and stronger every day and it appears that it is the right way the country should go despite some official pronouncement that the nation’s unity is non-negotiable. Our existence is negotiable. In fact, it is only through dialogue and negotiation that Nigeria’s “palava” would be amicably resolved.
It also seems that the restructuring of the national edifice camp is attracting more prominent converts with each passing day and the discourse has refused to leave the headlines it hugged since former Vice President Atiku Abubakar assertively and authoritatively reinforced the call for restructuring. Since then, the debate has been raised a notch higher and the tempo will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks.
Prominent Nigerians from all the six geo-political zones of the country have made similar calls before Atiku and all of them are still in support of it. It is interesting to read on Wednesday the report that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has lent his full support for state police. That in itself is cheering news. It shows that this government is now listening to what Nigerians are saying.
But we should not clap yet until we see something concrete. What remains to be seen is the doing of what is said. It is one thing to say something; it is another thing to do it. Nigerians are watching the unfolding drama and its resolution.
However, in the report, the VP was quoted as saying that he is opposed to a regional arrangement for the country. He also said that he does not like the restructuring of Nigeria along ethnic lines or return to regional structure. According to his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the VP made it clear that he had always been an advocate of fiscal federalism which will lead to states having more resources.
The learned professor of law also recalled that he had approached the Supreme Court for a record ten times as the Attorney General of Lagos State on the same issue. What I got from Osinbajo’s professorial intervention, which is worth quoting in full, is that “Nigeria always needs to be engineered, we have to keep restructuring, re-engineering” until we get it right. I share in this wisdom from an erudite man of letters and the pulpit, plus the volatile Nigerian soapbox.
It is interesting that the Vice President has given hope and verve to the restructuring debate beginning with the state police. This welcomed signal from Aso Rock is a veiled indication that Nigeria is a negotiable entity, a position, which has been expressed in this arena severally.
While the VP is entitled to his views on restructuring the country, which is indeed long overdue, we must hasten to add that it will not end according to his dictates alone or in tune with the All Progressives Congress (APC) roadmap as reported in some sections of the media. We say this because most Nigerians are not aware of the APC roadmap. They don’t even know its colour, shape, tenor, texture, mood and mode. Perhaps, the VP and his party should avail Nigerians of this vital roadmap for our consumption and consideration.
The restructuring of Nigeria, whether along ethnic or regional configurations, must be according to the wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians. A national issue as big as restructuring should not be reduced to a political party affair. Already, we have a working document: the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which contained the state police, devolution of powers, fiscal federalism among other things.
Let us look deeply into that document produced by eminent representatives of all Nigerians and start implementing what we think is good in it. We should not throw the confab report away and still believe that Nigerians would accept another roadmap when existing ones are left to gather dust and cobwebs in the usual Nigerian style of not attending to urgent national issues when they matter most.
We do not have the luxury of time for the setting up of another committee that will also set up another committee, and another one, until thy kingdom come. The restructuring should move away from the podium of fanciful rhetoric to actual practicality. Seeing, they say, is believing; and once beaten, twice shy.
A stitch in time saves nine. We should look for a black goat in the day time. Pragmatism is actually what we need now as regards the restructuring of the national edifice into a livable household for all Nigerians. But a journey of a thousand miles usually starts with one. No doubt, the VP has spoken and I think that he has spoken very well.
We shall take it from there and start doing something concrete on the matter. This journey must start from the floor of the National Assembly which will commence a thorough and holistic amendment of the 1999 Constitution before we can create a state police.
In fact, most of the 2014 confab recommnedations can only be implemented with the amendment of the constitution. This is where our honourable members should dissipate their energy and not over mundane issues as immunity and pension for its over-remunerated principal officers.
They should save us from such needless distraction and face the restructuring issue with the seriousness it deserves. We should stop chasing rats when our only house is on fire. Let us move from a talking nation to a doing nation. We should talk and do or in local parlance, “talk na do.” Let us handle the restructuring with speed and maturity. That is the only sensible option for the survival of this edifice called Nigeria.
Re: Lawmakers’ sex scandal…
Who determines the paycheck?
Your article on the above topic is instructive. It is only in politics that the employees fix their remuneration. Let the House clear this damaging allegation levelled against three of its own instead of seeking for life pension and immunity for its leaders. The honourables are taking Nigerians for a ride.
It is time we make lawmaking a ‘part time’ job and pay the legislators sitting allowance. Let Nigerians speak out and take back their country. Someone should remind the legislators that it is he, who hires that determines the paycheck of the employees. Let Nigerians determine what their lawmakers should earn! Kingsley <[email protected]>
The monkey hypothesis
I love your article on the above topic. It is very interesting! But we were taught in primary school that black monkeys taste differently from white monkeys. Maybe our lawmakers wanted to prove that hypothesis. You can see why local ‘handbags’ may not go for their libido. Geo<[email protected]>