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In the wake of the rising insecurity in the country, one of the commonest topics being discussed and debated by self-aware Nigerians is the subject of restructuring or self-determination.
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One of the reasons behind this recent awakening can be attributed to the Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Igboho’s call for an independent Yoruba nation at a conference jointly held with the leader of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Professor Banji Akintoye. This would be the first time Igboho would make a bold statement on the self-determination of one of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups and this follows in the footsteps of calls by others such as Mazi Nnamdi Kanu for a Biafra nation. Feelers from the public, especially within the Southwestern geo-political zones have consequently been examining the pros and cons of an independent Yoruba nation. The question, however, is, can restructuring be achieved alone by a group comprising a nation, if at all? Or can the whole nation be properly restructured before it falls apart into seceding groups? In a more holistic view of things, restructuring has been pegged at any of the followings: devolution of powers, regionalism, fiscal federalism, state creation, local governance etc. For the past 21 years, since the return of democracy in the 4th Republic in 1999, no serious achievement has been recorded in these areas of governance. The lack of seriousness in restructuring the nation has been the major driver for the calls by ethnic jingoists and survivalists in calling for secession and self-determination. The political elite has been deeply unconcerned largely because the current dysfunctional system of governance in Nigeria has enriched and profits them bountifully. It now seems like the unworkable status quo suits the political jobbers and they are trying to silence all calls for restructuring as unpatriotic or treasonable. Interestingly, the lack of consensus on the exact method of how Nigeria should be restructured is obvious from the lackadaisical body language of the presidency. The systematic and periodic constitutional reviews, sovereign national conferences, referenda or dissolution of government with the institution of an interim government are some of the modalities highlighted for proper restructuring of the country but elements in power always find a way to thwart attempts at letting any of these methods to pull through.
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One attempt at restructuring the nation is via constitutional conferences where diverse ethnic groups, organisations, and units of the Nigerian nation come together to slug out their differences and arrive at a consensus suitable for a united country. While many have blamed the haphazard conference championed by ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo with the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) In 2005. IN 2014, the National Conference set up by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 was more holistic in solving the structural problems of the nation. However, by the end of the 2014 National Conference which had 492 delegates in attendance, about N7 billion had been spent with nothing much to write home about because of a lack of a good implementation strategy. Most of the problems existing before the 2014 confab still exist to date. Although the Jonathan administration set up a seven-member committee headed by the then-attorney general to advise the government on the effective implementation of the report and eventually forwarded the report to the National Assembly for further action via constitutional reforms, the legislature could not take far-reaching action on it before the end of the administration’s tenure in June 2015 as it got caught up in the bitter politics of the 2015 general elections. This brings us to the realisation that restructuring is not just about having a national conversation, the modalities for implementing the recommendations are also vital. The 2014 confab, despite the fantastic summations that reached the summit, had the problem of implementation as the recommendations had to go through an unserious and inefficient National Assembly. Among the 2014 confab recommendations which would have saved the incumbent administration some level embarrassing moments in governance were true federalism, the rotation of the office of the president among the six geo-political zones, state policing, an independent judiciary, creation of new states, local government autonomy and so on. Yet, the nation is back to square one as the Muhammadu Buhari administration seems to have completely discarded the option of adopting useful portions of the confab for national cohesion and growth. Source: Premium Times Featured Image Source: Techpoint Africa
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This article was first published on 23rd March 2021


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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