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Nigeria Breakup is inevitable Without Re-organization

I do not like to use the word restructure when discussing the kind of changes needed in Nigeria. It is a word with bad connotation. It is a word that has come to be viewed by certain regions of Nigeria as a way to starve them of fund and resources needed for their daily survival and development. The fate of Nigeria as a nation hangs in a balance. There is agitation for outright independent or some form of reorganization throughout the Southeast, South South and Western regions. The agitation cannot be papered over. It is real and will continue to dog Nigerian state and take away valuable time needed for development.

It is not possible for any country to move forward when half of its population do not agree with the structure of the government. The entire southern part of Nigeria thinks that they are not fully represented in the government. That they are not getting their fair share in Nigeria. Proper government structure acceptable to most part of the population is a must for the country to move forward. It should be done sooner than later. If it is not addressed soon, the situation may get out of hand. it may be too late before Nigerian government decides to present some solution. Some regions of the country are already saying that restructure is already late and they want secession. There is still time left for the government to fundamentally change the structure of the country. People who are advocating restructure are prominent and educated Nigerians who know what they are talking about. They are not hooligans and miscreants and their advice should not be ignored.

The present structure of Nigeria is unsustainable because approximately half or more than half of the population are not satisfied with it. Nigerian governance is too centralized. Much of the power is concentrated at the federal level. Law enforcement is centralized, much of the economy and organs of production is centralized. Revenue is collected by the federal government from oil sales and shared with the states and local governments. Power generation and distribution is centralized. Recent attempt by Nigerian senate to decentralize police force was opposed by the northern senators and that portion of proposed constitutional amendment died. The Southern regions of Nigeria are quickly concluding that the support for concentration of power at the federal level by the north is a deliberate means to hold on to power and subjugate the southern regions to their whims at the same time. The northerners may be thinking that they can keep the power equation the way it is in perpetuity. The northerners are mistaken if they think that this strategy is sustainable. I must note that the north central region of Nigeria is not in total agreement with the northeast and north-west region.

The way forward for Nigeria is devolution of power to the states and local governments and even Township council so various Communities, States and regions can govern themselves with limitation since any federal law supersedes the state and local government laws. Federal governments cannot effectively control events in states and local governments. Security can never be fully restored in all parts of Nigeria with federal police force alone. State and local government police force can effectively handle security issues in any parts of Nigeria. The State and local police force can always seek assistance of the federal police force when needed. Rotation of president and vice president, senate president, House Speaker, Secretary of the Federal government and presidential Chief Staff should be constitutionally rotated among the six geo-political zones so each zone will feel that they belong to the Nigerian project. A lot of states rotate the governorship and deputy governor position among the three senatorial zones for peaceful co-existence. I must say that it is working for those states. Why not adopt same approach at the national level. It must be written into the constitution to avoid confusion by clearly stating which zone will get what and when. Residents of each zone should be made to feels that they have equal say in the administration of the country. I think changing the political structure for now will be enough. Resource control by each region is not feasible or workable. Letting each region to keep their natural resources will basically deprive states without such resources of much needed revenue. Current derivation formula is a better formula for compensation states with natural resources. Percentage from derivation can be increased or decreased when necessary.

Developed nations do not centralize power. Decentralization of power to states and local levels normally lead to rapid development and provides good security. Why not pair Southeast region with North East region, Southwest region with Northwest region, South South region with Northcentral region for rotational president and vice president. Each zone should hold president and vice president for 2 four year term of eight years. All parties must be mandated to choose their presidential and Vice-presidential zone from the zone whose turn it is to provide individuals for such offices during primaries and general election. Party that won majority in the House and senate must be compelled by the constitution to choose Senate President and Speaker from the zone that did not produce the president or vice president during the eight years, same with Secretary of the Federal government and Federal Chief of Staff. None of the zone can get the same position twice until it goes around the six zones. Each zone should keep the presidency and other offices for only eight years at a time. For the president and Vice President, the positions will alternate between the three northern and Southern regions every eight years.

I have been against rotational presidency in the past but it is a small price to pay in-order to keep Nigeria one. It will be the most effective way to neutralize separatist groups throughout the country. These group needs to be separated and marginalized from the general population by reform and new ideas not force. Re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government will be a colossal mistake. His influence, strength and power will grow if he is kept in prison. He has been losing support since he was released from prison on bail especially when he advocated for boycott of gubernatorial election in Anambra state. He will continue to make more mistakes which will cost him further support.

Nigerian government must get ahead of this issue and offer bold proposals and make sure that it will become the law of the land. It is the only way to keep Nigeria one. The most frustrating thing about the proponents of restructure is that they have not clearly stated or outlined in detail what aspect of the constitution should be restructured or changed. They all speak in generalities. If you get ten proponents together in a room and ask them what should be restructured, you are likely to get ten different answers. They are incoherent and appears lost when asked for details. Nigerian government should also dispense with the idea that agitation for secession or restructure is due to economic downturn or recession. That the agitation will lessen when Nigeria come out of recession. Nothing could be further from the truth. The primary reason for the agitation is not economic. It has more to do with ethnicity and religion than economic. Whenever devolution of power takes place, there is bound to be problems at the beginning but they are normally solved after a while.



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