Restructuring, Federalism and the will of a people

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By: Kuforiji Adedamola Victor

[Analyses]–The topic of restructuring has generated widespread agitations among Nigerians together with people clamouring for true federalism and devolution of power. In effect, the heavy weight on the centre should be reduced to pave way for regional development and growth.Be that as it may,the citizens have varying definitions and implications adduced to this sensitive matter.

It should be emphasized as a caveat that secession is not the same as restructuring. Howbeit, they both carry political implications. We have come to a point where the cliche “There is unity in diversity” holds no water in light of agitations, presentations and right to self determination issues that is rocking the very foundation of our dear country. Amidst these lies the salient issue of restructuring as a path for True Federalism.

What is Restructuring

In light of recent events, we should really in the true sense consider the term. Restructuring is a political term which denotes true devolution and decentralization to states Which allows regional growth, development and stability. This buzz word has become a political language subject to several political interpretations based on the interests on the subject matter. What the Biafrans understand as restructuring is different from that of the Oduduwas. The former primarily hinged on self determination rights and the latter clamouring for regional states with less control at the centre. The diverse opinions about this term has clogged the wheels of the vehicle of achieving a true federal state in Nigeria. In the true sense, Nigeria’s federalism has been battered by series of coups and counter coups which has caused myriads of political instability and thus ushered us to an era of Unitarism.

Federalism entails true devolution of power as obtainable in the United States of America. The states should be self sustaining and reliable and not a system as we have here where a state cannot exist without depending on federal allocation. That cannot in the real sense be called a Federal state. It is this political hypocrisy that has launched Nigeria to this present states of developmental comatose.

A good look at the exclusive legislative list will show that the Federal government is involved with virtually all the sectors of the economy which makes the states government less viable and self sustaining. True federalism begins when federating states have a good measure of autonomy and self sustaining structure that will ensure growth and stability rather than concentrating powers in a central government which is by no way closer to the people.

Restructuring under the 1999 constitution

You cannot put a new wine in an old bottle. I find it rather disheartening that we are in a country where we patch structures that aren’t working. There is no point modifying a constitution that does not reflect the wishes of the people. “We the people…” as stated in our preamble cannot in any be taken to reflect consent among Nigerians of a constitution stained with Military undertones and imposed rather than adopted. The question here is who are the people? The National assembly under the present administration has also spiced up this anomaly by legitimizing what is widely known as illegitimate under the guise of alteration and modification. Until We have a country where the constitution reflects the true intents of the citizens, it is rather not prophetic that days of political stability are still far off. In the light of this, the country needs a new order and a realm where we are governed the way we want and not the way we are taught.

We did not firmly and solemnly resolve to follow the present constitution. Thus, we cannot expect a commendable result from same. Our “Democracy” has been terrorised by all shades and manners of ethnic bias, nepotism and tainted estimation of class and society. Thus, Restructuring under this present constitution will not prove effective as it has been baptized with anomalies.

There is Unity in our diversity This has become a cliche in the Country. I do honest believe in the saying. However, I am of the opinion that our Unity cannot be archived under regional concerns are handled effectively. Thus, the need for restructuring. Let the regions have autonomous powers on issues like health, education etc rather than the current structure that purports heavy reliance on the federal government. The present over-centralisation does not present the true will of the people.

We need to sincerely consider the ideals that bind us as a country and forge a way for our dear country. I must add that it is ridiculously pathetic for the current administration to trash away the 2014 Abuja confab report where the issue of restructuring was also addressed. Politicians will always be politicians. However, the citizens should not be stampeded in the cross fight. This is not a time to restructure APC or PDP. It is a time to restructure our country.

The way forward

It is my humble view that the ideals of our country can only be upheld if it reflects the true desires of the people. This is a time when regional government will bring people closer to government vice versa and usher a system where states becomes viable and self sustaining. Policing, education, health should be made state affairs and not national matters exclusively. Let a New constitution be introduced to reflect our Unity in diversity and not as a political slang and a comic sentence, Let’s have a system where accountability is in order and public officials are by law and not morals be made to realise that they belong to the public and answerable to same. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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