By Muyiwa Olayinka
Nigeria my country is a country that has more than 350 tongues with different cultural beliefs. With this diversity it has been a Herculean task to accommodate different interests. The nation fought a bitter 20 months old war to find its identity. Since it fought the civil war more than 47 years ago, it has not been able to resolve the National question.
Though it pretends to have adopted Federalism but in reality, it has been a unitary system.
It was foisered on us by prolonged military rule. The constitution supports a structure that made the central government so powerful and maintains a feeding bottle system,by so doing, all the federating units rely on it to survive. It is not unusual to see all the 36 states going to Abuja ( the federal capital), on monthly basis to share collectible revenues. The sharing formular is also in favor of the central government; it collects more than half of the total revenues.
It has made the President and its agents so powerful to the point of mis using its powers. This also encouraged massive corruption because the mechanism to ensure accountability is weak and ineffective.
The state governments are the second level of this structural imbalance because of a fraudulent clause in the constitution that empowers it to supervise the administration of local governments, through the state and local government joint account.
The State governments are empowered to conduct elections into local governments. The Governor appoints the State Independent Electoral Commision (SIEC), and practically taken over the third tier level of government. In its arrogance they hire and fire local government Chairmen at will, or alternatively, appoints care taker to oversee the administration of the local governments. The caretaker Chairman’s tenure is endless so far it is been renewed every 6 months.
An average Nigerian has become helpless with the autocratic powers vested on the political leaders by the constitution. This has been the fate of Nigerians because there is a total disconnect between the leader and the led.
I hinged my consolation from the words of Chinua Achebe. He said and I quote:
“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to redeem them from starving. They all have food in their own houses. When we gather together in the moonlight village ground, it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so. Therefore let us continue with the team spirit and enjoy the power of togetherness. Let’s smile not because we don’t have problems but because we are stronger than the problems”.
Bearing this in mind, we must agree that this lopsided structure if Nigeria is affecting us. Whether you are a Yoruba man, a Hausa, Ebira, Tapa, Isoko, Igbo, we are badly affected by this structural imbalance of Nigeria.
Ask yourself, has Nigeria allowed you to realise your full potentials?
Are you not going through the grind to survive in Nigeria?
Open your eyes very well, you will notice that you are not getting right value for your contribution to the national ethos .
It is only the few that are appropriating our common patrimony to themselves.
Who are these people?
They constitute about 1% of the total population of Nigeria. They are scattered all over Nigeria. When they are cheating us they are united but when they disagree among themselves over the sharing of their loot, they will turn to us and use us for their selfish gains. They give us crumbs from their loot to do dirty jobs. In our foolishness, we tend to protect our “saviours”,by arguing and tearing ourselves apart on social media.
They will tell us corruption is the problem of Nigeria. It is a lie!
Let us take it on the face value that corruption is our problem but who are the culprits? Of course, they are the ones.
My argument is that we are operating a dysfunctional system that enriches minorities over majorities. We are operating a fraudulent unitary system but being fooled we are practising federalism.
It is a biggest lie from the pit of hell!
Nigeria’s brand of Federalism that gave enormous and sweeping powers to an Emperor (the President) and other Emperors (Governors) in their domains. That is why that will resist restructuring. I mean if you are in their shoes, would you want to lose your powers and privileges just like that?
That is why the National Assembly could not take far reaching decisions on devolution of powers, land use act, resource control etc. If they allow it, how do you want them to maintain their ostentatious lifestyles and bogus allowances?
Have we seen our predicaments?
So how do we get out of these problems. The solutions lie with us. The sovereignty lies with us.
We have the power to collectively take back our country. This 1999 constitution is a slave document. We must scrap this evil document. It is this document that gave enormous powers to the President, Governors, and the national assembly members. Check out the exclusive and concurrent lists and obnoxious sections of the 1999 constitution. They are using these powers to subdue and oppress us. Whether it is PDP or APC, they have tasted power and blood, they will not let go.
They want more.
Our redemption and salvation are with us. Let us collectively educate ourselves and identify our common enemy and destroy this slave document of 1999 constitution. When this infinitesimal 1% realise we have known the truth, they will let go and pander to our demands.
Pretentiously they will tell us to look for solutions through the constitutional means to re adjust the imbalance. It is almost impossible to make a sweeping change through the instrumentalities provided by the 1999 constitution. A constitution that does not make provisions for referendum. The National Assembly and the State houses of assembly are constituted in such a way to favor vested interests other national interests. They have not pursued common or altruistic goals but narrow and parochial interests.
We have to pursue common goals by ourselves, re dedicate and over haul this system through sovereign national conference . When there is a will there is a way
In unison, we stand to take back our country