Restructuring: If APC fails

APC

For those who are pretending not to understand the meaning of restructuring, what Nigerians are saying is that the present structure of the country is anything but good; it is not working and needs to be retuned. Something like the independence structure is in order.

Whether it is called repackaging, reorganisation, reshuffle, shake-up or re-arrangement, the bottom line is that something different; something different from what presently obtains, politically and economically, is needed to lift the country from the morass of corruption and underdevelopment.

Bringing it down to the ordinary level, restructuring is daily going on in the life of individuals, families and communities. Without restructuring, many of us would not be where we are today. Our parents adjusted their lives to pay our school fees. One must be constantly ready to restructure or be stagnated and die off.

There is consensus among Nigerians that the country needs restructuring to make it more functional in the interest of the generality of the people. There is no alternative to this necessity. It is incumbent on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to listen to the voice of the people and do the needful. The APC cannot afford to ignore this crucial matter.

If the APC fails to initiate the process towards restructuring, it would have shot itself on the foot by leaving a void that needs to be filled by some other party. The APC would be entrapping itself if it ignores restructuring. Consequently, restructuring would be made a principal political campaign issue in the 2019 general elections. It will then be too late for the APC to retract its step.

If by 2019, nothing is done towards restructuring, the APC would have unwittingly given Nigerians the green light to opt for another party that would fulfill this national desire. APC should consider whether it is ready to take that risk; otherwise, the time to show Nigerians that it is serious is now before it is too late.

Though, the restructuring may be delayed, it would not go unrealised sooner or later. It is something that could no longer be brushed aside. The clamour is deafening and widespread. The heat is intense and could not easily be quenched anymore.

Therefore, it is in the interest of the APC administration to do something about it. Rather than brushing it aside with the wave of the hand, the party should initiate the process towards restructuring. Restructuring is not something that could be accomplished in a day by executive fiat in the manner of the erstwhile military juntas.

The military restructured Nigeria by executive fiat. They abolished the hitherto functional four-regional structure in 1966 following the first military coup. We had the Eastern, Western, Mid-Western and Northern regions. Each region had its premier, House of Assembly and constitution. Also, each region had power to establish foreign missions. There was keen competition that put Nigeria on the path of progress and development. The abolition of the regional structure, to me, was the first major restructuring of the country after the carving out of Mid-West from the old Western Region.

The same military then went ahead to balkanise the country through state creation. Those regions that were formidable economically and politically were split into quasi autonomous states from 12 in 1967 to the present 36 states and Abuja FCT.

Rather than having four regional Houses of Assembly as it was prior to 1966, we now have 36 Houses of Assembly in quasi-autonomous states. There are also 774 local government councils that are unequally yoked. This unwieldy structure is the root of corruption as each level of government is a drainpipe for extravagant waste of resources.

Competition, effectively, disappeared. Reason is that the states were not created to bring development. The first 12 states were created in 1967 as a war strategy to divide the Eastern Region or Biafra enclave in the wake of the civil war. The war is over but the structure used to prosecute it has remained. That is why there is problem in all the states without an exception. There is need for a well-thought out post-war administrative structure to take the country to the next level.

Fifty years after the regional structure was abolished and the extant state structure came into being, though, intermittently, Nigeria has not made significant progress. The quantum of money garnered from oil and expended is not commensurate with the level of development on ground. The country is in a state of asphyxiation, unable to get all the necessary ingredients needed to function properly.

There is gross inequity, injustice, marginalisation, domination and subjugation. There are two main tribes in Nigeria, according to Nasir el-Rufia, the rich and the poor. The rich constitute the ruling class across the country, living in affluence while the poor are the masses of the people struggling daily to eke a living.

Consequently, mass discontent has given rise to agitations for self determination in different parts of the country. The six-year war waged by Boko Haram against the Federal Government has brought deaths, pain, suffering, destruction and anguish in the Northeast. That region is in limbo.

And as if that is not enough, several other militant groups have risen to wage economic battle in the Niger Delta against the government to register their discontent over the abject poverty in the oil region and lack of infrastructure. The rise of MASSOB and IPOB in the South-East has raised the ante of agitation to a deafening level to the extent that it is difficult to ignore.

Faced with a threatening situation, the ruling APC appears insensitive going by its body language that suggest that all is well. The setting up of a panel by the party “to define restructuring” is tactless and uncaring. The National Working Committee of the party, last week, reportedly set up the “definition committee” to “come up with the ruling party’s definition of restructuring.” The 10-member committee is headed by El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State. What purpose will the definition serve?

According to reports, this committee is mainly to “define exactly what APC means by restructuring so that every member will know what exactly we mean. It is not a committee to set up modalities for restructuring.” This is disappointing, to say the least. That means the APC is not for restructuring. What I can say is that the ball is in the court of the APC to play and score goal or play over the bar.

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