Confusion or confederation?
We are talking of Confederation based on the current six regional zones which the Abacha government bequeathed to Nigeria and some people are talking of something totally irrelevant to the end goal. We are talking of a peaceful political solution that will terminate the humongous funds being currently squandered on cost of governance and the so-called National Assembly which is the worst culprit in the equation is talking of Constitution amendment. We are talking of an arrangement that will put a stop to internal domination and free all the federating units from the yoke of imperialistic unitarism and some people are confusing that with a break up. It is important that we all understand what we are talking about and the high stakes involved. There are too many mushroom organisations and seeming self determination groups that are all shouting on top of their voices talking about Restructuring. I think the simplest word that most people understand or can think of when it comes to the issue of the present unworkability of the Nigerian Union is Restructure.
The issue is not about restructuring the current Military Constitution which came out of the belly of the Junta that handed over government to one of their own in 1999. We are not talking about TINKERING with a self-serving document that was designed to further cement and concretise the Fulanisation of the age long Unitary Fiefdom which the Military perfected with its incursion into the polity since 1966. The demand on ground is NOT about devolution of powers to the current military created states in the country.
The states are too many, too unwieldy and certainly and evidently unviable. The states are products of politically motivated balkanisation which was aimed at weakening the federating units so that they would never be individually strong enough to challenge the monster at the centre. If anything the states MUST be collapsed in the scheme that is being canvassed. If and when we have the autonomous regions in the confederation a region chooses to have a thousand states such would be the palaver of the region concerned! Part of the confusion we are talking about is the suggestion in some quarters that Nigeria should be further balkanised to 54 states! The same confusion is the suggestion that Nigeria should be carved into 12 regions!
All these outrageous suggestions are not mindful of the crippling cost of governance in the country. And the cost of governance is one of the major problems ruining our economy and stunting our growth and development. Restructuring is not just about fiscal federalism. It is no longer a fight over how much Abuja is prepared to dole out to the federating states. No! The states are for a start NOT federating units. The states did not federate. The military government merely created units for its command and obey UNITARY style of government. For states to be considered as FEDERATING would imply that the states had existed on their own like the city states in the old Greece or Italy and AGREED to come together to form a nation. That was not the case of Nigeria. And that was not even the case when nationalities were forcibly merged together to serve the British trading interests.
What we are saying is that the six geographical zones which are okay for now as starting point should be freed from the military imposed UNITARY government and allowed to form the six autonomous political entities in a Confederation or loose federation like we have in Canada, the United States of America and similar nations where the government at the centre is an equal partner with confederating regions/provinces/states/republics. Part of the confusion was a scholarly argument that there had been free movements of ethnic nationalities across the length and breadth of what became Nigeria from time immemorial. And that there were inter ethnic marriages and free trade. Yes. But that was before the Fulani came and started a war of colonisation, sacked the traditional leaders of the Hausa kingdoms, rampaged the lands and enslaved a chunk of Yoruba country, vandalised the Middle belt and waged relentless wars on the Kanuri, and made themselves a Caliphate dictating to the whole country and shattered the peace and harmony which had existed for centuries before the Jihadist invasion.
The National Assembly would be compounding the problems if it thinks it can midwife the restructuring of the country. Nowhere all over the world has the legislature created a Constitution for the people. The legislature itself is a creation of the Constitution and cannot be a father of a constitution! There is a big dilemma which Nigerians must quickly address. As popular and heroic as Kanu may be he does not have the wherewithal to actualise the creation of Biafra either as an autonomous region of the Confederation or a separate country without shedding blood! He has no troops and no police. It is the current five governors of the South East who can severe relations with the Federal Government and declare Autonomy. The same goes with the governors of the other geopolitical zones.
Nigerian politicians are too selfish, too self centred and too myopic to engage in the process of Restructure. Right now they are fixated on 2019 federal elections while a great number are jostling for elective positions either as governors or legislators. The greatest enemies of Nigerians are the current crop of politicians across the country. They seem unconcerned about the cry for restructuring or for Confederation or for the critical return to Parliamentary system of government.
They are oblivious to the unprecedented outrageous cost of governance in Nigeria. This now leaves the proponents of Restructure and Confederation with three options which I mentioned last week in my column, ‘The Military and Nigeria’s Destiny.’ To avoid bloodshed, non-partisan leaders of this country must come together and demand restructuring. The second option is for mass revolution which unfortunately may degenerate to anarchy. The third option is for the military that created the political mess to wade in and within three to six months collapse the states, firm up boundaries for six federating regions, return the country to less costly and by far more transparent Parliamentary system, federating autonomous regions to have control over their resources but remit 50 per cent to the centre for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs including Immigration and Citizenship. Any option outside of these three will end up in serious war that will break up the country into irredeemable smithereens. Politicians and the national Assembly must be warned that in the event of a revolution or war nobody is safe and the thought of a once exalted senator or governor becoming a refugee in another country is not palatable.
And that is if such a governor or senator survives the bloodshed. For sure the current agitations will not end up as talkshops and that is why it is important for all those who have ears to heed the repeated warnings and learn from history. The bomb is ticking!! The pen is the tongue of the hand, the silent utterer of words for the eyes – Henry Beecher