Without restructuring, Nigeria risks disintegration -By Prof. Babs Onabanjo

Filed under: National Issues |

 

The handwriting is clear. The cloud is gathering. Our dear country, Nigeria, is sitting on gunpowder, waiting to explode.

Nigeria has remained in the tunnel of misery, including fighting an avoidable civil war which claimed over a million lives.

The drums of war are being played in many parts of Nigeria: the Yoruba from the South-West; IPOB/MASSOB from the South-East: the Niger Delta militants, MOSOP/MEND and others from the South-South and the catastrophe of possible civil war must be avoided through proactive means with urgency and decisive measures of restructuring Nigeria.

In my last article, I commended the thoughtfulness and bravery of Nigerians who are presently championing the call for the restructuring of Nigeria and urged them to continue speaking truth to power.

I want to reiterate that Nigeria must get rid of unitary system. It will kill Nigeria. We must restructure now with six equal regions!

If Nigeria fails to listen to the voice of reason and equity and restructure, it will be the last straw that may break Nigeria.

Currently, the North has 19 states, mostly unsustainable, while the South has 17 states, some likely, not sustainable as well. Interestingly, there are more senators and representatives from the North who are constitutionally empowered to make laws that govern the conduct of all Nigerian citizens.

Furthermore, the North has 19 states with 419 local government areas, 58 senatorial seats and 191 House of Representatives. On the other contrary, the South has 17 states with 357 local government areas, 51 senatorial seats and 169 House of Representatives.

I submit that the North is reaping where they have not sowed at the expense of the South whose sweat and labour and resources are channelled to the North through an unjust structure, policies and laws.

This aberration was the handiwork of the military which imposed the 1999 constitution designed to favour the North at the expense of the South and orchestrated with impunity.

Therefore, the adoption of this flawed constitution creates an unjust system that benefits the North, making it difficult to change through a constitutional means.

The current Nigerian structure imposed by the constitution is unjust, inequitable, unfair and unbalanced and must be changed to address the challenges of the current disposition.

The military constitution imposition must be done away with along with the unitary system which is counterproductive to a democratic form of government.

Nigeria must be restructured to fast-track economic growth and entrepreneurial productivity and development.

Restructuring with true federalism option and regional autonomy (six regional zones: North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-West, South-East, and South-South) may be the only solution to the Nigerian impasse.

It is on this and other bases that restructuring Nigeria into six autonomous regions, three from the North and three from the South that will proffer a lasting solution, unity, peace, economic productivity, growth and sustainability of the Nigerian entity.

Otherwise, Nigeria risks the dilemma of non-existence and possible destruction.

Lastly, the United Nations together with the United States of America should intervene in setting up a national conference to prevent further escalation and the possibility of armed struggle, war, and disaster of imaginary proportions.

Prof. Babs Onabanjo, President, Nigerian Alliance for Democracy, 1993-1999

 

Comments

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  • DrBabs Onabanjo

    According to the report circulating on the internet, the Department of State Services (DSS) is planning to invite three ex-ministers and some prominent Nigerians for questioning following their announcement as cabinet members in an interim government for the Republic of Biafra. This is very interesting as such declaration points to the fact that the Northerners are using the apparatus of the Nigerian government to terrorize Southerners and others, who have a divergent opinion different from the core Northern imposition and ideology.

    The Youths Consultative Forum (ACF) known as the Arewa Youth from the North, issued a quit-notice to the Igbos in the North are free without the DSS or other government authorities inviting them for questioning or implementing an arrest order for hate speech or threatening the lives of Nigerian citizens.

    As long as the flawed constitution is in place and restructuring of the Nigerian entity is a distant reality, those agitating for autonomy or secession are within their constitutional right. Freedom is never won permanently, it must be sustained by every generation. The fight for equity, fairness, autonomy, equivalent representation is the civic responsibility of every citizen. The solution to the Nigeria impasse is regional autonomy of the six geo – political zones. The South-South militants are agitating for devolution of power or secession if regional autonomy is not implemented, The South East is determined by all means necessary to achieve secession or autonomy, The South West has come out strongly in support of regional autonomy and the list goes on.

    If Nigeria is to remain united and peaceful the only solution is regional autonomy of the six geo political zones (North East, North West, North Central, South West, South East and South-South). The North can no longer be in denial, the hand writing is on the wall, it is just a matter of time, and injustice cannot prevail indefinitely. The unitary system and Nigerian flawed Constitution cannot stand and will not stand.

    However, a word of caution, the blame should not go to the North alone, if we want to remain united, we must build a coalition across tribes, ethnicity, across regions and behalf like Nigerians we want to be. To restructure Nigeria, our representatives must take their job of representation seriously and must participate fully in the business of legislative process, not absentee representatives who are getting full-time pay but providing part time service.

    The vote to restructure Nigeria would have been passed had those we elected to office from the south west, south east, south-south and north central been present to cast their votes on behalf of those they represent. We must hold our elected representatives accountable and subject them to swift penalty should they fail to perform their duty as mandated by their oath of office. The North is more strategic and resolved in her quest for power and control than the undisciplined some southerners, who do the bid of their god fathers and for selfish personal aggrandizement or interests, against the welfare of their constituents. Dr. Babs Onabanjo