Thursday, March 02, 2017 6.43AM / Christian Udechukwu
I have observed that people do not understand the restructuring option for Nigeria as it is being discussed. Let me attempt a simple explanation.
Restructuring of Nigeria does not mean that a Yoruba man in Bauchi has to return to Ijebu Ode nor that the Hausa man in Onitsha has to return to Kano, no one has to move to anywhere. Nigeria will be like the European Union where citizens are able to exercise the freedom to live, work and play where they choose without prejudice.
The proposed restructure of Nigeria is simply be designed to enable all of the six regions of Nigeria to decide on and have full control of matters of health, education, industrial development policy, power, agriculture, transport infrastructure, local policing, revenue mobilisation, mining, investment guarantees, local taxes and then leave the federal government in Abuja to decide only matters of national defence, foreign affairs, immigration, international cooperation, national security and others. No more free money from Abuja to the three tiers of government for unaccountable expenditure.
Any region that wants to employ only their best and brightest to govern them can do so; and those who want rascals and illiterates in government can have them. Regions will be free and have power to name, shame and punish the criminals amongst them without recourse to ethnicity, religion and party politics at the centre in Abuja. People can insist on local laws and order enforcement to protect their lives and property
For example, any region that does not want to invest in world class education for its people can choose to do what they like. Any region that wants free education can introduce the policy at all levels only if it has the money to pay for its own people Any region that wants 2000 full time legislators can have it and pay for it from their own internally generated revenue. The same principle applies in everything else.
Regions that want 100 states and 1000 local governments can create them if it has money to pay for such big government. They can no longer rely on free money from oil and gas. Each region will have to be productive, innovative and creative to be progressively develop for a secure future for its people. This is very simple. If this form of restructuring were to happen; then people will become more prudent and thoughtful in their daily choices.
A situation where one part of Nigeria wants be like Singapore, Shanghai or Dubai and other wants to be like Yemen and Pakistan; but both are forced to continue co-existing under the burden of a poorly conceived federal structure under a mediocre leadership which is based on quota system, chop chop politics and turn by turn corruption ridden government are not sustainable. Lagos aspires to be a global city where the world's people can come to do business freely and without prejudice; other parts are angry that national resources are being invested with concentration in Abuja to exclusion of other strategic regional centres, and more regional component parts want the right to pursue the best health and education policy they want but they can't do so because such decisions are made in Abuja. These situations create tensions and low intensity conflcts such as Boko Haram, MASSOB, IPOB, OPC, AVENGERS, and more. So this has to change. Indeed, it will change inevitably, however long it takes unless we have an enlightened leadership that treats the different regions with equity, justice and fairness without limiting the aspirations of any group of people in the federation.
For now, there are clear evidences that the aspirations of certain regions or groups of people in Nigeria are not getting the right and fair consideration. Restructuring is one of the only pathways to future sustainable peace and progress for Nigeria. A nation that ignores it's best and brightest people cannot make sustainable progress. A nation which does treat all of its citizens with equity, fairness and justice will not know sustainable peace. It is difficult for citizens to feel obliged to the state if they do not feel free to pursue their happiness without limitation or prejudice in safety and security.
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