|Then politicians fail, they tend to blame it on an ineffective political system- the same structure that brought them to prominence. They postulate various theories that will keep them in power, and once they become unelectable, it is the fault of the structure of the system.|
This back and forth game of rat-race allows margins of failure for the weak, and gains for the strong, until the weak finds some incentives to defeat the strong by creating a reversion outcome. It is dog-eat-dog in the political realm that creates losers and winners. Losers then regroup to unseat winners in the endless, inimical battle of self-serving egoists. Losers blame winners, and winners blame losers, but winners will always propose new rules through institutions that will safeguard their retention of power. In the game of politics, even the most obvious loser does not accept defeat because, according to him, the winner rigged him out. If the table turns, and the perpetual winner loses to a less formidable opponent, he, again, cries foul play.
Nigeria practices the crudest form of democracy on this planet; and that’s why politicians decamp every minute to take maximum advantage of the party in power. Very few politicians in Nigeria adhere strictly to the ideological precepts of a party that brought them to the fore; they will stay with any party in power to remain shielded from perceived marginalization.
The issue of restructuring of Nigeria’s political system started in chorus by those out of government. But they have failed to explicitly convince the nation of the nuances of what restructuring entails, and what is wrong with the existing political system. I do not see, within the caliber of the current cream of politicians, an honest actor capable of enriching our political discourse. Nigerians must be able to differentiate between the various political literatures, if there is a necessity for change. The issue of changing one form to another is simply about the irrational actors in contention for the podium.
For those using it as a leverage to secure more resource control, even if all the resources from oil are given to a single state it will not be enough, since our nationally large, greedy appetite is to grab as much as possible for the leaders of the state—the governor and his supportive bureaucrats. All government institutions are corrupt, inept, and wasteful. Therefore, acquisition of resources cannot be the fundamental motivation to change the existing structure.
There are those who demand less power at the centre, which means devolution of power– the impracticable true federalism- while states and local governments become more autonomous. How tenable is this ambitious drive in a country where the monthly allocations to local governments are directly stolen by their respective state governments? The issue of autonomous power of the states is contained in the 1999 constitution. Each state exists as a distinct authority that manages its affairs within Nigeria’s sovereignty. The creation of state police, which in my opinion, is a valid argument; but, then, who pays the state police? How can states with little resources for their civil servants add more liabilities of state police to the already filled- cups of liabilities?
The primary source of revenue generation in the country is oil, and with technology becoming more lucrative than earnings from oil, even those clamouring for more largesse from oil rent will come to realize that the most viable incentive to states’ economic prosperity is innovation in other sectors. Mining is as lucrative as oil if state governors can understand the necessity of prudence and viable investments. But before any state can muster the effort, security of life and property must be guaranteed. If governors are more inclined to stealing security votes, there is nothing anyone can do to proliferate peace- the most required ingredient for economic prosperity.
Lagos state has dumped the idea of waiting for the monthly allocation from the centre, but most of the states remain vulnerable to the monthly stipends. They are doggedly uncreative and unambitious.
The current parody Presidential system of government is absolutely in dissonance with what is practiced in the United States. We have diluted our own system to suit our thoughts and deeds. That’s fine. What is important at this stage is understanding the pathology of the political system we have created. Ontologically, no system can function well without the understanding of its concept and category, but for some losers to wake up from a deep slumber to introduce a more complicated political system, capable of arming separatists, is simply unfeasible. With a population of over 180 million people, Nigeria has twice exceeded its 1979 population, when the presidential system of government was engraved in the constitution and, overwhelmingly accepted by all.
If the existing political system is unworkable, then, no system can survive to propel a fruitful future. What is lacking in Nigeria is leadership. We are apathetic to how our political leaders (governors, senators, Reps, etc.) treat us. There is little accountability as to how state governors spend their monthly allocations; as hegemons, or supreme leaders, their actions or inactions are unchallenged, even in a glaring situation of mismanagement. This is a clear case of subjugation of the citizenry. And, until we can hold each political leader in our constituency liable for all their actions, the yearning for change will remain an empty rhetoric.
For those crying for restructuring, how many states in this country will survive if the monthly federal allocations are proscribed? The issue of resource control seems to be the driving force behind the demand for restructuring, but, again, it is an avenue to disintegrate the little cohesion within. At least, there is some form of unity if the federal government remains the umbrella of peace and security in Nigeria, but with each state going it alone, very soon some states will introduce entry permit at their borders.
The Nigerian constitution allows each state the ultimate authority to generate revenue internally to meet its economic development, in addition to whatever is supplemented at the federal level. Each state government in Nigeria is autonomous, with their Houses of Assembly to chart the most economically acceptable path to prosperity. This is a loose confederation; states must strive to be responsible to the citizens and residents.
A new political discourse to scrap the existing political system will not work. But we can engage the citizens of this country to wake up to the realization that the destiny of Nigeria lies in the hands of everyone, and not the governors and senators alone. Election -rigging and other malpractices can further damage the unity of Nigeria as rouges and crooks make it to the national podium to loot, and create more disunity.
Restructuring cannot be the panacea to the current economic stagnation; it will simply inflame the discontentment. A structure that will allow those with oil rigs on their land to keep all the accrued revenues from oil will instantly lead to another civil war.
The loud noise of restructuring is coming from those who have failed politically. They are using the narrative to secure some form of relevance. If we cannot maintain the integrity of the current political system, restructuring will not even see the light of the day.
Nigeria needs a responsible government to foster unity and economic progress for all. Our politicians have failed us, we should not accept another delusive rhetoric.