Imperative of restructuring and true federalism

ALL people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that, they freely determine their political status and freely purpose their economic, social and culture development. It has become an axiom that, in a democracy, the people get the kind of government they deserve. There can be no peace or security in Nigeria without political freedom. Nigeria is presently on wrong principles. As long as one group dominate others. As long as one group oppressed the others there would be strife and conflict. Man is selfish, the ideals of selfish interest and domination was begin to perpetrated by man against man. Therefore living together with peace, there must be an acceptable agreement by the people for the people to follow.  Hence it is imperative to restructure the country to enable her move forward.  Humanity cannot stands on one leg. All forms of domination, exploitation of one section over another must be abolished. And new productive relations must be established.  “Our effectiveness is predicated upon certain inviolate principles of natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real as unchanging as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension.

These principles are woven into fabric of every civilized society and constitute the roots of every family and the country that endured and prospered.  Fundamental moral principles are the laws of God. Principles are not invented by man or any society, they are the laws of the universe, that pertain to human relationships and human organizations.   Federalism is the distribution of power in an organization (as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units, to unite in or under federal system. Federation is a united in alliance. A union of organizations. Federalism is a “unity through federation”, principles and practice of true federalism. It allows every ethnic group to live together without jeopardize their cultural settling and allows different people to develop at their own space. The sheet territorial size of Nigeria necessitated the adoption of “federal form of constitution”and hence the division of the country into regions, even if the inhabitants of Nigeria were linguistically or ethnically homogeneous. The great diversity of the country was a formidable obstacle to unity without federal constitution.

The people who are controlling the government were of widely different origins, beliefs and interests. All the linguistic groups in Nigeria lived in harmony with one another and linguistic distinctions posed fundamental questions on how to live with one another, sharing natural resources with one another, sharing political power and authorities with one another, minority suspicious majority because nobody can like you more than yourself. Hence, Nigeria’s patriotism was not love of the country or nation but, loyalty to tribe or commune. The gentry and peasantry hated and feared one another and even the peasants were suspicious of each other.

Nigeria should have as many provinces or zones, regions of states as there were linguistic or ethnic groups in the country, and each region should have a legislature and government of its own. There would be a central or national parliament and government on which the various linguistic groups in the country would be represented. Under these arrangements, each ethnic groups could develop its own peculiar culture and institutions in accordance with its wishes and the inter-tribal acrimony and jockeying for leadership which were rearing their heads would cease. The government of each linguistic group would be led by one of their members and Nigeria would be led by any Nigeria acceptable to all or to the majority of the country.

The colonial governments were pre-occupied with day-to-day concerns of administration of commercial interests. From their perspective, social change involved the adjustment of conquered people of life under colonial rule. The British, who had not given much thought to the heterogeneous character of Nigeria peoples in formulating their administrative arrangements, had been compelled to divide the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria into two for administrative purposes – because it was becoming more and more enlightened and articulate. In the main, language lay at the root of racial differences: be they differences in culture and custom, in philosophy of life and political institutions, in national characteristics and social concept and practices. For example, Obaship and chieftaincy or chiefships has been established from time immemorial in yorubaland the Northern people who has been living their live as the traditional institution of Emirship. The system is different in the Eastern part of Nigeria where the British had experimented with varying degrees of success and failure with “Warrant Chiefs”

Ethnicities and people’s diversities is the cultural pride in African. The world itself in cluster analysis, is an assemblages of numerous ethnic groups of people clustered together on the planet to form a global village for the purpose of human kind. Nigeria’s project is a donation and contribution of numerous of ethnics, different cultures and different peoples lived in around themselves. And later parts of their lives were “forced together by foreign influence and forces simply for their economic gain.” The Amalgamation of the North and South of Nigeria together without their knowledge, the European just negotiated the destinies of people without the conscience of the people. The arrangement were against the ethos of the people. It was full of awkwardness, tangled, awry to the fundamental social life of the people. Unitary constitution with only one central government would only result in frustration to the more pushful and more dynamic ethnic groups, whereas, division of the country into ethnic lines would enable each linguistic group to develop its own peculiar culture and institutions also to move forward at its own pace without being unnecessarily pushed or annoyingly slowed down by the others. The assumption that the present standards of common leadership which has been the “bone of contention” has been the basis of Nigeria nationalist activities and was grossly misconceived. Nigeria need a system of which the various linguistic units will federate to form a single nation that was the way it was when Chief Obafemi Awolowo paid minimum wage of five shillings in the Western Region but in the East, they paid three shillings and six pence, while they paid three shillings in the North. But it is now we are saying everybody must do the same thing. That is not a “federation”.

When Chief Obafemi Awolowo wanted to start the minimum wage, they said it was impossible. But he did it also introduced free education. He did it because he had the leverage within the economy to generate the income and move in accordance with his own priority and at his own preferred pace.

Exploitation, domination of man by man has been the social problem of humanity. The fundamental; problem is that of an unjust, distorted federation which has been manipulated to favour one section against the other by the military intervention to the polity of Nigeria. There is no way such an unjust arrangement can endure or generate peace and stability. Therefore change is inevitable. The world has entered a new stage of historical development. The rapid growth of people’s democracy in the past quarter of a century has considerably added to mankind’s potential. But along with that, democracy cannot be imposed on a people who are unaccustomed to it. The authors of the American Constitution were keenly aware that changes would be needed from time if the constitution were to endure and keep pace with the growth of the nation.

The Nigeria founding fathers did all what was humanly possible to give the people of Nigeria the best true federalism and perfect union they can.

The problem with our forms of govern is that, the military government had changed the conventional constitution of Nigeria. Indeed, the main thrust is that, we have gone astray; we have wandered away from the straight path. We have abandoned the political covenant which we negotiated and obtained from the British before independence by our leaders who went to London not once or twice to hammer out a constitution which they all felt comfortable with.

That constitution gave the region consideration autonomy. We all agreed that Lagos State is more populated in the country. Lagos has 20 Local Government Areas, but Kano State has 44. They created Jigawa out of Kano State, and the total councils in the two States grew but Lagos still has 20 Local Government while old Kano gets 71. Is that fair?

Everything other thingsis like that. That is cheating. It is unfair. There can be no happiness, stability if somebody used his position to put in place a constitution that would be permanently unfair to the rest of the country. Nobody wants to be slave in his own country. Also, no one would be agreed to a situation where all the position of authorities would be dominated by certain ethnic group or sectional part of the country, while the other section would just be a subject. Sociologically, people united on the principles of justice, equity and fair play. Where all these are not possible, then according to American declaration, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the cause which impel them to the separation.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to effect their safety and happiness.

  • Prince Adegbola, FCPA, is founder and president, Oduduwa Cultural Foundation.

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