The Oasis Reporters
Monday, November 6, 2017
When we started the ‘Restructure Nigeria’ campaign, people said we were reacting to the loss of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the 2015 presidential election and that we were here to oppose President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
We showed them proof that the demand for true federalism preceded the 2015 general election and that many of us actually campaigned for the removal of Jonathan (GEJ) .
Again, they said we were the intellectual wing of the secessionist movements. We showed them proof that we want a restructured Nigeria, not a divided Nigeria.
Again, they said we were sponsored by the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP. We showed them proof that the campaign team is made up of everybody (including APC & PDP members) and even some of us supported the emergence of PMB/APC at the center.
Again, they said true federalism was not part of APC/President Muhammadu Buhari agenda for Nigeria. We showed them proof that true federalism was the number one promise in the PMB/APC manifesto.
Again, some said we forged that particular page of the manifesto. We said go to APC headquarters and see the original version for yourself and then sue us for forgery.
Again, some said it is too early for the APC/PMB to implement true federalism. We made it clear that PMB/APC cannot build on a faulty foundation. True federalism is the first thing they should have done. You lay the foundation first, before you start other works. No wonder true federalism is the number one promise in their manifesto.
Some others said we are Niger Delta activists trying to use true federalism to get resource control. We explained clearly the difference between federalism and resource control and showed why Niger Delta leaders particularly want resource control but not necessarily true federalism.
There is no kind of opposition argument we have not rebuked. First, many people, out of ignorance, have argued that we should not restructure Nigeria because our governors (particularly the Niger Delta Governors) are corrupt and therefore giving them more money and more responsibilities will make them more corrupt.
Shallow as this argument may sound, it was one of the most popular arguments against restructuring, even coming from the intellectual class.
With the manner in which we responded to this particular argument, we are sure nobody would want to be associated with that argument today without him or herself looking stupid.
How do you give governors free money in the name of allocation from the center and expect them not to steal it?
Are these not issues that restructuring will address?
How do we hold our state governors accountable when we (the local people) do not fund them and their government?
How do we get our governors to become loyal to us when the 1999/Constitution already gives him military powers to treat us as he likes?
How do we control our state governors and their rubber – stamp States Houses of Assembly when we do not have a state constitution drafted by us to determine their behavior?
Is it not because of the criminal behavior of some of our state governors that we want Nigeria restructured?
How then can Nigerians come up to say restructuring will make state governors become bigger thieves?
If you do not understand a concept, keep quiet and learn rather than oppose what you do not fully understand.
Many people think that as long as President Muhammadu Buhari has not said anything positive about true federalism, he is against it and they must be against it too.
Whatever Buhari and the APC opposes, they must oppose, laughable thinking!
We cannot make progress with these kinds thought processes of some people in the country.
The point is that many Nigerians are too blinded by loyalty and sycophancy that they end up ruining a government they think they are protecting. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that politicians can only be changed by the ballot and in every four years.
With constructive criticisms and objective analysis of the situation and their actions, we can change both the government and the way the government officials think on a daily basis.
The call to restructure Nigeria is something every progressive Nigerian should support irrespective of political, religious or ethnic affiliations.
It is not a campaign against Buhari or the APC or against the North or the federal government. It is in the interest of the entire country and I am sure if many more Nigerians join the call for a restructured Nigeria, President Buhari, the APC and the entire National Assembly will have no other choice but to do same. We have an ignorant majority in this country and we must now do everything to reverse the situation.
True federalism solves over 70% of our political, religious, ethnic, social and economic problems in Nigeria. We therefore have a moral and political duty to make it happen.
Today the APC as a party has backtracked from its earlier opposition, they have not only accepted that Nigeria needs restructuring but has also gone a step further to set up a committee on the issue. Nigerians are patiently waiting to see what the outcome would be.
We want to believe that a party that could not influence who becomes it’s Senate President despite its majority status in the National Assembly would be able to influence majority of NASS members into implementing the resolutions by this committee.
We all need to support the campaign in every way we can. If you cannot write for #TrueFederalism, then join the walk that will be coming up soon in your city and state. Be proud to fly the ‘Restructure Nigeria’ banners and wear the ‘Federalism’ shirts when the time comes. If you cannot walk for true federalism, then sponsor those who can walk by buying one or two T-shirts or other promotional materials and distribute them free in your neighborhood. In whatever way you can, please support the ‘Restructure Nigeria’ campaign. We should not handover this mess of a country to the next generation like this. Preach federalism. It is not treasonable to do so.
Nigerians can no longer claim that they do not know what true federalism means. Our website www.RestructureNigeria.ng is designed for this purpose. Everything you need to learn about true federalism (including what a restructured Nigeria would look like) is on that website. Visit, read, learn and join the campaign.
To restructure Nigeria is a task that should and can be done.
The problem with Nigeria is not Buhari, Jonathan , PDP, APC or even corruption. The problem with Nigeria is the skewed, defective unitary military feeding bottle system of government that we operate and which is incompatible with our heterogeneous nature. We need a system that promotes productivity, competition, sustainability, autonomy and mutual respect.
Nigeria ia not working and we can no longer continue to pretend about it.
It is time to restructure Nigeria and entrench true federalism.