The debate for and against restructuring has taken over the national scene for quite some time now. The fallacy the proponent for the restructuring of government and control of resource are feeding Nigerians is that once we restructure, all our problems will be solved, while others think the call is similar to the campaign gimmick that brought the All Progressives Congress (APC) into power; when they made us believe that once they “tackle corruption” (whatever that means now), every Nigerian would enjoy abundant life and plenty. It is on record that notable chieftains of the APC were at the forefront of the clamor that a constitutional conference should be convened during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, they had argued that creating an avenue for the different ethnic nationalities and diverse interests to come together to err their grievances and renegotiate our union was the only way the nation could move forward. It later became glaring that the APC only used the call for a national conference to score an unnecessary political point when the same party turned around to criticize, condemn and refused to participate in what they had clamored for.
Now that the 2019 general elections are fast approaching, one won’t be surprised that the call for restructuring is largely coming from members of the opposition political parties and politicians who have no direct access to our common patrimony and national “cake”. It is amusing that many of the politicians who were in government for several years but never thought of restructuring Nigeria have suddenly turned into its advocates and are indirectly using it as a tool to boost their political ambition. Come to think of it, if the solution to our problems is to partition the country into six geo-political zones for the purpose of sharing federal revenues, are we going to manufacture new sets of politicians different from those who have so selfishly abused, bastardized and rigged the system to their own advantage that any election with their participation can only produce predictable outcomes and perpetuate their friends in power?
The questions begging for answers are; if restructuring is the answer to the myriad of problems facing us as a people and as a nation, will it also put an end to the illegal backdoor recruitments being done in Nigeria where the children of the poor keep applying for jobs while the children and wards of the politicians keep getting all the employment letters? Will restructuring Nigeria employ graduates from poor families into NNPC, DPR, CBN, FIRS and so on?
We currently have an educational system that is underfunded and has obsolete curriculum. The university system has been so battered that even the lecturers prefer to send their children and wards abroad to study in foreign institutions. Award of degrees is now based on how wealthy or influential the parents and guardians of students are, and on what the students are willing to offer to lecturers. Students are allowed to study courses that they can never have employed for after graduation. We have students studying accountancy, marketing, banking and finance in what we call polytechnics. Biochemistry, microbiology, economics, English language are being studied in our Federal Universities of Technology. How will restructuring Nigeria fix all these mess?
Despite being faced with an alarming rate of unemployment and being the most populous black nation in the world, we have failed to successfully channel our large youth population and create employment through sports. Sadly, our agile sports men are women are being poached to other countries where many of them are doing well and flying the flags of other nations. It is shameful that a country with over fifty million healthy youth and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world could only present only twelve athletes to represent her at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championship holding in London. This is coming as the country recently failed to appear or present athletes for the IAAF World Under-18 Championship in Kenya, Africa Junior Championship in Algeria and the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. Our sports administration is completely faulty and messed up, how will restructuring Nigeria fix that?
We currently have a judiciary which tends to encourage corruption and sympathizes with big criminals. The petty thieves and small criminals seem to be the only ones with no one to watch their back in the Nigerian judiciary. People are sentenced to two years imprisonment for stealing a chicken, while the person who steals billions of naira is asked to preceed on a six months jail term with an option of fine. The rich always gets away with acts of criminality and corruption while the poor is even punished for the offences not committed. I don’t think changing the structure of government will fix that.
Despite the recession, we currently have a presidential aircraft packed somewhere in London while the tax payers’ money who has been said have no right to ask of the health condition of their president, is being used to pay the cost of packing and its maintenance. Unfortunately, medical tourism has become an avenue for showing off and proving to friends and family that one is wealthy enough, while our hospitals continue to suffer neglect and lack of funding. Medical personnel are being under paid and even owed several months of salaries and allowances, leading to a total decay and collapse of the Nigerian health care delivery system; I hope a restructured Nigeria will also fix all that.
The fact that lack of adequate manpower still remains a big challenge facing the Nigerian police despite the alarming rate of unemployment in the country shows and exposes the insincerity and lack of commitment by the government and I don’t see how restructuring will change that. While other countries of the world are competing and breaking new grounds in technology, healthcare and pharmacy, nuclear energy, industrialization and agricultural advancement, Nigerians were busy exchanging banters and celebrating the return of Christian religion knowledge (CRK) and Islamic religion knowledge (IRK) that were merged with Civil education under a curriculum that was designed and approved by the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan. What’s the need of going to church and mosque if we still have to turn our schools into religious centers?
The truth is; there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the current structure of government, all that is wrong with us as a country and as a people is lack and none application of common sense in all that we do. The “not too young to run” that is being celebrated by many Nigerian youth for scaling through at the national assembly is a pointer to the fact that we don’t get our priorities right. What good will a ‘’not too young to run” bring? How many forty year old, thirty five year old or thirty year old have been allowed or given ample encouragement to become a president, governor or senator under what we have currently in this country? What the youth should rather advocate is a maximum age limit that will prevent people with old and weak brains, people that are very close to the grave from ruling us and dragging us back with their archaic approach to governance. Nigeria urgently needs common sense, not restructuring.
Hussain Obaro…firstname.lastname@example.org…lokoja, kogi state