2019 Poll And The Vague Ideas Of Ambitious Politicians
It is very amusing watching some of the new politicians seeking unattainable glory towards the 2019 presidential elections. We have passed through this route before, especially during the military era.
The South has always been the bedrock of agitation for a change in how Nigeria is run. But from the time of immortal Chief Obafemi Awolowo till date, the quest for change has always been elusive. Not for lack of efforts, though. It has always been a reliance on poor strategy by those passionate about a positive change in Nigeria.
Awo missed the road when he joined Gowon’s Military Government. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe did earlier with his NPC alliance. But Zik’s worst outing was towards the 1966 coup. He conveniently travelled out of the country, while his political lieutenants also conveniently handed over to Gen Aguiyi Ironsi.
The first person to give popular legitimacy to Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s military takeover was Awolowo. He spoke very well about the gap-toothed General, who later destroyed Nigeria’s economy and made a complete mess of our social values. Nigeria is yet to recover from IBB’s misrule till date. And it goes beyond the economy and politics.
May the souls of Alao Aka Bashorun and others who initiated the cry for a restructured polity continue to rest in peace. They lacked strategy too. But they were passionate. It was the same with NADECO, which effectively became a Yoruba affair. If Lagos had not been Nigeria’s commercial capital and the South-West more than a home to many outside the region, the country would have continued as if nothing was happening.
In the current situation, those who should be in the forefront of a campaign for change are wasting energy and resources on just one office as if President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as President in 2015 has not taught us any lesson. A democracy is not a military regime where absolute power flows from a Commander-In-Chief.
The challenge of Nigeria is hardly corruption as many want us to believe. A flawed structure, introduced by Ironsi in 1966, which has been reinforced by the Northern Oligarchy and entrenched in our constitution remains the major obstacle to progress for this giant of Africa.
Former Lagos State Governor and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his co-travellers were champions of restructuring before the 2015 general elections. But after getting to the office, hopes of a change in the constitution to reverse Ironsi’s unitary system of government, which we still practice in a supposed democracy, have been dashed.
And this is where the young Turks angling to become President in 2019 should have come in. A real change in Nigeria will entail changing the current political and fiscal structure of the country. Each component unit of Nigeria should be allowed to develop at its own pace using its God-given resources and fully embracing its culture and traditions.
If memory serves me right, Late Dr Alex Ekwueme, the former Vice President gave us the current six geopolitical zones during the Sani Abacha period. It is doubtful if the premier of the North-West Region will still remain in office after many innocent souls were killed in Zamfara State. The Premier of the North-Central Region would have long been kicked out with the massacre of more than 100 people in Benue State.
By now, if the Premier of the South-East Region had not arranged a port where cargoes can berth along with a functional international airport, he would have been given the boot. And I am very sure, there would have been working refineries supplying the rest of Nigeria with limitless fuel from the South-South Region with a quality premier in place.
Part-time legislators at the national level should not be after billions of Naira, which the regions will not freely give to the Centre, anyway. There’ll be healthy competition among the regions in the areas of agriculture and education since all universities will belong to each of the six regions. A Federal Government without land of its own will not be wasting billions of Naira on non-existing housing schemes and throwing away good money in the name of agriculture, because the regions would have taken over these functions.
Those working themselves out to be president have lost faith in Buhari. They have lost faith in the old pro-democracy people, including Tinubu. But, sadly, they are not bringing anything new to the table. By ignoring the campaign to restructure Nigeria, they are assisting the old vultures to perpetuate themselves in office.