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For Nigeria not to die, the last of the options – Godwin Etakibuebu

To restructure Nigeria, let oil flow from the North - Godwin Etakibuebu
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By Godwin Etakibuebu

Last week we succeeded in pointing out a few out of several maladies operational in today’s Nigeria; as result of corrupted federalism in practice, which justified urgent need for restructuring the Nigerian federation.

Whatever was the fact of restructuring enumerated last week was solidly anchored on a peaceful exercise of Option one, which remains a “clarion call to all meaningful Nigerians to arise in abolishing this distorted and disjointed system of government by reverting to status quo ante, albeit fiscal federalism, as we got it from our founding fathers.

Today is being devoted to consideration of two more options, starting with Option 2, which was pre-introduced last week.
Negotiating the unity in a restructured States/Nation federated format

The beauty of this option is the novelty and uniqueness around it. I must admit that I cannot point to any particular country which developed its structure strictly in the manner l am about to recommend but of course, there are templates, here and there around the globe, we can draw inspiration from. The United States of America comes as first among equals of those countries that could give us the needed inspiration in a way and manner we can restructure without bitterness, rancour, hatred and even bloodshed.

We shall, if space permits because we must rest this discussion on restructuring today, be looking at countries like Switzerland, Libya [before Western’s democratic madness eroded the integrity of that unique land of prosperity], Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. What is the meaning of negotiating the unity in a restructured States/Nation federated format?

It is my understanding of restructuring Nigeria along the present 36 States with the Federal Capital Territory, without falling back to the unconstitutional 6 geo-political zones of North/East, North/West, North/Central, South/West, South/South and South/East. Neither do we need the old 4 Regional structures of North, West, East or Mid Nigeria to bring this novelty into being. My proposal is simple for implementation once it is agreed upon, but we need two things first for its [the proposal] operational functionality to have a smooth-sailing.

The first thing that must be done is elimination of the 1999 constitution because that document remains the biggest fraud committed against the people of this great country of more than One Hundred and Eighty Million, by less than Thirty gangster-members of a Military junta. The preamble of the [1999] constitution says that “We; people of Nigeria”, and there was no time that Nigerians were brought together to discuss that document, except that twenty eight uniformed men forced this document on Nigerians with all its atrocious anomalies.

The late legal luminary: Rotimi Williams [popularly known as Timi the Law] was the first Nigerian to point out the fraud that the 1999 constitution is made of, and he [Rotimi Williams] was clear that “until this constitution is replaced with another one that Nigerians shall produce Nigerian would remain unconstitutional”. We need the peoples’ constitution, in whatever type of restructuring and reformation we shall be adopting. Failure to adopt a new [peoples] constitution is to accept the path of perfidy in total disintegration through bloodbath that shall consign Nigeria into the dustbin of history.

The second thing to be done is to use the instrumentality of the new constitution, being advocated, to increase the present South/East from five to seven States while increasing the South/South, South/West, North/Central and North/East from present 6 to 7 States each to equal the North/West which has 7 States as of now.

Again, using the new anticipated constitution, Nigeria would be having total of 43 States and each of these [new] States would have autonomy in all things, in the manner of a fiscal federated systems of government, except in three things namely: Currency, Defence and Foreign policy.

The new constitution being advocated would lay the foundation for these States to come together to form a United States of Nigeria, the same manner the United States of America was formed. I am of the candid opinion that as long as coming into this union by the States would be voluntary, in the language of the [new] constitution, there shall be no State that shall be disadvantaged, either by small/large population or size of geographical piece of land.

For example the State of Maryland in the USA has a population of 6.006 million, Virginia 8.385 million, Kansas 2.912 million, Arkansas 2.978 million, Texas 27.47 million, Washington 7.17 million and Delaware 945,934 [not up to a million], going by the 2015 census of that country.

The most important thing about this novelty is that each and all the States of Nigeria [then], as it is in the United States of America, would have control over their resources. Let us not deceive ourselves, every State in present day Nigerian has a resource to control. There are some countries of the world that control and export religion and similar things like that while some even export terrorism.

Let us try this as the second option or alternative to the first option of restoring fiscal federalism as we got it from our founding fathers.
The third option will be too dreadful that I am opting out of discussing it. May God never allow us to be there because it was the Yugoslavia’s option. It led into a catastrophic bloodbath, in a nationalistic war of survival, with millions of people dead, and the country breaking into pieces of five countries. God forbid that for us.

Godwin Etakibuebu, a veteran journalist, wrote from Lagos.

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