The word restructuring in Nigeria of today has transcended its literal usage, and has become a cogent word which has been made synonymous to solution or hope for a workable Nigeria. Television, radio and social media platform have been set agog with this topic of discourse. Politicians and fortune seekers have suddenly become true nationalists and average Nigerians have been more awakened on issues of national consciousness than ever before.
Restructuring Nigeria is a movement which was suggested and brought into prominence in the 2014 National Conference which was conveyed by the then president, Goodluck Jonathan. Also the ruling APC drafted it in their party manifesto for the 2015 general election, perhaps to appease and hypnotize their political fans. However, irrespective of the ruling party intention, this has metamorphosed and remains a popular struggle and a decent form of protest from the aristocrats down to the commoners.
Many political elite has come forward to give their own stance on restructuring. Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar at a public lecture in Nsukka said affirmatively that Nigeria will not make headway without restructuring. Also, the Yoruba leaders in the southwest collectively said that agitation for restructuring is an indication that some things are needed to be addressed regarding the current structure or arrangements in the country, that is, restructuring is the BODMAS to our problematic polity. Contrastingly, the ex-Nigeria president, Olusegun Obasanjo thinks the agitation for restructuring is a misplaced priority as he reiterated in his word that “The answer to most of our problem is mindset change and change of mentality. If we need any restructuring, it is the restructuring of our mindset and mentality.”
The question now is, what is restructuring? Some have likened its meaning to devolution of power, resource control, regionalism and basically true federalism. Some people even described it in the context of creation of state police, more revenue for the states and what have you. Irrespective of the preamble given to this course, it symbolizes a new road map to the agitators. After a very long time, political gladiators outside government share similar philosophy about a national issue that has been put in the front burner of Nigeria’s polity. Also, the state governors have shown their affection to this trajectory display but the body language of the ogas at the aso rock depicts a rhythmic torpid. But let the truth be told, do we really need this kind of restructuring?
It is factual that many institutions within the Nigerian state have collapsed, economically the country is seriously sick, the future looks gloomy and the Promised Land seems to be far from reach. It may also be true that the bureaucracy we presently operate can lead to Nigeria funeral as opined by many, even with this, there may be need for an intensive Care approach as suggested but we must not forget our unnatural nature. As we all know, in our society only the fingers of the rich are equal while the poor have their own unevenly arranged, leaders at all levels have proven their spurious credentials beyond doubt and it is glaring that the cake and the icing belong to minorities while the residues are shared among the majorities. So my question is, who will restructure Nigeria? Politicians or Past Leaders or People Representatives or Traditional Rulers or The Clerics or All of the above? Please tell me.
More so, my major problem is not even on the calibers/crops of people who will be saddled with the responsibility of restructuring Nigeria but my utmost concern is that, will restructuring change anything about Nigeria? Am sorry for sounding this way or better still being a doubting Thomas, but please don’t mind me, I am just being inquisitive and desperate for an answer. Truth be told, Nigeria’s problem over the decades is not the bureaucracy but Nigerians. We practically decided not to source for milk from the husbandry but instead from ourselves, now many are sick, whaling and dehydrated. Just like a Yoruba adage which says ‘a tick that seeks to terminate a dog’s life is unknowingly killing himself.’ As we all know, there has been civil love for corruption in this country and it is endemic in the society as Nigerians at all levels are perhaps guilty. Corruption has been the only social communicable disease that has afflicted virtually every race in this country and its cumulative effect is what we have today in form of fallen standard of education, poverty, lack of power(electricity), bad roads, depressed economy and so on. Everybody wants to cut-corners, parent enrolling his child in so called miracle center just to pass exam, lecturers taking bribe to pass student, politicians ready to do anything to get power, junk judicial system, i can go on and on. Chai! We are just too corrupt. In other words, corruption is just our addiction and that’s how we roll.
With this corrupt profile of ours as a people, then what type of restructuring are we talking about? Like the holy bible says, when the foundation is faulty what can a righteous do. In relating to this, if we still maintain this kind of disposition as a citizen, I can assure you nothing can be restructured. They preach regionalism and resource control, which is good, but an untrained child when he becomes the landlord of his father’s properties, will definitely auction his inheritance for cheap. State wants more revenues and power, how are they using the ones they presently have? In regard to the antecedents of some political elite, I am scared of what will become the lives of ordinary citizens if more power is being added to their elbow.
Even though we need this restructuring of a thing as it has been operationalized by the agitators, but before this i think there must be an urgent surgery on our mindset and mentality as prescribed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigeria president. Present structure may be our problem but an unrefined mind after restructuring will change nothing. Considering the mouth watering recipe embedded in the restructuring move, my question is this, after restructuring will Igbos have undying love for their Hausa brothers? Will it make the Agatu people live peacefully in their land without being killed? Will both Southern and Northern Kadunas see themselves as one? Will Ilorin Emirates consider the Igbominas as their true brothers? Will it make our politicians accountable? Will it make Nigerians to have a sense of belongings in their father land, and above all, will it heal our land from the viral infection of corruption? However, if the agents of restructuring can’t provide the right answers to these few questions and assure Nigerians that they are well-meaning in their intentions, then, restructuring Nigeria may indeed be an exercise in futility and a game of futility.