Restructuring Nigeria is Non-negotiable

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Simon Kolawolelive!, Email: simon.kolawoe@thisdaylive.com. SMS: 0805 500 1961

My 72-year-old mother, widowed since 1976, has not received her pension from the Kogi state government for over a year now (we have, let me confess, lost count of the months). Insult plus injury, she has not been paid her gratuity since she retired in 2006, despite all manner of verification and re-verification she has been undergoing — travelling from Lagos to Lokoja, the state capital, all the time. I was so worried about her frequent travels and the stress at some point that I told her: “Mummy, enough of this trouble. Whatever your gratuity is, I will give you double.” She looked at me and said, rather sorrowfully, “But it is my sweat.” I was close to tears.

In other news, the Kogi government has just spent about N12 million on newspaper advertising to “debunk” a claim made by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu on the constitutional provision for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye, the bosom-friend-turned-bitter-foe of Governor Yahaya Bello. From the feedback I am getting from home, a lot of money was distributed to get voters to sign up for the recall. Some say billions, but I have no way of finding out. One thing I know, at least, is that I get SMS from despondent people everyday asking for “family support” as salaries have not been paid for… how many months? I’ve lost count. Could the “recall budget” have been better spent?

Pardon my naivety, but whenever I hear millions and billions, I always think about potholes and boreholes. I spend days and nights thinking about hospitals and schools. I am always fascinated by laboratories and libraries. It’s an obsession. Each time I go round Nigeria and I see the afflictions of the lowly and the vulnerable, I am overwhelmed with sadness. Is this the best we can give to these people? Go to the primary healthcare centre nearest to you, go to the nearest general hospital, go to the nearest public school. Kindly tell me if this is what the people of this country deserve. Kindly let me know if this is how civilised societies are run.

And that is why, today, I am joining the ongoing campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria. It has become urgent, inevitable and non-negotiable. I have said, time after time, that the current structure is not working for the masses of the people. A structure that breeds unemployment and insecurity will only continue to ruin us. I show you a doomed system: a system where ex-governors are on million-naira pension for life, and are promptly paid, while a civil servant who devoted 35 years of his life to public service is owed arrears of pension that probably come to N20,000 a month. Any society built on inequality, injustice, wickedness, waste and elite hijack is hopeless.

In 1992, Freddie McGregor, the Jamaican reggae crooner, released a song, “To be poor is a crime”, which would pass as one of his best ever. Was he describing the perfidy in Nigeria? Who gets the best healthcare today? Whose children get quality education? Who has security protection, complete with police escorts? Is it the market woman or the commissioner in Delta state? The cab driver or the special adviser in Oyo state? The cleaner or the governor’s relative in Imo? The cobbler or the lawmaker in Zamfara? The yam seller or the senator in Benue? The barber or the governor in Bauchi? Is this the structure that will make Nigeria fit for human habitation?

Maybe I am speaking Greek. In 1981, one Mrs Ukeje, a widow, launched a court case when her husband died and her in-laws took control of the husband’s assets. It took 35 years for her to get justice. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled in her favour. There was also the case of Mrs Mojekwu who was widowed in 1966. It was not until 1997 that she got justice. In this same system, politicians can get two Supreme Court judgments in 24 hours. Thousands of innocent people are in prison for decades awaiting trial for stealing noodles, but “big men” accused of stealing billions get bail in hours. Do we want to continue with such a perverted structure?

Maybe I’m speaking Chinese. In the last few months in Ikorodu, Lagos state, hapless Nigerians have been murdered in their sleep for ritual. The police in the community, according to accusations, often looked the other way and released suspects because the traditional rulers and their chiefs are allegedly behind the ritual. How many commissioners, special advisers, governors, ministers and lawmakers have been killed by ritualists? As at last count, a whopping none! They have dedicated police officers looking after them 24/7. Who bears the brunt? Of course, the ordinary people who are not counted as human beings in their own country.

Maybe I’m speaking Latin. Kidnappers have been operating on the Abuja-Kaduna road for ages, grabbing defenceless Nigerians at will and extorting their families. But when the Abuja international airport was shut down for the reconstruction of the runway, government suddenly realised that human beings would soon start plying the road to use the Kaduna airport in the interim. They quickly flooded the highway with security personnel, spiced with air patrol. They even repaired the road since it was now going to be used by human beings. As soon as the Abuja airport reopened, security was toned down and kidnappers have since reported for work. Is this a human society?

All said and done, the truth is that Nigeria is not working for the poor and the powerless, wherever they are, whatever state or region they come from, whatever religion they practise, and whatever language they speak. Nigeria is working only for the rich and the powerful, especially the people in power and their cronies, wherever they are, whatever state or region they come from, whatever religion they practise, and whatever language they speak. That is the real struggle going on in Nigeria today, putting aside the politically motivated heat wave. Any talk about restructuring must encompass how to correct this grievous injustice across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

I have been following the debate on restructuring Nigeria lately. As to be expected, views are divergent. There are those campaigning for a return to the 1963 constitution, said to be the most federalist ever. Restructuring, to some, is to return to regionalism. To others, it is resource control. Many think it is fiscal federalism, state police, introduction of Sharia or disintegration. If you look at the different positions objectively, maybe the campaigners have a point. But since Nigerians are frustrated with the state of the nation, the elite are capitalising on this to promote their own narrow, divisive political and economic interests under the guise of “restructuring”.

Nonetheless, my contribution to the debate is that any restructuring we are going to design must look at the pervasive social injustice. The Nigerian structure, as it stands, is skewed against the vulnerable, against the oppressed. The victims of the system cut across every nook and cranny of Nigeria. And the beneficiaries are all over the landscape: the rich, the powerful and their friends, families and associates. Therefore, if state police would mean better protection for the masses, why not adopt it? If it will stop the police from perpetrating illegal detention, carrying out extra-judicial killings and working hand-in-glove with criminals, why not?
More so, if regionalism will provide quality education — meaning primary and secondary schools can now be attended by the children of public officers — why not go for it? If fiscal federalism means the powerful people can start attending general hospitals and receiving the kind of treatment meted out to the poor, why argue against it? If it is resource control that will address corruption in high and low places, and lead to the provision of potable water to the deprived people in the creeks, what is wrong with that? If Sharia will keep cholera at bay and contain polio and meningitis, isn’t that a beautiful thing? If boundary adjustment will pay my mum’s pension, isn’t that lovely?

If restructuring Nigeria — be it in the form of 1963 constitution, regionalism, Sharia, resource control or Biafra — will not address the wickedness in high places, the repression of widows, the dehumanisation of pensioners, the bastardisation of justice, the violation of the value system and the shedding of blood in communal conflicts in various states, including Ebonyi, Taraba, Kaduna, Cross River and Delta — then we need to go back to the drawing board. We need a structure that will improve the quality of life of the Nigerian. If we return to regionalism or break up without restructuring our brains, our latter end will be worse than our current situation.

 AND FOUR OTHER THINGS

BEASTS OF NO NATION
Mrs Aisha Buhari, the first lady, recently treated us to a cryptic message on Facebook. I initially thought it was a spoof because of its highly political nature, but it has not been denied. She wrote: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The Hyenas and the Jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom. We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals.” She was following a similar “animal talk” by Senator Shehu Sani who spoke about hyenas, wolves, jackals, lioness and tiger in Aso Rock, as well as crocodiles, cheetahs, leopards, pumas and jaguars on the outside. Are we now running an animal farm in this Federal Republic of Drama? Coded.

DANGOTE’S COWS
Nigeria’s No. 1 monopolist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is about to set up another monopoly: dairy farming. According to reports, his proposed farm will boast of 50,000 cows by 2019 and produce 500 million litres of milk per year. He is putting $800 million into dairy production in the next three years. Since we currently import 95% of our milk in Nigeria, the new monopoly will save us several millions of dollars in forex flight, help grow the naira, create jobs and meet nutritional needs. Meanwhile, many Nigerian billionaires have plenty monopolies waiting for their investment in agriculture, but they would rather buy penthouses in New York. I hate monopoly but I’m loving this. Opportunity.

MAMBILLA MASSACRE
Nigeria has become such a pathetic society that when human lives are dastardly snuffed out, our first, and often only, interest is the religion or tongue of the victims and the perpetrators. The value of human life means nothing to us, insofar as the perpetrators speak our language. This is again evident in the Mambilla killings in Taraba. One side said it was Fulani herdsmen that killed people from other ethnic groups, and the other side said it was genocide against the Fulani. In Nigeria, some people only find their voice when their kith and kin are at the receiving end. Herdsmen kill farmers, great. Farmers kill herdsmen, genocide. And vice-versa. Is ours a sane society? Sickening.

NHIS WAR
Are you following the war between Prof. Usman Yusuf, the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and Prof. Isaac Adewole, the minister of health? Here’s a recap: Yusuf was accused of fraud and has been suspended by Adewole but Yusuf says the minister has no power to remove him and has vowed to disobey the directive, maintaining that he was suspended because he refused to “play ball” with the minister. I will be surprised if processes and procedures have been breached in this matter. If indeed the minister does not have the power to suspend (not sack) him, then this will be a major embarrassment to this government. Waiting…

  • Ed Chibuzo

    The same thing my father said when I suggested he left going up and down chasing his Godot of a pension. And what pains them so much is that they were so very dedicated and honest during their time as civil servants

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  • Tea

    Nigeria is indeed not working and the reason is Due mainly to lack of accountability in governance.
    Nigerian leadership is not accountable because Nigeria as currently constituted is a Misnomer. It only exists in name and not in the Mind and hearts of the various ethnic and religious groups that populate its landmass.
    Unless we restructure the country to embrace federating regions which should now stand at 6 based on geographical and ethnic/religious considerations. Such regions can hold their leaders accountable for their inactions without fear or favour, without people playing the ethnic or religious card.
    Management of the country will more effective and efficient.

  • ChrisSpontanous Isah

    Well, all of the above issues we know of, infact, these are the reason for calling for restructuring, in whatever guise, of Nigeria. and this is what i think people like simeon K be empasizing on
    So the real problems here is how our elected leaders can muster the needed impetus to initiate discussions that will eventually lead to the desired outcome of restructured process to benefit Nigerians as whole. this is the most peaceful, most desirable avenue because our representatives are leading the charge as constitutionally empowered. failure to do this is putting the lead and charge on the hands of ordinary concerned Nigerian. we all know how this will pan out

  • FrNinja

    What has turned Nigerian politicians and government officials into monsters is unfettered access to oil revenue from the Niger Delta. It has given them freedom to act like overlords over the common people and to get away with a total lack of concern over the dilapidated infrastructure or pitiful state of education and healthcare in the country. Unless the country is restructured such that oil factors little into governance there will be no change in Nigeria whether it is 3 regions or 36 states.

    So I suggest that if Nigeria is truly SERIOUS about retructuring, let it commit itself to shifting 50% of oil income by law to three funds. Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Basic Healthcare Provision Fund. All these funds would be responsible for infrastructure, education and healthcare to the Nigerian population under a development framework (as in international partners USAID, WHO, etc. can contribute). These funds should be run by world class professionals, governed by representatives of the federation and regions and publish their annual reports on what they are doing with the money.

    The remainder 50% of oil revenue should be allocated to the federal government (20%), 6% royalties to the oil producing COMMUNITIES depending on output and the remainder to the 6 geopolitical zones since none of the existing states with their financial profile will be able to live on this.

    The regional governments should be limited to regional roads, regional universities and hospitals, regional courts, federal political representation , development ordinances, regional police, railroads and airports, mineral concessions. State government apparatus should be abolished and should only serve as political demarcations for representation at the regional level.

    Within each region, the whole local government model should be abolished and replaced by tax-funded city and town municipalities run by councils made up of elected officials and where necessary traditional rulers. These entities should be responsible for land use, for primary and secondary education, local roads, waste collection, water, sanitation and community policing.

    Question is does Nigeria have the courage to change before oil prices bankrupt it?

    • Tea

      Pray what is the contribution of the other 5 regions to the national cake. What happens when the Niger Delta militants decide to fight for their own resources as we have witnessed before.
      Me thinks restructuring should also include resource control with a certain %tage made to the central government this will encourage productivity and healthy competition.

  • Country man

    First on the Dino recall issue; while I don’t know the veracity of your story ( voters getting bribed) I believe the people have a right to recall their representative at any time. It’s high time these politicians realized that being in office is to serve the people, not for them to be worshipped as ‘big man’.
    On the restructuring issue:- Restructuring should be based on this- RESPECT OF PROPERTY RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS. This is the principle the western nations are built on, and that’s what makes them great. Western governments do not take your land because oil, or aNY other natural resource is found there. Govt. Should only play the role of an UNBIASED UMPIRE that enforces rules and regulations while generating revenue through taxes off any deals signed and agreed between stakeholders (ie individuals and companies).
    The present Nigerian constitution and the “land use act” are inimical to the above change and so they should be consigned to the dustbin while a people oriented constitution is drafted and adopted.
    Any restructuring that does not take these above points into consideration may just not bring about the desired change

  • E.Udah

    You, Simon? Is this one of your tricks?
    I will wait to read one or more of your writings before I believe that I am reading you in this regard.
    Keep typing we are waiting sir

  • Jon West

    Incredible!! The maggots are coming out of the woodwork. The structure must be on fire and everyone is desperate to escape from the coming apocalypse. Simon Kolawole is now an apostle of restructuring and a new national ethos. Well, its never too late to write/say or do a good thing.
    Nnamdi Kanu, what have you wrought in the Lugardian Zoo? Like Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu of blessed memory, you are a Nigerian who saw tomorrow. Hopefully Simon’s epiphany moment will now outlast this rickety Government of political nonentities. Fingers crossed, because the Afonja DNA is difficult to shake off.

  • Ogden

    Thank God for Aliko Dangote. I love his kind of monopoly. He is simply seeing what other billionaires could not see or have courage where others are naive. It is unimaginable for Nigeria with her vast arable grass land can not feed 1/10th of her population with fresh milk. How long can we continue lamenting for the cost of essential commodities where we can grow them here. This is simply the opportunity Dangote has seen and grab. Those millions and billions dollars and naira burried or hidden in various unknown dark places are just wasting away but can add value if the bigger thieves think like Aliko Dangote. Well done Alhaji. Good news!

    • obinnna77

      Yeah well, you can be sure that ‘federal herdsmen’ , as Iska Countryman so aptly described them, will not encroach on his Dairy ranch. What is good for the Niger-arean goose, will not obviously be good for the gander.

  • jones ejembi

    A great piece Simon. Kudos and keep it up. Spot on, on the issue of what one could call the theory of restructuring and its discontents. The last sentence of the last paragraph of the main article is every bit as important as the headline and the 4th paragraph if not more. The question is how do we restructure such that we make real progress instead of ending up worse?

  • Abia_Man

    “Our Oyel” Kolawale wants restructuring because his mother isn’t getting paid her gratuity and other entitlements. Poor butterfly Simon Kolawale. Was it so hard to see that the government cannot pay these “entitlements”? Your mom and others have been fed the story of “Rich Nigeria” of billions of billions in NNPC money and gas dividends to be extracted from the Niger Delta. Now you remember the poor you helped create by supporting this present structure, especially the Petroleum Act.

  • Mystic mallam

    Simon, the tragedy of Nigeria which restructuring is expected to ameliorate is not really about the need for leaders to take pity on the masses by giving them a little of what they routinely enjoy, and the masses transforming to better citizens in appreciation of their pensions paid. No, that’s not what restructuring is about. It’s about creating structural systems and institutionalising processes that compel leaders to perform their allotted duties as transparently and efficiently as possible, or pay the price for routinely ingratiating themselves at the expense of the public that appointed them. It is giving the masses the power to hold their leaders accountable for the choices they make and the actions they take. It is also about giving the people the liberty to deploy the resources within their communities to take responsibility for the success or failure of their own lives, while at the same time, contributing their fair share for the success of the larger community. I think you can understand that for justice to prevail, leadership matters, but just structures and institutions matter even more.

  • Fairgame

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.ET tu Brutus?

  • RumuPHC

    Everything Simon wish for in a ” restructuring ” of Nigeria is already provided for in the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria ( CFRN).

    The only important criterium not explicitly stated in the CFRN is the pedigree and quality of citizens that can be leaders in the country.

    Leadership is the bane of all problems in Nigeria and the CFRN or any other cannot specify who must be a leader otherwise the document won’t stand as a constitution.

    The question therefore for “restructurists” is how will restructuring of Nigeria in whatever form ( when finally agreed) bring about good leaders that will provide competent leadership for Nigeria? .

    Nigeria is in a bad shape today no doubt. It will be terribly risky for Nigerians and Africans including the world to allow the country to continue on this path to cataclysmic failure with dire consequences for the sub region . Nevertheless promoting a solution to the current challenges based on anger and without understanding the fundamental problems and undertaking deep analysis , will only lead to more problems.

    It should be recalled that we exchange bad military regime for democracy in 1999. In less than two decades of democracy we are in search of another solution.

    Nigerians should not rush to solve today’s problem by putting the cart before the horse . It is only a good leadership that can determine the right structure for development and succes. Therefore we need to find out how we can enthrone good leadership in Nigeria first before considering whether restructuring is necessary.

    Restructuring is well known in the corporate world. However it is the CEO and executive leadership that are first axed when a company is performing badly . A new management team is then giving the power to revamp the company in the manner they deem fit. This is the process that should be applicable and n Nigeria today.

    Leadership is our main challenge . Until this problem is solved, type of government and structure of the country will bring no succor to Nigerians.

    • William Norris

      Leadership is NOT the problem.

      Sorry. Think better.

      • Dave

        You think?

        We are really over-rating the capacity of this restructuring business to solve our people’s problem.

        There is no type of geo-political structure that you put in place for the current political class that will resolve a thing.

        In the absence of quality visionary leadership, we are doomed.

        • William Norris

          There is a type of structure that will make Nigerians more content and less restive.

          The Royal Family of England has been earning billions of dollars for centuries doing nothing, yet you never read of any serious opposition to the Monarchy. Or any cries for rotational succession.

          The ONLY SOLUTION for Nigeria is to make it a TRIBAL CONFEDERACY, union of autonomous ethnic nations. Like the EU or ECOWAS…..if you can imagine that all the ECOWAS countries are tribes. Every tribe in Nigeria should have its own State with COMPLETE freedom to live as they wish.

          It’s the ONLY solution. It will not assure a better or worse Nigeria, it will assure a Nigeria where each tribe is responsible for itself and can’t blame anyone else for their failures.

          • Tea

            Kindly add that tribes are free to merge with others with which the share affinity

          • Sustain Transformation

            Disruptive but I am liking it. Why tear down the zoo half way were u can go all the way. You have been consistent about this view and I truly see your point of view. I only hope this submission does not belly any sarcasm for those asking to take leave of the zoo?

          • William Norris

            I don’t think secession is possible for the simple reason that the Owners of the Zoo, the UK, will not allow it.

            That being the case, tribal autonomy will have to suffice. It’s good enough.

          • William Norris

            I don’t think secession is possible for the simple reason that the Owners of the Zoo, the UK, will not allow it.

            That being the case, tribal autonomy will have to suffice. It’s good enough.

          • William Norris

            I don’t think secession is possible for the simple reason that the Owners of the Zoo, the UK, will not allow it.

            That being the case, tribal autonomy will have to suffice. It’s good enough.

          • Sustain Transformation

            And it will really be fun to address the emerging entity as UTN. United Tribes of Nigeria. LOL

          • Chym

            God bless you brother

          • Chym

            Wonderful

      • RumuPHC

        Leadership is everything!

        Think of a country as the road and the system of government as the vehicle while political leadership is the driver.

        Which must you change first if there must be change?

        • FrNinja

          Does the government of the USA rely on oil revenue or coal revenue or gold revenue to run its operations? No. They depend on taxes which is why they take infrastructure seriously. Perhaps Nigerian government needs to blocked from excess oil money then you will see real change in the kind of leadership you will get at the national and regional level. This is why fiscal federalism is important as well as laws that funnel oil away from government coffers.

          • RumuPHC

            Nigeria government rely on taxation to fund its budget just the same way the US government finances its expenditures.

            One important fact many Nigerians fail to acknowledge is that FG taxes oil & gas E&P activities like other sectors of the economy. Operators whether multinationals, NNPC or private indigenous companies all pay taxes to government . This is exactly how the US government will tax ExonMobil in Texas.

            The difference between the US and Nigeria is on participation in the oil & gas industry. Nigerian government is an investor with equity in the oil sector via NNPC. NNPC is in JV or other arrangements with multinational . Therefore NNPC receives its share of oil from the partnership and remits the proceeds of sale of its share of oil and gas to the shareholders ( Federation – FG plus 36 states).

            Believe me, no single drop of oil or gas will be drilled or exported out of Nigeria without the full participation of the FG.

            Government participation in oil & gas sector is not restricted to Nigeria alone. Such is prominent in Europe , Middle East and Africa. Aramco of Saudi Arabia is the largest company in the world by asset but is not listed on any stock market because it is owned by Saudi Arabian government.

          • LagLon

            yes they tax rumu.. but its very lazy.
            oil comes out of the ground …its a pain free tax and a massive one –
            that allows mass indolence…(19 northern states, whole fed govt, other states)… its like the whole country is on meth.. and sleeping… therefore its dangerous!

          • RumuPHC

            I suppose this is where we get it wrong. Governments at the centre all over the world tax citizens and redistribute wealth across the country. It is an addition to what states generate ;shouldn’t generate laziness .

            The entire $7Trn federal budget of US is actually disbursed and spent in all the states of the US. There are huge cash transfers to states as well as direct subventions to programmes that meet federal criteria in states.

            LGAs and States are not restricted from using their land and resources to generate revenue.

            Give me an LGA in Nigeria and I will turn the monthly allocation from Abuja to a local sovereign wealth fund within 4 years . My LGA will be entirely funded by revenue generated locally.

            How can people have vast arable land, rivers for irrigation, good sunshine and large human Labour ; and be poor?

            Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa exporter in the world at about 1m tons per annum. Nigeria does only 0.25m tons. Meanwhile the cocoa growing area in Nigeria is three times larger than that of Ivory Coast. That is to say Nigeria has the capacity to do 3m tons of Cocoa every year and earn about $9bn from export .

            An LGA in a cocoa growing belt ( From Ogun to Cross River State) receives about N1.2bn from federal allocation each year. However such an LGA can promote cocoa farming ( agency, JV or private) and earn $30m (10bn) in that same year.

          • LagLon

            what a wonderfully idyllic world you live in rumu… flowers and birdsong… lets remember that the US that you talk about was also built on the backs of black slaves and defeated southerners… also without a whiff of islam/ religious conflict in sight.
            whilst you are trying to make your LGA abuja someone is scheming to vote you out… and you will go in the 4 years you are on seat.
            Over taxing the souths oil and sharing it unfairly whilst maintaining control of the resource has bred an indolent and baffling inept society. it must change.
            either you remove the incentive (the cash), remove the constraints (centralised control) and remove the time limitation on thought (crappy democracy)… one will give.

        • Obi Ike Sorres

          It’s not it.Bring Angel Merkel to Nigeria under this system she will fail

          • RumuPHC

            She will not!

            Even I will not fail if I am an LGA chairman ( not that I want to be one).

            Almost all the LGAs in Nigeria have everything to make them independent from the FG. What all of them lack is leadership. Now I am not even talking about the 36 states in the country.

            The most important requirement for success in any human endeavor is leadership. Unfortunately this is the most scarce of all commodities in Nigeria. We lack leadership in almost every rung of life.

        • Sustain Transformation

          While not agreeing with your analogy I will humor u just a tad. A good or “okay”driver, riding a badly smoking, rickety vehicle with engine all manner of sounds emanating from the engine, on a pot-hole infested road. Ge me a good SUV any day and this driver will do okay with the bad road. I hope this answered your shortsighted question.

          • RumuPHC

            The anger in you is so palpable that you will choose to throw decorum overboard simply to address a stranger. It is quite understandable that youths are angry in Nigeria today. Lack of jobs and prospects for prosperity is one of the most visible signs of poor leadership in any country and this is known to be a major cause of disenchantment leading to trouble for the ruling elite .

            It is even clear by your response that the driver is key to the progress of the vehicle. According to you ” A good or okay driver…..”. You’ve only confirmed my point that all things being equal, a GOOD or OKAY leader will perform better than a ” BAD” driver.

            Bad leadership will make any situation poorer while GOOD leadership can only improve the state of things.

        • IKEMBA

          @RumuPHC with all due respect, what @William Norris is trying to elucidate here is more esoteric than you can comprehend…!

          Until infact every blackman come to the Knowledge of whom they really are, and NOT whom they are ascribed to be, either through their religious belief or political inclination… The black race will never be FREE..!

          @William Norris is Right…. The greatest of the world Leaders will Fail utterly in a country like Nigeria…!

          • RumuPHC

            Sir, So until we revert back to traditional belief instead of Christianity or Islam and return the kingdoms of Obas , Onis and Queens before the black race will be FREE!

            Very interesting……little wonder I am unable to comprehend such hubris. My apologies, though.

            Anyway our interest is on the current situation in Nigeria and not about salvaging the destiny of the black race.

            Interestingly you seem to comprehend and agree with the notion of ” Tribal Confederacy ” as a structure of governance in Nigeria, a concept you term ” esoteric ” . It is well.

            It is unfortunate what BAD LEADERSHIP has wrought on the minds of many Nigerians. The fall out of decades of Poor governance appear to be taking its toll .

            I blame PMB for this terrible emotional affliction on Nigerians. We never heard such talk during the tenure of OBJ and Jonathan. All we heard them was that Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was growing the economy and we are the largest economy in Africa.

            Now this ” Tribal Confederacy ” will it have parliament or Supreme Court? Or better still , will this union have a military force and what currency will it hold?

            If I can hazard a guess, I suppose the parliament will be made up of a council of chiefs and litigations will be decided by chief priests of major shrines. And since we are quarreling with the white race, the military force will be equipped with black magic including horses for mobility while our currency will be beads and excess farm stock.

            No wonder I found it difficult to comprehend!

          • William Norris

            Rumu PHC, we’re indeed discussing the salvation of the Black Race because at least 10 to 20% of them are Nigerians. What I’m trying to get across is very simple, Nigerians KNOW what is in it but their EDUCATION won’t let them embrace the truth.

            I could boil it down to this –

            Who do the Edo people RESPECT more, who do they REVERE, who will are they MORE LIKELY to fight and shed blood for – their GOVERNOR or the Oba of Benin?

            Why is it that the ONLY group that has given the Nigerian Government a real fight since independence – the Niger Delta militias – are mostly acolytes of Egbesu? Why not Jesus?

            Why is it the average or should I say 99.9999% of Igbo higher caste people will not marry a fellow Igbo who is Osu?

            Or maybe I should ask, do you know anyone who actually LOVES Nigeria?

            Do you KNOW what Nigeria is, what it was purposed to do, what it means? Just in case you don’t know, Nigeria is set up EXACTLY like South Africa and the Black Africans of both nations are poor for the exact same reasons. I believe you know what I’m getting at but the HOPE that you will someday get to USE NIGERIA the same way the British did, that hope keeps you and most EDUCATED Nigerians going.

          • RumuPHC

            Apparently you’ve been traumatized by Pax Britannia….accept my sympathy, pls.

      • RumuPHC

        Sir, MAYBE YOU WISH TO DISAGREE WITH PETER OBI…..

        Obi, who spoke on the topic, ‘Leadership and Integrity,’ said that some of the agitations across the country had gone beyond control because Nigeria lacked visionary leaders.

        He cited Boko Haram in the North-East, militancy in the Niger-Delta, the Independent People of Biafra in the South-East and farmers/herdsmen clash as some of the challenges facing the country today.

        Obi said, “Nigeria has the resources and potentials of becoming the greatest country in the world; but, the country lacks visionary leaders.

        “Today, we have different forms of agitations in Nigeria because the people are poor and hungry. The leaders have lost touch with the led.”

        • William Norris

          It was Albert Chinua Achebe who formalized the public wisdom that the major problem of Nigeria is leadership. People like him and Peter Obi and Nnamdi “The Jew” Kanu are thoroughly educated by colonialism. What they seek is to make colonialism work, they seek to abolish the African and remake him into a new thing.

          The major problem of Nigeria is TRIBE. The tribes are NOT free and are still in the process of being killed off by Nigeria. The real question is whether the Yoruba, Kanuri, Efik, Igala, Nuevo, Tiv, Edo, Yoruba and every other tribe will survive or be subsumed and digested by Nigeria. That’s the ONLY matter in contention. You can keep up with the song of de-tribalization that the British taught you. You are of course well educated. No doubt.

          • RumuPHC

            There is nothing like colonial education and at no time did the British teach us to forget our tribes. Rather they even helped to document our heritage. Education did not teach detribalisation . It is universal and it seek to promote knowledge for development of mankind no matter the language .

            Language is central to learning. Apparently you wish to move backward while the world is going forward. Please show me a multi tribal nation in this century that is prosperous .

            Many Nigerians do not really understand or know what they mean by ” restructuring “. This is quite alarming ! The implication of this is that people like you will only wish to gamble with the destiny of 160m people simply because you are angry at the current state of affairs of the country that has been created by a serial culture of BAD LEADERSHIP.

          • William Norris

            Colonial education did teach you to hate your origins, your tribe, your very self. That’s why you bear English and Arab names and all converted to Christianity and Islam.

            Nigeria is STILL a colony, quite literally a prison. Nigeria only exists because the British created it. THINK ABOUT THAT.

            The Colonial Condition is the root of Nigerian distress. It’s not the economy, corruption or leadership, it’s self hatred and a potent mix of greed and PSYCHIC cowardice. Even Jesus or Mohammed straight from Heaven can’t rule this country and make Nigerians happy.

            The first step to making Nigerians happy is to give them freedom so that they can succeed or fail. The saddest part of the situation is that they PREFER to remain in the prison because FREEDOM is so much harder….it requires hard work, purposeful living and responsibility.

          • RumuPHC

            And you sir that is free chose to be identified as WILLIAM NORRIS instead of OLOGUN.

            Perhaps you are not even a Nigerian or a black man. Maybe you are a Nigerian but chose a foreign sounding ID.

            What you referr to as colonial education gave Nigeria distinguished individuals like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo , Chinua Achebe etc . None of these illustrious Nigerian hated or forgot their root. They did not only identify with their tribes but equally promoted the values of their communities despite their local and foreign education during the colonial era.

            Contrary to your assertion Nigeria is neither a colony nor a prison.

            An entity must have origin . Singapore, Malaysia and countless others were equally created by the British and they have all moved on. Even Britain itself used to be a colony of the Romans. Being once a colony is no impediment to progress and development.

            Nigeria gained her independence almost 57 yrs ago . It is therefore preposterous to hinge the problems in Nigeria on your so call ” colonial condition” whatever that means. There can’t be progress in any country without visionary leadership. This is what Nigeria has always lacked at all levels of government.

            Nigerians are free but are certainly unhappy with the situation of things in the country . This is the position we are at today.

            In normal democracies people change their leaders when no satisfied with pace of progress and that is what Nigerians should do- find competent leadership. Unfortunately a MOB has hijacked the space is promoting disintegration or unclear and untested structural theories as solution . It is this demagoguery that is the real threat to the future of 160m Nigerians and blacks in the sub region.

          • William Norris

            Nigerians are not free, they’re dispossesed not only of their human essence but in terms that you might understand – physical property. Now that’s not so esoteric, think it through.

            Do you KNOW, do you UNDERSTAND that NO SINGLE NIGERIAN legally owns land in Nigeria today?

            Do you know HOW this situation came about? Have you ever thought about the VALUE of land in Nigeria if it could be LEGALLY collaterized?

            Do you know HOW it happened that White South Africans who are 9% of the population, LEGALLY own 90% of the lands in South Africa?

            You can keep deceiving yourself, I can only give you the FACTS. The UK own Nigeria lock, stock and barrel. Do you own a home or a farm? How do you regard the vermin that might infest it…..rats, roaches, ants, birds? Do you let them get in the way of you extracting maximum utility from that house or farm?

            That is how the OWNERS of Nigeria regard the Native Humans that infest the territory of their colony. The SYSTEM that has taken hold of Nigeria is so deep, so complex and yet so simple. You need to think about it, ask yourself why no Nigerians has legal title to any land in their country.

          • RumuPHC

            Nigerians are as free to the extent the 1999 Constitution defines and guarantees their freedom. I suppose this is how it is in other nations.

            All lands in Nigeria belong to Nigerians. Nobody has disposed Nigerians of their physical properties as you infer.

            The governor of each state in Nigeria is vested with the ownership of all land in the state . With this powers the governor transfer legal title of ownership to citizens under agreed conditions contained in a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO). A C of O is acceptable as collateral for loan in banks.

            Nigerians are the owners of Nigeria. The only problem is that we have not been develop the great potentials of the country due to bad leadership and poor governance.

          • William Norris

            The powers over land vested in the Governor encourages corruption. The Governor can TAKE any land and give it to ANYONE.

            The practical effect of this is that ANY allocation by the Governor can be justifiably called CORRUPTION, but it is LEGAL, just like the Government of South African taking lands from Blacks and LEGALLY giving it to Whites. Even if Jesus came down and did the LAND ALLOCATIONS, it could still be called CORRUPT by those who don’t benefit from it.

            Government ownership of land in Nigeria is one of the major reasons the HOME MORTGAGE market is very small. When you use land as collateral, the banks want their money as quickly as possible because LEGALLY, the Governor can take the land at any time and leave them with no recourse.

            Who INTRODUCED the principle, the CONCEPT, of government ownership of land in the territory called Nigeria?

            I don’t think you understand the depth of what colonialism has wrought in Nigeria. Like most EDUCATED citizens, you tend towards affirmation of what you know.

            What Nigeria needs is FREEDOM for the TRIBES. It’s OK that you can’t understand, you’re in the majority and the results of your kind of thinking are plain to see.

          • RumuPHC

            Sir, I sincerely wish you can disclose which tribe you belong or what FREEDOM for TRIBES really mean. Tribes in Nigeria are indeed as free as tribes in England. No governor is after ancestral or communal land in Nigeria. Traditional titles on land are still valid and recognized by state governments.

            The Governor is the symbol of authority of the people in a state . He doesn’t really own any land but hold all land in trust for the people. That is why his consent is necessary via CoO to confer legal ownership on leasehold of any land which is not possible via individual family titles.

            Also the Givernor can only award or revovoke ownership of land under guidelines stipulated by the people under State laws. The courts have never hesitated to reverse the positions of governors each time they stray from the provisions of the law.

            I suppose the concept of government ownership of land is to promote records keeping and legal ownership of lands. Without this it will be difficult to know who owns what and of course value of possession.

            Clearly colonialism wasn’t the best for any country. Any concept of governance not based on freedom is bad. This however does not mean we must continue to bemoan a long abolished practice and hinge our years of misrule as an independent nation on colonialism.

          • William Norris

            You don’t understand Nigeria. If you did you won’t write as you do.

            I assume you’re a Native of Nigeria, an indigene of one tribe or the other. The PURPOSE of creating Nigeria was to TAKE ALL THE WEALTH of your tribe.

            Nigeria has fulfilled that function and continues to pursue that purpose today. That is why most Nigerians today are poor.

            The average White South African is many times richer than his fellow Black South African. Will you deny that colonialism has something to do with that?

            The same thing applies to Nigeria. The ONLY DIFFERENCE is that those chosen as direct managers of wealth in South Africa are White, while in Nigeria they are EDUCATED Black Natives.

            The first oil well in Nigeria was drilled in Oloibiri by Shell Oil and that company made BILLIONS of dollars in profits. Where did the profits go? Care to guess? What is the condition of the natives of Oloibiri today?

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7840310.stm

            What happened to the wealth generated by the coal mines of Enugu and tin mines of Jos?

            Did the Native Tribes on whose lands the oil, coal and tin was found ever give permission for their lands to be exploited? Did they get the profits?

            Are you getting some sense of the FUNCTION of the Nigerian State?

          • RumuPHC

            We understand Nigeria very well just as we acknowledge that more developed people will always seek advantages over weaker entities. It is the nature of nature itself; no need to gripe.

            That is why leadership matters. Just imagine Rex Tillerson of Exonmobil negotiating oil deals with Diezani Allison Maduekwe- who will come out with a better position?

            Nigeria and all African countries started late but competent leadership can make the difference considering the tremendous advantage we hold on account of natural resources.

            Unlike during colonial era and shortly after the civil war, the returns Nigeria gets from oil & gas have been commensurate over the past 3 decades. It is how this revenue is distributed and utilized that has been the problem .

            Nigeria is not the only country where the central government is charged with oil & gas resources. Also we need to be realistic on relationship with multinationals . JVs and PSCs between nations and IOCs are the norm in the oil & gas industry and such deals have passed scrutiny tests of international watchdogs.

            It is really difficult to fathom any other arrangement that can create the conditions necessarily for exploration and production of oil from numerous fields spread across numerous communities up to points of export without the participation of a central government.

            Going by your position, can you imagine the number of tribes including negotiations and deals that will be needed to develop Soku gas fields , and pipe the gas over 120 km to export point at Bonny Island?

            You probably assume oil & gas E & P are cheap . No tribe or gathering of tribe can summon the resources of to fund oil exploration assuming they can overcome issues bothering on land ownership and control on their own. However without contributing a penny, oil bearing are granted a share of not less than 13% of revenue from production .

            Land is worthless unless factors of production are applied to extract resources. All these cost money which is most times beyond the means of the landowners. Investors therefore are always needed and are entitled to fair returns. This is the case with oil & gas exploration and production in Nigeria.

          • William Norris

            We understand Nigeria very well just as we acknowledge that more developed people will always seek advantages over weaker entities. It is the nature of nature itself; no need to gripe.

            That is why leadership matters. Just imagine Rex Tillerson of Exonmobil negotiating oil deals with Diezani Allison Maduekwe- who will come out with a better position?
            ****************************************************************
            Well developed people can only take advantage of you if you FEEL that you’re undeveloped.

            Leadership will evolve better on TRIBAL basis. The Yoruba adored Awolowo, the Igbo hate him.

            People like Allison Madueke will LIKELY negotiate with the mentality that the White Man DESERVES to have the advantage from the transactions in question. Because she is an EDUCATED African, she’s a Christian, she very likely – LIKE MOST EDUCATED NIGERIANS – doesn’t place a high value on her TRIBE when relating to Whites.

            You speak of money. What exactly is money? The dollar? LOL!

            Anyway, you only know the much you know. You’re excused.

          • RumuPHC

            Thank you.

          • RumuPHC

            The classic Things Fall Apart will ever remain Chinua Achebe’s masterpiece but for me the more contemporary There Was A Country remains the most rewarding of all literary works of one of Nigeria most gifted and intelligent writers .

            Yes , in his last book the great Chinua Achebe himself pointed out the leadership conundrum in Nigeria. It will needless for me to to add more to what the sage stated in his parting shots to Nigerians. Please read the book all over again , maybe you will get his point on leadership in Nigeria.

            Tribes are our identities but tribes or whatever confederation are incapable of national or global undertakings. That is why we now have nations all over the world.

            Japan can boast of more advanced tribes dating back in history. Today Japan is governed by a parliamentary system of government that has its origin in the U.K. Japan is one of the largest economies in the world .

          • William Norris

            What do you know of Japan? The difference between Japan & Nigeria is that the Japanese took the Western things WITH PROVEN VALUE and discarded those that destroy the mind.

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2014/02/destroying-japanese-christianity/

            Take the time and read the history above and then do some thinking about your Nigeria.

          • RumuPHC

            Very good.

            At least you acknowledge that there are Western things of ” proven value. This is fair enough .

            People are entitled to their opinion and we must always respect such perspectives on issues even if we are not in agreement. There is however no point in rewriting history of Nigeria or the black race.

            Laying blames on external powers for the problems of Nigeria is simplistic. The bane of the challenges we have is much closer home. It is leadership.

            Transformation leadership is capable of turning any adversity into success. The geographical area called Nigeria does not even have any serious drawbacks ; it is full of great resources and huge promises. What this mean is Nigeria can do well with just averagely GOOD leadership.

            Of course leadership we mean is not a one-man affair. It will require a few good men in the right positions.

      • IKEMBA

        I Agree
        Leadership is NOT the problem…
        Only Two Words distinctively describe the Nigerian Problem:
        QUOTA SYSTEM
        &

        FEDERAL CHARACTER

        Nigeria is endowed with individuals of high leadership standards… The problem is on assigning the roles to the best qualified citizen irrespective of tribe or religion.

        • RumuPHC

          Leadership IS the problem!

          Is it quota system and federal character that unleashed the worst types of governance Nigeria has ever witnessed at LGA and STATE levels?

          Clearly everything rises and falls on leadership . How can the driver not matter in a journey no matter how brief !

  • LagLon

    can you imagine… @jon west, @william norris, all the other commentators. simple simon has finally flipped.
    it is sad that rather forcing through this agenda whilst a soft christian is in control of the fed govt, you decide to put a rather more intransigent islamist there with a SW spare tire… thinking that they would do it.
    Well, you’ve completed your wailers form simon… and there’s hatchet work to do.
    so get typing.. but we are still watching.

    • William Norris

      @Laglon…..Look past the headline.

      If you read closely all Simon is asking for is that THE LEADERS should restructure their minds and take pity on their people.

      That’s all. Simon still believes Nigeria is perfect, it just needs better leaders and citizens who can rise above base human behavior.

      He hasn’t heard the latest from Aisha Buhari….. Nigeria is a Zoo!

      • LagLon

        mein.. the mofo tricked me. lol!!
        WN.. i find it hard to read Kolawhatsit without vomiting.. and i’d had a pretty decent lunch.. so i skimmed.
        forgive me.

      • Sustain Transformation

        The most tasteless thing any Nigerian could do is to keep on asking Leaders or Nigerians to “restructure” their mindset. This suggests that “restructure” is a software you pick off the shelf which can be used to upgrade the individuals and the system. Any one running our from an active, well thought out and painful restructure of the current system is yet to tell himself the truth about delivery a Nigeria that works for all. Let Simon continue to play with words.

  • obinnna77

    Simon Kolawale Kanu.

    • LagLon

      Kanuwole…

    • share Idea

      nice one bro 🙂

  • the masked one

    SORRY, Simon Kolawole, you arrived too late to be part of the restructuring bandwagon! I am beginning to conclude the ‘The Mystery Of Malabu’ and the shocking revelations contained therein must have informed this late detour. Of course, that revealing insight into the wheeler-dealings in the nation’s oil business is frighteningly compelling to make even the most diehard supporter of this government cringe and have a rethink.

    Yet, I must have to admit that installment on rofofo fight over the nation’s oil made some of us long for the Simon Kolawole we used to know. You wrote like one who has just received a baptism of the holy spirit, and not surprising you followed that revealing exposé with this confessional piece.

    Wondering why I said you came too late on the restructuring bandwagon? Let me refresh your mind with this excerpt from your piece entitled; ‘Restructuring Without Tears’.

    “Most agitations for restructuring were designed to spite the North to make them look like they are finished without Niger Delta oil”????

    My question, Simon Kolawole, is, when did you sound out the North on the issue of restructuring that you confidently proclaimed: ‘Restructuring Is Non-negotiable’?.
    You see, not quite after your piece on Restructuring Without Tears, El-Rufai, described those clamouring for restructuring as crass opportunists and irresponsible politicians. And I know a great majority of his Arewa kinsmen share his sentiments.

    What I can say about the increasing noise about restructuring is that many are seeking for a middle ground between those who want out and those who favor the status quo.
    In fairness to those who favour the continuing maintenance of the status quo, it is always hard to ask someone to relinquish part or all of his advantages. However, if we believe this nation is meant to accommodate all us with diverse socio-cultural heritages and religious beliefs and worldviews, we must sit down and talk.

    We must negotiate our unity. I don’t believe the unity of the country is non-negotiable. It is after we are done with negotiating our unity that we can table the type of structures to sustain that unity. Talking about restructuring without discussing the Nigeria question will amount to putting the cart before the horse. Nigeria archive is littered with documents on conferences and debates but unfortunately non contained discussions about negotiating the non-negotiable. We must negotiate the non-negotiables- the no-go areas!

    • “Korede

      I think what Simon is saying is that if all those problems he highlighted can be solved ny restructuring so be it. If it can still be solved by any other thing so be it. He is very much interested in whatever can solve all the problems he highlighted.

      To me, we are talking about restructuring today simply because all our leaders have failed us. It is either deliberate acts of wickedness or lack of knowledge of what it takes to manage our resources.

      His last sentence an I quote
      “If we return to regionalism or break up without restructuring our brains, our latter end will be worse than our current situation.” summarized it all

      • Daniel Obior

        So you think you know it all, you fool? Why don’t you read the comment of the masked one again, and you see that you are a fool. The man is smarter than you and he fully well understood Simon. Dumb ass.

  • remm ieet

    Simon has tried to align the subject of restructuring with the right attitude expected from Nigerians to make it work, technically speaking.

    • William Norris

      You saw it too. LOL!

  • samG60

    Has it finally dawned on you that no political appointment is forthcoming, and there wont be any permanent damage to your business interests that require government patronage for you to rock the boat just a little bit?
    Anyway, who will sit at the table to protect the interest of the common man? anytime a gathering is called, only the elite have a seat at the table and there’s no such thing as altruism in the world of Nigerian elite.

  • Magnus0071mg

    I’m happy reality is making youmad enough to coming close to writing the truth unlike your recent past when you chose to engage in the praise of some imaginary messiah with clay feet and a serious con man in power
    Now that you’ve regained some sanity (no insult intended) can we see from now on the journalist in you
    There are too many problems and injustices to preoccupy all to confront the power that be instead of being their mega phone

  • Sarah

    Simon, all shades of interpretation of ‘RESTRUCTURING’ are welcome as long as the process is within Nigeria’s constitutional framework. For example NASS are currently carrying out a line-by-line review of our Constitution. Anyone with grievances should now suggest solutions for consideration and possible adoption by NASS’s committee.
    This is the better way to achieve Equity and Justice. To declare secession or referendum before amending the Constitution will amount to declaring WAR on Nigeria. Nobody wants that outcome.

    • Priestley Okorro

      Demand for referendum is only interpreted as invitation to war by babarians in this day and age. The constitution is a LIE! There was no time elected representatives met and drafted the constitution that begins with : we the people of Nigeria……..

      • Sarah

        Typical Biafran imbecile, peddler of falsehood.
        It is a matter of fact that all states sent members to the constituent assembly that drafted Nigeria’s Constitution. It is a matter of fact that since 1999 NASS has been revising the same Constitution from time to time.
        Biafrans have a choice; channel your grievances through NASS’s committee OR violate our constitution and face WAR. We, Nigeria, have previously inflicted severe penalty on your ancestors in 1967/70. We will do so again if necessary.

        • Daniel Obior

          What states sent members to the constituent assembly? States that were run by the military, isn’t it? Constituent assembly formed by the military of the likes of Abacha and Babangida? What a constitution! A fraudulent constitution which the national assembly is too lazy, indolent and corrupt to replace, and are forever amending without positive results. That for sure is not the constitution of the people of this country, and you know it.

        • FrNinja

          Be careful for what you wish for. You havent finished fighting Boko Haram or the guerillas in the Niger Delta and now you want to fight the Igbos. Be very very careful. At least Osibanjo understands that war in 2017 is not your papa Awolowo’s war. The cost to Nigeria will be far worse than just cutting oil pipelines.

        • E don do Niaja

          LMAO!

  • daniek

    This is the unfortunate bane of our Society-GREED! Oshiomole came in the pretence of the people’s messiah during OBJ’s presidency. Today he has proven to be more demonic and greedy than the system he fought against as a unionist. Who would have taught Oshiomole of all people will be so heartless as to cornering a huge fraction of the state treasury as retirement perks while shamefully, those that give their blood and sweat after thirty five years can’t even access similar financial retirement packages. There’s Tinubu in Lagos, who ironically is the face of restructuring in Nigeria. Providence will lay this on his conscience that he actually blazed the trail on ex-governors leaving off the people’s sweat after office.