Of course, Nigeria is Highly Negotiable

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

Where do you stand in this ongoing debate on the state of the Nigerian union? I have so far identified four lines of thought (1) pro-status quo (2) pro-restructuring (3) pro-balkanisation and (4) “siddon look”. The first group thinks there is nothing to change, the second thinks there is something to change, the third thinks everything should be changed and the fourth is uninterested, change or no change. I wish I could do a census to know the population of each group and, in the spirit of democracy, announce the most popular desire of Nigerians. But the way public debate is structured, it is those with the loudest voice and tallest platforms that get heard.

In the series of articles I have written since the resurgence of the seasonal restructuring agitations, I have made certain arguments which I will quickly summarise. One, I have argued that countries develop through quality leadership, although we seem to think in Nigeria that the tonic for development is to write a new constitution. It may need reminding that most of the countries we call “developed” today were built through competent and patriotic leadership, not some constitution. In fact, the British have never had a written constitution. Singapore, we all know, ran a dictatorship. South Korea was developed essentially by military governments.

Two, I have argued that the document we now deride as “military constitution” was actually written by civilians. (That is even assuming that the military is so bad that nothing good can ever be written by them.) The 1979 constitution, refurbished and repackaged as the 1999 constitution, was produced by some of the most brilliant legal and political minds Nigeria has ever had. The process underwent one of the most robust debates in the history of Nigeria. I argued that nobody ever gave the constitution as an excuse for poor governance in the second republic, although its 1999 clone is now classified as an evil and vile document fit only for the bonfire. So it goes.

Three, I have argued that there is no state in Nigeria that is not viable. We define viability in Nigeria on the strength of the oil-based federation allocation because of our weak imagination. The economy of the state of Nevada in the US is built around gambling, amusement and recreational services, not “our oil”. The Dubai emirate in the UAE is built around trade, real estate and tourism. Hong Kong’s economy is built around financial services. In 2016, Hong Kong, with a population of 7 million, recorded a GDP of $426 billion — compared to Nigeria’s $405 billion produced by 180 million people. Our brains are so filled with oil we think that is all there is to life. So it goes.

I have also made attempts to explain that buzzwords such as “true federalism” and “fiscal federalism” are becoming native to Nigeria. I don’t know of any country in the world that claims to be practising “true federalism”: in truth, no two federal systems are alike. Federalism in Mexico is not exactly as practised in Australia. More so, “fiscal federalism” — a concept proposed in 1959 by the late German-American economist, Richard Musgrave, to make a case for the redistribution of income among federating units for the overall economic health of the country — has been redefined in Nigeria to mean “resource control” and “derivation”. So it goes.

So where do I stand? Of course, I believe Nigeria is highly negotiable. You don’t have to be an expert in any subject to know that Nigeria is not functioning optimally. We all can see it. We all can feel it. We all know the widespread poverty in the land, the poor state of physical infrastructure, the failing system of education and the sickening state of health care. What we cannot agree upon is what caused the problems and the way out. Some think poor people in Delta, Benue and Yobe don’t have access to water and electricity because we don’t have the 1963 constitution, or because we don’t have regions, or because there is no resource control. Some of us beg to disagree.

I have written, time and again, that I am for restructuring, even though I will continue to say that we are underutilising the opportunities available under the current system. I easily admit that my agitation for restructuring is different in concept and in content from the popular brand, or should I say the conventional wisdom. I do not propose restructuring with the mindset that it is one part of the country that is the problem of another. I do not believe that roads are bad in Imo state because of the revenue allocated to Zamfara state, or that schools are without libraries and laboratories in Kano state because we don’t practise “true federalism”. But that’s me.

I think of restructuring with a mindset that the majority of Nigerians — irrespective of their ethnic, regional and religious backgrounds — are afflicted with poverty, viciously denied the basics of life by those they call their leaders. Development in modern times is built on the foundation of education, education and education. Looking at the number of children that are out of school today, and what this means for the future of Nigeria, breaks my heart more than the tragic death of the 1963 constitution. Looking at the number of private jets and chattered flights at the beck and call of governors depresses me more than the lack of “state police”.

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that we need to restructure our federal system for greater efficiency. We need to negotiate many things about Nigeria. To begin with, I have proposed — and will continue to propose — that the federal government should shed significant weight so that states can take on more responsibilities. That also means less money for the centre and more for the 36 states. I find it incredible that the centre takes 52.68% of the federation revenue, leaving the 36 states with 26.72% and the 774 councils 20.60%. It is too lopsided. I team up with those who want the size of federal government drastically reduced.

For instance, I think federal roads should be transferred to states. The only roads that should be under the federal government are the ones linking states, and even at that, states should be legally empowered to maintain federal roads within their boundaries and get reimbursed. The late Wahab Dosumu, as minister of works under President Shehu Shagari in the second republic, famously warned Alhaji Lateef Jakande, then governor of Lagos, not to repair Eric Moore Road, which was in bad shape, because it was a federal road! I find it bizarre that a road will be in Surulere or Apapa and it will be classified as a federal road. It makes no sense to me.

Furthermore, and this is a consequence of shedding weight, the federal government should transfer some tax handles and revenue to the states, since the states would be taking on more responsibilities. I believe states should begin to share from the company income taxes, while federal government should take a little from personal income tax and VAT. Having shed weight, the federal government would have fewer responsibilities to finance. As things stand, with a thousand and one parastatals to cater for, the federal government can justify taking more than half of the revenue. If it sheds weight, the responsibilities will reduce.

I have more proposals for restructuring than space would permit me to discuss, but I would like to underline two things. One, I have by no means claimed that the changes I have proposed today amount to “true federalism”. That is above my pay grade. Rather, my thought is how the states, which are socio-geographically closer to the people than the federal government, can become the locus for delivering development. They often blame the centre for obstructing them. Give them more responsibilities and more money — let’s cut out the excuses and spark off a process that could put them on the spot and energise the citizens to demand better performance.

Two, I know there are complaints that the allocation formula favours the north. But a critical look at the sharing principles such as landmass (5.35%), population (25%), terrain (5.35%) and derivation (13% for minerals, 20% for VAT) shows that things balance out in the end. What some states lose in landmass they gain in population or “IGR effort” (8.31%). More so, 45% of federation account is shared on the principle of “equality of states” — thus the smallest and the biggest states get exactly the same. Indeed, no non-oil state collects more allocation than an oil state. But the impression remains that everything is skewed in favour of the north, and this perennially foments discontent.

I’m also aware of the complaints that the distribution of local governments disproportionately favours the north, which is maybe 60% of Nigeria’s landmass. Local governments were created principally on the basis of landmass. This certainly favours the north. However, in June 2017 (the latest FAAC figures available to me), Kano’s 44 LGAs got N7.7 billion (N6.14 billion from statutory, N1.58 billion from VAT) while Lagos’ 20 LGAs got N7.4bn (N3.677 billion statutory, N3.822 billion VAT). That is not such a terrible gap. Things even out, although I agree that they could be more equitable to encourage and reward imagination, competition and productivity among the states.

But are northern states that are purportedly favoured now more developed than southern states? Is infrastructural development in Jigawa or Plateau better than that in Abia or Osun? That is why I usually avoid seeing Nigeria’s underdevelopment problems along ethnic, religious and regional lines. Let us break Nigeria into pieces if we choose but as long as the constant factor of inept and unpatriotic leadership stays in the mix, we will remain underdeveloped. Trust me, I won’t stop making this point. I am confident that one day, we would come to agree, even if grudgingly, that the biggest set-back for Nigeria is the quality of leadership at different levels.

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AND FOUR OTHER THINGS

RECESSION MAGIC
Hurray! President Muhammadu Buhari has pulled Nigeria out of recession. How did he do it? Pardon my ignorance. I thought Nigeria exited recession mainly because (1) militants stopped bombing the pipelines and (2) crude oil prices recovered. Nigeria’s production increased from roughly 900,000bpd to about 1.8mbpd after militants decided to have mercy. And so, the GDP — doped by sniffing more petrodollars — grew by 0.55% between April and June 2017, halting a run of five successive quarters of negative results. Ladies and gentlemen, that is how the APC government “fulfilled another promise” by pulling Nigeria out of recession! Hahahaha.

FICKLE FEC
We’ve just been told that because of the Eid holiday, ministers did not have time to prepare for the weekly FEC meeting where policy issues and memos are treated. They were obviously overdosed on Sallah meat and jollof rice — and they belched so hard they forgot that there was still a country that needed their attention. I know the next thing they will tell us is that FEC meeting is not compulsory. On one occasion FEC did not hold because “the agenda was light” — in a country that has no light. In another instance, they said they were “on Easter break”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as the APC continues to demonstrate that it is just as amateurish as the PDP. Change.

ANTAGONISTIC AISHAS
There must be something between President Buhari and Aishas. His sweetheart, named Aisha, threatened on international radio last year that she would not campaign for her husband in 2019 because of one reason or the other. Now, his minister, named Aisha (Alhassan), says she would campaign for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019 even if Buhari decides to seek re-election. Those are two brazen body blows for the president. I have never seen a first lady attack her husband so openly the way Aisha did, neither have I seen a serving minister politically demarket the boss so openly since Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914. Startling.

FALLING OFF
When the Egmont group suspended Nigeria’s financial intelligence unit in July, reports blamed EFCC for leaking sensitive information to sections of the media and also for fighting against making the unit independent. The attorney-general, Mr. Abubakar Malami, subsequently asked EFCC to forward to him the list of high-profile cases it is investigating — in line with the EFCC Act. EFCC sent the list to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Malami. What happened next? The list, in no time, made its way to the media. Who leaked it? EFCC? Presidency? Office of the attorney-general? Angel Gabriel? Whatever it is, the anti-graft war is becoming a laughing matter. Tragic.

  • Larry A

    Mr. Simon Kolawole you have come a long way in analysing perennial issues in the polity to pick quarrels with the FEC not meeting for two or five times in a year while you see no big deal in the Senate and House of Reps going on endless long recesses several times within a year. With the N3 billion annual package a senator goes home with, they should never be off even for a day.
    Then you chose to see the end of recession only on oil bases without observing the significant contribution to GDP made by non-oil sectors like agriculture and solid minerals. The rice revolution alone is capable of orchestrating sustainable growth in non-oil sectors. Watch out sir. Time will tell.

  • Benny

    Simon,you have turned yourself into a government-in-power troll. Shameful.

  • Mr. Wilson

    I used to respect Simon, I can no longer say the same.

    The reason America works so well is becaues of its structure. The constitution and structure of a country is capable of making the leaders accountable.

    That is the reason why Donald Trump cannot do as much damage to the country. The states control their affairs, and also acts as a checkmate, so very little harm can be done by the central government.

    True federalism will give greater responsibilities to the states, and bring decision making closer to the people, thereby making the governors more accountable, as they will not be able to shift blame to far away Abuja.

  • kome ovo

    From this piece it’s easy to detect derogation on those that have stated that the oil is theirs but can anybody blame them? If we are critical then it’s easy to decipher that our reliance on oil as a country has made it difficult for any part of Nigeria to develop. Restructuring in my opinion is for to stop this sharing formula and monthly allocation nonsense and for each state to swim or drown on its own resources; if this is done you’ll be surprised how the Governor of Yola will hustle rice production and how Ondo will flood the market with cocoa. You’ll see them basically on the move looking for innovative ways to raise funds to run their states instead of waiting for Paris Club refunds to share. The NNPC should be scrapped completely, Nigeria should leave the oil business and focus on monitoring and taxing oil companies. That is restructuring for me.

  • Ify Onabu

    There is nothing under the sun that is non-negotiable. The trouble with Nigeria is that those profiting from a skewed federation are refusing to surrender their unearned privileges!

  • Olufemi Bello

    I’m happy you wrote that the military developed South Korea but the military under developed Nigeria. The system the military gave to Nigeria can never produce good leaders. I call it cronyism. A system that reward a tiny number of cronies abundantly while majority of Nigerians wallow in abject poverty cannot stand.This has to change for Nigeria to move forward. To change this backward looking system without bloodshed,Nigerians must talk and fashion a system that rely on production rather than consumption.This is where restructuring comes in.

  • DrKnight

    My good friend Simon,
    You have been on topical issues for years. Some of us deeply appreciate your analysis. However, there has to be a strong institutional environment. Nation planning is no magic and no Imam or pastor can do that. I was in Canada last month for an international conference and the issue of Nigeria came up. A Canadian asked the number of tribes in Nigeria and we answered circa 250. He noted that Europe is what it is today because tribes were merged, and stated without equivocation that Nigeria will never go far with such number of tribes. The causative organisms of our endemic cancer are religion tribe. The black man always expects some kind of divine intervention. Experience has taught us that people do not get cured in churches or mosques but in hospitals. Look at how the country has managed the president’s sickness. What is wrong in any mortal being sick, why are we hiding the nature of his ailment? The problem is not constitution or restructuring, the problem is a lack of intellectual development in our society. Everything that happens is God’s wish. In my experience, religion is good but technology is needed in order to be competitive.

  • Darcy

    Might I suggest a slight shift in perspective:

    1. Nigerian is currently undergoing intense urbanisation. We ought to focus our discuss on development on what is required to make our cities thrive.

    2. All these talk of “share” is shortsighted. All national resources should devolve into a common purse and be spent on national projects, i.e education, infrastructure and state.

    3. No Government should derive their revenue from resources, but rather from taxation and regulatory fines.

    Personally, I believe that it is the undue focus on resources and sharing that creates the impasse we find in this debate. All government revenue should derive from taxes, with the Federal getting Income, Excise, Tarriffs and Company, with the states keeping Sales and Land. Then each government, cut their coat per their size, and people migrate across states as the opportunities drop.

    4. This is a hail Mary, but I’ll continue to state, that we should take making ECOWAS our EU, with all the four freedoms included, seriously.

    • Gary

      With all due respect, your proposal is rubbish and a non-starter designed to maintain the status quo. Folks of above average IQ read this forum. You want to continue the collectivization of natural resources while keeping personal wealth in private hands? That’s being clever by half. Buhari can thus keep his cows to himself and family while oil found in my land goes into the national pool to be shared by the states and the well-connected.
      Then some folks can continue to use their special talents in acquiring multiple wives and breeding a soccer squad of babies to be supported by those of us who find one wife and three kids a bit much handle? That is your idea of fairness?
      Please try again cos this your kite just won’t fly.

      • Darcy

        Buhari’s earnings from his cows will be taxed as well obviously. Further all research on the topic associates low birth-rates with increased prosperity.

        A government funded by taxes, not resources is the most sustainable way forward. That is the crux of my proposal.

    • FrNinja

      The centralization of natural resources is antithetical to the principle of property rights. Before there was Nigeria property rights were vested in communities. Successful federations recognize these rights. Nigeria is a battleground because it has seized basic property rights by force. The outcome is militants in the niger delta fighting over oil rights, nomads roaming around Nigeria fighting communities over “national” grazing rights.

      • Darcy

        What was the outcome of property rights being vested in communities?

        Economic stagnation and colonisation. Check my comments history, I’ve been a massive supporter of land reform vesting property rights in individuals. Shifting it to communities, is to leave us the exact problem as now, writ small.

  • pius pumpum

    I have always been on the same page with you on the trending issue of restructuring,many think its a magic wand that will wish all our problem away.Nigerians can never be objective,we sit down and wail like a helpless child.I don’t see the so called restructuring curing the profligacy of our leaders especially in the state level.The question i keep asking how will you tame the governors whom as of present without maximum power of the Force wield larger than life status?the states are where you have the most vicious zero sum game,so invariably there will never be any vibrant opposition in the would be entities that will emerge.Most people that argue that there will be more accountability what stops them now from holding those lord of the manors accountable to all the atrocious behaviors with the treasury? We always like to play the dirty politics of if it is not me/us let the whole system crash down.Many people that are singing the ding dong song of restructuring(like Reno Omokri)how come their voice was not as strident as they are now if they even had any then when they held sway?

    Nigeria major issue to me is mainly leadership,i think many of these energies should be channeled towards building virile institutions that will make it difficult for occupiers of those institutions to abuse them like we have now.We complain of skewed appointments meanwhile we have federal character commission that have staffs that are paid but practically do nothing,why don’t we work towards making this institutions to be strong so they can do their work.Our constitution even as faulty as people make it look if it operated to the letter we wouldn’t have many of the problems we have.The issue is us as a people not necessarily the constitution.

    Having said the above,the government of the day haven’t helped matters,where nepotism is other of the day.I have asked this question severally,is equity and justice abhorrent to this government which is mostly dominated by the north,why is it difficult to understand that Nigeria is for all?this behaviour is akin to someone setting his house on fire and then turn back to ask why is the house on fire.How will any sane person in this day of information technology(that communication is on everyone’s finger tip)think that you can oppress people without resistance,that is the height of insanity.
    Because in as much as i stand against the firebrand type of restructuring that some people are proposing its still hard not to find logic on the reason behind the agitation going by how many of our norther brothers carry on.Many of them incharge of government Parastatals and Agencies as if it an order from above try as hard as possible to distribute opportunities to mainly to people from their tribe,how can that stand in a pleural society like ours.The mosques deliberately blare their loud speakers to the street with loud sounds both morning,afternoon and night when everybody is not a muslim,almost every corner of the street especially in Abuja is been converted to a praying ground(small roof building built)meanwhile in most cases you have a proper mosque a stone through away,indiscriminate procreation hiding under religion and culture(for goodness sake why will a young man in this time and age have 2,3,4, some more than 4 wives with the attendant children!)it is not a case that he is divorced,or doesn’t have both sexes as his children,i’m sure people will say what is the problem if the person can afford it?i will tell you the nexus,it breeds greed,nepotism(because you have to provide them with comfort that will fuel your greed for more improper wealth acquisition) and sets very bad example to the indigent ones that ordinarily cannot afford it but will want to copy and by extension bringing into the world kids that have little or no bright future that will inturn become Boko Haram.Even it helps in depleting nature because you consume resources that would have been conserved or used by people that need it more.So when you have all the above although not exhausted which in all honesty has no place in the world of today(Even Emir Sanusi said it)and your partners have been begging you to change your ways and you refuse why wouldn’t they want to severe relationship with you.Because in the world of today nobody wants to be anybody’s slave,you are responsible for your actions.That was what happened to the Greeks,when Gremans were going to the factories to work they were going to the beaches(SeaSides) for enjoyment,at a time the Germans have to pool the plug because they couldn’t continue to fund their frivolities.That is just the case of Nigeria presently.The North can still chnage it is not difficult.

    • Ogechi Okoro

      My good friend Simon,

      You have been on topical issues for years. Some of us deeply appreciate your analysis. However, there has to be a strong institutional environment. Nation planning is no magic and no Imam or pastor can do that. I was in Canada last month for an international conference and the issue of Nigeria came up. A Canadian asked the number of tribes in Nigeria and we answered circa 250. He noted that Europe is what it is today because tribes were merged, and stated without equivocation that Nigeria will never go far with such number of tribes. The causative organisms of our endemic cancer are religion tribe. The black man always expects some kind of divine intervention. Experience has taught us that people do not get cured in churches or mosques but in hospitals. Look at how the country has managed the president’s sickness. What is wrong in any mortal being sick, why are we hiding the nature of his ailment? The problem is not constitution or restructuring, the problem is a lack of intellectual development in our society. Everything that happens is God’s wish. In my experience, religion is good but technology is needed in order to be competitive.

  • Truth is bitter

    I don’t understand why Simon is deliberately lying to argue his case. He is for ever referring to 1979 constitution. What happens to the constitution we had before then. Has ever heard of various constitutional conferences our elected founding fathers had with our colonial masters before independence? Does he realise that the drafters of 1979 constitution were not elected by the people? Does he realise that their names were simply announced on the radio and television by Obasanjo military regime without consulting the affected persons if they will accept or not first, before their names were announced.? Does he realise that Awolowo refused to be part of the drafters of 1979 constitution and he said the “best brains” drafted the constitution. He even referred to Unitary constitution of United Kingdom to justify his argument. Does he know why English civil war was fought? Does he realise that 19 speakers of British parliament were beheaded by various monarch before they got to where they are today? Does he realise that any of the four “countries” that make up the United Kingdom can secede if the people voted to leave? Scotland had recently voted to remain in the United Kingdom. The votes could easily have gone the other way. He conveniently omitted mentioning the United States of America that practises federalism. Honestly, the problem of black people all over the the world is the same – lack of deep thinking. I don’t know whether to give up hope that Nigeria will ever get better with some of the things I read from supposedly intelligent journalist.

  • Country man

    “I have written, time and again, that I am for restructuring, even though I will continue to say that we are underutilising the opportunities available under the current system”.
    Mr Simon,
    You need to take a position, not just making politically correct statements as if you don’t want to offend someone.
    The current system is not working, simple. Let’s stop beating about the bush.
    Western nations that are developed are built on a principle lacking in our shores:-
    RESPECT OF PROPERTY RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS.
    This principle makes it possible for healthy competition and rapid development.
    Our constitution and laws does not support this principle, hence the need for an overhaul.

    • Iskacountryman

      eboes are biafrans…biafrans are rebels, therefore rebels do not have property rights in nigeria…

      • Chym

        Zoo pig

  • Daniel

    The truth is, but for crude oil petrodollar, the North would not be resistant to a people’s constitution that reflects our unity in diversity, justice and fairness

  • Daniel

    Apart Shaka Momodu, I think many other Nigerian journalists lack the courage to say the truth. Or it might be the ostrich syndrome which I like to use in qualifying most of them.

    One reads Simon Kolawole and begins to wonder why he cannot be stable on critical matters of state.

    His flip flop is so disappointing that you wonder if he still thinks he can be made a media adviser in this failed government.

    How can Simon gloss over the ecomomic injustice and Northern resistance to change and begin to talk about NEBULOUS concepts?

    He insinuates restructuring our minds as the dishonest Obasanjo has been saying in recent times.

    He bandies figures around which represent a huge chunk of financial resources for development in the South and thinks they ‘even out’, as the North continues to take an unfair share of revenue.

    It is sad he lacks courage to say the truth.

    Mr Simon, it is time to repent.

  • Gary

    Some key questions for Simple Simon to help this pieman:
    1. What do you find wrong or inequitable in the structure and revenue sharing formula of the1963 Republican Constitution that the 1999 military Constitution you favour has remedied?
    2. Is it anti-North or sectional antagonism to note that federally-created and funded Local Government Councils under the current Constitution does violence to the underlying principles of true federalism? Can you point out other instances in which a “local government” is the creation of a central Leviathan that also funds it? What then is local about this set up?
    3. How has the current LGA set up fared in bringing development and governance to the grassroots? Say compares to the system we operated under the Republican Constitution?
    4. Can you in good conscience accuse anyone or community of ill-will, selfishness or being unpatriotic separatists if they are willing to share HALF of their resources or inheritance with you or others for the common good? If that, as you imply, is at the heart of the current debate about restructuring Nigeria?
    5. Is it unfair, unChristian or unIslamic to keep half of what you have produced or found on your land?

    6. Should we in the same vein ask the likes of Messrs Dangote, Adenuga, Ndimi, Danjuma, Atiku, Obasanjo, Tinubu and the rest of Nigeria’s billionaires to share their wealth for the purposes of even development for Nigeria’s uncontrolled burgeoning population?

    Please help answer these posers because folks like yours truly can only accept your arguments if the same principles guiding national revenue sharing should also apply to the redistribution of wealth in the polity.
    Let’s share Tinubu’s and Dangote’s wealth on the same basis that some insist we share the wealth of others: by raising the income tax rate of the fat cats to, say, 85% to cater for even development, terrain and population?

    So what sayest thee, Mr. Kolawole?

    • FrNinja

      Gary no mind am. The Dubai he mentions is one of SEVEN emirates that practices resource control. Mineral resources are owned by each emirate and taxed according to their own tax laws on corporate and personal income tax.

      Their federal government is funded by transfers from the two richest – Abu Dhabi and Dubai emirates. Both contribute less than 50% of the UAE federal budget. Also unlike Nigeria the individual emirates together have a much higher budget in total than their federal government. They have their own policing, electricity distribution and generation and water systems

      If applied to the Nigerian case, it would mean that Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, etc. would KEEP up to 50% of revenue and not 13% derivation. This would force the federal government and other states to look to other sources of non-oil revenue to sustain themselves.

      • Gary

        Thanks. I eagerly await Simon’s response to my posers in his next article; if even as a Post-Script. To help advance the issues under debate.
        The public at large on opposing ends of this discourse will be the better for it.

        • austin

          Fat chance. He has already once said that he does not read these comments and from the way he goes at issues without let, he sure does not.

          • FrNinja

            A writer not reading the comments on his article is like a comedian making jokes and not expecting laughs.

  • Indomitable Victor

    It’s all too cheap to continue to blame the problem of Nigeria on “leadership” and yet fail woefully to identify or profer solution to that “leadership problem”. The writer disagrees with solution proposed by others and yet fails to profer one. Instead he continues to harp and generalise the problem. That’s rediculous, not smart.

    • Country man

      Thanks for a useful comment.
      Those who claim “good leadership” is the problem have no concrete road map on how to get it. Yet they claim its the magic bullet that will cure all ills.
      Its pathetic and exasperating how some Nigerians reason

  • RumuPHC

    Simon is beginning to sound like a broken record and this whole discussion is getting extremely boring.

    Excellent perspective….nonetheless.

  • Uzoamaka Mbadiwe

    All you have said in your discourse is purely, subjective and your personal opinion. For me, I’ll just advise that you come off your high horse and join the realism of those with tangible experience and pains. We are tired of academic exercises with no practicality or merit.

  • AyoJon

    I thought South Korea and Hong Kong are mono ethnic states.
    I believe restructuring should reach the local government level.

  • remm ieet

    Simon should be credited for maintaining his position weak after week. it appears as if Nigerians have moved on. He looks again at how the system can be made to function for now and he thinks he is right about his initial position. The problem is that Nigeria is ripe for real change. Not the change offered through electoral promises which we know politicians don’t fulfil.
    After four years, the people are still going round in vicious circles. The democrats return to ask the doubters to vote for them again, only to disappear from view for the next four years.
    That cannot be true democracy. Without true democracy, there can never be true federalism. A working federal system enables democracy to blossom. It enables governance to penetrate the grassroots and brings the leader close to his voters. That is humility at play. Nigeria needs humble leaders who are prepared to listen to them individually, and facilitate policies to solve their problems.

    • RumuPHC

      Exactly the issue….humble leadership!

    • Pappy

      Whether you have federalism or not doesn’t make democracy to blossom, what makes democracy to blossom is that you have a sound economy, an educated people and the society that has shared values. Nigerians are deceiving themselves with this talk of federalism. The truth is that we need economic development and the only way to achieve that is a strong center FIRST before we can talk about federalism.

      • lord of jaspers

        hw wil u hv economic development if d system is not working?

      • Daniel

        What is your idea of a strong center?

        You mean a president who should keep sharing revenue to states every month or a president who should start managing even your local government?

        You are absolutely wrong, if that is you idea of a strong center.

        Factually, all federations in the globe are not the same. BUT ours is definitely a non-starter.

        It is absolutely insane to run a heterogenous society with a quasi-unitary constitution under whatever excuse. It stiffles development as you and I can see.

        Questions : did we run what we are now agitating for before? Yes.

        Did we not succeed in terms of laying the foundation for development? Yes.

        Have you forgot how our premier universities were established and how Awolowo moved the South West forward in education?

        That we had a coup in 1966 which created this problem does not mean we can continue to shy away from our great past.

        The truth is, but for crude oil petrodollar, the North would not be resistant to a people’s constitution that reflects our unity in diversity, justice and fairness.

        It is disgraceful and shameful to have governors go to Abuja every month to share revenue.

        That is is a recipe for laziness and corruption.

        We need a federation in which each region or geopolitical zone can manage it self with what it has.

        A strong center is the reason why we cannot make progress today.

        No genius president can move Nigeria forward with our current political arrangement.

        • Pappy

          Why do you people keep talking about sharing resources? Have you given it a thought that you need cooperative federalism in order to make a developing country viable? You can’t grow a country when you keep talking about “sharing resources”.

          • Daniel

            That is the point. The resources is what we must talk about because it is what keeps some people stuck to an unfair and unjust federation.

            Resource control is one of the first steps needed to be taken to move Nigeria out of this laziness and corruption.

            Again, I ask : are you not disgusted governors go to Abuja to share money every month?

            We need to move away from this quagmire.

      • Obi Ike Sorres

        My friend u are causing confusion here

        • Pappy

          No, it’s you people and your stupid ideas that are causing confusion. You want a fairy tale federalism that will never happen.

      • Chym

        Shut up idiot. Look at this amajiri? Common to back and beg for arms idiot.

        • Pappy

          A real intelligent post you put up there. Count me out of whatever you bastards are up to.

  • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

    Dear Simon,

    Stand for something, so that you do not fall for everything.

    • Thompson Iyeye

      I almost missed this succinct and punchy line.

    • Iggy

      He did but with a balanced view

  • KWOY

    1. With your lying tongues, why are you comparing statutory & VAT allocations between ONLY Lagos (which in the first place is an EXCEPTION and THE ONLY exception in fact!) & Kano? Why are you not comparing btw 7 & 5 states on one hand, & btw 186 LGAs & 95 LGAs on the other? And even at dat N6.14 billion & N3.677 billion is no significant difference?

    2. Liar! Explain why there are no more infrastructural development in Jigawa than in Abia & Ogun? Does it owe to BETTER LEADERSHIP? The explanation is important!

    3. Explain IN WHICH ways some pple hve been LEFT BEHIND?

    4. Liar, the persistence of d debatte was what forced u to accept DEVOLUTION, just as a public shout-down & criticism forced Oshiomole to accept DEVOLUTION. Other than dat u will still be lying!

    5. ALL HAIL THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA!

  • Fowad

    Our brand of federalism is not working because some very powerful people are sitting atop Nigeria. They have seized the oil dollars and they are working closely with international cartels. Go and rewrite the constitution and they will not go away. There is no plan to generate a viable economic union for all Nigerians. Here in Africa we are free to be whatever we like as individuals. If this government cannot deliver a federal project who will? The way we are going it is Buhari’s government that will give us the last hope of federalism and restructuring. This government gives us the consciousness of a Nigerian project from where other projects can emerge if we give them the chance. Most Nigerians no longer believe in the Nigerian project anymore. Yet they are the ones who think Buhari is unpatriotic. Many of us and in particular the looters from all parts of Nigeria need to own. They are the problem of Nigeria. They are the ones who threw us into this confusion of the constitution is not working. We have a very blessed country. The governors must put in their best and stop substituting digging boreholes for grand transformation of their states. Africans don’t really understand the Protestant work ethics. Work hard until real change comes. If after we have dedicated ourselves to change and eschewed corruption nothing happened. Then we can proceed with that experience to change the constitution, and restructure the political system

    • RumuPHC

      True….we have unimaginative governments and governors at state level yet we blame the constitution!

      The fist step to any corporate restructuring is change of CEO- leadership. It is not different for a country.

      Nigerians must come together to confront this huge leadership deficit if the country must survive.

  • Don Franco

    Dear Simon,

    Must circumlocution, ambivalence and inconsistency forever be your lot? Bad leadership in Nigeria, since Independence can rightly be contextualized in “northern” terms, seeing as they have been in power and dictated ways and means for the longest timeline in the entire history our civilization. Secondly, Bad Northern Leadership is responsible for the big elephant of quota system, land-mass, population, and disparate local government fraudulent, but “no-go-area” clauses in the 1999 Constitution as amended, that you hold so dear.

    To a large extent, whatever bad leadership that can be found in the South of Nigeria is necessitated and inextricably intertwined with the Bad Northern Leadership, for what is the point of even trying for development when the most unproductive part of a forced union has stolen the entire yolk of egg and left the South with the shell and some of the egg-white?

    Simon, why do you keep dodging the question of the ignoble role that the military played in their successive strict instructions to the legal minds who drafted our constitutions to NOT tamper with those areas that address northern domination of the southern part of zoo, especially the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta; do you think you can wax magniloquent in these your boring repetitive restructuring op-eds that fail to address this central question, that is the kernel of the matter?????

    There is no Recession Magic by this APC government, this reprieve is owed to the perspicacity of VP Osibajo and the generosity of spirit of the Niger Delta Avengers. But it will be short lived if you consider that the Certificateless One has deployed his jackboots to the SE where the Avengers are in cahoots with IPOB.

    FEC meeting didn’t hold because the Certificateless One is to sick to attend; it had nothing to do with Sallah meat and jollof rice; I’m sure you know that, Simon.

    I commend Aisha Alhassan’s forthrightness in stating that she will not support the Daura Dullard in 2019; I’m sure that but for cowardice and poverty of spirit, Bola Tinubu would have taken the same position.

    It is an open secret that Attorney General Abubakar Malami is on the take from Senators Saraki and Akpabio, including all the former governors and ministers in the Senate; and l don’t blame them seeing that they all know that their APC party doesn’t respect court orders for granting bail; why must they let Magu make them cellmates with Dasuki and Zakzaky?

    • Daniel

      Apart Shaka Momodu, I think many other Nigerian journalists lack the courage to say the truth. Or it might be the ostrich syndrome which I like to use in qualifying most of them.

      One reads Simon Kolawole and begins to wonder why he cannot be stable on critical matters of state.

      His flip flop is so disappointing that you wonder if he still thinks he can be made a media adviser in this failed government.

      How can Simon gloss over the ecomomic injustice and Northern resistance to change and begin to talk about NEBULOUS concepts?

      He insinuates restructuring our minds as the dishonest Obasanjo has been saying in recent times.

      He bandies figures around which represent a huge chunk of financial resources for development in the South and thinks they ‘even out’, as the North continues to take an unfair share of revenue.

      It is sad he lacks courage to say the truth.

      • Don Franco

        Dear Daniel,

        Worse than his lack of courage to speak truth to power; Simon is also imbued with the most egregious kind of intellectual arrogance, how does one explain his contestation of the inefficacy of both the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions as amply elucidated by no less legal authorities than Professors Nwabueze and Oyebode?
        It’s one thing to believe that leadership is the reason our country has remained a zoo since 1914; but it’s outrageous for Simon to continue to sell us the dummy that the 1979 and 1999 Constitution’s are not the reason that why no citizens claim ownership of the country. Nobody really believes in this zoo.

        • Daniel

          So apt.

  • Intrepid

    HMMMMM, So the TRAGIC DEATH, according to you, of the 1963 constitution, breaks your heart?

    That’s what pro restructurers want to RESURECT. Join them to do so.

    • Baron Roy

      Tell him. That dude is a disappointment

  • Thompson Iyeye

    Expectedly, Simon Kolawole is pathetically contradictory. On one hand he sees nothing wrong with the 1999 constitution. On the other hand he lists some issues which he believes are wrong that ought to be changed in a restructuring, while also admitting that there are many more. But these are precisely what makes the constitution which is the governance law of the land defective, in the first place.

    For instance, a constitution that gives too much to the centre in terms of power and resources, thereby stifling the states in a federal system, as he admitted, cannot at the same time be said to be the best thing that happened to the country. A constitution that rewards indolence and punishes hard work, is not fit for purpose, and can never deliver progress.

    Simon sees leadership as the problem. A good leader certainly is most desirable to run a country. However, there is a limit to what a good leader can achieve when his hands are tied by the laws in the form of a bad constitution. Leaders in all guises go and come. But it is the institutions that are established that become more enduring, in a society. Today we witness the mischief of a Donald Trump in the US. However, with the robust institutions and constitution, there is a check to whatever damage that may be caused. A good leader with a bad constitution will achieve less than a good leader with a good constitution.

    The 1999 constitution may have been drafted by the best legal minds. But it was done to the vision of the military and eventually approved by the military who set the boundaries, with no go areas. That for all intent and purposes makes it a constitution midwifed by the military. There is no getting away from that fact.

    In all, this country is not working and there is the need to change both the type of leadership, and the constitution. That should essentially be what a restructuring should achieve. It will be more helpful to promote this than indulge in fence sitting with weekly contradictions.

    • the masked one

      This is the clincher: “This country is not working and there’s the urgent need to change both the type of leadership and constitution. That is what restructuring should achieve. It will be more helpful to promote this than indulge in fence sitting with weekly contradictions”.

      You nailed it here bros, and with this, shamed the duplicitous and prevaricating Simon Kolawole. Simon Kolawole is desperately in need of a media man’s job and he knows how to go about it( at least, in this clime where truth does not count) by standing for everything and for nothing.

      He quarrels with restructuring and its connotations, fiscal or true federalism, derivation or control but on the other he suggests power devolution and addressing lopsided revenue allocation formula. What a double equivocator!

    • Country man

      The failure of these guys in the fourth estate to speak truth to power when necessary, is part of the problem we face in this country.

      Thanks for pointing out the clear contradictions in this article. This writer obviously lacks the balls to say it the way it is.

      • Daniel

        Simon Kolawole is becoming a pay- -for-play disgrace to journalism.

    • RumuPHC

      This is very interesting ……..

      ” In all, this country is not working and there is the need to change both
      the type of leadership, and the constitution. That should essentially
      be what a restructuring should achieve”.

      Leadership , and the constitution……..A very significant come around if I may.

      I still believe ,however, that the Nigeria of our dreams is still possible if we get good and competent leaders.

      • Thompson Iyeye

        I had expected a response from you, even if you have no point to make. I have never precluded good leadership. I have consistently disagreed with the view that it is just leadership.

        • RumuPHC

          Good….let’s agree to get good leadership in place first .

          • Country man

            How do you propse to get the good leadership from the present system?
            Dont generalize, just state systematically how it can be done. If you cant then those rooting for restructuring have a superior argument

          • RumuPHC

            That a known quantity “A” has not been properly explained does not necessarily imply that an unknown “B” is a better alternative. A superior argument will naturally be based on logic and not on answers provided by one side no matter how brilliant. Essentially the presentations of both sides must be considered for merits and demerits to draw conclusion.

            It is good leadership we wish for and any arrangement that guarantees competent leaders must surely be embraced. We won’t be making arguments against ” restructuring “if there is empirical evidence that such futuristic experiments with a new constitution and structure of government will ” create ” good leaders across the country. There is nothing in the proposal to indicate such and you’ve offered no convincing proposition on this important requirement. . Our only attempt at similar constitution and structure ended in political chaos , military coups and unmitigated disaster of a horrendous civil war. How then is it plausible to begin to consider to leave what we have for what we are yet to have despite our ugly experiences in the past.

            Many that support this alternative ,including your good self , have not even submitted an idea or a glimpse on what a new constitution and structure of Nigeria should look like talk less of how both will produce good leaders. We have only been pummelled with chants of ” we the people” and regaled with gist including wishes of utopia under a new constitution and regional government fueled by the emotions of many who lost out in political power game and others who are genuinely disenchantment with the system. Yet you wish hasten to declare that unless we show how the present system can produce good leadership, yours that is merely an idea in your head is a superior argument. This conclusion is rather nebulous.

            Dearth of competent leadership is the issue and it is how to promote and enthrone good leaders that is the current challenge as you’ve correctly asked. This however should not be a question for me but for all of us if we truly believe and are in agreement that leadership is the issue. It will be a travesty if the acceptance of such important public good is reduced to the answer provided in support of how we think good leaders can emerge from the current constitution and structure of Nigeria. Quite understandably the desire for good leadership is universal; it isn’t contingent On wit and garb , or lack of both.

            One does not necessarily need to know how good cooks are developed to appreciate the fact that it takes only a good cook to make excellent edikiakong soup.

            The search for good leadership must necessarily be a process and not an event . Therefore the narrative of such undertakings cannot be enumerated in short verses permissible here. This however should not be taken that we have the answer to your question. What we know nonetheless is that good leadership thrives where good and rational people exist.

            We have a great deal of good people in Nigeria but our leadership cadre does not reflect the immense qualities of these people. The simple reason for this disconnect is that many competent and good people refrain from taking up leadership positions and also avoid participating in processes leading to selection of people to positions of leadership.

            Essentially, this has nothing to do with the constitution of Nigeria or the 36 state three tier government in the country. It has more to do the mind-set and opinion of many middle class types that politics and membership of political parties is for certain low life Nigerians .

            The result is political parties responsible for bringing up leaders are populated by a majority of people sprinkled with few decent individuals. People that are incapable of making good and rational decisions will naturally not be in the position to identify and select good people as leaders. The choices they make will depend more on self than public good.

            All these can change if more good people participate in politics. The first step in the quest for good leadership is better participation in politics of political parties and politics of leadership of Nigeria. This will require that all good Nigerians are encouraged to join political parties and participate actively.

          • Iggy

            Fantastic!

            Ranking

            1) 1963 constitution and Good leadership
            2) 1999 constitution and good leadership
            3) 1963 Constitution and bad leadership
            4) 1999 constitution and bad leadership

            Good leadership will deliver under any constitution or political arrangement even under military dictatorship.

          • Daniel Obior

            No leader good or bad, can deliver on a constitution that fraudulently rewards indolence and penalises hard work, which is what the 1999 constitution is.

          • Country man

            Like I suspected, you generalized the issue without any concrete road map. What that means is that come 2019 and even beyond we are stuck in this same mess as you and other proponents of status quo can claim indefinitely that “good leadership” has not yet come. That is not the way to go.
            Time and again I have written about the principles on which our Constitution should be based on. Some of my older comments can enlighten you more.
            Also I dont think anyone has said that all our problems will be solved with restructuring. It only gives the various regions the POTENTIAL to develop.
            Niger delta people or Igbos will no longer have anybody to blame for the quagmire they live in, and that will force them to look inwards for a solution.
            No one will inflate his population to get more revenue. No one will clamour for states if he has to sustain it. The benefits of restructuring is numerous for an open minded person and may I remind you that Nation building is not for the faint hearted who do not wish to travel through uncharted waters or upset the apple cart.(Tho evidence around us proves the system we advocate works well for western nations)
            You seem not to realize that because our Constitution and laws, leave loopholes that make political office juicy without any accountability, it would invariably attract the dregs of society. That is why politics is a do or die affair in our shores.

            The claim that it is the political office holders that have bastardised the constitution is not exactly true.
            A system that does not envision a worst case scenario is actually no system and needs to be scrapped
            Cars are fitted with air bags, hand brakes, etc because the makers of the system envision a worst case scenario……not just imaging a “good or careful driver” will ALWAYS be behind the wheels.
            Trump is clowning around as much as he likes but because of the laws America has, he cannot turn the functioning system upside down.

            Finally expecting NASS or any other body profiting from this loopsided system to change it is expecting a train at an airport………..it is not going to happen!(who in this world does not like freebies and awoof?)
            THIS necessitates an overhaul of the entire system

          • RumuPHC

            If NASS is unwilling to change the ” loopsided system ” , please how do you intend to proceed with ” an overhaul the entire system ” ?

            You and many others that promote the idea of a new constitution and regional structure of government are dreamers . Idealism however does not usually get the job done. It is what is practical and plausible under the prevailing circumstances that produces results.

            The 1999 Constitution hate it or love it is the law today. There is no provision in the document that permits self destruction of the constitution . Rather , the document seek absolute loyalty to its provisions and protects itself from easy manipulation. A great deal of consensus is required to effect simple amendments to the grundnorm.

            How then do you wish to terminate the existence of this constitution and replace it with another when the provisions of the document forbid it and those to do the job are against it?

            It doesn’t really matter what you feel about this constitution or how well you’ve written about the framework of your new constitution. A constitution does not exist to satisfy the fancy of an individual or motley group of people , and you are not a known expert in drafting constitution . What matters today is what elected members of the legislature and executive across the country think of the constitution. This is why political leadership is the first consideration in whatever change we seek.

            How to change the political leadership should therefore be your primary objective for now.

            We believe we’ve arrived at this important river and the bridge to facilitate the crossing is the process of selection of leadership. This will require all our participation.

            Every constitution is only as good as the operators. It is only good political leadership that can bring the best out of a constitution . Also, it is good political leadership that can detect fatal defects in a constitution and summon the political will to proceed to amend obnoxious provisions or discard the entire document for a brand new constitution.

            Ultimately everything depend on leadership be it the search for overdue amendments to the provisions of the current constitution or , as some wish , outright rewrite of a new constitution .

            Political parties and politicians hold the important key to changes. Interestingly only few highly opinionated individuals are members of recognized and registered political parties. Many would rather sit down at home and type on social media . The educated middle class form the bulk of the membership of political parties in the US and U.K. What is the composition of political parties in Nigeria? This is why good leadership elude us and will continue unless the right people join and dominate political parties in the country.

            Sir , please are you a member of any political party?

          • Country man

            From asking what the template is, to now claiming the laws can’t be changed and that I am no expert in constitution writing.
            This shows the FICKLENESS of your arguments.
            The constitution was made for the people to serve the peoples interest, not the other way round.
            For your information the PEOPLE can decide to have a new constitution if they so wish as govt derives its legitimacy from the masses.
            If the masses form a coalition to demand the right structure, NO ONE can stop it. The politicians realize this and always use religion and ethnicity to divide the people.

            “Good leadership ” should be your priority, not mine because I do not put the cart before the horse.
            If you want students who will excel in WAEC, better use the right curriculum or be prepared to produce students who will be a failure or mediocre at best.
            Other cerebral minds on this forum have tried to help you see the need for restructuring and how this can help engender competent leadership yet you seem bent on looking for an elusive good leadership.
            It has never crossed your mind that if our laws and constitution are changed to entrench merit, hard work and make public office less lucrative, the touts will leave and the best brains will take over.
            YOU seem to be someone who benefits somehow from the present system, hence your avid support for it.
            I guess the descriptions Mr Thompson Iyeye and Daniel Obior made about you fits you aptly.

          • RumuPHC

            I guess I’ve made my point.

            Have a nice weekend.

          • JS

            I agree with your position that the disconnect stems from good and competent people folding their arms while touts do the leadership selection. This is not to say that good people don’t vote, but the gap between the two groups you identified is way to wide to produce any meaningful results.

            May i add that this disconnect over the past 40 years is linked to education as Segun’s piece aptly suggests and in my opinion the need to bring back civic education as a compulsory subject in our educational system. Understanding your obligation towards your country and what to expect of your leadership is clearly lacking in our youth today.

            How many 20 to 35 year olds know the constitution talk less of questioning the status quo. How many of them understand that they have an important obligation to vote for their leaders or be voted for? How many of them can have meaningful debates or discussions on different topics affecting the country?

            How much patriotism in form of civic education has been invested in them by our educational system to reap meaningful benefits to the country. Even a people’s constitution would require a certain level of understanding and awareness from the stakeholders to become what we wish it to be. Not the rice and groundnut oil or money campaigns that have now become the norm

            While i agree that both good leadership and a restructuring are required to turn around the fortunes of this country we call ours, neither can be achieved without educating the youth which we say would be the leaders of tomorrow.

          • Thompson Iyeye

            Easier and quicker for the people to deliver a people’s constitution. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

    • Tony Oshea

      You are indeed very observant! He sees nothing wrong with a military constitution craftily imposed on Nigerians in 1999, with a clause foreclosing any kind of amendment,while condemning the civilian version,entirely brewed by ethnic representatives of Nigerians in 2014 and its recommendations for restructuring. He refers to “leadership failure” as being responsible for Nigeria’s underdevelopment, but failed to locate the fact that Nigeria’s leadership has been dominated by two major ethnic groups, particularly the north and west since independence,and therefore the necessity to try another geopolitical zone. He claims to understand economics and appreciates the “consolidation exercise” of banks in 2005, under the supervision of Prof Soludo,yet fails to appreciate the need for the 36 unviable states,crumbling under huge debts and unpaid salaries, to consolidate into six(6) geopolitical zones or regions to reduce overheads,and recurrent expenditures,while allocating much of its resources to capital projects. He fails to reflect on the fact that giant stress made by the SW,between 1956 and 1967 was a testament of the advantages of self-rule or more aptly,regionalism over the 36 “almajiri” states structure. He believes in “change” because Buhari was the jingoist in 2015, but rejects “change” by restructuring of the federation,being clamored by Nigerians in 2017,through the various ethnic leaders. The tragedy of a pathologically contradictory Nigerian.

      • Chukwuka Okoroafor

        The North has dominated but the Hausa have never dominated. We should make this clear. Most of those from the North were minorities. From the SW, only Obasanjo was a substantive leader. Let us not forget about Jonathan and Ironsi.

        • Tony Oshea

          What is your point,Mr okoroafor? The key word here is dominate, and it doesn’t mean 100%. Secondly,Hausa-Fulani has always been presented as one people at every political discuss,so why separate them for this purpose? Combined,the Hausa-Fulani and OBJ ruled Nigeria for 37 and 11 years. Compared to Ironsi’s six months and Jonathan’s five years,one could describe 48 years(37+11) as dominant.

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            But you just said that the Hausa-Fulani ruled Nigeria for 37 years and it is not true. The Hausa and Fulani have intermarried so that is why they are put together but they are very distinct ethnic groups. No Hausa man has ever ruled Nigeria at any time. Even the Igbo have been at the helm but there has been no Hausa. The only Fulani leaders have been Buhari, Yar’Adua, and Shagari all in power for a combined 11 years come November.

          • Benny

            What of Balewa who is Hausa and Ahmad Bello who is Fulani. The Hausa/Fulani might be ruling all the time but they set up the puppeteer structure to rule from behind. Did you notice the Army PRO that issued the army position on Kanu’s home invasion is a Yoruba.The poor Major may not be part of the Python dance decision.

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            Ahmadu Bello never led Nigeria and Balewa is Gere or Bageri as the Hausa like to call it. That is an ethnic minority in Bauchi state. Never forget that the Igbo and Yoruba elites play a major role in keeping this system together and going. The Major might be a pawn but there are no real pawns with the ethnic groups, well maybe except in divide and rule tactics.

    • Mystic mallam

      I love reading your contributions Mr Iyeye, so mature and devoid of the ethno-religious childishness that Nigerian’s youths spew out as opinions. Thanks for your objectivity. And in addition to all the unassailable points you have made above, one has to wonder how a smart guy like Simon misses the point that the good leaders he craves do not, and cannot emerge from a bad constitution. In fact, a good constitution that enjoys popular consensus is much more likely to birth good leadership than a contentious constitution. Moreover, Simon has this penchant to write his analyses out of context. Comparing countries like Singapore [a bi-ethnic state] and South Korea [mono-ethnic state] even Britain, with Nigeria of 250 diverse micro nations, is, to put it mildly, so disingenuous. He carefully avoids comparison with countries of similar composition like India and Pakistan where diversity has compelled sovereign rationalisations and federalist constitutions. The types of Simon write to confuse and not illuminate – sad.

      • Thompson Iyeye

        Thanks for your kind words. The feeling is mutual, as I also enjoy your contributions. We have to keep on expressing our views with the hope that Simon may one day change.

        • Mystic mallam

          Yes indeed, we should. Read what Dele Momodu wrote today. I’m almost in shock. hope he sustains.

          • Thompson Iyeye

            Dele Momodu was indeed a surprise, but I will not hold my breath. Knowing the kind of journalist he is, it is doubtful if he can sustain such a position.

          • Mystic mallam

            my sentiments exactly, I withheld my breath, I’ll exhale if he sustains.

  • Paul

    For too long people like you have pretentiously misunderstood those proposing Restructuring or self-governance in Nigeria. For over 50 years truthful Nigerians have wish to see a country pursing a common destiny, but that have not worked out. Today people from the SE who are asking for restructuring are not doing that because they feel that Sokoto or Jigawa is more develop than the SE or is the SE comparing “herself” with the North, no! The SE believe that Nigeria is a country in denial of it abysmal existence , a country in a state of mutual destruction of its “peoples”, this is why the SE want Regional autonomy to be able to pursing her own destiny. The SE want to develop like other developing countries in Asia and Africa. In the next 20-30 years to come crude oil is not going to count as a major economic commodity , other countries are planing now to prepare for when that happens , what is Nigerians plan? The SE don’t want to be caught unawares of the great economic change that is fast evolving.

    • Obi Ike Sorres

      Is this that Paul or another one. Thanks for putting what SE wants

    • Chym

      God bless us the Biafrans

  • chyke

    Simon, your series of articles in the last few weeks have dosed tensions in the Nigerian body politic. You have succeeded in breaking such myths as the role of the constitution on the development or lack of it in various regions of Nigeria and the parasitic dependence of the geographic North on the South. In summary, you blamed underdevelopment in Nigeria on poor leadership, which you went on to prove. I’m grateful for these enlightened articles and I now call on Nigerians to place the blames where they rightly belong – on our political leadership. Look at the senate where Prof. Sagay alleged a Senator earns N29 million per month. We could start our famed restructuring from there. Thanks Simon.

    • RumuPHC

      Yes , how to find good political leadership is what should be our preoccupation today.