Fabian Chukwuemeka Nworah
There is no doubt that the ENDSARS protests across Nigeria indicated the parlous state of affairs in Nigeria. The wave of the protests and the gruesome revelations further indicated the volatility and weakness of the fabrics of the country and the reasons for foreign investors disinterests in the Nigerian market. Where then can Nigeria go from here? Are there serious lessons to learn from the scenarios that played out vis-à-vis current and past events from other climes? Are we going to sit down and think that normalcy has returned once there are no more protests, burning and looting? Or are we going to see the events of dark Tuesday in Lagos as a mere part of the debacle or are we going to seize this as a golden opportunity to attain greatness? Whatever Nigeria decides to do will determine the kind of change we clamour for in this country Nigeria, whether positive or negative.
However, change can only come with change. According to President JFK Kennedy’s statement in 1963, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Is high time that the government of the day realises that the internet era has given everyone freedom and opportunity for liberation from political bondage. The government must also realise that the era of impunity in governance are over and that people are ready for the optimum sacrifice to achieve their freedom and enjoy liberty. Government must also be aware that no one occupies a position of authority in perpetuity and therefore those saddled with government responsibility today must also be aware that there must be a day of reckoning. A day to account for services provided to the people. Remember the likes of Former president of Sudan, Mr Bashir, former president of Egypt, Mr Mubarak and others.
The government of the day must come to the reality of the day. They must realise that the over 200 million Nigerians and their youths are now free and would expect all the things expected in a free and egalitarian society governed by rule of law. The government of the day from the councillor to the chairman of a local government to governors and the president of the country must realise that they have an obligation to the masses and that they must carry out their duties accordingly based on the social contract that put them in the position they occupy. The government of the day must realise that the days of business as usual are now buried with the advent of global interconnectivity. The government must also realise that government whitewash rhetoric alone cannot deal with the multifarious man-made problems facing Nigeria as a country but positive realistic steps and actions.
The ENDSARS protests is not all about police brutality so to say but about poor governance, economic and political decadence and abuse of social contract between Nigerian leaders and those governed. It is clear that the incidents of the last few weeks are just a tip of the iceberg of what could happen in the future if situations are not addressed properly. We can see clearly, that the government now has the privileged opportunity, to deal with the problems faced by the Nigerian state, in a carefully monitored and structured manner without allowing impending implosion that would characterise further failures on the part of the government. The government has an opportunity now to put things in other to avoid future avoidable unfortunate incidents. The government and all stakeholders must seize this opportunity to put the country on the part of restructuring as a tool for stabilisation of the country.
Mr President, it is obvious that you have an onerous task before you therefore it is time to call on our friends all over the world and men of goodwill to be aware of the need for this exercise and to assist you in finding a lasting solution to Nigeria’s myriad of problems. Further be aware that if crisis emanate from Nigeria, no country or countries in the world would be able to deal with our influx of refugees.
Let the truth be told. Nigeria needs to be restructured urgently. Our research indicated that devolution of powers into six regions with a weak central government will help to bring sanity in the polity and government closer to the people. This will also enable the people to feel the benefits and positive impacts of government across the regions with less attraction to the central government while ensuring accountability in governance. Anything short of this is brewing anarchy and waiting for a day of reckoning. Life is meant to be lived. We have also observed that the current structure of Nigeria has reached its life span of existence. There is no doubt that enormous sacrifices were made in the past to keep Nigeria as a country resulting to loss of lives and properties. However, we have all seen that it was all efforts in vain. Our research indicated that the sacrifices for the “project Nigeria” has never worked in the past, is not working today and will not work in the future. We cannot continue to delude ourselves and live in vain without vision. Nigeria state cannot continue with this present arrangement. The state and her citizens cannot continue to wallow in abject poverty and frustrations in the midst of plenty.
It is clear that The ENDSARS protests serves as a great opportunity for restructuring the country in a methodological, fair and equitable manner without leaving the exercise to be done via clandestine forces in our midst. Our team of experts are willing and ready to proffer workable best solutions that would result to a win-win situation to all regions notwithstanding whether a particular region currently lays the golden eggs for Nigeria.
The government must bear in mind that the energy and aspirations of our forebearers will soon go with them as soon as the generation that fought for the togetherness of Nigeria elapses. The government needs to seize this golden opportunity to create a workable system to avoid potential calamitous situation that would arise sooner than later. The government must not leave this sensitive exercise for the youths to carry out. It needs to be done now in a clear, transparent and orderly manner for the common good of all Nigerians. According to President JFK Kennedy’s statement in 1962, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The elites in Nigeria must not allow this exercise to be carried out by unscrupulous elements in our midst because no one can determine the outcome or who might be affected.
Some schools of thought had earlier believed that restructuring would put some regions in a disadvantage position than others but this is far from the truth. Our research indicated that all the six regions of Nigeria are unique and abundantly blessed with human and material resources including oils and gas, gold, diamond, tin and others. All that was required was the political will by each region to develop her resources. In the unlikely event that a region would need help, this must be part of the issues that must be put into consideration during the negotiation of the restructuring process. Our team of experts are willing and ready to deal with issues of these manner.
The fact remains that in the modern world we live today, fair competition is the father of creativity and innovation for the common good of all mankind. You cannot continue to drag everybody down because you felt you cannot swim well rather with strategic planning you can create a conducive environment for everyone to swim along. This is the potential we see in a restructured Nigeria where everyone has the opportunity for growth and success. A restructured Nigeria where the youths aspire with vigour, sense of responsibility and optimism for the future to attain the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and not a Nigeria where growth and success are deliberately stunted without any reasonable justification rather than myopic, primordial and ethnic jingoist considerations.
We need to learn from the experiences of our colonial masters, the United Kingdom with a population of about 67 million people. However, they realised the issues associated with diverse culture and need for peaceful co-existence. As a result, they decided that the best option for them lies in having four nations in the United Kingdom for peaceful coexistence and better economic development. As such, the UK is a devolved country made up of four nations with each having a separate government under a central government. England has about 56.6 million people, Scotland about 5.4 million people, Northern Ireland about 1.8 million and Wales about 3.2 million. Can’t we see the wisdom and the progress of these nations in the United Kingdom? In the United States of America, they operate true federalism and not quasi federalism as observed in Nigeria. Today, the United Kingdom and America are among the greatest economies in the world.
Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people. It is curious and demoralising that the Nigerian government and the elites have not yet realised or factored in the consequences of a potential implosion in the Nigerian population come 2050 as they country is expected to be about 402 million people at 3.2% growth per annum. One wonders the consequences of 402 million people in an unstructured planned society when the present arrangement cannot handle fairly the basic necessities of life for 200 million people. May God help our leaders to reason and to foresee this lethal ticking bomb!
What are we doing to ourselves? Can’t we see that we are now in a new era driven by science and technology? Can’t we see that the era of colonialist ideals is over? Is this how we are going to attain the 17 SDG goals? Are we satisfied in allowing our youths to continue to undertake unimaginable risk of stow- away by sea in search of non-existent greener pastures and drowning in the seas as a consequence? Are we satisfied with our daughters living ignoble lives just as a way of survival when Nigeria is abundantly blessed with human and material resources? Are we satisfied with droves of our youths leaving the shores of Nigeria after education in search of non-existent greener pastures overseas with its attendant frustrations and unenviable life styles and dire consequences? Are we satisfied with anarchy, joblessness, hopelessness and frustration in our land or are we now poised to restructure the country into six regions to attain self-sufficiency, global prominence and greatness for our citizens and for our unborn generations?
Time is now, Nigeria must wake up from slumber or be awaken. Nigeria cannot afford to continue to celebrate maladministration, naivety and political emptiness. Nigeria must restructure in a way that is workable for all her citizens. A stitch in time saves nine!
Long Live the Federal Republic Nigeria., May God’s wisdom and vision reign inw Nigeria
––Fabian Chukwuemeka Nworah (Odum), LL. B, BL, LL.M, BSc, Solicitor England and Wales, Senior Partner at Rockstone Law Solicitors, UK , Executive Director, African Green Foundation International Inc.