Democracy’s welcome return to Nigeria in 1999 immediately brought with it the cascading possibilities that after more than a decade of deleterious military rule, Nigeria could resume its cruelly interrupted experiment with federalism and perhaps salvage a bit of lost progress. In the annals of Nigeria’s history, the annulled 1993 presidential election will continue to bear eloquent witness to the evils of the Babangida military junta, especially in the road it paved for the Abacha military regime which was a horror experiment in stealing and suppression.
Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 meant that Nigeria could now have a government with three properly functioning arms as opposed to the travesty of military rule.
Crucially, it meant that the legislature could work again and get to work on refining and remodelling Nigeria’s legislative landscape which had become so distorted by the dictates of military dictators.
Just over two decades and through many sessions of the National Assembly Nigeria’s laws have become sufficiently refined in spite of the fact that there remains enormous work to be done, and despite the widespread public perception of Nigeria’s legislators as nothing more than men and women who milk the country dry.
As with the National Assembly Service Commission which is in charge of making appointments into key positions of staff at the National Assembly, it would appear that a game of cloaks and daggers is afoot with the recent appointment of Sani Tambuwal as the acting clerk of the National Assembly in spite of the fact that Chinedu Akubueze who is the current clerk of the Senate is the next in line by virtue of being senior to Sani Tambuwal.
The decision has already whipped up something of a storm among those who feel that it is yet another example of the underhand dealings that usually go into ensuring that only people from a certain section of the country get to keep the best portion of the national cake.
As a country, Nigeria’s unity continues to stand on spindly legs. Too many things are wrong at the same time with the brand of national unity Nigeria currently practices.
It would appear that opportunities in the country are skewed in favour of people from certain sections of the country. It also appears to be the overriding reason why whenever restructuring is mentioned as a viable option for Nigeria, such people get anxiety attacks.
Suspicion has long endured that the main proponents of ‘One Nigeria’ are those who revel in their role as oppressors in the increasingly untenable project that Nigeria is.
But Nigeria can only become the country it once promised to be if its national affairs are conducted along the lines of equity and justice. Anything short of that is an invitation to anarchy and chaos.
As long as Peter continues to be robbed to pay Paul, discontent will continue to rumble deep in the belly of the Giant of Africa.
Kene Obiezu, @kenobiezu