Nigeria: From Federal to a Confederal State? Examining the prospects of the transformation agenda in Nigeria.
A minority states’ people’s revolution is on, in Nigeria. A major power shift has occurred as a result of the 2011 elections in Nigeria, in which a minority state indigene has emerged as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This paradigm shift has thrown up theoretical and scientific implications for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The President reviewed Nigerian historical development with strong emphasis on our political milestones and resolved that it was time to transform Nigeria.
This implies a notable change from the dictatorship remnants from military rule to a complete democratization of the governmental and societal systems that would permit real social change, social justice and assurance of the people’s welfare.
The Amnesty programme of the Federal Government needs to be completed speedily. We have to move securely on our well-paved roads, and uplift the standard of education. Our oil resources must be managed by patriots. No blackmail of Nigerian patriotic officials by beneficiaries of our oil wealth should be tolerated.
The logical questions that must be answered truthfully are, what nature will the transformation take? Will it be transference, a transmutation, a transfusion, a genetically modified political society or a transgenetically mixed-up economy?
How will the transformation process affect the epicurean disposition of the Nigerian ruling elite? The question whether the obligation undertaken during the electoral campaign is really the most obvious of moral truths has long seized to be of moment in political theory.
In our polity, in which enlightened intelligence does not condition the societal ethos, impunity has reigned. For example, a former law-maker has brazenly declared that no Nigerian court can try him. This imperial mien is anchored firmly on a self-confidence justifiably bred by deep-rooted contempt for the legal order. There is also an element of philosophical rationalism, in the law-makers contentions. We shall see who will win and by how much. Self-conceit often evaporates in the heat of evidential proceedings in courts of law.
It is always important to define the transformation of a state in socio-political terms, so that those of us, whose hopes have been raised high, will not have reasons to sigh in the end.
The jurisprudence of the matter is that it is time to dismiss all sorts of impressionist notions that the Federal Republican Constitution, which been severely panel-beaten by the Uwais Commission and the “AYES HAVE IT”, will endure.
As a state, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has grown into a Confederal Republic. Each state has now acquired a stronger, more independent, political status.
For example, in the constitution of ministerial and other forms of power holdings, equality among the states has been confirmed. This equality confers on each state to produce material wealth.
Every state is now expected to contribute meaningfully to the backing of the national cake and not lazily wait for federal allocations from the Federal fund. This parasitic situation is neither fair nor right.
The Nigerian state does not owe a living to people, who do not contribute to the baking of the national cake, but shamelessly eat, where they did not sow, just because of some antiquated notion of suzerainty. Some anachronistic institutions must yield to the transformation process.
The adulation of parasitic elements should by now be an anachronism. This is the 21st century. There is a global move against backwardness, entrenched hedonism, laziness, and reliance on government for largess, while the productive sector of the working class is paid merger wages. He, who does not work, should not eat.
The composite units of the Confederation should engage in internal trade, invest in agriculture in fertile states, organize regular tourism to enable Nigerians know themselves and interact like compatriots.
Tourism to Obudu cattle ranch and other tourist locations within Nigeria will conserve our currency, instead of our people trooping to other countries and enriching their tourist industries.
Revolutionary consciousness must replace our colonial mentality. A new ideological ethos of nationalism should form the philosophical basis for the transformation of Nigeria, a process that will last long, but must be sustained; otherwise, it will be another exercise in sloganeering.
The shifting winds of transformation will create an objective standard for knowledge assessment rather than guess-work. We must find out what discriminates knowledge from opinion. This is no boast of omniscience but in Nigeria, there is too much talk, regurgitation of old government seasonal declarations, which never transform into action.
Ministers, Commissioners and other government officials are still making speeches that identify “problems” that need to be solved. What have they been doing? Such declarations show that since the speech reader is not the speech writer, the implementation of what is in the speech is not within the consciousness of the speech-reader Minister. So, how can anyone expect implementation or results?
Each time I see government officials read speeches written by aids, I conclude that we are yet crawling.
We have witnessed time without number how “national plans” or the lack of them, announced with fanfare and widely reported in the press, grow from appearance into opinion and end in downright illusion. There were transformatory promises in 1980, 2000, 2010 and now 20-20-20.
Maybe governments do not take their promises seriously, but the suffering masses do.
On 30th June, 2010, a National Initiative group held a One-day Conference at the Transcorp, Hotel, Abuja.
The conveners discussed the post-election situation in Nigeria. The idea was to examine the losses and gains recorded during and after the 2011 elections. Some participants said that they would want to see concrete actions before they believe that a transformation would really occur.
The notion that elections serve as a launch- pad for transformation was the lead paper. There is a problem with that thesis in that elections are periodic events that assist the citizens to vote in or vote out its political leaders. The political parties, which have concrete manifestoes, programmes and agendas are the ones, which are responsible for launching a society into the progressive area, through political transformation of the state institutions. Elections per se, do not transform a society, but throws up people with the learning and experience to do so.
Nigerian middle class voters were attracted by transformation promises. The PDP succeeded in getting the people to believe that it will affect reforms through the ballot box. This is the less reason for the party to affect revolutionary and tranformatory agenda, since its core programmes are not intrinsically socialist. I cannot see a Nigerian societal transformation that will fundamentally change the status quo.There has not been a strong industrialist base that can produce a strong working class.
As of now in Nigeria, there are very poor people and very rich people. The middle class has collapsed into political beggars, political sycophants and an army of political mal-contents.
With regards to the issue of socio-economic transformation, the spring to action is a dialogue of confederal nationalities, whose instincts of self-preservation, but enlightened by foresight of all the consequences of failure, would like to talk.
Socialist intellectuals are not likely to be impressed by PDP averments. Being philosophical Marxist- Leninists, they would want to see how a party, which is used to operating with liberal political methods, will effect a meaningful transformation of a well-entrenched
mixed-up economic sy
stem as we operate in Nigeria.
It is obvious that many Nigerian Ministers come from the background of well-etched, well-ingrained convictions of IMF/World Bank prescriptions in countries marginal to the main line of socio-economic development. Obviously, these Ministers will run the transformation agenda. So, what is the joy about?
In his lecture on 30th June 2011 at Transcorp Hotel,, erudite Professor A.B.C Nwosu lamented that the Nigerian elite have avoided politics as a result of which all sorts of people got into governance. I pointed out to him that the military barred academics from political participation and used both covert and overt measures to frustrate those academics, who ventured into politics. I criticized Professor Nwosu for abandoning his students and the University system to revel in political appointments.
A first class brain and an eminent scientist, who would have become a Nobel Laureate, did deviate from his scientific calling to engage in mundane political pursuits.
Most of the presenters at the Conference were oozing with sycophantic erudition and effusive adulation of political leaders with fantastic exaggerations.
Nothing was said about other political parties, which also contested the 2011 elections. This was amazing! Everyone praised Jonathan and the PDP to high heavens. Of cause, the President deserves to be praised for his dispassionate attitude to winning or losing, but a good analysis of the 2011 elections must also review the role of other contestants.
The right of political preference is not being denied here, but the balance of thought must be respected in political dialogue. Conclusions must still be drawn and defended even by partisans.” Any serious reasoning on politics, or any other subject, simply must go on the assumption that good evidence can be distinguished from bad.”
This effete disquisition by political jobbers, robbed the Conference of that academic content expected of a subject with national interest as the post-2011 examination of the recent elections, which would have given the nation the opportunity to reflect on the nation’s performance.
The issues of national security were discussed as they concern the 2011 election processes. It is necessary to recognize that national security touches upon food security, jobs security, control of all explosive materials, health security, currency control, customs and immigration, security of travel routes, financial security, the operation of the intelligence and security agencies, and not only the performance of the operatives during the elections.
Perhaps, if the broad base of national security had been well understood, the post election violence could have been apprehended.
The main problem in our policing mechanism is the lack of favourable conditions for policemen.The”I “Branch should be in charge of police intelligence while the Investigation department, should look into crime prosecution.
The “I” branch should engage in pre-emptive actions in order to uncover potential criminal acts.
Governor Mimiko said that there should be emphasis on development of internal party democracy, limits to electoral mal-practices and more determined efforts by the judiciary to speed up the legal procedures in order not to deprive the winner of his rights.
Nigerians lost some of their citizens as a result of the political struggles during the elections. The nation gained from the emergence of minority power through the ballot box. The majority nations’ politicians are addicted to election-rigging, thuggery, debauchery, immunity and the conversion of public funds, which some use to throw expensive parties and squadermenia.
Immunity is often a result of lack of finesse, crudity of mind, intellectual bankruptcy and low culture.
The minority states are now free to develop according to their natural talents and resources.
Nigeria needs well-organized political parties that last. For example, the Chinese Communist Party has lasted for 90 years and without that party, the Chinese phenomenal growth as the second largest economy in the world, would not have happened.
In Nigeria, people jump from one party to another seeking political appointments. If this opportunistic behavior continues, party political development will be stunted. The Federal Government may wish to meet the aspirations of Nigerian workers over the minimum wage issue.
It may not augur well for a government that promises to transform the nation to start with disputes with labour unions.
The Government must be careful in associating with some clergymen, who freely engage in Ecclesiastical conjurations and proclamations, especially those clergy -men with little or no anointing. They speak without spiritual authority.
The emerging Confederal Republic will enable states to take some decisions in line with what their various Governors promised to do for their citizens, during their electioneering campaigns.
Should the Federal Government wish to succeed in its transformation ambitions, it must set up Committees of thinking men, not over-used, lazy yawning drones, bent double by age, which is the greatest enemy of courage
This article is dedicated to Dr. Reuben Abati, whose column in the Nigerian Guardian, will be missed by many compatriots.