In the recent months, the question of whether to restructure Nigeria or not has dominated the media space. Some are on the side of restructuring while others are of the opinion that the status quo be maintained. It’s a debate that has been generating dust from the four corners of the country with those who are in support and against each trying to Marshall out points to buttress their stand.
Based on the fact that some states of the federation contribute about 69% of the government revenue while others contribute little or nothing. Should Nigeria be restructured? Based on the fact that a pupil from Enugu State who scored 64 in the Unity Schools Common Entrance Examination in 2017, will gain admission, but a pupil from Zamfara State who scored 14 in the same examination will be admitted. Should Nigeria be restructured? Based on the fact that the States do not have a police force of their own and a governor has to call Abuja before taking action against some manageable security challenges, should Nigeria be restructured? Based on the fact that their are large deposit of mineral resources in each states of the federation, but the the States are not empowered by law to exploit these resources, should Nigeria be restructured? Based on the fact that some geopolitical zones have more infrastructure than others because of some preferential policies of the government at the centre, should Nigeria be restructured?
There is no doubt that the unity of Nigeria is at the brink of collapse if answers are not proffered to these questions as quickly as possible. The issue of restructuring is fact not to be debated, but a reality that must be dealt with. Those who are opposing restructuring forgot so quickly where we are coming from.
Since 1922, Nigerians have been talking. It was because of that, that we had the 1946 Arthur Richard Constitution which was followed by John MacPherson Constitution of 1951. But that did not stop the people from talking. They kept talking which resulted in the Oliver Littleton Constitution of 1954. It did not stop there. We also had the 1957 and 1958 Conferences.
After the independence, we kept talking. The 1979 Constitution, the 1995,2005 and 2014 National conferences, where round table platforms where discussed how to move this country forward.
It is disheartening that apart from the reports of the 1978 Constitutional Drafting Committee, which were enshrined in the 1979 constitution, the rest are piling up dust in the office of the President.
The bitter truth for those who want the status quo maintained is that the solutions to the underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment, session bid and security challenges facing the country, lie in these documents. And if nothing is done now, there may no be Nigeria by 2019.
It’s time those at the helm of affairs accepted the fact that we have a problem and begin to implement the content of these documents in order to save the soul of Nigeria.