Post Read 21 times
I am glad to be back in this Column to continue with the seemingly endless wailings for an unfinished history called Nigeria. Sounds pessimistic, yes, encouraged by daily happenings at all levels, all showing a common trend: deterioration or decay of socio-economic and political values including qualitative ideas that make nations great. Here in our country, we have not had the luck in developing positive nation building values as part of our cultural milieu. What we have always got entrenched in our cultural sub soils are manipulative skills to hide the pursuit of our selfish interests, the outcome of which has always failed to produce desirable and expected end.
Any period of our national history would lend itself to this analytic interpretation. The most recent period, the end of which is yet unknown, is the 1999 episode when the destiny of the nation was left to the occult promptings of a handful of men. Without questioning the wisdom, the hungry and gullible nation willingly endorsed the candidacy of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, himself a skilled authoritarian ruler, to midwife the birth of democracy. Is there any wonder why and how the trappings of authoritarianism were put in place and nurtured in the past one and a half decades.
The popular call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) following serious threats of insecurity was responded to with the setting up Constitutional Reform Conference in 2004. It was a manipulated attempt to legitimize a leviathan that was already in place. Rather than achieve what it was hopefully intended to, the Conference highlighted policy areas of deep-seated disagreement and ended in a fiasco. The manipulations and pursuit of selfish interests continued and landed the country where we are today: failed democratic experiment, collapsed economy, corruption, poverty and insecurity. Although Nigeria has always had the luck of escaping alive from fatally tight situations, it is feared whether it will be able to escape unhurt this time around with the enormity of socio-economic, political and security problems facing it.
This is why it is here suggested that the Goodluck Jonathan administration must part ways with the status quo since there is nothing it can possibly accomplish within the present political framework armed, as it is, with irreconcilable sectional interests and competitively corrupt political office holders. A new paradigm envisaged below is borne out of our national experience in the past half a century.
• Introduction of unicameral legislature with part time membership;
• Formation of two political parties;
• Each State should have its Constitution;
• One- term tenure of five years for Governors;
• Abolition of immunity provision;
• Establishment of undercover anti-corruption team energized with anti-corruption laws with maximum deterrence capability;
• Introduction of Zonal Police Command for a more operational efficiency.
• Rationalization of Political Offices. Political offices at the federal and state levels must be drastically rationalized both in number and earnings. There is no justification for the appointment of junior ministers or minister of state as they are called. The federal executive currently comprising 48 ministers is over bloated. Not more than 36 ministers, one from each of the 36 states should be appointed. At the state level, political appointees should similarly be reduced. A situation where recurrent expenditure takes 57.5% of annual budget as in the 2009 federal budget is unhealthy for a developing nation. A ceiling of not more than 35 or 40% at the federal, and 30 or 35% at the state level in recurrent expenditure should be fixed.
That our national economy has been brutalized from 1999 to date is evidenced by the progressive rise in the level of poverty, collapse of the manufacturing sector, abandonment of agriculture, decay in infrastructure including the energy sector, unemployment and, consequently, high level of crime never before witnessed in the country. To reverse the planlessness in the economic sector, we suggest the establishment of National Economic Council responsible for formulating national economic policies that are fundamentally private- sector driven.
Nigeria must consciously redesign the structure of its governance in the light of its lived experience, economic fortunes or misfortunes, and the collective character of its people rather than copy from or follow the dictates of foreigners.