On the 1st of October 1960, when Nigeria got her independence from the British Colonial masters, the hope that the country will rapidly grow and develop was so high. Nigerians and lovers of the country were hoping for a better governance devoid of slavery and cheating but for some factors, that hope was dethroned.
In the first place, those who negotiated independence were probably carried away by their achievements without asking themselves how they wanted the country to be governed. We shouldn’t forget that before the amalgamation of 1914, today’s Nigeria was not governed centrally. The Northern protectorate was separately governed while Southern Nigeria was also governed differently. Going deeper, before the British came to colonise, there were many kingdoms, empires and governments that had nothing in common with one another.
The first thing our fathers during independence should have decided permanently was the terms of the relationship. In 1960 and 1962, the British remotely forced a parliamentary system on us and nobody asked if that was what we wanted. But the system really allowed each of the regions (Northern, Southwestern and Southeastern) to develop at its pace.
Secondly, the issue of ethnicity was not discussed. Though they wanted a single government but the players believed more in their regions than the single country. There was also selfishness and rebellion even within each of the regions. So the independence of Nigeria was actually built on a faulty foundation and we haven’t corrected those faults till date. All the constitutions we have had as a country have always been forced on us by either the colonial masters, the military or the political class. Successive administrations have always been pretending as if nothing is wrong with the kind of unity we have. Even the current administration that promised restructuring during 2015 campaigns has been silent about the subject matter.
Immediately after the civil war, the military jettisoned the parliamentary brand we first had and introduced the Unitary system where the government at the centre was all in all. Nothing can take place in any part of the country without the express approval of the government at the centre. The operators of our own brand of democracy are not only happy about this but they are nursing it very well because it gives those at the centre unfettered powers and controls. Everybody from the regions, later states, doesn’t believe he or she has succeeded until he/she gets to the centre. Recently, the “Emi lo kan” was used by one of the presidential candidates to demonstrate the importance of getting to the centre by all means (most of the time to loot the commonwealth).
Now that we are 62 and are preparing for next year’s elections, the candidates (presidential, parliamentary and state) should be made to promise us of looking into and discussing our faulty relationship and how to mend it. The current relationship is not working for anybody except the political thieves and robbers among us who will not want the status quo to change. Why must I wait for the Abuja people before I can generate power in a country where generating electricity is too cheap but we have not been finding it easy to use electricity? Why must a state government that creates a security outfit be made to apply to a faraway government in Abuja for tools to use by the security forces? Why should a state government be handcuffed so as not to be able to repair bad roads in its domain just because the roads are termed federal roads? Which system will suit our coexistence: true federalism, con-federalism?
These and other things are what our politicians seeking for our votes be made to be discussing and not the mundane and unimportant things we have seen them discussing. Nigeria must not fail and all hands must, therefore, be placed on the deck to work out the county’s survival