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Thursday, September 29, 2022

We could enthrone a proper Federal structure to save us

I am not a war analyst, but I am convinced that Russia wants to reclaim former USSR territories. If not, why didn’t Russia send its forces to the territories it said it was protecting instead of bombarding Ukraine?

I am worried at the turn of events. Europe and its allies have expelled Russia from its SWIFT banking system, which means Nigerians in Russia are not likely to have access to sources of sending money home to support their families, and those of us that have children in Russia may never be able to send money to them until the war is over or the sanctions lifted.

So, when I said few days ago that this could also hit us hard, not many believed. The economy of Europe will also take a hit. Many European flights have suspended flights to Russia. That will amount to trillion-Dollar losses when the war would be over. Who said this cannot happen to Nigeria if we mismanage the conflict over secession?

In my opinion, we can use the power of hindsight on the unfolding events in Russia/Ukraine, to choose to live with each other or separate in a very peaceful manner. Whichever choices we decide to make, all sides must be ready to make the very painful sacrifices of enthroning a far-reaching restructuring process that will guarantee true fiscal and political Federalism to the entities within the Nigerian State.

Three entities can help emplace true and enduring Federalism in Nigeria. First, the Governors who are presently acting as the senior prefects over their States Assemblies must be ready to lose some of their powers for the bigger picture.

At the other end, why on earth would a state assembly refuse to set itself free from the apron strings and claws of the State Governor by refusing to vote for its its autonomy?

The Governors cannot pick and choose what is in for them and discard what would help the country grow towards sustainable growth. They cannot accept to control their resources but are not ready to grant autonomy to the State Assemblies, the Judiciary, and the Local Governments.

We copied the Presidential System from the United States of America. Still, we refused to paste some critical structures to make the system work better for our people. For instance, in the United States, each State has its own Supreme Court yet submits to the Federal Supreme Court when matters need clarification and interpretation. The Mayor, which is like the Local Government Chairman, has authority over its Police and other structures but is also responsible to the State. All that gives the lubricants for freewheeling is the constitution that everyone respects.

Second, National and States Assemblies have the singular privilege of saving Nigeria’s democracy from future wars, and history would be kind to them for doing so.

The National Assembly cannot be better constituted than having a majority pass legislation that could help reshape our destiny. What is wrong with the National Assembly using the 2014 Confab reports and other dialogues before tweaking and bringing about a new constitution? If the National and States Assemblies had done the needful, there would have been no need for PMB’s Order 10 killed by the same Judiciary it was protecting. Why would a State that can care for as many local government areas not have the right to create them as long as the federal revenue formula does not use it as a revenue-sharing source from the center?

Third, the Federal Government must be ready to reduce the heavy burden and unwieldy 68-Item Exclusive Legislative List for a better Nigeria. The recurrent the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike is a pointer that the educational sector, the way it is presently structured, cannot bring assistance to students and lecturers. Like it or not, the academic structures in Nigeria need clear delineation.

We all may be clinging to our comfort zones and status quo for now. But I tell you most solemnly, we either accept restructuring our economic and political spaces or the difficulties of future unforeseen forces would do it for us. The former will be a far more enduring choice than the latter. History will be kind to us if we could enthrone a proper Federal structure to save us from a future carnage and catastrophe that we cannot afford. May God grant our leaders the wherewithal to envision the future and act now.

Grace and peace!!!

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