Prof Adekunle Akinyemi, fnaemtThursday, September 7, 2017
[email protected]
Pikesville, Maryland, USA


t is no more news that Nigeria is indeed sick. A cursory look at Nigerian daily papers provides enough evidence of the nature of our sickness. The blood in us, as a nation, has been contaminated and drained by the kleptomaniacs, vampires, and the jackals, who have sucked our blood dry with their unstoppable looting and corruption. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported that 95 % of Nigerians indulge in bribery and corrupt practices. This figure unfortunately includes the leaders and followers. Oh! We need some bottles of drips or overdose so we can overdose the 95% and let the remaining clean and incorruptible ones (5%) rebuild our nation - Nigeria.

We need more than 'serious' drugs, to cure the nation and we need daily potent multivitamins to revive and put us back on our feet. It is after this medical treatments, which will not have to take us to London, Paris, New York or Washington, DC, that we can get cured, purified and redeemed before we can have some hope, for a better future for Nigeria and Nigerians. There is no doubt that the aftermath of this illness (Corruption, selfishness, greed, and bad leadership) is going to leave some scars on our body as a nation. Something just has to happen, we cannot escape being scratched in one way or another, when the status quo changes. The drum is sounding too loudly and pitch is getting deafening. Nigeria must be redeemed and revived, we are itching for a rearrangement.

The time has come, the time is here to rearrange our relationships in order to coexist as a multi-tribal, multi-ethnic nation with - many tongues, many cultures, many religions, many intellectuals, and a nation with many experienced personalities in every field of human endeavours. One would ordinarily imagine that these various attributes of the Nigerian nation and her people should serve as strength and a solid basis for successful governance but unfortunately, greed, selfishness, corruption, tribalism, nepotism, parochialism, and lack of patriotism, reign supreme in the land. What a paradox of a nation, so exceptionally blessed, yet unable to make commensurate progress! May be, we should throw 95% into the Atlantic Ocean to have a rebirth and on sabbatical and get 'born again', while the remaining 5% rebuilds the New Nigeria for us.

We may want to ask, why did we not recognize these bad attributes for correction from the beginning of time? Why has it taken this long to start crying so loud? The answers to these questions are not far-fetched. From the amalgamation time, the British Colonial Masters were well aware of the Nigerian 'characteristics' and the inherent dangers of putting the apples and bananas together in the Amalgamation process. They only wanted to leave in a hurry and have us sort issues out by ourselves. Our leaders, the freedom fighters, who fought for our Independence prior to 1960 also recognised these inherent anomalies but continued with the amalgamation mistake and mismatch. On the hindsight, may be our leaders were in a hurry to snatch our independence from Britain on the "buy now, pay later" basis. This is perhaps evidenced by some historical statements which today confirm the impending catastrophe. The fears of the British as they tried to perpetrate the atrocity of amalgamation was palpable but they disregarded the consequences. The following quotations were recorded from our leaders prior to the attainment of independence, which portended that all was not well with the new independent nation called Nigeria:

Tafawa Balewa "Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite…….Nigerians unity is only a British invention" (1948).

Obafemi Awolowo "Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no 'Nigerians' in the same sense as there are 'English', 'Welsh', or 'French.' The word 'Nigerian' is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not" (1947).

Nnamdi Azikiwe "It is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a child's play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role" (1964).

Ahmadu Bello "The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great -grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to have control over their future."

What a revelation, coming from our Independence fighters? A critical analysis of the above quotations, coming from those who negotiated our present condition for us, speak a bundle about the foundation of our forced unity today. The situation we are in today in Nigeria had been envisaged/anticipated, as coming from the pre-Independence era. The British government forced Nigeria into one country much against the negotiators' wishes. They knew ab initio that the peoples' differences and backgrounds were not going to support such moves and thus credited the resulting togetherness as a 'British Invention', to satisfy their own end and not necessarily for Nigeria's eventual emancipation and survival.

As a result of this hard fact of heterogeneity of the components (tribes and languages) fused as Nigeria, one of them (the big four) frankly described what they just mapped out as mere geographical expression and not a nation! Another one of the four had taken Nigeria as his great grand-father's estate and was ready to hold on to power at all cost, with the South, as a conquered territory who should not be allowed to have control over their future. In the light of these realities, another one of the four negotiators warned that if things were 'not going to fit, they should not force them', going about peaceful disintegration then, was going to be better than the force, fury and chaos that may be involved at a later date. This is the threat which we now face as a nation today. Should we Restructure or Disintegrate or remain the same? This is the big question which Nigeria needs to answer and attend to very urgently.

The renewed movement now known as 'Restructuring' serves as a sad reminder of our past as a nation. From the beginning, it was very clear that the Amalgamation represented the marriage of strange bed-fellows. The British only were interested in ending their ordeal and run away before the 'unexpected/expected' erupted and so they did. It is therefore not a surprise that even after over one hundred years, the battle for autonomy and self-governance ranges on among the people of Nigeria. The cry for justice, inequality, corruption, cheating, marginalisation, mismanagement and bad leadership is on the increase daily, hence the call for restructuring to put an end to the peoples' suffering, even as they may be misconceived as smiling.

Nigeria, as a consequence of the foregoing forced union has been moving like a vintage car (Rolls Royce) with under- inflated tires of different sizes! Hence the wobbling and fumbling, as it travels on the highway! For how long can we afford to run a potentially great country like this? Change is the only answer and since nothing is permanent except the truth, Nigeria must restructure for peace, prosperity and progress. On another side of the coin, is the fact that restructuring also connotes a change in the status quo, in order to leave the nation intact.

Seven Expediencies of a New Nigeria

Form a Central Council of Nigerian Union/Tribes/Ethnic Groups to be established with all tribes/Languages represented.

Decide on a name for the new nation Nigeria - United States of Nigeria (USN), Union of Nigerian States (UNS), Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) or other.

Allow Units, States or Tribal groups to decide on desired or appropriate names after a successful restructuring exercise.

Allow tribes and Ethnic groups to consult one another on their willingness to align by consensus, based on their cordiality, congeniality, potential and viability. They must sign legal biding, treaties, and agreements.

Allow a two to three years (period of interregnum) of experimental alignment during which changes can be effected on the initial tribal alignment.

Alterations and realignment must not be made cheap or easy, to avoid a messy and endless transitional period.

Need to scrap and remove the current geographical expressions of states i.e. Boundaries demarcating current States ie re-draw the political map of Nigeria, showing the new pattern of alignment.

We have come to realise in the last few decades that Nigeria is sick and dying slowly. She can be revived and healed, if the leaders act right and do the necessary things. The correct and appropriate 'home made drugs' or 'home grown solutions' must be used and that drug is cheap and effective. That drug is called 'restructuring' or 'RESTRUCTUREQUIN'! It is available in powdered form, liquid or in capsules. Let our leaders take these every morning, afternoon and at night times. They will then be able to put Nigeria first and strategise properly to get Nigeria out of her present mess.

Our image must be redeemed from that of being 'fantastically Corrupt' to a nation that is accountable, prudent and patriotic. Our leaders should use their drugs and the followership must not forget to use theirs as well, to cure them of indiscipline and corruption, which are deeply engrained in their DNA. People need to be involved and carried along in the quest for solutions to their problems and restructuring the system will give the people some trust and confidence in government. It is also educational and it opens the eyes of the people to what is being done to them and what is happening to them. The world has become a small global village and information flow cannot be stopped.

The die is now cast and change can no longer be delayed. This the reason for the ongoing rumblings, forcing and threats across the country. Every tribe and locality is displeased with the status quo. Restructure or disintegration had long been predicted and anticipated as it had been long coming. I pray that we do it peacefully as force and fury do not achieve great results. We all stand to lose, if we do not tread softly and go the way of peace. Coercion is not the answer and you can only force a horse to the river, you cannot force it to take water. Getting on the drawing table and re-arranging the way we do things will be a better option instead of preparing for war. Another war will be one too many and we may never survive it.

When we think about Football, we are one as a nation. When we think about other sporting, musical and entertainment related concerns we are together as one solid Nigeria. Together, we are happier and stronger. There is one very important word of caution which may mar the struggle for self-governance by whatever units of Restructure/fragmentation clamour. This has to do with leadership struggles and the state of readiness to cope with the products and effects of restructuring. How will they (Units) cope until they get on their feet? Government must be prepared to 'baby' some States until they pass the teething stages and can fly on their own.

Why can we not restructure to let each unit take control over its own fate? Nigeria is surely a sweet name and we must keep it as a whole system with each unit (subsystem) working in unison to fulfill its own goals, as well as corporate goals as a nation. History will paint us ugly in the end, if we make a blunder of it all. We need to always think about the legacy we want to leave behind. Posterity must judge us right or else our children and grandchildren will not forgive us.

Long live Nigeria