FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, April 20, 2019
[email protected]
London, UK
ABSENCE OF RESTRUCTURING CONTINUE TO EXACERBATE NIGERIA PROBLEMS (PART 1)

n Britain's departure from Nigeria at independence on 1st October 1960, the colonialist left some awkward and imbalanced structures behind. It was then incumbent upon us as a country to restructure the awkward and imbalanced structures in accordance with our requirement and type of society. We failed to restructure accordingly, sustain, let alone improve on the standard the colonialist left behind. We even made things worse in many respects. Such failure can today neither be blamed on the colonialist nor the neo-colonialists, who lend themselves to be used knowingly or unknowingly against their own country, when the answers to our problems are at home with us.

Comparing Nigeria with each advanced country today, as to why we are far behind, our problems are not the lack of adequate and relevant education, skill and fund but uncivilised way of doing things; impunity among the privileged and elite of society; chaotic management, lack of organisation, etc. The diplomatic nicety, methodical and tactical ways of doing things are absent in our country. The systems of control therein are either inadequate or circumvent especially by those who are charged with responsibility to manage and enforce controls. In such our incohesive society; which is due mainly to fragmented subsidiary leaderships, multi-tribes, lack of lingua franca, serious tradition and religious differences; a consistent, sincere, formidable, impartial and effective head of state is paramount during each term of Federal Government. Such leadership needs unflinching support and efficiency of those whom the leader himself and society delegate duties. These delegates are the elected, cabinet ministers, top ministries departments and agencies (MDA) personnel and those in responsible positions in private sector. Those in positions of authority and those who control must also be controlled.

The 2019 general election witnessed a new dimension of electoral malpractice in Nigeria democracy. The new dimension was purchase democracy This is now in addition to many other previous methods of election rigging in the country. The malpractice cut across political parties, incumbent Federal and State Governments' representatives. With these, aside from perpetrating the crime of bribery and corruption, what happens to the electoral law that limit political spending during election by both political parties and their candidates? From whom and where the money for buying voters are coming? If over the years we had restructured our political system from Presidential to Parliamentary system, limit the number of political parties to two, political competition would have been reduced and localised; money driven politics and electoral malpractices would have been minimised, controllable or even non-existent. There is no nation that can be stable and prosper in continuous election rigging by whatever methods, gross official manipulation, lies and deceits. This is because they bring in the wrong people to rule and dominate things in society generally only for themselves and thereby engendering conflicts.

There is no doubt that President Buhari in his first term of Government failed the country and his political party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in many respects. What were his failings? He failed to follow the tenet of democracy. He ran exclusive Government. He failed to carry out the major policy of his political party which was specially to restructure the country in 2015 - 2019. Throughout his first four years, he donned the garment of his military autocracy. His cabinet was inadequate, feeble and many necessary positions in the cabinet and MDA were not filled. He concentrated his efforts only in his far North (North-West and North-East geo-political zones). He neglected the rest of the country especially in his key appointments. Buhari did not even bother to follow the Constitution or Federal Character principle. He made impunity 'legitimate' for some State Governor and key people to emulate at the bemusement of the Judiciary.

Some people would say as these were the realities, why was Buhari re-elected? As at present, his re-election is being challenged by the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubaker, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. If Buhari's re-election were from genuinely free and fair votes; the principal reason for this would be that the PDP and its candidates are still being punished by the electorate especially for the monumental corruption that took place during their sixteen years rule from 1999 - 2015. Until the Presidential election dispute is resolved, Buhari is only holding the Presidency in trust. However, as the incumbent President, Buhari is entitled to continue to run the Government until the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal decides otherwise.

Although Buhari appeared to have been prosecuting some of the corruption culprits during his first term yet corruption was still much in evidence in the country but was restricted to those in high places, positions, connected and untouchable persons. Some of the corrupt and those who have pending corruption cases at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have even been elected in the 2019 general election either as State Governors or to the Senate. As these people were not stopped from contesting and executing election with corruptly acquired fund, this made Buhari's much hype corruption fighting a charade.

Buhari neglected three quarters of the country and in general performed poorly in many respects in his first term. If Buhari was not perturbed by the danger of not been re-elected for a second term due to poor performance, now as he is not facing re-election for a third term, would he bother or listen to anybody in his second term and perform for the whole country? This together with lot of lost grounds Buhari has to cover make performing better a herculean task for him. These are the danger of Buhari which are now staring the country in the face in 2019 - 2023. If Buhari wants to perform better in his second term, as he promised during his election campaign, what should he do not only to recover the lost grounds and atone for his failure in the first term but to move Nigeria forward and ensure the country does not disintegrate in his hands?

Appointment: In order to have a belonging and cohesive country, Buhari should this time around strictly follow the Constitution and Federal Character principle in his appointments. Nigeria is first and foremost comprised of two regions; North and South. In this context, today's State and Local Governments' areas are only secondary. It is in recognition of the marked differences and to maintain harmony between the two originating regions of North and South Federal Character principle was enshrined in the Constitution. As some of the positions, offices or departments at Federal level take precedence; they are either officially or unofficially ranked according to their importance. If the most important position, A, goes to any of the areas (States) in the South; the next most important position, B, should go to any of the areas (States) in the North, vice versa. Positions C, D, E, etc. in their order of ranking would continue to alternate between North and South until equilibrium is maintained for all the States of the federation. Buhari cannot just give the key and juicy departments/appointments to the far North and ask the rest of the North, the whole South and the non-Muslims to settle for crumbs.

Restructuring: Majority of the country want the country to be restructured in 2019-2023. To restructure the country, you do not need to hold national conference or set up committees to do so. Restructuring is the prerogative of the President, invariably the Executive, but in accordance with the need of the country and the manifesto upon which the President was elected. There are no any provisions in the Constitution that can negate the form of a restructuring if it was voted for or accepted by the people. The other arms of the Federal Government, the National Assembly and Judiciary, may help in the matter only as advisers. The State and Local Governments are irrelevant in the process. The ball is now in Buhari's court to carry out the necessary restructuring for the country in 2019-2023.

Security and Ministry of Interior: It was surprising that security which ought to be Buhari's strongest point as ex-military General turned out to be his weakest point in his first term. He had ex-military General as his Interior Minister and another top ex-military officer as Defence Minister yet in their hands security in the country deteriorated more than during any other Governments in the history of Nigeria. Even as Buhari concentrated his efforts only in his far North yet security in the area was worse than any other parts of the country. The heavily deteriorated security in the North is a function of the neglected fundamentals of education, putting Islamic religious before society and official matters, and entrench elite only interests. Today the serious insecurity in the whole North has spilled over to the South to add to what is already a bad situation. Without adequate security, there is not much a nation can achieve.

Until Buhari Government gets its acts together to make the country safe, the people should organise and defend themselves and their places, especially against kidnappers and nomadic northern cattle rearers who are today threat to lives, disturb bushes and farming everywhere in the country. It takes two to tangle. An individual does not plan and execute the criminality of kidnapping, etc. Those who carryout these criminal acts live among you. The law-abiding people should keep their ears down, report those that you know are planning, carrying out and living on criminal earnings to your community and the Police. If the Police do not act, you should take matters in your hands in self-defence of yourselves, your lands and community.

The fundamental thing a well-run and organised country does is to make prevention of crimes a priority. To do this you have to ensure good discipline in families; well-funded and affordable education and training; organise activities, zero tolerance in the use of illicit substances; adequate systems of control; provision of adequate electricity; etc. Adequate electricity enables means of production, increased productivity, etc. This enables more jobs creation that give employment to the educated and trained. The more people are in employment or have something meaningful to do the less idle minds and less crimes in society. Where it is possible, as in the advanced countries, the unemployed should be paid unemployment benefit until they get job to do. In our country, Nigeria, where people have their lands to farm such unemployment payment could be restricted to unemployed school leavers who are of minimum age of eighteen-year-old.

To minimise greed, which could lead some people into crime, capitalism should be curtailed. This should be done through Monopoly and Competition Commission which should ensure that no individual, single entity, connected persons, a group of individuals or corporate entities own too much or dominate a particular industrial sector in the country. There is no need for few individuals to amassing the wealth of society to themselves legitimate or otherwise, go on to establish foundations (charities) and appear to be charitable in order to distracting attention from their monopoly, actual activities and wealth.

There should be National Charity Commission which registers, regulates and controls all the religious faiths, NGO and other charitable organisations in the country. The Commission would monitor the conducts of all the religious faiths; foremost to ensure that none of them engages in the radicalisation of its members who may eventually turn out to become terrorists. Religious faiths are not registered, controlled and regulated through the Corporate Affairs Commission, as it is currently the practice in Nigeria. They are not business entities or supposed to be treated as such. If you have less crime and criminals in society you will have little or no insecurity. You will have less prisons and inmates, and security related costs.

The state of internal security in a country is a function of the Police Force. If you have the right number, well trained, funded, disciplined, honest and well organised Police Force you will have good internal security. To minimise insecurity in our country, Nigeria, make it controllable, we need to reorganise and decentralise our Police Force. In order to ensure adequate Police cover and grassroots policing, there should be several Independent Police Commands in the country. These should be created according to the sensitive, security risk and flash points in the country. Each Senatorial District is the best to be used as an Independent Police Command. If you adopt each State Government area as an Independent Police Command, the State Governor will convert the Police, as they all do to allocated fund to their States, to his personal use, against his opponents and for election rigging.

On the assumption we can create at least 100 Independent Police Commands from the current 109 Senatorial Districts; on the current number of Police in the country; we could have an average of about 4,000 (400,000/100) Police per Command. This would make policing in the country much easier and effective. Moreover, the number of Police personnel should be increased by at least half of the present number. The rest of the forces; Military, State Security Service and Customs & Immigration personnel should be increased by at least one quarter of their present numbers. The privatisation and personalisation of our Police and Military must stop. They must no longer be assigned to some private individuals as their domestic servants and bodyguards.

Adequate and effective internal security in a country demand both effective Ministry of Interior and Minister of Interior. For the Ministry to be fully functional, effective, coordinate and to ensure insecurity in the country is at its minimum and under control, Buhari should, in addition to the substantive Minister, appoint three Ministers of State for Interior; one for the Police department, the second for Customs & Immigration and the third for Prisons. The substantive Minister him/herself will be directly in charge of State Security Service department.

To continue in part 2-------

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