or anyone and any section of the country, the resonating restructuring of the country is inevitable. Restructuring is not just a mere Government/Political restructure but with the general reorganisation of the disjointed angles of the country. There is not a perfect structure for any country. However, certain types of structure ameliorate the problems of a country, human factor in mismanagement, misuses and abuses of the constitution and laws by those in authority. The harmony, stability, reduced tension, segmental and national satisfaction and sense of belonging which an optimal structure brings always provide the momentum and atmosphere for improved economy and other issues in society.
It is well known that majority of the northerners are averse to restructuring of the country. But the far North, a minority in the country, cannot dictate to the majority of the country who want the country to be restructured immediately. Their fear in a balanced structure for the country is that the far North would lose power, majority and allocation of fund at the centre. But the rest of the country cannot continue to put up with the same loss to the far North in the current imbalanced structure. Therefore, the equilibrium is to restructure the country for a balanced optimal structure to the satisfaction of every segment of society.
What is happening in the country now is that there is shortage of foreign exchange or reserve and high inflation rate which is currently 18%, and not necessarily recession. Inflation as defined by the economists, basically, is when there is too much money chasing too few goods. Recession on the other hand is when too many goods are available but there is not enough money available to buy them. The banks are not getting enough deposit fund, restrict lending, repayment of loans and to other creditors deceasing, and debts increasing. Normally, inflation and recession are mutually exclusive. Can you have too much money chasing few goods and at the same time have many goods with less money to buy them?
If foreign exchange is not sufficiently available, then the money that was meant to buy the exchange is still in the country and in Naira. This money can be redeployed for what is available at home. All economic activities and products in the country do not depend on importation. We have not less than 80% unrealised economic potential. All of these do not depend on foreign exchange for them to be realised. When there is such huge capacity at home and the money is still at home and in Naira to be used, then switch to the economic activity which does not depend on importation or less importation.
There is misconception on the issue of recession in the country. The claim of recession is an illusion. It is a ploy for those with money not to be paying their debts so that Government will again move in to giving subsidy and bailout funds. It is an excuse for them not to be paying salaries which are already in many months and years' arrears in many establishments at both public and private sectors. If foreign exchange were suddenly available today in large amount, will they say they do not have the money in Naira to be buying their allocation? Before, have they been buying foreign exchange on credit or borrowed money, and to pay later?
The actual problem of the country at these times is weak financial management within the large amount of money available at home and wrong management of the economy by both the Government and private sector, much in the unnecessary, wrong privatisations and concessions. If we had a balanced Government/Political structure, a country where the constitution is adhered and federal character is rightly and equitably applied, one section of the country will not be able to be manipulating and dictating issues to the rest of society unsuccessfully checked.
Many of us said repeatedly before the 2015 general election that the far North was not ready to provide a leader to rule Nigeria so soon, after the North in general had ruled the country for 38 years since independence on October 1960 with nothing to show for it but conflicts and lack of progress, until 2039-2047. By this time, the country will be put on formidable structure which not a leader will again be able to abuse. The far North would have leaders that are tuned to the tenet of democracy, constitution, federal character, secular state and one nation.
But those who say they 'own' All Progressive Congress (APC) frustrated every key APC member and presidential aspirant from the South South and South East zones. They then zoned the party's presidential candidate to the far North instead of the South South and South East zones that were 'through gentleman arrangement' due to provide the President of the country between 2015-2023. Some of the key members from the South South and South East zones left the party entirely while those that stayed keep low profile, for those who say they 'own' APC to do what they like.
What are we now observing in the leadership of the country amidst of plenty, talents and unrealised huge economic potential? If you do not know your priorities, the strategies to tackle critical problems successfully, you are being biased, sectional and autocratic, things will be falling apart in your hands, as those that are more capable desert you. We do not need to remind anyone that the best of the talents in Nigeria reside in the today officially marginalised South South and South East zones of the country in the emphasis on, colluded, simple majority. Today, in our country, Nigeria, we are wasting more talents. Below is an extract from my 2015 presidential manifesto.
From the present imbalanced Government/Political, etc. structure of the country; what is then the optimal restructuring among the options available to us in accordance with the type of society we today have, especially to safeguard the country's present geographical configuration? In the restructuring of the country, the first consideration is the reduction in the current bloated Government which waste and prevent much of the public fund to be used for productive means.
In this direction of reducing glut Government and waste of public fund, the current thirty-six State Governments that are most culpable, waste much of the public fund and constitute impediment, prevent prudent use of resources and efficient running of the country would be scrapped. The option of a three tier government structure of the Federal, Regional and Local Governments, whether in new Regions of the current six geo-political zones or new ten Regions, would present the same if not more problems which the current thirty-six State Governments have brought to the country. Therefore, it is not feasible in today Nigeria. A two tier government structure of the Federal and Divisional Governments, where the current Senatorial districts in the country would each become a Divisional Government area, is neither optimal nor feasible. Details of these structures were discussed and can be read from my earlier articles on this column and also from my 2015 Presidential Manifesto.
Looking at today Nigeria, with the type of society we have, the need for each area to have effective grassroots Government and at the same time have direct access to the centre, cost effective Government, the increasing use and efficiency of new technology; the optimal and feasible government structure for us is a two tier government structure of the Federal and Local Governments. The structure will be well balanced between the North and South. The most contentious issues in the country which are resources control and allocation of fund at the centre can be equitably determined within this structure.
In the two tier government structure of the Federal and Local Governments; we would have the normal Federal Government with the National Assembly of the Senate and House of Representatives. In order to maintain a balance of legislative power in the country between the North and South, there will be equal number of Senatorial districts and Federal constituencies in each of the North and South of the country. As the North is always averse to any reduction in what is already in the region's inequitable advantage; additional six Senatorial districts will be created in the South to augment for the current imbalance. With this there will be one (1) in Abuja, fifty-seven (57) in the North and fifty-seven (57) in the South. The total number of Senatorial Districts in the country will be one hundred and fifteen (115) hence 115 Senators.
The House of Representatives would follow the same balance in equal number of Constituencies and Legislators between the North and South. As we shall here have a two tier Government structure, there is the need to have more Constituencies and Federal Legislators than what we already have but with equal number between North and South. For example, we could have four Federal Constituencies for every Senatorial district in the country. The new National Assembly would look like this.
In the North and South, the number of Senatorial districts and Federal Constituencies will be created equally among the geo-political zones. Within the two tier government structure of the Federal and Local Governments; we have the option of retaining the current Six Geo-Political Zones, which are already balanced between the North and South or to create new Ten Geo-Political Zones, which would be five in the North and five in the South, as in the following.
- - Lagos Geo-Political Zone - The present Lagos State with little expansion into the rest of the South West would become this zone.
- - South West Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.
- - Mid-West Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Edo and Delta.
- - South East Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia.
- - South South Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
- - Middle Belt West Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Niger, Kwara, Kebbi south and Kogi west of river Niger.
- - Middle Belt East Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba, Kogi East, Kaduna south and Adamawa south.
- - North East Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa north.
- - Mid-North Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna north.
- - North West Geo-Political Zone - The State Government areas that would form this zone are Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi north.
The creation of the new ten zones as above is preferable as the zones could in addition form areas for Zonal Development, Zonal Education Authority, Zonal Health Authority, Independent Police Commands, Zonal Derivation Payment, etc.
Within the two tier government structure, the number of the current Local Government of seven hundred and seventy-four (774) areas would be adjusted as follow. The big cities and towns in the country such as Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Benin City, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna Jos, etc. would each become one City Local Government area. Their present Local Government areas would be local administrative offices (branch or district offices). Those small two or more towns that are currently under one Local Government area would remain under such one Local Government.
Looking at things as they are today; how many of our towns or cities are more than 10-kilometre radius from their centres? With this measure, the number of Local Government areas in the country would be far less than the present seven hundred and seventy-four (774) areas. Some of the geo-political zones may have more Local Government areas than the others. As it is now, Abuja is too small for today Nigeria and future capital territory requirement. It will absorb part of Nassarawa, Niger and Kogi States, enough for a big city and capital of Nigeria. The elected and staff of Lagos and Abuja Local Government Councils and their establishments would compose of people from different parts of the country, elected, appointed and employed on federal character basis from those that are resident in the territory for a minimum of five years.
A two tier government structure of the Federal and Local Governments may not be what some sections of society may relish. We do not need to have Regional Governments or intermediate Governments in order to practice fiscal Federalism in the country. A two tier government structure of the Federal and Local Governments is most suitable for the type of society we have today and for the future of the country. As every section of society will be equally represented at the centre, people elected on any political party platform, any section of the country that will be unable to defend within the constitution and what the country provides for the interests of its area would have no excuse to be complaining of marginalisation.
To know more about this author; read his forty-page Presidential manifesto for the 2015 general election from his website; apiainternational.co.uk, and his previous articles that were published here on this column. He did not release the manifesto before the general election nor participate in the election for certain reasons.
(To be continued in part 2)