Re: Giving perspectives to restructuring politics
By: Izuoma Ibe
I read with utmost dismay the watery position of the crafter of the article, “giving perspectives to restructuring politics” as published by The Nation. The author understood the point that restructuring has become a major issue of concern as we tend toward the 2019 presidential election but he embraced cheap sentiments by stating that it “has suddenly become probably the most potent tool in the hand of desperate presidential office seekers to consciously and unconsciously, convince, confuse or deceive the electorates in order to corner their votes.”
As citizens of Nigeria, we have always failed in making proper analysis but emerge champions in attacking personalities while wrong polices thrive. If the author is writing to say that the coming election “has no doubt provoked the un-ending debate on restructuring”, is he dismissing what led to the provocation? The clamour for the retooling of Nigeria federation cannot be far from addressing “marginalization and structural imbalance which have resulted in fiscal imbalance and fiscal marginalization” as posited by the writer. Then I ask, if restructuring seeks to address marginalization and structural imbalance, can that be corrected by ghosts or we continue to abide in sin for grace to abound? What is wrong about vocal Nigerians standing up to redeem the federation of its lopsidedness? Are they wrong because they are in a political party different from that which Osinbajo and Tinubu are members of?
It is not surprising that that the composer of the said articles cited that “virtually all these latter-day restructure parrots had occupied important and sensitive political and public offices in the past that placed them in vintage position to champion the course of restructuring, but they looked the other side because it was not in their best and selfish interest”, but it beats one’s imagination why he hasn’t questioned the excessive patience by the incumbent vice president of Nigeria to overtly challenge the president, his boss or resign over the issue of state-police which the former is opposed to even as the latter is a pro.
It is an argument for a street urchin who questions the role of a vice president in Nigeria in seeing that his own policies are carried out against those of the president whom he is deputizing. To take it straight, all those who favor the argument that deputies should carry out their own polices against the wishes of their bosses are ignorant of the constituents of the office of the Vice President. The vice presidency of Atiku Abubakar cannot be discussed in details without the recognition of the fact that he was relatively opposed to odd polices and intents of Obasanjo. With such bold moves, Atiku’s tenure can be seen as the most controversial in our recent democracy.
We cannot be fighting corruption when the influencers of the act are left untouched. It will be counter-productive for us as a people to set the cart before the horse. Seeking to eradicate corruption from our political administration will not be achieved by making rhetorical and theoretical verbiages, we need to reposition the marks that encourage the perpetration of corrupt acts. If the people are crying of fiscal marginalization and structural imbalance by the federal government and saying that devolving powers such that they have a measure of control, what is wrong in granting the wish of the people in a democracy? Why will the wish of a select few at the top echelon of power reign supreme?
It is quite appreciated that the author recognized the gains of restructuring by stating “Yes restructuring is desirable and expedient for rapid development if other indices or factors among which are patriotic and dedicated leadership, transparency and accountability, corruption-free system are present”, but why he watered it down by saying it “would be doing the agitation a great disservice if in the move to achieve it, we turned a blind eye to what some of these new apostles had done in the past that made some people to have reservation on restructuring” creates room for one to doubt his patriotic inclination.
As being persuaded to write against some perceived advocates of restructuring as the tone of the articles sets, the fact remains that the structure of the federal republic of Nigeria is lopsided as can be effectively redeemed by tinkering our constitution to allow measure of autonomy between the government at the center and the federating states.
Izuoma Ibe is the convener of Join The Restructuring Campaign (JTRC)