MENDING THE CONSTITUTION, NWABUEZE'S UNHEEDED CALLS
PROFESSOR Ben Nwabueze at his 80th birthday re-stated his idea of the Nigeria he wanted since his return to the country in 1962. He had thought Nigeria after independence would be the great nation that many foretold.
The frustrations of the failed expectations have been ringing in the suggestions Nwabueze has been making on the re-structuring of Nigeria. Unlike many who say their views as they strike them, Nwabueze has the distinction of documenting his in cerebral books that could deepen constitutional governance in Nigeria.
Is anyone reading him? Are people ready to act for the common good? In his latest book, Current Issues in the Working of Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria, Nwabueze advocates devolution of power to a regional structure, which a new revenue formula would support.
Last year while serving as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council, PAC, he made similar suggestions about re-structuring Nigeria at the launching of another book, Colonialism in Africa: Ancient and Modern (Volumes 1 & 2). Then he called for a bloody revolution like the one in France 1789.
'Our society today is thoroughly rotten. To make it a better society, it must be transformed into a new one. It is a duty to ourselves and to our children to transform it and clear all the rotten mess.
'Bringing changes with all the proposed methods and reforms here and there cannot work. We have passed that stage of transformation. What we need is a surgical transformation because this country can only be changed by bloody revolution so that whoever survives would gather the pieces, that is how France was saved,' Nwabueze said.
'I want a wholesome transformation. I want a bloody revolution. Corruption has eaten deep and everyone is involved,' he had said.
In his hometown, Ogbaru where he marked his 80th birthday,he lamented the decadence, the corruption as he had earlier noted using the National Assembly as illustration.
'We have had cause to invite some members of the National Assembly to furnish us with some information, a situation which gave insight to fraud going on there. What is going on there is terribly incredible. The National Assembly is the 'House of Thieves' and the level of docility displayed by Nigerians has worsened the situation leading to arrogant display of power by those entrusted with governance.'
Nwabueze supports a single term tenure for the president and governors. His modified version is that the presidency should be rotated among the different geo-political zones to continue integrating the country.
We commend Nwabueze for his consistence in churning out perceptive suggestions that could lead to better constitutional management of the country, if only the politicians would sacrifice a bit of their selfishness for the good of Nigerians.
At 80, many of his mates have given up on Nigeria attaining the greatness they had dreamed. His pursuit of that greatness is commendable and offers the present generation another chance to take up the fight, not minding the daunting challenges that litter the landscape.
Since one of the consuming matters of the moment is constitutional amendment, it must be done to reflect power structures and management. Will States remain under a new arrangement? Do we need new States when the existing ones are struggling to survive? Can the resources that new States consume be used in better ways? Would a regional structure conserve more resources for use in other areas?
These questions can fuel more thoughts on re-structuring Nigeria and concomitant issues around our future. Without re-structuring along some profound lines to save costs of governance and devolve power, Nigeria has little chance of greatness, even sustainable.