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The Trouble With Nigeria

By Joe Etokudor
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Since independence, Northern and Southern Nigerian politicians have had divergent views and interest on the continued co-existence of Nigeria as one nations. Mutual suspicion, tribalism, graft and god fatherism got embedded in all aspects of our national endeavours.

The political crisis of 1964/65, the civil war of 1967-70, the annulment of the landmark June 12, 1993 presidential election, the unending struggle between the North and the South for control of the central government and the present upheaval and insurgences in the country are all pointers. Everyone now knows that the simmering insurgence of Boko Haram is a mere fa├žade, a smoke screen by some underground agents to oust the present government of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan or make the country ungovernable .

Before the amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates in 1914, all ethnic nationalities (as many as they are today) had existed and lived together in harmony. The subsequent colonial manipulations backed by fecidal and oligarchical interest groups tilted equilibrium in favour of one section of the country to the detriment of all the others.

For the first time in the political history of Nigeria, a civilian south-southern- Dr. Good Luck Ebele Jonathan was elected by popular vote to take control of the affairs and governance of Nigeria. His ascension to that exalted office has not gone down well with a number of people from the usual predominant ethnic group in Nigeria. The ethnic group had envisaged Jonathan as a puppet on their storing which they could manipulate at their beck and call. Alas Jonathan proved to be completely different from their dream puppet.

Just fancy what happens today in Nigeria in the name of Boko Haram. It appears that Nigeria is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.

We are hiding under a smokescreen. We must come out and tell the truth, he whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Jonathan government must accept the realities of the current situation that we must sit together and determine our future co-existence as a nation and that the (Jonathan) should realize that the so-called inviolable sovereignty may not even last if we do not get together now to put the 'Nigerian House in order.

The humble opinion of this writer is that the answers to our persistent problems are easy to find.

First in 1979, Nigeria adopted the presidential system of government as enacted in the constitution of the United States of America, U. S. A. with minor adjustments mutatis mutandis to suit our peculiar circumstances.

We deliberately or wittingly (to suit interest groups), ignored the ways and means by which U. S. A. government carries out the practical operations of their presidential system of federalism. U. S. A. entrenched real federalism in their constitution while Nigeria entrenched unitary federalism in her constitution. Can't we see where we went wrong?

The restructuring, I have in mind would not affect the sovereign existence of operations of the present government -federal -state or local governments. The restructuring should be designed to embody the wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians to be reflected in a new draft constitution to take effect from the date the next civilian administration assumes office. I am convinced that we do not need a sovereign national conference or confederation to achieve these objectives. The national assembly as now constituted along with a select of elected group of personalities from each ethnic group or nationality, namely; professionals, opinion moulders, industrialists, religious leaders, trade unionists, students etc, should be summoned under the umbrella of a national conference on the restructuring of the Nigerian federation.

The present government can fix a period of time limit within which a new constitution should be produced by the group. The draft constitution so produced should thereafter be presented to the national produced assembly to pass into law in accordance with the provisions of section 9 of the 1999 constitution - relating to procedure for the amendment of the constitution.

In the alternative, the final document (draft constitution) so produced by the conference can be referred to the entire Nigerian people on a referendum (yes or No) to give validity as well as accord constitutional authority to the document - as an indigenous constitution.

Finally, there is every need to preserve Nigeria as an entity, need to have peace, harmony and prosperity in Nigeria. Above all, there is the need to have a real true federalism with distinct and defined federating zones or units each with its constitution under the supremacy of one Nigeria where the zones or units will sustain the federal government instead of the other way round.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Joe Etokudor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."