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By Nwokedi Nworisara
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Recently there have been debates as to whether Nigeria should be restructured or not. Some say Nigerian unity is not negotiable while others like Nobel Laurete Prof Wole Soyinka and Governor Seriake Dickson in a recent event in Bayelsa State maintain that Nigerian unity is negotiable even though they prefer Nigeria to remain one.On the other hand IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu insist Biafra would leave Nigeria through a referendum.

I have been an early advocate of restructuring of Nigeria but I do not quite agree with the methods seemingly being suggested by the parties above. I do not think that a debate is necessary if we really understand the issues at stake nor do I subscribe to disintegration of Nigeria or secession of some parts of it.

My long standing position dating back to more than a decade is that Nigeria has not been allowed to be so changing it will not solve the problem. Restructuring is only relevant if it helps us to return Nigeria its ideal structure which was seemingly not understood and therefore not implemented.

All the complaints of marginalization,exploitation,repression ,mismanagement by part on other parts are only symptoms of this misunderstanding and misapplication of the only one ideal Nigerian structure. You cannot find lasting solution to a problem by focusing and eventually resolving the symptoms while overlooking the main problem.

It is important to understand that every new country is launched with a structure that most serves to achieve its purpose of coming into being. So purpose goes hand in hand with structure. So there cannot be many structures for us to waste time debating or politicking about here.

Designers know that you cannot design a building without a structure that is capable of carrying it. Indeed you need this structure to get approval from the authorities. It is known as the approved plan. It is customized to this building. Any attempt to change it brings the urban managers to your house with sanctions. If you have already put up the building to lintel level and you have new ideas,you have the choice of demolishing the building and applying for a new plan that takes the process to be approved or not approved. On the other hand you could go back to make corrections to adhere strictly to the approved plan and continue the building only on the structure approved by the authorities. If the building has already 3 floors or three flats and people are living in it you have a harder choice of demolishing it to bring in new ideas. But you can still modernize your rooms within the structure or pillars already standing not outside it. Now consider when a floor or a flat seeks to stand on its own. The only way for it to go is to demolish the entire building bearing that the damage is mutually shared by all and the people living there have been evacuated before hand,that is all the people. Then those living in one floor can proceed to start building their independent home which in any case will go through the time lag process of approval.

It is even more difficult to imagine that the palour can stand aside from the masters bedroom retaining the same walls they both share. For this to happen,you imagine the occasional government demolition of illegal properties in which case a bulldozer had carefully taken away the masters bedroom leaving intact the pallor with adjourning walls. So in this case it may be possible for the pallor to stand while the other rooms had been demolished. What you see is a disfigured building in any case. I need not explain further here.

The same analogy goes for every upbuilding including a country or nation.A nation is an upbuilding because Nigeria has been building up since independence. Generations have come and gone and new ones are coming. Nationhood the most ideal point of the structure that achieves the dreamed of abundance may not have come but it remains in the pipeline awaiting the continuation of the upbuilding where we turned aside from the original structure.

In the proposal for independence laid before the United Nations the structure which accompanies and indeed is the name was laid out. The purpose of the country was encapsulated in the 1960 constitution. The approving authority would determine whether your structure can achieve the said goal and would make suggestions which you take back to your constitutional conferences input or debate. You have to approve of human rights, protection of less privileged,free trade,free speech,one man one vote,etc. You come back with these inputs and they approve since your structure is now strong enough to carry your purpose to logical fulfillment.

Then you want to make the document widely understood by your countrymen some who are impaired in some of the senses. So you score it into music known as the national anthem,and reduce its purpose into the flag Lao to aid those who are hearing impaired. The national Anthem music competition brought the best composers at work. You select the best. " Nigeria ,we hail thee..." Nigeria assumes a body!

The flag points to the fact that only peace ( white)leads to abundance ( green) Peace is obtained in nationhood where no man is oppressed. The anthem says expressly: " Help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed. And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed." So these are preconditions that was contained in the structure!! So you cannot change the national Anthem that agrees with the constitution nor can you change the constitution midstream without changing the flag or the coat of arms. Any part of the whole you change disables the parts from functioning optimally. So what do we have today when just one year after Republican status was reached in 1964 the Midwest Region was created thereby distorting the stable tripod? Instability between the north and the south and it became a rivalry! When in attempting to resolve the rivalry created Gen. Ironsi suspended the Constitution,and turned Nigeria into a unitary structure, we had a civil war imminent . Then in response of this symptom General Gowon created 12 States in 1967,the structure was further bastardized. Not to talk of changing the national anthem and creating additional States until we hit 36 States! Later on the rivalry cascaded into creating local governments and funding them directly all leading to the present confusion in structure and elevating the restructure debate with politicians eying another creating of States or local councils to ameliorate the same symptom of marginalization while generations suffer.

So what we need to do is return to the only ideal structure and continue the match to nationhood. There is no other way!

*Nwokedi Nworisara aspired to be President of Nigeria in 1992.