Nigeria: Restructure Or Reconfigure (10)

By Afe Babalola
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Chief Afe Babalola

In continuation of his published series on “Nigeria: Restructure or reconfigure,” Aare Afe Babalola further proposes the following as critical to the quest: (a): Single six-year tenures for the office of the President and Governors, noting that many of the most progressive governments in the world have enjoyed continuity and stability in leadership which allows officeholders to consolidate and implement development programs without frequent policy reversals that are associated with frequent change of government or leadership. (b) Streamlined qualification and remuneration for political office holders so that competent, qualified people with a great sense of humility, responsibility, and absolute commitment to service seek leadership positions. (c) Need for clear party ideology since elections in Nigeria are largely organized and decided by party affiliations. However, several of the political parties in Nigeria are non-ideological and serve a diversity of incoherent interests that often change like weather and(d) electoral reforms.

The Yoruba Referendum Committee responds as follows:

i. Continuity, stability, coherence, and sustained governance result directly from the established political traditions or institutions which serve as fuel to economic policies. These, in turn, are derived from a “foundational imperative,” that is, the recognition of the reason(s) for the existence or establishment of the State. The State is the highest expression of this “foundational imperative;” hence, all its apparatus and paraphernalia are geared toward ensuring its sustenance. Therefore, a “transformational leadership” is the product of the “foundational imperative.” To arrive at such a juncture, the historical, cultural, and contemporary experiences of the citizens must come into play. This is not the case with Nigeria and other African countries.

ii. Hence, the tenure of political officeholders may not be the only issue. Since Nigeria is part of the global economy, whose ebbs and flows, inflation, depression, trade wars, etc. affect Nigeria’s economy, any government in power will be affected by any of these such that putting a term limit will be detrimental to the office holder, more so, when global downturns can persist during much of the office holder’s term.

iii. Nigeria’s economy, like most economies in Africa, is a negation of the human development of their peoples because the political superstructure is built on an economic structure purposely designed to under-develop the society in favor of the colonial economy, often forcing the society to adjust to its dictates and impetus.

iv. Hence, the problem is not in the lack of ideology but in the type of ideology currently in practice and its relevance to development. Ideologies are a function of the “foundational imperatives” that determine the road toward economic development in the sense that certain measures, arising directly from the Federating Unit’s needs, must be taken to ensure competitiveness within the global economic order. This order is determined, largely, by the Bretton Woods Institutions whose main mandate is to ensure that economic competition among the major powers does not descend into wars, and which made it possible to enroll former colonies into their economic orbits.

v. Hence, the ideologies of the political Parties flow from this reality, and because the State through which the ideology is manifested is almost a carbon copy of the colonially inspired State, the parties’ ideological disposition cannot but follow the trajectory laid down by the colonial powers.

vi. The major reason the Action Group stood out was precisely its recognition of the above and its determination to construct a different type of State from the colonial imperative. This was foundational to the AG as it formed the basis for its advocacy and pursuit of Federalism.

vii. Therefore, rather than say there is a lack of ideology, we say the ideologies in operation are not capable of addressing the fundamental issues of development and underdevelopment; hence, what is needed is an ideological shift to upend Bretton Wood’s philosophical and cultural dominance while simultaneously engaging it in the quest for development.

viii. The above is possible only when the Nationalities in Nigeria re-establish themselves as the Federating Units where all their deficiencies can be cured. This is the crux of the quest for Nationality Referendums. With this, issues on electoral cycles will be determined by the conscious efforts and necessities of each Federating Unit that will also become empowered to make further determinations as necessary.

Yoruba Referendum Committee