Restructuring and going separate ways
Jaye Gaskia, July 10, 2017
Restructuring, Referendum, Self-Rule - these are some of the political lexicons that have gained prominence in recent discourses among political pundits, Social commentators as well as notable Nigerians.
This ostensibly was necessitated by the growing agitations by some ethnic nationalities especially the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), whose leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been in the news for his role in mobilizing the Igbo towards the actualization of Biafra as an independent country. Even after his detention by the Nigeria government for close to two years, which ironically turned him to a hero of some sort, he remained undeterred as he has vowed to stop at nothing than leading the Igbo to full attainment of independence.
Following the public debates, this has generated with many calling for a total restructuring of Nigeria state as a panacea to the agitations for self-rule. it still left to be seen how the government will resolve this imbroglio.
Jaye Gaskia, the National Coordinator of Protest to Power Movement (P2PM), in this piece expressed his view on the issue.
"Some people are saying restructure Nigeria, yet they either have no concrete proposals, or their proposals demonstrate clearly they have either not thought it through, or they are being mischievous, and trying to be clever by half".
"For instance the call for 12 regions with governors general (presumably along with regional executives and regional legislatures), along with retention of the 36 states intact with their governors, state executives, and state legislatures! A very unrealistic, wasteful and thoroughly self-serving proposition to feather the nest of the elites at the expense of ordinary people".
Speaking further, Gaskia stated that those who now say it is too late to restructure go the whole hog in the opposite direction.
"They say Nigeria's constituent units - Regions or Ethnic groups - should go their separate ways!"
"What does this mean in reality?
Which are the well-defined regions of Nigeria with identifiable and agreed borders and territorial integrity? Is it the present Six Geopolitical zones? Or some other regions not known to the rest of us, but known only to their proponents?
Or are they referring to the ethnic groups as the constituent units and or regions?"
"If that's the case, then they should state this clearly".
According to him, there are still pertinent and fundamental questions to be answered: in today's Nigerian context where does the agreed territory of for instance the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo/Bini, Ijaw, Tiv, Idoma, Efik, Ibibio, etc territory begin and end? In what ways can these ethnic groups go their separate ways exercising territorial sovereignty over their separate ways?
"It seems to me that in present day Nigeria, and within the current context, the only entities with somewhat more or less agreed territorial integrity are the Nigerian state and its constituent 36 states and the FCT,
those are the entities with territories that they can go their separate ways within the current context".
"Other entities whose activists want to go their separate ways, must undertake the very necessary task of constructive nation building engagements to negotiate with their neighbours and others, the exact extent of the boundaries over which they want to exercise sovereignty once they have gone their separate ways!"
So once again I conclude by restating that slogans can be easily mouthed, demands can be easily made, but these can not be a substitute for programs and plans of action!
Our tragedy is that we are saddled with elites who want to acquire and appropriate the privileges of leadership, without embracing the associated burden and obligation of being responsible visionaries and nation builders - whatever and wherever that nation is!
Jaye Gaskia is the Co- Convener Say No Campaign ( SNC)and the National Coordinator of Protest To Power Movement( P2PM)