By Ikenna Asomba
Ahead of the forthcoming 2019 General Elections, I am once again appealing to the authorities that be, both the Executives and the Legislature, to please re-order the polls to be conducted on WEEK DAYS and not SATURDAYS, as usual.
In Nigeria, conservative figures has it that more than 11million Nigerians, who are eligible voters are DISENFRANCHISED from carrying out their civic responsibility, because their DAY OF WORSHIP is on SATURDAYS.
Nigeria, being a secular state, is enough reason for the authorities to consider this major and powerful bloc of Religious Community, which in no mean measure contribute to the Spiritual, Moral and Economic Growth of Nigeria as a Nation and Nigerians as a People.
Going forward, Yours Truly, once again, suggests that the General Elections Dates be rescheduled to take place between Mondays and Thursdays and not Sundays, Fridays and Saturdays to enable Christian denominations, Muslim faithfuls, as well as the 7th Day Sabbath Community, exercise their fundamental human rights and civic duties unhindered.
A country like the United States of America understands this civic rights, and thus holds its popular elections on the FIRST TUESDAY after the first Monday in November every election year.
Be that as it may, for several weeks running, having critically pondered on why Nigeria is still crawling at 58, I conclude that bring One Thousand ‘Messiahs,’ to steer the ship of the state, even come 2019, THEY will all FAIL. Not even the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari would succeed as the captain of the Nigerian Ship, even if given UNLIMITED TERMS like the Chinese No. 1 Headship.
Needless boring my ardent readers with any Litany. As my people say, “there is no long talk in an evening mass.”
I want to reiterate this and it pains my innermost heart while I do it, that the PRESENT CENTRIFUGAL STRUCTURE of Nigeria, a country of over 200 million people, 371 Ethnic Groups/Tribes and 520 Languages, coalesced together in 1914 by the British Colonialists led by Lord Lugard, CAN NEVER EVER allow the country make HEADWAY, as a Nation, and as a people.
Before now, I mean during the time when leader of the Indegenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was the rave of the moment in Nigeria with the Biafra Separation Rhetorics, Nigerian Politicians, HYPOCRITICALLY, all began singing a NEW HALLELUYAH SONG- RESTRUCTURING! RESTRUCTURING! RESTRUCTURING!
Now that that ‘Bonga Fish’ in their neck, that ‘garullous 50-year old boy’ like they would say, is perhaps temporarily no longer in the block, we no longer hear the RESTRUCTURING QUESTION or SONG! HYPOCRITES!
Even the hurriedly, copy and paste Restructuring Report of the ruling All Progressives Congress, packaged by the Governor Nasir El-rufai-led Panel seems to have been buried into the Nigerian Dustbin of History like others before it. The APC should prove me wrong in the coming weeks!
The 2019 General Elections is just some 10 months away, and Nigeria as a country, and Nigerians as a people is/are CONFUSED about which way to go?
Look, with the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural nature of Nigeria, if the state by 2019, doesn’t go back to TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM or REGIONALISM as practised before the First Military Coup in 1966, I say without mincing words that even in 2023, 2027, 2031, 2035, 2039, 2043, 2047, 2051, if the present STATUS QUO subsists, Nigeria and Nigerians would be Worse Off, and our people would unfortunately be looking beyond Nigeria and Planet Earth for the coming Messiah.
For goodness sake, what are over 68 items, many, very trivial an issue doing in the Exclusive Legislative List solely under the control of the Federal Government at the Centre?
Let me play the Devil’s Advocate here- I say it without mincing words that If Nigeria had continued with its Regionalism as practised before 1966 or had taken the path of Conderalism as mulled by the former Biafran Leader, Late Chukwuemeka Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu, in 1967, before and in the course of the 30-month Fratricidal Biafra/Nigeria Civil War, the Nigerian state would have never been in this present Abysmal, Pathetic and Sorry State.
Democracies, as practised in a country like the United States of America, is where it is today, among the comity of nations because of its Political Structure of Confederalism. The over 52 States of the U.S. are allowed to GROW in their own pace.
This kind of Political Structure allows for Healthy Rivalry among the Confederal States, thus, bringing about Rapid Growth and Development in terms of Infrastructural Development, Political Emancipation, as well as improved Socio-economic indices.
The major Problem with what is wrong with Nigeria is its Political Structure and not just who is to be its Leader. Even America’s Franklin Roosevelt’s Great Deal would FAIL in Nigeria with this present Centrifugal Political Structure.
I have always reiterated that ‘he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches.’ The Nigerian President can’t be in his Glorified Palace in Aso Villa to know the URGENT NEEDS and YEARNINGS of the people in Umumeri Village, in Uzoakwa, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. It’s not possible.
I, like many other Nigerians are frustrated with this popular saying that ‘the buck stops on the President’s table.’ We can’t make any headway with such Centrifugal Political Structure.
I want to see a Nigeria, where the buck, as well, starts stopping on the tables of Governors, State Legislators, Council Chairmen, as well as Councillors, like we have in the United States.
The U.S. President Donald Trump can’t leave the White House in Washington DC to come fix trivial things like a Road in Cook County, State of Illinois. Unfortunately, this is what the Nigerian President is made to do- to come fix a road in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area, in Lagos State, all in the guise that it’s a Federal Trunk Road. Absolute Balderdash, isn’t it?
For goodness sake, let’s take these EXCESS POWERS away from the Centre in Nigeria and see the Herd Mentality for Abuja crumbling like a pack of cards. Then, the Dogs and Baboons would no longer be soaked in blood in Nigeria (apologies to General Muhammadu Buhari).
Let’s take these EXCESS POWERS away from the Centre in Nigeria, like we had before January 15, 1966, and watch Rapid Growth and Development enveloping Nigeria as a result of Healthy Rivalry and Competitions among States/Regions/Geo-Political Zones as we may deem fit to RESTRUCTURE, going forward.
A Nigeria where ALL Roads are tarred with NO POTHOLE; Transportation System is effective and there is a 24/7 Electricity Supply, among other good things of life is possible.
A Nigeria where Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State need not wait for Presidential Approvals to build Deplorable and Killer so-called Federal Trunk Roads, Railway Transport System, Airport etc is possible like it holds sway in the U.S. among other developed nations.
Needless over-flogging the dead horse like my friend and brother, Macaulay Adeleye Jamiu, would say during intellectual contributions those hey days in the university.
Going forward, Nigerians both at home in the Diaspora should persistently impress it on our aspiring leaders to begin to tell us in CLEAR TERMS how they want to take our people out of this present Political and Economic Quagmire ahead of 2019. If such an aspirant/candidate is not talking Effective and Thought-out Thematic Approaches to Restructuring Nigeria away from its present sorry Centrifugal State, I’m sorry to say, it’s not yet UHURU with Nigeria, and Nigerians throwing their weights behind such CLUELESS aspirant/candidate.
The Pretenders and Contenders for the Nigerian Presidency, should immediately throw their hats into the ring, and let the Bar for Critical Questioning and Assessment be DECLARED OPEN.
Enough of these Elephantine, Bogus and Unrealizable 200 Campaign Promises in Rushly-written, Unreligious Manifestos that would be thrown at Nigerians like BANANAS close to the election dates. Such never helped us in 2015 or in the past, it isn’t going to make any inroad for growth and development in 2019-2023 or beyond.
Ikenna Asomba is Editor, Diplomatic Watch, he writes from the State of Illinois, United States.