Nigeria: Restructuring or changing the process? Revisiting the age-long debate

Photo Credit: Daily Trust

By Chikwado Uzoh

President Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria, the renowned leader who rules with body language has of late ’tilted’ towards the restructuring debate. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) even set up a committee saddled with this responsibility. The legality or otherwise of this ‘party’ committee is an issue for another day.

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The State came to be as a result of the non-sufficing nature of man. This presupposes constant deliberations on how to make life easier and the moment we deliberate, we are, in other words negotiating or restructuring. This certainly runs contrary to the President’s earlier position that ‘Nigeria’s unity is settled and non-negotiable’.

It was this fact of ‘egotiablenesses’ that prompted Aristotle to observe that ‘all associations are in the nature of parts of political association. Men journey together with a view to take some particular advantages, and by way of providing some particular thing needed for the purposes of life; and similarly, the political association seems to have come together originally and to continue in existence, for the sake of the general advantage which it brings.

Implied in this statement is that when the state no longer brings the general advantage for which it was established, the inhabitants are at liberty to call for negotiations or restructuring- all geared towards the restoration of the general advantage. Thus seen, all discourses geared towards ‘working on the processes’, restructuring, negotiations and what-have-you are in the end tailored towards the general good and as such should be welcomed.

It is on the above grounds that most right-thinking Nigerians frowned at the President’s refusal to attend to the salient issues in the 2014 National Conferred Report which was organized by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan. The issue of restructuring is not new in the Nigerian political lexicon. The late former Vice President Alex Ekwueme had during the 1994/5 constitutional conference in Abuja advanced thoughts that were geared towards ‘restructuring’ Nigeria.

Ekwueme had advocated for the division of the country into geopolitical zones, the adoption of the zones as the federating units, rotational presidency, one term of five or six years for the President or each state Governor which is not renewable, increase in the use of the derivation principle from 3% to 13% etc. The above and many more discourses geared towards the debate on whether to restructure or not.

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It is in this light that yours truly considers the President’s insistence on ‘getting the processes right’ as a way of furthering the discourse on restructuring. The President is right but his actions and inactions do not tend towards making the fraught processes right. He does not have the political will to govern a modern state.

Restructuring is a term that has been mouthed by everyone without even knowing the pros and cons. Restructured or not, it is still the same set of leaders that have dragged us back that will still be in charge. Thus seen, restructuring could as well mean ‘giving the thieves more steal in their enclaves’. Put in another way, we need to get the ‘processes’ right.

And the moment we talk of getting the process right, we are in the domain of restructuring. This being the case, in order for the Nigerian state to keep existing and fulfilling the aspirations of her people, we cannot but restructure.

Chikwado, Uzoh is a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is a humanist, social critic as well as an expert in contextual communication. He is based in Badore, Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached via: Pauloskyncha@gmail.com, or +2347038052721. He sent in this from Badore, Lagos.

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