Posted by News Express | 13 June 2015 | 3,972 times
My odyssey of thought commenced from fundamental level of Nigeria’s nationhood. My memory recalled the 19th century Berlin Conference where Africa was butchered and served to the colonialists like barbecue. The pieces of nations that emerged thereafter were vacuous of natural form, but obviously to the shape of the aesthete and convenience of their masters.
Since the 1884-85 years of scrambling for tropical land of Africa till today, 15 years into the new millennium, I’ve not seen any nation trespassed upon in Africa standing on a platform of comfort. In my search for political comfort for my nation, I sent my thought on errand round the world, where democracy is sitting tight. I noticed a malignant growth that is present in the political structure of my nation that is absent in all these democratically stable countries.
This malignant growth threatening the being of my nation – but absent or had been rendered benign in the democratically stable countries - is called multi-lingual multi-culturalism.
I sniffed this African menace round the developed democracy, I could not find it. In Europe, I found so many nations not as populated as my local government, but if coerced together like African nations, would have been suffering from this African political disease.
Nigerian independence is not too far. However, the history since independence is besmeared with abysmal ludicrousness. From the hypocritical national anthem I grew up to sing – ‘Though Tribe And Tongue May Differ, In Brotherhood We Stand’ – to the political crisis that led to the demise of the First Republic, military intervention, civil-war, mismanagement of the economy, termination of the Second Republic, military dictatorship, to the present enduring but shaky republic.
Where is political comfort in Africa? Is it in Nigeria? The 2015 Nigerian general election, which reflected the census of each ethnic group in the country, proved ethnic sovereignty over nationalism. Godsday Orubebe’s outburst at the election result declaration ground enunciated the sophistry of the Nigerian nation. Should we continue with status quo or go for real change? Remaining with the status quo means continuation of poverty, political instability, economic mismanagement, inequity, religious insurgency (Boko Haram).
I’ve been hearing and reading some victorious incoming political actors saying that it is not the political structure that is wrong, but the political leadership. I quite disagree with this school of thought. I don’t know how a good sailor could sail to the coast with a bad ship’s engine or how a good cook would bring on the table palatable pounded yam made from water yam. Nigeria consists of many ethnic groups with different needs and desires that cannot be satisfied with general provisions. The differences have to be respected. Let me state clearly that the stateless religious status of Nigeria commonly referred to as secularism is not acceptable to the Northern Muslims. A true Muslim’s culture cannot be completed without monarchical government. I need to be informed of a Muslim-dominated country that substitutes monarchy for democracy that is not plagued with Islamic insurgency.
Islamism and democracy is abominable, while Western culture and Islamic culture are water and fire that cannot remain together. Every time I watch obscenity emanating from the Western culture on Nigeria’s television stations, my mind feels for the Northern Muslims. The irony of it is that while the masses of Northern Nigeria desire to have full Islamic society, the few elites and power holders in the North are supportive of secularism, because of their ‘haramic’ indulgences.
I just want to know how long we shall continue to fuel carnage of Islamic insurgency in Nigeria because of the ‘haramic’ indulgences of a few rich in the North, and unworkable political structure of Nigeria. Meanwhile, with understanding of repetition as concern and emphasis, I am saying it once again that the present political structure of Nigeria – which is unitary system of government otherwise called centralism – is not appropriate for Nigeria and will continue to jeopardise progress for the country.
In this my self-engaged cerebral work, I researched into the political structures of developed democracies, searching for the most suitable one to recommend for my nation. In the course of my research, I came to disagreement with popular opinion that United States of America is a heterogeneous society. One should not be confused by the historical background of the citizens of United States of America, American citizens may be historically multi-racial, but contemporary America is homo-cultural and homo-lingual. Americans speak English and behave English, however with minor amendments.
Americans do not speak Ibibio, Swahili, Hebrew or Greek languages. Americans are not racially or ethnically segregated. The issue of religion has been successfully relegated to inconsequence. There is no factor of comparison of America with Nigeria. Nigeria must have a political structure, a structure that must work for her, political structure that must bring prosperity; political structure that must endure forever. I gave a thought on Switzerland’s federalism, India’s kind of federalism and I found such political structures substantially applicable.
Nigeria can only survive on loose federation, the kind of political structure that will accommodate our ethnic and religious differences; kind of political structure that will make the northerners to practice their Islamism as in Saudi-Arabia. With this kind of political structure I am proposing, federation units would consist of homogeneous people. That is, people of the same ethnic and religious group. Each unit would be administratively and economically independent of each other. Each unit would have power to make laws suitable to the religion and culture of her own people. In this proposed political structure, the institutions that will exclusively be under the central government will be the Army, Immigration and External Affairs.
Customs and Excise is an economic bureau that should be federating unit’s affairs. It should be understood that labelling political structure is no longer in vogue as every nation’s political structure is assumed unique. However, this proposed political structure is proximal to what is known as confederation.
In concluding this proposal, I will like to make use of a Yoruba proverbial dialogue:
Concerned Man: Mr Man, don’t you see that the load you’re carrying is wobbled?
The carrier: Thank you, Mr Concern. You’re only looking up; you’re not looking at the base.
(The carrier’s comment made Mr. Concern to look at the base and he found out that the legs of the carrier are wobbled. He now realised that since the base is wobbled, whatever that is put on it will be wobbled.)
Fellow compatriots, we have no alternative than to return to the basics. We should not be sadistic to continue to ride on in the ditch. If we throw a hand fan up two hundred times, it would land on its side. Without a change at the base, there can’t be a change up there. Let us build an enduring political structure and not be expecting miracle from a sapped strength. Nigeria does not belong to a particular generation: the generation who hijacked power, and started riding the country roughshod in their 20’s and 30’s and still foisting their poisonous ideas on us in their twilight days. I solicit for change, real change and not hypocritical change.
•Mr Oyeleye, a poet and novelist, whose photo appears alongside this piece, writes from Ibadan.
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