“Federalism” and “restructuring” and related terms are all political jargon. This means they are not so easy to understand by non-specialists and are widely understood by assumption, not fact. Nigeria is a federal republic that practices federalism on paper but is a unitary state in reality because it lacks the provision of autonomy for subnational or federating units. All advanced nations have undergone several phases of restructuring for political, economic or social reasons at different stages in their existence. Many Nigerians are oblivious to the fact that the creation of Lower Niger protectorate by the British, the amalgamation of North and South Nigeria, the institution of the four colonial constitutions for Nigeria and ultimately Independence in 1960, where all cases of restructuring. Oil appears to be the only reason restructuring or federalism looks strange to some in Nigeria. I shall now answer the questions raised in response to Restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?
There is a keen fascination among young men particularly at leading schools and universities around the world with the “captain-pirate” mode of rebellion or disobedience against the injustices and excesses of the status quo in society. This is not surprising. While the literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively, its meaning in the context of fraternal orders of young men is consanguineous with the metaphor of Robin Hood – stealing from the rich or powerful to give to the poor or weak. The young or seasoned pirate, as he solemnly swears at his initiation, under the direction of his captain is thus necessarily an agent of social justice in society. The evolution of the captain-pirate mode of fraternal organisation has failed in Nigeria to remain relevant, even facing obsolescence and has become no better a than a ship that lost its rudder, ripped its sails and steered by the mercy of the tides and winds of the sea. This is tragic since more and more competent actors and voices are needed to help Nigeria’s struggling democracy mature with the hands of the masses holding it. But how have captain-pirate groups in other parts of the world remained very potent political entities in their democratic societies, whether for good or for bad? Continue reading
There are many able Nigerian analysts, commentators, pundits, academics and journalists who have earned a say in the Nigerian political arena; most are insincere, some swing and a few are truthful i.e. in their evaluations of state of political realities and performances of governments and their principals. All performances do have a benchmark for its measurement to be valid. It is then amazing to many how a president could score 50% on education or 60% on health or 50% on the economy without a consistent robust and accessible benchmark or any sensible work done. Spontaneously made up or believed in performance ratings are delusional but facts and figures are hard to find, by routine governance choice. A rule of thumb benchmark that accurately determines the ethos, vision and energy expended by a African government or leader on domestic governance is sufficiently expressed not by a great book, great paper or great teaching but by a terse insightful unequivocal musing of George Ayittey in The Strange Case of Xenophilia that is very easily supported by metrics. Continue reading