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By Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia
Happy Independence Day Nigeria!! Not Quite… After 59 Years, It Should Be, Wake Up, Nigeria
“No matter how far one has travelled on a wrong road, to reach destination, one must evaluate the cost, do a turnaround, and travel right… But it takes humility and sacrifice to do so.” – CMN JNR.
“A Cyclist with a functional bicycle will outpace a Formula One Motor Racer with a dysfunctional Car, no matter how hard the Racer tries, only a functional vehicle can do the job.” -CMN JNR.
I truly won’t say HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY NIGERIA, I’m not saying HAPPY ANNIVERSARY either, no I won’t, and it has nothing to do with Buhari and the failures of the present watch. No. But it has everything to do with the failure of the Nigerian State as presently composed and constituted.
When I WAIL, I do not wail against the APC or pro the PDP, I wail for our nation, indeed a nation with the greatest potentials for greatness but greatly poor and greatly dysfunctional.
I WAIL because we are constantly and consistently lying to ourselves. We live in denial and politic with just about everything including the life of a nation presently on Life Support Machine, or how else will you evaluate a nation with the level of bloodshed and bloodletting as ours, with citizens being abducted and sold as slaves in the 21st century, with kidnap for ransom as a thriving concern, with ethnic and regional separatism gaining fervency, and rather than call mayday and urgently attend the present challenge, partisans delusively politic with 2023 as trophy, and hail HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to a beleaguered people and a beleaguered nation.
What’s there to be happy about a 59years old nation with a dysfunctional constitution, without national harmony, without a 21st century compliant educational and health care infrastructure, without love and brotherhood, with hate and ethnic and religious conflict everywhere, without justice, equity and fairness, and with politics lacking in compassion, lacking in passion, lacking in patriotism, and lacking in prolific policy programmatic.
Why do we lie to ourselves, why do we love the tranquilizing drug of gradualism, and why can’t we admit first, that it isn’t working, and rather than say HAPPY INDEPENDENCE, make a WAKE UP call, for all hope is not lost, indeed ‘hope is the last milk in the human breast’ apologies to Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“If the foundation (structure) be destroyed (faulty, defective, unstable) what can the righteous (Good men/women, patriots) do?” -The Holy Book.
It is an incontrovertible truism that no degree and amount of political and economic talk shops and talk shows, no assemblage of economic experts and anti corruption paladins, no commitment by the ruling class can achieve set goal without first a structural cum foundational rework of the Nigerian State.
NIGERIA must do the needful, and the needful is a tripartite normative. I pray we can collectively grapple with it, and set out urgently to save our Country from the imposing precipice. We can stem the present kamikaze drift of the ship of the Nigerian State, if we walk the following TRIANGLE.
- NATIONAL ATONEMENT AND INDEMNITY.
Since the collapse of the First Republic through the January 1966 Coup and the July 1966 revenge coup, the 1966 and 1967 pogrom, and the attendant Civil War, Nigeria has become a theatre of bloodshed and bloodletting, and whether you believe it or not, one unjust blood spilled opens the doorway to bloodshed and bloodletting, it is cosmic, it is karmic, it is retributive, it is punitive and it is the law of God and of nature. Boko Haram, the Murderous and Marauding Herdsmen, the Bloodletting Bandits, the Kidnappers and the very many violent crimes and criminals that liter our space are but fruits of the wild seed we sowed. We cannot stop the fulminating cataclysmic bloodletting in the land by use of force, every government since the collapse of the First Republic failed woefully in the area of protecting lives and property, indeed it is getting worse with successive leadership, and will continue until the needful is done.
The hate, bitterness, wickedness, unprovoked violence, banditry, brigandage, and bile of revenge and revanchism that liter the land stems from the cord of brotherhood that we tore in the horrendous bloodshed of the mid and late sixties. For peace, NIGERIA must atone and indemnify the atrocious murder of her citizens including women and children. We must reprogram the Nigerian State.
Every nation that fought a gruesome war be it Civil, Racial or Ethnic, undertook well defined redemptive indemnity to break the blinding spell that stems from the spilling of innocent blood. NIGERIA must do the same, we must atone and indemnify the atrocious carnage of the Nigerian State, and liberate leadership to proactive progressive thinking and action, and there are several ways to do so, but I can’t detail them out here because of space.
In the United States the Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the several integrative actions, memorials and memorabilia were indemnities and redemptive protocols. If you know, you know.
In South Africa the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Rainbow Cabinet of Nelson Mandela which included even Ministers from the Party that jailed him for 27years were redemptive. If you know, you know.
Switzerland after several Civil Wars reworked her system to attend the injustices that led to the many carnage that troubled her space. If you know, you know.
There is no going forward without liberating a ‘kindred spirit’ over this nation. Ignore same to our collective peril.
Nigeria can do well to set up a NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION to pursue this.
- A NEW CONSTITUTION/RESTRUCTURING AND A REWORK OF THE PRESENT ESTATE.
If you like get a thousand Obasanjos, a thousand Jonathans, a thousand Buharis, a thousand Progressives, or a thousand Atikus, Nigeria as presently composed and constituted will continue to fail, falter and flounder.
You cannot make an unwieldy, cumbersome and meddlesome Federal government effective. You cannot have 66 or so items in the Exclusive Legislative list for the National Assembly and the Federal government to grapple with, and 18 or so in the Concurrent list for the States and in some cases the Federal Government to grapple with, and a few others in the Residual list, and expect progress. We must devolve power to the States/Regions, we must have fiscal federalism and resource control, we must have State and Community Policing, if this enterprise must function for growth and progress.
Our Constitution must do away with religion, if a State wants Sharia it can legislate on it for her people. The way the Nigerian constitution has no provision for Christianity and any other religion, it should have nothing to do with Sharia. Christianity, Islam and other religions must be treated as personal. And our Constitution must provide equal opportunities for all Nigerians irrespective of creed or clan.
The Federal Government should hands-off Roads, Power/Electricity, Mines and Mineral Resources, Education, Agriculture, Petroleum et al and allow the States to run, prospect and control their resources, and pay specific percentage to the Federal Government to run Defense, Foreign Policy, Currency, Customs and Immigration, that way the Federal Government will be more effective, and the States healthily competitive, and that way the Nigerian State will be successful and prosperous.
If we want to see the return of the wealth from Cocoa, from the pyramids of groundnut and grains, from Palm Fruits and Oil, from Timber and Plywood, and if we want this nation to be great again, knowing that no State or region is without sufficient natural and human resources, then we must collectively advocate the urgent rework of this dysfunctional super structure.
This can be achieved by a serious government in either of three ways. One, through a sincere and a law enabled National Conference. Two, through a comprehensive Constitutional Amendment programmatic by the National Assembly. And three, through a Sovereign National Conference comprising the National Assembly membership, the leaders of the Civil Society and prominent leaders of Ethnic Nationalities alike. Head or tail the Nigerian structure must be reworked for progress and prosperity. To politic with this reality and expect magic is delusional.
- A NATIONAL VISION/IDEOLOGY
The Nigerian State must create a national vision and pursue same. The Federal Character normative must be made to work for excellence. And instead of the present Quota System normative, States must declare a state of emergency in areas of weakness. The Nigerian State must break down all walls that engender ethnic, religious and regional advantage of any part over the others, for a nation built on justice, equity and fairness will most definitely be effective, efficient and effectual.
The National Orientation Agency and the Federal Character Commission must work in synergy with the Government to pursue a national vision, and along with the media and other public spirited organizations deepen the national vision, such that truly and indeed though tongue and tribes differ we can stand in brotherhood.
Compatriots at 59 mine is a WAKE UP call to leadership and to the masses, we must RISE UP to do the needful so NIGERIA can be great again. I love you all.
God Bless Nigeria.
Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr
Convener COUNTRYFIRST MOVT.