RESTRUCTURING: TOWARDS NIGERIA’S SECOND INDEPENDENCE by Feyisade Charles Adeyemi

A Yoruba adage says that after your parents birth you, you will have to reborn yourself later on. In the same vein, Jesus is reported in the bible to have told his disciples and followers that they needed to be born anew. This of course was a problematic idiom and for many people, it still is quite a riddle. People wonder how a full grown adult would enter his mother's womb for a rebirth but of course the rebirth is not a biological one. Similarly, Nigeria had been born of a British parentage at independence in 1960. Though it was imperfect, she nevertheless started off with a great British heritage in form of her national structure and constitution. A regional system, a parliamentary system all the great elements were in the mix. Nigeria however quickly proved to be an adventurous if not wayward child.

Even before her teenage, she had begun to act like the prodigal son. She had jettisoned both of the two loftiest British heritage she was bequeathed at birth. Off goes the parliamentary system of government and the regional system of government. This perhaps was only the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery. A dangerous journey that led through a brutal civil war and numerous ethnic skirmishes to the very edge of self-destruction where she is presently hanging on to a tiny thread of forceful coexistence amongst the ethnic nationalities that make up the country.

Under this situation, Nigeria is gasping for breath to survive as a country, to survive from collapsing under its own weight. A country of enviable potentials, blessed with some of the best in human and natural resources is suddenly at the mercy of less endowed countries who provide her with loans and aid in various ways. Just at this precipice however, Nigeria actually stands at a juncture where if the drivers take the right turn, she might be birthed anew.

More and more people are discovering and realising having analysed history and observed present realities. Having carried out comparative studies with other countries. An old consensus is reemerging and growing progressively. The older people are remembering the beauty of a parliamentary system of government as practised in the Nigeria of yore. The younger people are discovering the beauty of a parliamentary system as the British Parliament style of debating is spreading and trending across universities throughout the country. Various groups are calling for restructuring to restore this princely style of government called parliamentary system.

In like manner, regional governance is reemerging in the discus. The older people are full of nostalgia about the giant strides of Nigeria during the days of regional system. Knowledge can no longer be hidden and younger people are discovering the history about how the premiers of each region built most of the infrastructure that is now called federal, in Nigeria. People from all regions are calling for a return to true federalism, they are calling for an end to the Unitarianism that is masked as federalism today. The drivers of Nigeria are waking up as the storms hit the ship of state on this voyage of self-discovery. As they are waking up, they are taking turns to seek a return to sanity. A return to regional system and to parliamentary system. The drivers of Nigeria are discovering that the young people who are old enough to vote, are also not too young to run. The drivers of Nigeria are discovering that if they come together to form a powerful alliance, to organize and reorganize themselves politically, there is no battle for the salvation of Nigeria, that cannot be won. The drivers of Nigeria are discovering on this arduous journey of national self-discovery, that at the end of the day, what really matters is our humanity. The drivers of Nigeria are discovering that Nigeria has a big role to play in the destiny of the brown (so-called black) people. The drivers of Nigeria are discovering that Nigeria like the prodigal son, would need to retrace her steps and make amends. To restructure and to embrace meritocracy and justice. To be reborn via restructuring and to become independent from the artificial shackles she has strung around her own neck. The drivers of Nigeria are not the usual suspects - the leaders. The drivers of Nigeria are the masses themselves and as they are awakening, so are the leaders adjusting. May the awakening birth successfully, a truly independent Nigeria.

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