This Opinion piece is a rejoinder of support for the Editorial of The Guardian, Newspaper of September 26, 2013 titled “The Imperative of National Dialogue”. This well researched editorial should not be allowed to become another “read and throw away” on the matter as Nigeria’s continued survival as a Nation State in unity, peace and making progress, depends on it. A National Dialogue of the true representatives of Nigeria’s over 200 ethnic Nationalities, is what is urgently required to return accountability in Government, to bring a new leadership in Government, to bring back true Federalism and to ensure the productivity of the economy, accountability as a serious instrument to prevent or fight the prevailing endemic corruption in the Polity and generally to address the current Nigeria’s existential Nightmare.
The past political developments and historic events witnessed by Nigeria since 1914, have made Nigeria a laughing stock in the World. The above issues are what make the National Dialogue of Nigeria’s constituent ethnic Nationalities not only imperative but urgent and immediate. Whatever happens, Nigeria must not be allowed to fail or disintegrate into its component parts, which the Failure to restructure into True Federalism is certain to bring about now or later. It is interesting to note, as reported in the Newspapers, that the Presidency under His Excellency Dr. G.E Jonathan and the Leadership of the National Assembly, are now “inclined”, albeit reluctantly, on the necessity for a National Dialogue.
As someone who has lived for over 75 years on Planet Earth, one sees the reported statements credited to Mr. President (Goodluck E. Jonathan), and the Leader of the National Assembly (Senator David Mark, Senate President ) in the light of Comrade Governor Adams Oshimole’s Statement, in his reported Conversation with The Guardian of Sunday, of 29 September, 2013, namely, “When people talk of Revolution, you have seen even conservative elements, including those who can be said to be responsible for the mess, that Nigeria as a Nation is in, out of frustration, having now seen the mess themselves, say that a Revolution is inevitable”.
Is it not begging the question or missing the point to deny that the challenges of current political instability, the political insecurity including the vicious and destructive Boko Haram insurgency, the ethnic nationality militant Separatist Movements, the “turn by turn” political maneuvering among the constituent ethnic Nationalities to grab and control the very Powerful Federal(Central) Government, the Collapse of education values, standards and institutions in Nigeria, the joblessness and poverty, etc., in the midst of plenty in Nigeria, have their origin on the skewed federal structure of Nigeria, since the end of the Civil War of 1967-1970? Is it not also true that Nigeria’s current Political chaotic situation and economic underdevelopment impasse/ crushing poverty in Nigeria, began effectively in 1970, when by Military fiat, the Terms of a true federation negotiated and agreed to, by our founding fathers, namely, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, respectively,in 1951-1954, were dismantled and replaced by the military, in 1970 to set up a quasi-unitary federal(central) government, away from its earlier responsibility of common services for the nation as operated from 1952-1965 into a very powerful and very attractive federal (central) government, vested with all the executive and administrative control measures of governance in Nigeria, to undermine the autonomy of the federating regional units, which create wealth for Nigeria? That is why the vociferous cry of concerned Nigerians, has continued with “Restructure into a True Federation or see Nigeria disintegrate into its component parts”.
The “inclined” face change of Mr. President and the Leadership of the National Assembly, now under PDP / President Goodluck Jonathan watch, should not be seen as an act of favour or magnanimity for Nigerians, who have been bearing the brunt of Nigeria’s frightening challenges / travails of political instability, joblessness, insecurity, economic underdevelopment and poverty, but that of bold and courageous acceptance (albeit reluctantly) of the Reality of a National Dialogue to prevent Nigeria from collapse or disintegration. Is it conceivable, as the current 2011-2014 National Assembly Leadership seems to believe, namely that the on-going self-serving “hocus-pocus” in the National Assembly, in the name of Constitutional Review, can address the intractable chaotic Political impasse and the frightening insecurity threatening Nigeria’s collapse? What is now required, in my view, is not another Debate and or Political rhetorics, as Nigerians have talked enough, but immediate and speedy planning, convening and execution of a National Dialogue of the True representatives of all Nigeria’s constituent ethnic Nationalities (both with large and small populations) to address and resolve peacefully, the following contending Grave Issues, namely:
• All Nigerians whether they are Hausa- Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Nupe, Ijaw and many others with smaller populations, fully accepting and internalizing the fact that Nigeria is a Federation of diverse ethnic and multi-religious Nationalities and not of geographical regions of North, South, East and West, nor of Religious Faiths(Christian, Moslem, Animists and Ancestor Worshipers and what have you ) and certainly not of Administrative Units or States(current Nigeria’s 36 states federation are mere administrative units), but simply a federation of Nigeria’s constituent ethnic Nationalities namely, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani,Kanuri, Ibibio, Efik, Ijaw, Edo, Nupe, Tiv, among others with smaller populations), to serve as a basis for establishing federating units or states,
• A federal system, that restructures the imposed quasi-Unitary Government now euphemistically called Federal Government so that Federating Units or consenting Federating ethnic Nationalities are sufficiently viable and sufficiently powerful to control the natural resources within their domains, to develop at their own pace and factor endowments, and to control the education of all Nigerian citizens within their domain, and within the Federal (Central) Government which is not so powerful and not so attractive to undermine the autonomy of the federating units to avoid fanning Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversity into destructive competition to grab and control the Federal (Central) Government, and in particular, where the Federal (Central) Government itself returns unequivocally to its own mutually agreed Common Services for the Nation State of Nigeria, as was the case at 1952-1965 Constitutions, now dismantled by Military fiat since 1970 following the end of the Civil War, Is this not what the most constituent Nigeria’s ethnic Nationalities have been agitating / crying for, since the end of the Civil War?
• A federal arrangement that jettisons the unsustainable geographical zonal federal structure of Northern Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria and Western Nigeria, which operated from 1952-1965 Constitutions of three (3)dominant major population ethnic nationality power blocks led by Hausa- Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba ethnic Nationality led Federating Regional Governments in which the aspirations and political interests of the ethnic nationality minority population groups within their domains, were given little or no attention, and or ignored, a situation that gave rise to Adaka Boro insurgency of February 23, 1966,Tiv Riots and a Civil War of 1967-1970, respectively,
• A federal arrangement which makes it unattractive and therefore unnecessary for the cut throat competition among the three(3) major population of Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba, respectively or any other ethnic Nationality for that matter, to control and grab the now very powerful Federal (Central) Government, which was the primary / main cause of the destructive Civil War of 1967- 1970 and the current separatist Movements and ethnic Nationality battles of Marginalization, Islamization, Christianization and the prevailing chaotic Political Situation in Nigeria,
• A federal arrangement that effectively addresses the vociferous cry of marginalization /subjugation by various Nigeria’s constituent ethnic Nationality groups,
• A federal arrangement that takes due notice of the serious message namely that no Nigeria’s ethnic Nationality (large or small) is willing and ready to lose its ethnic Identity in Nigeria Nation State and or to be under the control of any other ethnic Nationality no matter how large or powerful in a Federal Structure of Nigeria,
• A Federal arrangement that appreciates the absurdity of artificial State creation, now36 States, in which homogenous ethnic Nationalities such as Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba, respectively are split into States to serve as Federating Units, now really mere administrative units, under the control of very powerful Federal (Central) Government which action has set up Nigeria’s Federation not only with the most unique Structure but also a most expensive, corrupt, insecure , unstable and uncreative Federation in World history , United Kingdom for example is a Federation of England, Scotland and Wales which lived independently as Nations in one big Island called Great Britain but which fused into one Kingdom in 1707 in order to resolve peacefully into one United Kingdom of Great Britain through a Peace Treaty in 1707 and now making great progress as one Nation State.
• A Federal arrangement which takes due note of a comprehensive Article by Felix N. C. Oragwu, titled, “History a Cue for National Dialogue” which was published in the Opinion Page of The Guardian Newspaper Lagos of Wednesday, 10, July 2013, Thursday 11, 2013, and Friday, 12, July 2013, respectively, which detailed the historic Events that led to the current Nigeria’s Political, Insecurity, Poverty, Technological and Economic underdevelopment Nightmare. is not another Debate and or Political rhetorics, as Nigerians have talked enough, but immediate and speedy planning, convening and execution of a National Dialogue of the True representatives of all Nigeria’s constituent ethnic Nationalities (both with large and small populations) to address and resolve peacefully, the following contending Grave Issues, namely:
• All Nigerians whether they are Hausa- Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Nupe, Ijaw and many others with smaller populations, fully accepting and internalizing the fact that Nigeria is a Federation of
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