In 2015 the present calamitous regime of Muhammadu Buhari sneaked into power hugely because of the massive failure of political intelligence, reflection, and analysis. Put in another way, this six-year-old deadly regime was made flesh amongst us because of populist political miscalculations led by internal and external groups whose sole mantra was: “anything but Jonathan”.
Yes, the massive and uncontrolled corruption under Jonathan’s government, and the desperate determination to remove him and his accomplices, led to a distraction that gave way for the worst and most tragic regime in Nigeria’s history, to sneak into power. The massive intellectual relapse among even the vibrant Nigerian media helped to give way to the catastrophe the country faces today. This is not to underrate the propagandist machinery of a lurid political conglomerate known as APC which constituted the centripetal force and magnet that squeezed the greater intelligentsia into an intellectual stupor. Previously known critical thinkers were hypnotised just because of “anything but Jonathan”, and this led to consistency in asking the wrong questions and receiving the wrong answers.
So, the lack of focus and critical thinking led to the sale of Buhari as integrity plus; led to the amnesia about his previous cruel and unpleasant antecedents in 1984/85; led to the general view of the homosapien as a godsend, and led to the lack of connection of dots between this man and terror groups. The undemocratic and rigged political procedure that brought Buhari to power in 2014, was re-enforced in 2019 as the authoritarian man was already in power and used the power of incumbency to normalise all unrighteousness.
A similar distraction is now wholly present in Nigerian polity today, as the demand and debate for restructuring rages across the country. Just as the country concentrated and focused on “anything but Jonathan”, in 2015 (which led to the arrival of catastrophe), they are again focusing on restructuring believing that it will be the best thing that will happen to Nigeria since the invention of sliced bread, leaving the bigger and more realistic option of the total division of the country, to another intellectual cooler. While the “anything but Jonathan” focus in 2015 led to the emergence of the current acute disaster, the focus on “restructuring”, is blocking the emergence of prosperity, peace and progress that will follow a divided Nigeria. I repeat, today’s obsession with elusive restructuring is hugely beclouding the larger picture, of prosperous nations, that will emerge under a divided Nigeria.
In other words, while the distraction in 2015 led to the emergence of the tragedy we currently face, the focus on restructuring today, will lead to the prevention of independence and prosperity of nations caged in Lugard colony. Restructuring Nigeria as it currently stands is unachievable, unrealistic, deceptive, dishonest and unworkable. The demand for restructuring is a total waste of time. Why? Let me explain.
The Aburi accord was one of the most far-reaching restructuring agreements ever made by Nigerians and brokered between two Nigerian “parties”. The accord was reached in Ghana in January 1967 following a meeting between the federal regime led by General Gowon on one side, and the Eastern region (Biafra) led by Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, on the other side. The accord embodied agreement that made the concurrence of regional governor’s mandatory for any major decisions taken at the centre and included repeal of all decrees which detracted from powers of regional governments. The accord virtually translated to confederacy. A great restructuring.
However, delegates of the then federal regime had other plans on return from Aburi to Lagos, as they reneged on the agreement by introducing sloppy and dishonest interpretation of the accord in decree 8 of 1967. Gowon’s federal regime flanked by northern and southern accomplices aborted the accord.
Prior to Aburi accord, it is worth noting that the 1963 constitution which accorded regional governments the power to produce, sell, earn and develop from within their regions, was a major restructure of the preceding constitution. However, Ironsi had other plans as he abrogated the constitution with decree 34 which obliterated the existing federal structure and birthed a unitary system.
Since the 80’s and 90s there have been resemblances of attempts at restructuring, but fast forward a little further to 2014; the national political conference organised by President Jonathan was another futile restructuring effort that cost about 7 billion naira and produced about 600 restructuring resolutions, including the scrapping of the current 774 local authorities, “to save money and reduce corruption”, creation of 18 new states to ensure equity and reduction of federal share of the national revenue, rotational presidency, to instil a sense of belonging, and creation of state police. The conference was described in Vanguard online as “one of the boldest attempts in appraising the operational structure and system on which the country is run”, and Zamani Lekwot referred to it as “the real formula to restructure the country”. Nevertheless, Jonathan’s successor Muhammadu Bafallaje, had other plans. He dismissed the confab report and reportedly said that it belonged to the archives and would remain there. The report yet became another casualty of entrenched and selfish opposition to restructuring. Another restructuring effort thwarted, ended, killed, stopped, dead on arrival.
In another attempt at restructuring, the governor of Kaduna State headed an APC restructuring committee that traversed all over Nigeria and eventually presented what was hailed as a fantastic proposal. However, the report has been tagged an attempt by APC (which had restructuring as a major element in their 2014 manifesto), to deceive Nigerians who have been clamouring for restructuring. Again, the body language of the regime since receiving the report, does not indicate a promise to treat the report better than the contempt showed Jonathan’s confab report. Yet, another attempt at restructuring, albeit dishonest; thrashed and dumped.
In May 2021, 17 southern governors, among other notable resolutions of their famous Asaba meeting, demanded the restructuring of the country. In reaction, the “presidency”, declared Asaba declarants, irresponsible, and enemies of the people. In fact, the senate president Ahmad Lawan “cautioned state governors…..against joining agitations for secession or restructuring of the country”. Mr Lawan and the presidency’s aggressive reactions against Asaba restructuring resolution, indicate that both the leaders of the legislature and the executive were and remain opposed to restructuring.
So, why have most major attempts and calls to restructure failed?
The answer lies in the fallacy of one Nigeria. Anti-restructuring feelings are anchored on a fake “one Nigeria” ideology aimed at continued expropriation of Niger Delta resources. Without Niger Delta oil and gas, they will easily agree to outright Yugoslavianisation of the country. Moreover, the powers that be, are aware that extreme nepotism as practised by Buhari regime and attendant terrorist franchises that currently ravage the country cannot survive or thrive in a restructured Nigeria. Therefore, most northern elite fingered in these vices continues to oppose and thwart the idea and efforts aimed at restructuring the country and pretend they neither know nor understand the meaning of restructuring. Could someone please redirect them to Aburi Accord, 1963 constitution, 2014 Confab report, and Rufai report, to help to cure them of their hypocrisy and deceit.
More reasons while restructuring will not happen is because a restructured Nigeria will not leave terrorist herdsmen un-arrested, unprosecuted and untried; a restructured Nigeria will not allow a lopsided pursuit of regional freedom fighters by a corrupt, unjust and nepotistic regime; a restructured Nigeria will not leave 90% of minerals found in a particular region under the control of 90% of non-natives of the regions; a restructured Nigeria will not allow only 3% equity in petroleum and gas investments for indigenes of oil-producing states while granting 30% equity for exploration in arid parts of the country; a restructured Nigeria will not permit or tolerate the idea that terrorist bandits are in business; a restructured Nigeria will not allow the release of arrested terrorists without prosecution or trial; and a restructured Nigeria will resist manual transmission of electronic votes in elections.
So, let’s put it this way; restructuring is unachievable and unrealisable because of entrenched mendacities and powers currently on the side of the vices listed above who will rather die than see the country restructured. The history of restructuring failure in Nigeria is the history of appeasement of selfish northern vices. The continued demand for restructuring is therefore time-wasting and remains a myth and mirage in the circumstances.
However, the entrenched institutions, values, voices and attitudes that make restructuring impossible, make the outright dissolution of the country inevitable. The solution is the outright disintegration of Nigeria. The country is not one, has never been one, and will never be one. The country is as diverse in values and beliefs as it is in educational background, religion and language. It is therefore necessary that all energies being exerted towards the demand for restructuring should be wholly donated towards the pursuit of total and peaceful dissolution of the country into independent sovereign states. The most glaring states to emerge are Biafra, Oduduwa, Middle Belt, and Arewa States. This is the reality that should befall the artificial distorted entity. The emergence of these independent states will lead to peace, progress, prosperity, and stability among the peoples of the states. This is where Nigerians should devote their energies. It is realisable because the East, West and Middle Belt are already sensitized and in the mood for independence. This means that none of them is ready to fight against the other as they all have the same aim. Independence via referendum.
By Austin Aneke