In this country called Nigeria, our penchant for chasing shadows is legendary. Hardly can you see a Nigerian chasing substance even if it’s for their own good. Secondly, we want quick fixes. Fruits that take three years to mature like Mangoes and eventually fetch more money and you are free from growing it again because it can bear fruits for 30 years once they are properly taken care of will not be of interest to our lazy people. What will be of interest is the cultivation of crops like maize that can be harvested within three months. They don’t have the patience of waiting for 3 years to harvest mangoes that will fetch them money and wouldn’t require regular cultivation. I have inherited mango trees which my father planted 38 years and they are still bearing fruits!
These are idiomatic expressions. The ordinary meaning of what I’m saying is that we believe in quick fixes that do not last long. Right now we are in economic, political and social crisis, but viable solutions that will bring about lasting solutions thereby accelerate our growth and progress are jettisoned and preferring to take measures that will create more problems. We do this because of our selfishness, ethnoreligious bigotry, shortsightedness or downright ignorance.
Unless one is uneducated, an imbecile or is mentally not developed, the world over, everybody knows that once you don’t get it politically, then there is no way you can get it economically, socially; you are not even likely to have peace. Nkwame Nkurmah of blessed memory, the late President of Ghana who was imbued with foresight; a visionary leader realized the potency of fixing the political equation in Africa that was why a long time ago he said:” Seek ye the political kingdom and others shall be added to you.”He was of the view once Africa is not integrated politically, peace, prosperity, and progress will continue to elude us. He with single-mindedness pursue this dream, but it never materializes. More than fifty years after his effort, nothing has changed and because we refused to adopt his thoughts, Africa is worse of in terms political, economic and social progress. It’s the poorest continent despite being the richest in terms of natural resources. It’s the least politically stable continent, full of insecurity, harvesting violence everywhere.
Now let me come to my dear Nigeria. Unless we are living in self-denial or a pack of imbeciles or group of unserious people, we know the major problem of this country is the sharing of power. Once this is not fixed, I bet you we shall continue to harvest economic woes, violence occasioned by insurgency, militancy and other related violence. Instead of us sitting down to chart a realistic, compromised political direction, we rather live in self-denials, chasing shadows and leaving the substance.
How do we share power because a lot of nationalities feel shortchanged and want the piece of the action, while those that have been favored, especially Northerners and the westerners won’t let go their unfair hold on power to the disadvantaged of other nationalities? We must, therefore, address this power arrangement or we continue to harvest disunity, disorder, anarchy, chaos and above all lack of progress with the attendant massive poverty, joblessness, and criminal activities.
Power sharing is not a very difficult matter, it’s not rocket science. A lot of patriotic citizens had offered a way out. The most outstanding of these was postulated by one of the few intellectuals that were in the seat of power, late Chief Alex Ekweume who was the Vice President of Nigeria in the second republic from 1979- 1983. At the 1996 constitutional conference, he made a masterful, eloquent presentation. He was the first person to propose that Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones namely Northwest, North East, Northcentral, South South, South East, South West. He went further that power is to rotate to each of these zones for a period of 5 years. Meaning that a provision will make in the constitution that the president of the federal republic will be elected for only one term of five years and that power will rotate to each of six zones. After 30 years, this power arrangement will be reviewed when each zone would have tested power for one term each. This fantastic idea was killed by Northerners for simple reasons of the monopoly of power. I was irked with the attitude of our brothers in the North because the power arrangements favor them having three geopolitical zones, they could still manipulate power in three zones to favor an entrenched power group. And if understand it this arrangement, after one zone from the north has finished its turn, it will go to the South and after one term in the South, it will still come to the North. It’s not as if power will be in South for 15 years before it comes back to the North.
This realistic, pragmatic, power arrangement would have doused the tension in the country and I believe all the agitations for restructuring, resource control, secession, economic sabotage will all fizzle out, giving room for peace, progress and prosperity to be firmly rooted in our country. But since we have refused to do the needful, so long shall we remain a disunited, chaotic, politically, economically and social stagnant nation. We will continue to harvest violence occasioned by insurgency, militancy, secessionism and other criminal conducts.
We either sit down and put our acts together or sooner than later say bye bye to this country because at the rate we are going this country obituary will come to pass.