What is in Restructuring in The Era of Change in Nigerian Politics
The “Nigerian Project” is a euphemism for how the country could properly be built to ensure that, like a real building project, it shall stand the test of time. Nigeria is a colonial creation, which process brought together motley nationalities and ethnic groups that were at various levels of sophistication in terms of statecraft and the bewildering assets and powers of demographics,especially in an electoral political practice. Obviously, because the colonial process did not bring people of the same level of development together, there has been a great deal of mutual suspicions and misgivings, particularly if the available patrimony can’t get to every community equitably. In other words, in any given public policy in Nigeria, there are always protagonists and antagonists, because it is assumed, ab initio,that one group or the other stands to gain more. This is a fair assumption;but the resultant quest for equity is likely to create its dynamics: if the dynamics are favourable to the greater majority and they are inclusive enough, the country is likely to create bases for consensus, amity, and cooperation that shall conduce to healthy and sustainable development of the country and her people as well as, possibly, democratic politics. On the other hand, if the dynamics are negative, regardless of the ratios affected and their nature or distribution, the results shall be none other than accusations and counter-accusations as well as anarchy, at the most its extreme. It is precisely this latter outcome that was harvested within the first decade of the country’s independence. The country witnessed a civil war, which threatened its territorial integrity and, contrary to expected result, theend of the war also averted that disintegration. Should the country get to the extreme point once again, chances are that it might not survive, if the statement credited to General T. Y. Danjuma (Rtd.) that no country ever survives two civil wars is anything to go by. The issues for this paper, among others, include: what is in this restructuring conceptually? What is going to be the outcome of the restructuring: properly conceptualized and generally accepted as the minimum condition for the sustainability of the nation-state? Will it actually bring out the “Nigerian Project” as a rejuvenated national entity that can at the point of success make the country assume its rightful place in the comity of nations? Or will it eventuate tragically, to bring the “Project” to its long-wished or long-awaited collapse that is in the imagination of the doomsayers a few years ago? In the conjuncture or mantra of change, brought about by the new civil rule that came to office on May 29th, 2015, what are the salient issues about restructuring that some sections of Nigerian society are hankering after, which can and/or cannot be handled within the ambit of the “change” mantra? In other words, how efficacious or otherwise and in what direction could the “change” mantra be put in place to tackle the underlying contradictions in the polity? To be viable, solutions should be found for the challenges that may confront any nation-state, as there is no nation-state that does not have its peculiar headache, after all.
Keywords: restructuring; protagonists; antagonists; change mantra; corruption; federalism; marginalization; and sub-national units