Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates
The foundation of our problems as a Nation is our distorted national Political and Economic Architecture, it sustains vested interests, rewards laziness and places premium on ethnicity over Merit, and this naturally breeds corruption.
However, the direct and indirect beneficiaries of this flawed political-economic structure, choose to continue to turn a blind eye to the futility and folly of trying to maintain such a system, choosing as it were to postpone the evil day; but sooner or later, the chickens will come home to roost, and it is already happening as exemplified by our current economic fortunes nay misfortunes, with the Federal Government of Nigeria having to at some point borrow money to finance its recurrent expenditure and with state governments needing “financial bail-out’s” to meet the most basic of their duties: the payment of worker’s salaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as patriotic and determined as he is, can not succeed in his noble and desirous ambitions of changing Nigeria, under the current political and economic architecture we inherited from the Military Dictators of our chequered past; they are stifling. This military-tailored system, which was designed specifically for the purpose of the maintenance of “Command and Control” is obsolete, and was never intended to deliver the dividends of democracy to the long suffering people of our beautiful and beloved Country, Nigeria.
The people of Nigeria have wallowed long enough at this mountain of stunted development, occasioned by the bequest of a flawed and downright corrupt political-economy bequeathed to us by our military adventurers. If Nigeria is to emerge from the doldrums of darkness, and stagnation, and make meaningful and sustainable progress, then it must do away with all stifling national legislation that sustain and facilitate corruption and inefficiency, while simultaneously inhibiting it’s development as a modern State.
Thus, it behoves on Nigerians to see to the amendment of its Constitution and the adoption of a truly Federal Constitution, that encourages the creation of wealth, rewards hard-work and industry, and places more premium on Competence and Merit rather than fraudulent census figures, religion and ethnicity.
Nigeria’s current quasi-federal nay Unitary 1999 Constitution (as amended),has effectively set Nigeria up for failure and mediocrity. A constitution that ensures that component States remain dependent appendages of Mummy – Federal Government, even at a time, when they are full grown “adult State Governments” that should be catering for themselves, their children (Local Governments) and contributing to the up-keep and welfare of Mummy- Federal Government. Instead, we are treated to the unseemly and abominable sight of adult State Governments fighting over who gets to get the largest share of Mummy Federal Government’s “national cake”.
The foundation of this aberration is effectively captured and provided for by Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which provides thus:
(1) The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
(2) The President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density;
(3) Any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the Federal and State Governments and the Local Government Councils in each State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
(4) Any amount standing to the credit of the States in the Federation Account shall be distributed among the States on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
The foregoing Section of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) effectively turned Nigeria into a Unitary State, and it is the foundation of the lazy mindset of many Governors nay “Stewards” of otherwise co-ordinate component States of the federation; they simply get elected and eagerly await the monthly CREDIT ALERT from Mummy (Federal Government); there is no reason to think creatively or outside the box when there is oil money to be distributed by Law!
The only State that has strived to wean itself off the apron strings of Mummy-Federal Government, is Lagos State, which has greatly increased its internally generated revenue (reportedly generating one billion dollars from taxes in the year 2014 according to the British weekly publication – The Economist) and has since been making considerable and concerted progress at becoming self-sufficient.
However it is to be noted that even Lagos State was forced to look inwards in the year 2004, when the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo withheld its “share” of the Federal Allocations, when the former, in contravention of the wishes of Mummy-Federal Government created additional Local Government Areas. Thus, necessity forced Lagos to grow up and it hasn’t looked back since then.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Nigeria can not achieve its famed great potentials by practicing a corrupt system, a system that rewards the indolent, and punishes the industrious; a society that places more premium on ethnicity rather than merit, no society progresses without Justice and ours is an unjust set up that and supports and facilitates nepotism and corruption. This situation must thus be rectified if we are to survive and thrive as a modern Nation.
President Muhammadu Buhari won the elections on the back of his famed anti-corruption credentials and his integrity, and his actions and statements reveal his aversion for corruption and he is clearly poised to help reset Nigeria to a path of development and progress.
However, in spite of President Buhari’s best efforts to eradicate corruption and place Nigeria on the path of greatness, no matter how concerted, he stands little chance of lasting sustainable success, IF he does not see to the reconstruction of our national political-economic architecture by seeing to the amendment of our Constitution and taking due cognizance of the feelings and thinking of the over 250 distinct ethnic groups in Nigeria who sent in memoranda and Representatives to the 2014 National Conference convened by former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
The perceived disposition of the new administration to discard everything from the past Administration led by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is unhelpful; for all of its gross failings, (and they were many), there were some few positives, such as the Report and Recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, and the amended version of the now famous or infamous Petroleum Industry Bill, (depending on which side of the divide you stand).
The Report and the Recommendations contained in the Report of that Conference may not be perfect, but its nationalistic intent leaves no one in doubt, and within it, we find a sound template for the demolition of this corrupt structure that has stifled our development for decades, and beyond that, we were also given an excellent template for the reconstruction of our national and economic architecture for the attainment of growth and development, under terms that are agreeable to ALL Nigerians who make up this great Country.
It is the considered opinion of this writer, that President Muhammadu Buhari should use his influence and powers as a Nigerian statesman and as President of Nigeria to push for the implementation of the Recommendations of the 2014 National Conference and by necessary extension the amendment of the 1999 Constitution or the enactment of a new and better Constitution, that will form the foundation of a new and progressive Nigeria.
If Nigeria is to continue to survive and if it is to thrive, then we must reconstruct our political architecture and revert to the practice of fiscal Federalism, a system that served us well in the 60’s and 70’s (even if it’s implementation is in to be done in phases and stages), this is the ONLY way Nigeria can make sustainable progress and the only way to administer a multi-ethnic society like ours; and eliminate or reduce to the barest minimum the scourge of nepotism, corruption and the shameful scars of poverty and under-development that dis-figures our national landscape and has turned us into a laughing stock among the comity of nations.
In conclusion, I borrow the words of President Buhari during his inaugural speech, wherein he quoted Shakespare’s “Julius Caesar”, “there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries…We have an opportunity, let us take it. “
A word is enough for the wise.
God bless Nigeria
Sign: Ugochukwu .J. Amasike Esq.