NIGERIA now has a new President in waiting – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – as well as 109 and 306 newly elected or re-elected Senators and House of Representatives members (exempting those inconclusive). Come May 29, 2023, the new President will take Oath of Office and assume power while the 10th legislative assembly commences soon after the 9th must have run its full course by 11th June, 2023. While congratulating the President-elect and incoming assembly members, appeal goes to all losers to be of good democratic conduct and always act within the ambits of the rule of law; same goes to all citizens across the winners/losers divides. Serving the people, if that was the genuine intention, is not a do-or-die affair, and doesn’t happen only when in power.
Eight years ago, we were similarly here, with a much more unifying, all-embracing and comprehensive victory for “Change” that swept in a Buhari Messiah, our own “Retired General” to the Rescue in the mould of Charles De Gaulle, Winston Churchill, et al, in Asiwaju Tinubu’s words; and why not? Buhari was, unlike defeated Jonathan, a General of the Army, and once upon a time a Commander-In-Chief, so our insecurity challenges would surely soon be a thing of the past! Buhari was once a Petroleum Minister when our refineries were built, and had been CEO of the Petroleum Trust Fund that performed certain wonders with oil money, so our refineries would soon work again and more would be built, and with that, the economic sector would witness unprecedented profitable rebirth and growth, with energy overflow and super exchange rate for the Naira. Buhari’s Spartan life and integrity itself bellies the death of corruption, which he would soon kill before it killed us; those standing in the way will overfill our prisons. So was the euphoria eight years ago. To God be the glory at least that some of us priviledged to survive are living witnesses to what played out till date!
Eight years is a long but short time, much else eight years in democratic life. Because we have descended into sorry unitary system with an almighty president whose powers at the centre are next to God while the Governors are demigods in their states, it is possible for a President, visionary or malevolent, to significantly impact the life of the country positively or disastrously, which is why the contest to be President is almost do-or-die. However, with due respect to our Nigerian messianic fixations, capacity and possibility of a truly visionary president, the odds of significant positive impact are slim indeed once you get out of messianic mode and look deeply into the big picture; one, the place of Nigeria in the international order; two, the structure of Nigeria, which makes good governance almost impossible.
Have a few questions to highlight above two factors. How can a Governor who is Chief Security Officer of a State not have control of the police force in his State? Why must a village woman who desires to bag and sell sachet water to school children in Otuoke have to register at a CAC, Abuja if she ever wants to be recognised as a business venture? Will Japan look on happily, not to mention support us, to develop capacity to make Hondas and Toyota automobiles here (for us and sub regional market), so that its own labour force will become unemployed and its economy go down?
While ways to freedom from foreign suppression exist for every determined nation with great leadership, and Rwanda and Indonesia are just two examples, the first step is the return to a governance and democratic structure that makes production of good leaders and citizens possible and sustainable. A fake FEDERAL system and a people willing to resort to anything for survival but a desire to change the damning structure upon which their entire polity rests will not lead anywhere but to persistent motion without movement, and possible end in the abyss; in four or eight years, God forbid, we are simply likely to be back to today if we did not return to genuine Federalism, and no Governor or President can be blamed for our woes, except for the fact that he/she did not support and work for restructuring!
When the governorship/State Houses of Assembly elections are over by March 11, 2023, may Nigerians begin to get it into their minds that reliance on oil money sharing in a fake federal system (in an entity that is “a mere geographic expression”) will lead nowhere whosoever the personality in charge is, unless that personality is committed to restructuring the country. More importantly, may Nigerians have the courage to organise and struggle for restructuring of the country to a genuine FEDERAL REPUBLIC whosoever be for or against it among the power elites! It is possible in a gradual and rancour free mode within 4-year tenure and is without doubt the ultimate solution to almost all our crises. Let us pray it will happen under the watch of the victorious man now centrally in charge.