Published On: Sun, Sep 3rd, 2017

Looking forward backward: How southern intellectuals undermine the argument for restructuring

Restructuring has become something many people would love to hate because it conjures all sorts of meanings and imaginations. Issues around it are becoming quite complex and somewhat complicated. President Buhari’s speech the other day has added more obfuscation and ambiguity to the debate. All of this comes from the fact that most people, particularly some southern intelligentsia, do not appreciate and understand sufficiently the significance and enormity of the challenges of nation-building confronting us.
The truth about restructuring is that it is a southern agenda; the north does not need or require restructuring because the present skewed and lopsided political arrangement instituted through a constitution that was deliberated fashioned and foisted on the country to perpetuate domination favours it. Unfortunately, some southern intellectuals – civil society organizations, media, academia and a part of the political class – at best, equivocate on the matter while others, like former governor Adams Oshiohmole, oppose it outright, thus providing rationale and validation for the northern position.
There are some reasons why this is so. First, they have not critically and deeply interrogated the Nigerian situation and its likely future outcomes by assuming the best of fate. This comes from inadequate understanding of historical phenomena, socio-cultural evolutions and political development. Their logic is not only fatalistic but beclouded by and subsumed in contemporary political affinity and affiliations and the advantage it confers, which are transient and temporary without adequate consideration of their long term effects and consequences.
Their argument is often couched in double speak; they pretend to be looking forward by acknowledging the iniquitous and obnoxious structure of the pseudo federalism while simultaneously focusing on the fears of past challenges and how they vitiate any move for a change. This makes light and less an evil present constitutional and political booby traps – seen as a teething process that would soon pass away; it only requires strong leadership and mind reorientation to surmount.
Unfortunately, that would not wish away the danger posed by the current system which are manifesting in various forms and dimensions. The challenge is that we cannot sit tight and wish to be moving forward. We are either looking forward with all its uncertainties as well as opportunities and forgetting the past and what it portended; or we will eventually lose the future by being obsessed with the problems of past experience.
We cannot move forward by looking backward. Life is all about change and only those who embrace change enjoy the benefits it brings. Change comes from learning lessons of the past without letting it become a stronghold by shutting the door on it; change comes from looking critically at the present with all the costs and benefits and stepping forward into the uncharted but limitless open door of the future. Every great individual, organization or society at one point or the other faced this dilemma. What eventually became of them depends on how they responded to the choice.
Southern intellectuals make two basic arguments against restructuring which seem rational and nationalistic, but are indeed self-serving, self-defeating and actually myopic. First, they chorus the position that restructuring is not well defined and means different things to different people. They point to IPOB and Niger Delta militants who insist on independence and resource control respectively as some of the different shades of restructuring. This is sad and intellectually barren.
These groups and tendencies agitating for restructuring are not the problems of Nigeria, but the effects of an unjust and hegemonic system that is not amenable to change. They are only relevant as long as they feed on the oppressive narrative created by the present structure. The solution is to address the cause of their agitation and basis of legitimacy.
Second, they are fringe groups, who though popular, do not represent the majority or main stream positions of the regions. Extremist elements and demagogues are generally popular because they feed on the problems or perceived injustice in society.
The second argument is that regionalism as practiced in the First Republic, which is favoured by most proponents of restructuring, led to the near break-up of the country because the regions were autonomous and powerful enough to challenge the federal government. This is both nonsensical and asinine. It is akin to saying that people should not enter airplanes or vehicles because there had been accidents and people died.
Life does not work that way: The problem of the First Republic was the structure created by the mistake of 1914, which independence tried to gloss over; and the military intervention aggravated. Every generation and historical epoch reserves the right to make their own mistakes and find the political will and courage to correct them. The First Republic leaders tried their hand at nation building and failed; now is our turn. Until we try, there will be no outcome.
A third argument which indeed represents official and northern position is that the unity of the country is not negotiable. At the risk of sounding trite and regurgitating, this is borne of arrogance of power and is not supported by history and legal precedent. Southern Sudan is less than a decade old and used to be part of a country. No country enjoys of luxury of indivisibility forever.
Nigeria’s present structure may be a temporary representation of what the future may look like. Those espousing the inanity of non-negotiability, like our president did in his recent speech, are playing God to decide how and what will happen. It is an absurd proposition in all its ramifications and beyond anyone determination.
America once confronted the evil of slavery in spite of its real threat to its unity and possible break-up of the nation. Such a difficult choice did not stop them from acting; they considered break up a lesser evil than slavery and resolved to stamp out the real evil at whatever cost. By being on the side of justice and human dignity, they had opportunity to save their country.
We can’t shy away from restructuring because of threat of a breakup. Without restructuring a breakup will be inevitable; but with restructuring, there is a possibility that a breakup may be avoided. The present structure is inequitable and programmed to fail which it has. It does not matter how long and hard we try to keep it together or pretend it will not happen, because, as long as it is premised on domination by one part over others, both politically and religiously, the system will eventually consume itself by its own internal contradictions.
History teaches that a people can only endure injustice and domination for as long as it is tolerable; it always has an end. Feudalism, slavery, colonialism and racism were all forms of injustice and domination; they had their time but their end also came. This system of domination will as well end, like it or not!
Note: Read more on blogger/

© 2017, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Python Dance 3: Uwazurike condemns planned military operation in the South East as unnecessary intimidation

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Senior lawyer and president emeritus of Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike has condemned the planned military operation in the South East zone, Python Dance 3, as unnecessary and an attempt to intimidate the people of the zone. Chief Uwazurike who registered his displeasure over the planned military exercise […]

  • Stocks: Oil sector stocks defy economic downturn in 2nd Quarter

    By TESLIM SHITTA-BEY Despite a mild economic recovery in 2018, Oil sector stocks listed on the main board of Nigeria’s stock exchange are only recently shaking off the anguish of last year’s sector melt down. Indeed of the six leading Oil-related companies that have published 2nd quarter results in 2018, Seplat beat the blues by […]

  • Bears clobber Bulls in major rout

    By FELIX OLOYEDE After a stellar 2017, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has collapsed to becoming the fourth worst performing equity market on the global over the last six months as political pressure and a United States of America (USA) interest rate hike intensify investor’s apathy. The local bourse plunged 18.24 per cent over the […]

  • PDP Coalition: anxiety mounts over flag bearer

    By OBINNA EZUGWU With the recent defection of Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the list of anticipated presidential hopefuls under the main opposition party’s platform is complete. But it now faces an imminent danger of being torn apart by the collision of […]

  • H1: Zenith Bank waves the magic wand

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU Despite weak economic tailwinds, Zenith Bank Plc is fashioning a path to stronger corporate earnings in the year 2018. The bank’s management has recently struck a pact with lower operating expenses relative income while putting a spear through the heart of nonperforming loans (NPLs) as the banks half year (H1) 2018 results […]

  • I will disclose my 2019 presidential ambition in due time – Saraki

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said he will tell Nigerians whether or not he will run for president in 2019 when the time is ripe. Saraki who stated this while responding to questions from journalists during his world press conference earlier on Wednesday in Abuja, following Tuesday’s invasion of the National […]

  • 2019 election budget: NASS leadership meets INEC in Abuja

    The leadership of the National Assembly (NASS) is currently in a meeting with the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. The meeting is a special hearing on INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections. The ongoing meeting was also tweeted via INEC’s official handle, @inecnigeria, where it was stated that the meeting […]

  • At last, Senator Akpabio dumps PDP for APC

    Former Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday officially decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Akpabio was welcomed to the ruling party at a rally organised for him by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the APC. Some of the senators in attendance were Abdullahi […]

  • Sack of DSS boss: Osinbajo has made it clear invasion order didn’t come from him – Uwazurike

    Senior lawyer and president emeritus of Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike has commended Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for summoning courage to sack the Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura over Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly, noting that the Acting President, has, by his action, made it clear […]

  • NASS siege: Acting President, Osinbajo sacks DSS boss, Lawal Daura

    Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has sacked the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura following the siege on the National Assembly by security operatives on Tuesday. Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, disclosed Daura’s sacking on his Twitter handle, @akandeoj. He wrote, “AgP Yemi Osinbajo has directed the termination of the appointment of the […]

  • We want to restore Abia to its deserved glory—Otti

    Okey Onyenweaku Dr. Alex Otti, a forefront contestant for the post of Governor of Abia State, yesterday Sunday August 5, 2018 said in Lagos that he was gunning for position of Governor of the State to change the story of the Igbo man in Nigeria and perhaps the world. Otti, who met with friends at […]

  • Stocks: Investors scout for hidden value as market turns bearish

    By TESLIM SHITTA-BEY As Nigeria’s Stock Exchange’s All Shares Index (ASI) dips below a year-to-date yield of zero per cent (-4.58 per cent at the close of the previous week’s business on Friday), a growing number of investors have put gun sights on emerging hidden value opportunities in the market. So far the results have […]

  • Naira remains stable as foreign portfolio investors take lackluster position

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Review of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market in the last one month has revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regular intervention in the market has kept the naira stable as foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) adopt a wait-and-see position in the equities market.  The local currency has been stable within a band […]

  • Saraki’ defection deepens NASS-APC logjam

    …as impeachment plot thickens and lawyers sing discordant tunes By OBINNA EZUGWU Last week, Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, capped what has been days of the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC) unraveling when he finally and formally quit the party for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), taking with him the governor of […]

  • SARAKI: Power, Wealth, Mystic

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Bukola Abubakar Saraki is a political force of nature. His meteoric rise to national prominence in a relatively short time has left even his most ardent critics grudgingly envious of his achievements that have since overshadowed that of his late father, Abubakar Saraki, who bestrode the politics of the North Central State […]

  • Booming oil prices puts Nigeria at risk

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Rising oil prices, once a big blessing may now be a curse for Nigeria, BusinessHallmark findings have revealed. The nation is now daily raking in millions of dollars as proceeds from crude sales due to rising oil prices. Since December 2017, the Brent benchmark oil price has soared by about 40%, to […]