After several failed attempts to amend the 1999 constitution, what transpired last week in the two chambers of the National Assembly as the nation journeyed to a crucial constitutional amendment fall short of the earnest expectations of Nigerians. The process was a reflection of an elitist mentality. An insatiable quest to cling on to power at all cost typical of the present crop of politicians. The Nigerian elites ably represented by the National Assembly triumphed by subverting the wishes and desire of majority of Nigerians while they jealously guarded their vital areas of interest. Out of twenty-seven proposals presented for amendment before the two chambers of National Assembly for voting, devolution of powers which is one issue very germane to the sustenance of democracy and entrenchment of true federalism failed to scale through. Although some items like reduction of ages for political contestation which scaled through are equally essential to strengthening democracy, they lack the propelling force to speedily do so. They succeeded in postponing the evil day and squandered a once in a life time opportunity offered our generation to stand out as those who sowed the seed of enduring democracy in Nigeria. The impression people had before now that the eighth National Assembly will be different was completely dashed. With the precious time and enormous financial resources ploughed into the amendment of the constitution, it was ridiculous for the National Assembly to come out with such an awkward weak pass. Some would aver that constitutional amendment is a journey but nothing actually stops all the twenty seven proposals from scaling through if we are ready as a nation to develop democratically. It took more than sixteen years to scratch the surface of the impediments to enduring democratic experience, how many more years would it take for another holistic amendment? Our greatest undoing is the culture of attending to political exigencies in piece-meal.
Nigeria is an elitist creation designed to feather the nest of a group – call them politicians, bourgeoisies, or god-fathers if you like; who have grown obese from pillaging our collective till. These groups of people are the problem with Nigeria. They are the capitalists and the economic hit men who have balkanised the nation and her resources at our collective peril. They foisted on the nation an awkward system beneficial to them and to their generations unborn. No President, governor, Minister, Senator, a member House of Representatives, state House of Assembly and those who earlier held political positions would easily and willingly accede to restructuring which will deprive him of his almighty political power, position and relevance in the society. These set of people will not fold their hands and only watch when the power of manipulating elections, perks of in and out of office, fraudulently acquired wealth, landed property and oil wells are about slipping off their hands. They will pull all the strings at their disposal against any obstacle to sustaining their relevance. Some believe that God has a purpose for making Nigeria one entity despite differences in tradition, culture and religion. But God’s design should not be subjected to injustice. It serves no one any good especially those who believe in maintaining the statusquo to raise standards against genuine drive for restructuring Nigeria.
The demand for restructuring is not necessarily a battle between different regions, religion or ethnic groups in the country. It is a do-or-die contest between political elites on one hand and the ordinary, poor and good people of Nigeria on the other who are fed up with failed promises and the ugly trend of events. The apparent resistance to change and infusion of ethnic sentiments to virtually stall restructuring stems from the fear of losing control of available resources, economic and or political equation by the hyenas and jackals. In all honesty, the current socio-political and economic structure of Nigeria is a contributory factor to the prevalence of poverty and non-achievement of the highly expected meaningful development. The message of perpetual enslavement of Nigerians has resonated from both chambers of the National Assembly. Since independence, a skewed political structure sustained by the elitist contraption has given a clique the edge to dominate the political space. It is a political cycle which takes them from the Houses of Assembly through the Representatives; then from House of Representatives to the Senate and from Senate to the governorship and back to the Senate for retirement. There is this general apprehension among Nigerians that it can no longer be business as usual. However, those who benefit from the spoils of our nationhood see no reason why the bar of democratic values, ideal and institutions should be raised in their own time. They succeeded in planting seeds of discord amongst us and left us a divided nation where various ethnic nationalities have ceaselessly dealt with each other with high level of suspicion and acrimony.
There is glaring evidence of deprivation, exclusion, resentment and anger, frustration, displeasure from one region to the other. We are taken hostage by those who we had surrendered our democratic mandate to not too long ago. They wield absolute powers and are currently blinded by their avarice to sustaining such political powers. Nigeria is presently sitting on a keg of gun powder and apparently in dilemma on how to convince or cajole her citizens to remain one united, indivisible entity or split. The prerequisite for even development of nations stems from adherence to rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance, initiation of people-oriented-policies and programmes, love for each other, fairness, justice, equity, equality, compromise, consensus etc on matters of the state. The above fibres for rapid growth and development must be cultivated to erase suspicion and enrich our democratic practice. A nation overwhelmed by corruption deserves not only political restructuring but the recalibration of the mindset of the leadership and its citizens as well. Change is constant and there is always time for change in every polity. As Nigerians, it is time to rise up together against political oppression and deceit. We must snatch our destinies from these hyenas and jackals who have told us these same old stories time and time again. Those who confidently hold unto the statusquo on account of their personal aggrandisment will be forced to flee the scene when it becomes inevitable that the nation can no longer be deceived or tolerate their rascality, inadequacies and inanity.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Communication Specialist is the publisher of thenewinsightng.blogspot.com. He wrote via email@example.com and can be reached on 08060901201voted