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Nigeria's Federalism Still Questionable!

27 September 2012, 09:44

Since the enthronement of independence in October 1960, the various ethnic nationalities which make up the geographical space known as Nigeria, have been laying conflicting claim to the centre.

The historical literature of Nigeria shows that the North has held-sway in overseeing the affairs of the nation to the detriment of others. But beyond this mundane postulation, remains the realization of good governance which is only attained under a democratic government. It is unarguably true that democratic rule focuses on equity, fairness and human governance, a tripod which helps sustainable poverty reduction strategies. But this is nothing but grammar as far as our democracy is concerned.

Ironically, these hardly happen through appeal to politicians but rather through enlightened populace who insist on their rights and by being intolerant of poor governance.

However, the Chairman of The Human Rights Investigation Commissions (HRIC), Honourable Justice Chukwudifu Oputa once lamented the havoc brought about by the military and the attendant consequences of bad governance in the country.

His words: “During the period of military rule, most of our rulers’ principal motivation and preoccupation were not service to the country but the accumulation of wealth and personal gratification. Military rule has left in its wake a sad legacy of human rights violations, stunted national growth, a carperists and static state, increased corruption, destroying in its own internal cohesion in the process of governing and posing the greatest threat to democracy and national integration.”

But unfortunately for Nigeria, democracy which ought to have ushered in the much needed social equilibrium has become an oppressive burden to the Nigerian populace. Politics is being personalized as well as the shortest route to easy wealth in this country.

Therefore, patronage has become essential to power as leadership assumes broad discretionary authority and loss its legitimacy.

According to the World Bank, governance is simply the exercise of political power to manage nation’s affairs. The liberal democracy which Nigeria practices emphasizes electoral competition in content of high inequalities particularly among individuals and groups and an authoritarian state such that people (Nigerians) vote without choosing, and when they do, the only option is between two oppressors. This state of affairs has created a widespread poverty and ignorance which hinders good governance and equally pose threats democracy.

Although the military was initially viewed as the standard example of modernity and has subsequently portrayed as a defensive wall against social unrest. But events in the past had proved the contrary.

Today, some contentious issues in Nigeria’s federalism which revolve around the equitable and fair sharing of the national resources (‘cake’) and access to national power seem to tear the nation apart. Most groups feel disillusioned and frustrated over these issues. Accordingly, they have led to the emergence of ethnic agitating groups such the Odua Peoples’ Congress in the West (OPC), Arewa Peoples’ Congress (APC) in the North, Bakassi Boys and Niger Delta militants in the Niger Delta and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) all fighting to protect their narrow minded interest.

More than ever before, Nigeria has never witnessed the upsurge of self actualization of the different ethnic nationalities than she has experienced in recent times. The recent declaration of political autonomy and self determination by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and the people of Bakassi coupled with the naked threat of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Northerners who hid their malice under the veil of Boko Haram insurgence. The agitation of the Westerners under the aegis of Odua Peoples’ Congress for the creation of Oduduwa Republic cannot be left in the forgotten past.

However, a voyage into Nigeria’s political historic events shows that agitation for self actualization  of the ethnic nationalities is not recent development.

God deliver us the enemies within!

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