THE DEFECTIVE FOUNDATION OF NIGERIA | THIS DAY
O. Jason Osai pleads for the restructuring of the federation
The founding fathers of this nation built a solid foundation upon which they erected three floors. Given the economic capacity of this substructure, the nation prospered and reached milestones, including putting France behind us in TV broadcasting and we were the benchmark for Africa’s development. Nigeria’s prospects were such that upon independence the colonial masters named us as one of the developing economies the world should watch; they ranked Nigeria on par with India and Brazil in terms of development capacities and prospects for emergence as a major player in the global amphitheater. Then the founding fathers put in one more storey and that was good because the foundation had the load capacity to support such a superstructure.
In 1966 a group of young men in uniform took over the reins of the state and in response to centrifugal socio-political forces they expanded the floors to 12 and, rather sadly, they dealt a fatal blow to the nation by weakening the foundation. This singular act added the concepts of “community” and “national cake” to the lexicon of Nigerian politics and heralded the descent on a slippery economic slope. Thus, Nigeria has degenerated into the current “baaabiyalla” (beggar) federation where subnational governments do little more than wait for the monthly allocation from the federation account. Therefore, increased disintegrating nationalism has taken center stage in the national discourse in the quest for a greater slice of the national pie, and in response to this we have gradually increased the superstructure to 36 floors and a penthouse on the ground floor. -of the road. same faulty foundation. At one point, we even toyed with the idea of expanding the floors to 54. This is the result of having idiots and tribesmen instead of citizens (in the Greek sense of those words) at the head of business.
Departing from the engineering metaphor, Nigerians have been systematically and systematically dispossessed of their land by a series of ill-conceived land use acts. After being thus dispossessed and economically incapable, the people flocked to the government, which became the largest employer of labor and the only thriving sub-sector of the national economy. As a result, the private sector became comatose and the nation degenerated into a government run economy. It was only a matter of time before we moved India into the world poverty classification and acquired the ignominious nickname of the world capital of poverty.
Now that the young people who are the main players in Nigeria’s future have come out of their slumber and docility, it is time to review the constitution of this nation. Therefore, decisive progressive steps must be taken to dig under the foundation and strengthen it so that it is able to carry the enormous superstructure hoisted upon it as a result of a dislocated and narrow-minded leadership that has yielded to a ceaseless disintegrating nationalism. The current effort to revise the constitution should not be a sham; he should do what is necessary. To live in denial of the unstable situation in Nigeria and to do otherwise would be an illusion; it amounts to playing the illusory game of the ostrich.
As a Deltan of Niger, I feel excruciatingly saddened by the double standard of acquiring the rights to gold from Zamfara State within the State while oil from the Niger Delta is vested in the federal government; it is an insult and an attack on the collective psyche of the oil communities of the Niger Delta. However, as a Nigerian citizen, I think this is a step in the right direction even though it has not hit the necessary target; it is therefore a half measure.
Unbridled kleptomania and squandering, coupled with the government’s obvious inability to punish culprits, indicate that the allocation of resources to the state (federal, state or local government) is a modus vivendi; it would simply shift the point of stupendous pilferage from the national treasure to subnational treasures. The French economist Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) thus affirmed: “When looting becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over time, they create a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code which glorifies him ”. This statement is a very apt assessment of contemporary Nigeria; embezzlement and maladministration are rooted in all sectors and segments of our national life: nepotism. cronyism and the resulting mediocrity have become the order of the day: the new normal.
The government should give back to the people their land, which they have stolen through dispossession laws. Residents of Zamfara State should be allowed to mine their gold; the people of Igbeti must exploit their marble; the people of the Niger Delta should extract their oil and the peoples of the various communities of this stupendously endowed nation should be allowed to exploit their resources and pay taxes to the various levels of government, which should focus on its traditional regulatory role. In view of this, the government will become lean and unattractive to bounty hunters while attracting only citizens, those who wish to serve their community and the nation; make or die politics will calm down and the political sky will turn cold. Since this thesis has the propensity to create systemic imbalances and socio-economic disparities, these can be effectively improved by instituting a discriminatory tax regime such that the agricultural sector pays minimum while other sectors pay carefully percentages. calibrated and clearly determined.
Nigeria is so incredibly gifted that it can be to Blacks what London and Rome are to Caucasians, what Mecca and Medina are to Muslims, what Jerusalem is to Jews, and more. Nigeria is full of natural and human resources to run black Africa if only it had citizens running its affairs. In his 1776 economic classic, Adam Smith asserted that the wealth of nations lies in building the capacity of the people and their positive engagement in economic activities. This is the core of this thesis; it delivers on the promise of unleashing the productive capacities of millions of Nigerians and lifting the nation out of poverty.
• Osai wrote from Rivers State University, Port Harcourt