RESTRUCTURING WITHOUT CORRUPTION-FREE GOVERNANCE: AN ILLUSION

RESTRUCTURING WITHOUT CORRUPTION-FREE GOVERNANCE: AN ILLUSION LENTEN TALK at St peter’s Chaplaincy, UNN, 25/2/18 BY Prof Zephrinus C, NJOKU What is restructuring in Nigerian? In recent timeS the word RESTRUCTURING has assumed a popular status, particularly among political thinkers during discourses. It means changing of a structure. Therefore there is an existing structure which can be changed or restructured. The need to change the structure of an existing structure implies that that structure is not serving the people well as expected. Thus, restructuring means putting in place a new structure or returning to an old and abandoned structure, that would serve the people better. In Nigeria we had the REGIONAL structure of the federating units. This structure made the four regions strong, viable, competitive, fast-growing, fast-developing, and autonomous in resources derivation, management, internal affairs policies, education, healthcare etc. The centre was relatively weak in the sense that federating units could solve most of their needs without having to beg for needed resources from the centre. Things were working well to the satisfaction of Nigerians. CORRUPPTION was minimal in the political and economic life of Nigeria. Nepotism and mediocrity were minimal, while meritocracy was elevated to highest level of national consciousness. This yield rapid development, prosperity and happiness. Then the series of military governments that conquered Nigeria in order to loot it, without vision restructured the country for effective looting. The federating units became the states which are weak, obligatorily dependent on the excessively strong centre for survival. The extremely strong central government became predatory, capable of even punishing states or any belligerent state by ceasing its subvention. The military effectively created a unitary structure of governance but failed to change the name from federation to unitary state. With nearly all the national resources at the centre it was easy to loot these resources with impunity. The centre becomes extremely attractive to politicians. Due to excessive resources, ostensibly ceased from the states by the centre, stealing, stealing and stealing of the common wealth become the order of the day. Visionless politicians organized misappropriation of resources, nepotism, and ethnic stealing of common wealth resources. Injustice, lack of fairness, misallocation of development infrastructure, self and ethnic consideration in policy planning and policy implementation, neglect of hated federating units, become the bases of governance in Nigeria, bad and corrupt governance. These prevailing conditions are symptomatic of CORRUPTION. CORRUPTION! CORRUPTION!! CORRUPTION!!! The wealth of the nation is not used to serve the people. The gap between the rich and the poor becomes a gulf, and it is increasingly widening. In my view, the country collapsed under the weight of corruption. This has given rise to the clamour for restructuring of the country, to get back to the status quo ante structure that served the people and made them have hope and sense of belonging. The current Nigeria’s national structure has resulted in: National instabilities in everything: Politics Education Industry and Commerce Trade and Investment Security and defense Religion and worship Boko haram emergence and Terrorism by Fulani Herdsmen, Kidnapping, armed robbery etc Internal Displacement of citizens, Refugees and destruction lives and property National backwardness in many indices of development: healthcare, education, life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality Moral Decay and widespread corruption Insensitive attitudes of the ruling class who are favoured by the unnatural structure. Accepting bribe in different ways to support the current skewed structure Using Public Resources to maintain and sustain what the public does not want. Impunity and wickedness Widespread poverty in the land Wiping out the middle socio-economic class in the society Capital flight to other economies Loss of national respect in the comity of nations Examination fraud at all levels of education Emigration of our best of human power to foreign economies/BRAIN DRAIN Lack of Sense of Belonging among the majority of the people/ marginalization Widening gap between the rich and the poor Deliberate Pauperization of people based on ethnic origin/religion etc Widespread Bitterness Unemployment and increased crime rates and criminality Increasing rate of Madness, derangement, suicide, depression Poor Industrialization and Trade Poor Education and human capital development and deployment Mediocrity and lack of Meritocracy Lack of Development or Continuous progress in Underdevelopment Lack of Patriotic spirit Wastage of Resources Poor health care Delivery Increasing Health Tourism due to illness that should have been managed locally Willful Damaging of public property Hatred and Hate speeches Massacre/Genocide/Ethnic/Religious cleansing, Killing of innocent people, Why RESTRUCTURE - Purposes for Restructuring: To regain National stability in all aspects of national life, Justice and fairness, Peace and Happiness, Sense of belonging and participation in national development activities National Development and progress National respect and pride Prosperity and progress for all, etc What should we Restructure Geographical/Geopolitical, Go back to the strong REGIONAL structure that was viable Fiscal Federation: Regions to contribute and support the centre , not the revise Natural Resources control by regions which pays agreed royalty to the centre, Education and Training – Regions to create and management education policies based on their needs as peculiar regions. Industrial and Infrastructural development - to depend on the peculiarities of the regions and their environment Regional government with well developed Security Services: Police, vigilante, Secrete services etc Establishing Corruption-Free governance after Restructuring: If care is not taken restructuring may fail to yield the Nigeria we cherish and yin for. Nigerians in the various regions would therefore be on their guard to ensure that the right constitution is created for the people by the people, not for the people by the Army. The constitution should in details spell out the new structure, relationship among the federating units and the centre, and within the federating units. Establishing corruption – free governance should start with each one of us; we need to change our attitudes towards politics and politicians. We should be able to sack a corrupt government in elections, recall a corrupt legislator; we must register to get voters card as our power to change any political condition that is not serving our interest; in our little areas of power and governance, we should be incorruptible, fair, just, selfless; we should do the right things for the common good, while eschewing ethnic and nepotic dispositions, selfishness and insensitivity to the cry of the people. If we restructure and fail to checkmate our leaders on accountability, they will become corrupt. And all the effort invested in restructuring would have been wasted. Good governance would become an illusion. After restructuring, leadership should emerge by competitive election to select people with vision, accountability, probity and godliness. Such leaders must be characterized by: Love of Country/region and Patriotism Love of neighbour and love of God Committed to serve the people without Self Interest or selfishness Fairness and Justice Interest in equitable distribution of available resources, infrastructure etc Removal of ethnic politics, while conducting governance in the interest of the entire people Recognition of excellence and meritocracy as the bases of appointment. The best we have should allowed to lead us. If the citizens are on the alert about how they are governed and about who governs them, then we would have got restructuring with corruption-free governance. Good governance would not be an illusion. Thanks for Your Attention

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