Restructuring the country will make no difference if we do not fix our value system.
In recent weeks, there has been an increasing call in some circles for the review of the governance structure of Nigeria. Yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo rebuffed such calls claiming that restructuring the country would make no difference. His claim was however faulted by Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, who accused him of engaging in ‘reductionist arguments’.
The agitation for the review of the Nigeria’s federal system where power is concentrated at the centre has always been with us. The basic issues of discourse have usually been fiscal federalism, resource control and political stability.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, in an address on the subject matter in January at a roundtable at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, said, ‘I believe that given its history and pluralistic character, a truer federalism is a sine qua non for Nigeria’s achievement of its development potential and enduring political stability.’
As much as I support the call for true federalism I believe Nigeria’s problems require more than just a political solution as restructuring. Will restructuring stop corruption? Will it eradicate ethnic hatred and bigotry? Will it bring with it social justice? Will it strengthen the rule of law or the protection of human rights? Will it stop exam malpractice? With it stop randy lecturers from soliciting sex for grades? Will it stop electoral malfeasance?
Given the enormous pool of human and material endowment this country has been blessed with could we have been better under the current system of governance? Certainly.
So what is the real problem? Nigeria’s problems are a consequence of a lack of values as simple as they sound. We lack leadership, integrity, accountability, tolerance and patriotism.
How else will you explain the rate of poverty in spite of the trillions of dollars in oil revenue earnings over the years while those with whom the public has entrusted with managing their resources continue to amass untold wealth and riches?
We must repair our value system. There has to be accountability in governance. There has be religious and ethnic tolerance. We must end stomach infrastructure. We must teach our kids to attain wealth through honest work, to put personal dignity over filthy lucre and to make responsible choices.
For if we fail to do so, restructuring the country will make no difference because the problems that have impeded the progress and development of Nigeria will continue to affect every region or state even though they control their resources and become economically and politically independent of the centre.