If Nigeria restructures without cutting down the current level of corruption rotting accross all levels of government, it could lead to local tyrants hijacking restructured regional governments.
We need to establish a significant level of good governance culture for restructuring to be safe. Otherwise, restructuring will not solve any problems. Instead, it may create new ones- and the Federal Government may be too weak by that time to come and help a region suppressed by newly empowered regional tyrants.
Don’t get me wrong. So many politicians rooting for restructuring have a deep, sincere passion to use it to develop their regions, but their are still some sly ones waiting to hijack it for personal benefit. Some want it to politically enslave their people.
Among some who may sincerely want to help their region is a very high ranking politician who recently suggested that the Federal Government be left with only Defence, Foreign Affairs and immigration, while the states take over Finance, Housing, Police, etc. If that is done without cutting down the current level of corruption, whole regions or regionalised states would go into the iron grip of corrupt tyrants.
So, as we debate over restructuring, let us have it in mind that we must first reduce the present level of corruption before we can implement any restructuring changes. If we decide to restructure, I suggest we begin implementing it only after we have left Transparency International’s list of 100 most corrupt countries on earth (by then, we might even find out there is no more need to restructure).
But to help us go down that list, civil society has to rise up and demand accountability from political office holders. We would need more SERAPS and Sahara Reporters And Anti Corruption Networks to organise recalls of legislators who are found to be corrupt, and vote out executives found to have spread the evil rot in our system.
Imitate Our Mumu Done Do movement that through peaceful, legal protests, forced our President Muhammadu Buhari to resume work- or resign. We must also encourage President Buhari, a leader who is so passionate about fighting corruption, so that he can succeed in the fight. We should be prepared to give him a second term if he can show us credible results in fighting corruption.
And while doing that, we must make sure that no one hijacks the anti- corruption fight to victimize others. We must also make sure that commercial cattle ranching which can reduce so many angry demands for restructuring in the South is implemented.
Then and only then should we implement restructuring.
Prince Charles Offokaja writes for www.ZikistMovement.com