By Adisa Adeleye
I Have heard it many times and I have read in many papers that Nigeria might break up in the year 2015. Though I could not confirm the actual source to this terrible prediction, but many people have pointed to the credible American source.
I was a bit disturbed recently when the former Military Head of State and the last Presidential candidate of the CPC, General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) said that the ruling party PDP might be consumed in political revolution by the year 2015. Judged by the unnecessary violence which followed the 2011 Presidential elections, it is necessary to be very cautious about what might happen again.
Many analysts would be confused about General Buhari‘s concept of political revolution which could follow the defeat of a candidate of one party by another candidate of the other party which should be expected in any political contest under a virile democratic setting. General Buhari (rtd) took his case of being robbed in the election to the Supreme Court (Highest Court of the land) and lost.
That should have been the end of the political contest for the highest office in the land if there is absolute belief in the impartiality of the country‘s judicial system. The problem seems not to be in the judicial system but in the electoral system which is yet to be refined to a stage where defeated candidates are convinced that the people have made their choice wisely.
Many observers believe, and justifiably too, that the electoral process needs refinement and reformation to ensure that elections are fair, free and acceptable to majority of the people in the choice of representatives. The election process which eliminates the Independent Candidate cannot be said to be fair because it gives more power to political parties than necessary. Also, the recent Supreme Court decision on the supremacy of the party on the nomination of the candidate for elections might stifle democratic rights of party members in choosing representatives of their choice at their primaries.
However, apart from General Buhari‘s comments, observers and analysts have agreed on some of the factors which might affect political and economic stability of the country. Some have suggested, and rightly so, that a new constitution should be made to replace the existing military inspired constitution which is currently being used. Others have suggested that suitable amendments to the present constitution would be adequate to fix the country along the path of stability.
The whole question on new or amended constitution could be traced to the deficient political structure of the country and its attendant economic instability. There is that assumption that the present constitution does not recognize the pluralism of the Nigerian state and the solution of the problems of diverse nations living together in one country.
Thus, the concept of federalism which existed in the 1979 constitution has been eroded, and now been substituted with that of a central organization, akin to military organizations. Also, states have been created without any serious thought about economic viability, leaving the federal government as the Father Christmas.
There are those who believe that all what is wrong with African politics are bad constitutions, and what is necessary is the adoption of proportional representation which would lead to coalition governments. But this is only possible if the political parties do not refuse to tolerate each other. As Professor Arthur Lewis once noted, ‘we must face the fact that no institutional gimmick can be devised which will automatically make big groups collaborate rather than fight‘.
The fear of swallowing up of small parties and the inability of the opposition parties to forge a common front have been the bane of party political system in the country. In such a situation, it might be difficult to effect the change of government peacefully, even if that government is not performing well.
It may even be suggested that the idea of a single party democracy formed by voluntary merger of all other parties and working like an ideal coalition would be ideal. However, the internal contradictions in the existing political parties would prevent such an ideal situation because of ethnic, religious and social factors. No single leader in Nigeria has been widely accepted in all parts of the country. Even with the emergence of President Jonathan from a minority tribe in the southern part of the country, has not doused the embers of ethnic fire.
The funniest thing is that the Ijaw people see President Jonathan as their own son, and see nothing bad in him, even when he is doing something wrong. A case in point is the last general strike and mass protests of Nigerians on subsidy removal on gasoline – an event which was seen as an attack on President Jonathan, their own son, by people of the South South states.
Prophets of doom
Those prophets of doom of the break-up of the country are harping on the divisive tendencies of Nigerians, of ethnic rivalries and religious violent demonstrations. The Boko Haram insurgency, the rise in armed robberies, political and ritual killings and various forms of kidnappings are enough justification to suggest the emergence of a failed state.
The problem of insecurity is compounded by the nuances of mass unemployment and deepening poverty of many Nigerians. With these problems unresolved, the prospects of political and economic doom are imminent.
What is the way out? The answer to me is not far from what I have prescribed before in this column. That is. ‘In order to save the country from further economic, political and social decadence, widespread rural poverty and urban congestion, with its attendant filth and disease, it is necessary to seek a new solution in the idea of a genuine NATIONAL GOVERNMENT of wider and tested talents under the present leader, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This idea is preferable to a military coup‘.
It is sincerely believed that a 3-year agenda of a truly constituted National Government should be: – economic and political reconstruction to reflect true Federalism; suitable reform of the judiciary and complete overhauling of the electoral processes.
Also to be considered are decentralization of the Police Force and the restructuring of the present 36 economically unviable states into about 6 strong zones (provinces).
The question of full infrastructural developments of the real sector is too delicate to be left to the realm of party politics and its demands are greater than what any state or single political party could handle. It is a sensible appeal to the Federal Government under the PDP political party to abandon its unprogressive policy of ‘winners- take -all‘ and embrace an open attitude in the distribution of booties and offices to reflect quality and efficiency.
The other parties too, should embrace dialogue and avoid pugnacious tendencies in order to allow the emergence of a strong national team. It is believed that the doom envisaged could be avoided by the determination of patriotic Nigerians who are prepared to sacrifice their narrow party interests for the glory of their fatherland.
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