By Nurudeen Alliyu
There is no doubting the fact that Nigeria as a social system is basically passing through a most challenging period in its one hundred years of existence since its amalgamation in 1914. The year 2015 is fundamentally and historically important and specific year that will determine and shape another foundation for Nigeria upon which the continuity or demise of Nigeria will be based.
It is in the process of laying a new foundation for Nigeria that I am compelled to put pen to paper about 2015, the change we need and the triangular desperation that I have noticed as a system analyst. Change is about the only phenomenon that is permanent in life. So, if life is about system and system is about life, it only suggests that a system cannot be immune to change. If a system does not change now, it will definitely at a later date.
For Nigeria, therefore, whether there is a call for change or not, change is definite for her but I must quickly ask what is the change we need and in what particular direction should the change go?. This is very important because a ‘New Nigeria’ is about to emerge in 2015. That is the main reason we need to ask these basic questions in order to lay the solid foundation required for another one hundred years ahead of us.
This foundation will be laid by no other persons but Nigerians for Nigeria. It is, therefore, a great opportunity for all Nigerians to contribute to the process of re-shaping and determining how our collective patrimony will fare in years to come. I will anchor my argument on two theoretical positions in an attempt to explain what to do about 2015, the type of change Nigeria needs now and the triangular desperation as I see it.
The first position is the system theory rooted in the works of foremost sociologist Emile Durkehim which was later adapted by social psychologist Uri Bronfenbrenner. The theory simply provides the basis to analyse the complex nature of human interaction within a social environment. It is a theory that enables us to understand the components and dynamics of a system in order to interpret problems and develop balanced intervention strategies, with the goal of enhancing the “goodness of fit” between individuals and their environments.
The second position is a mere adoption of Galtungs Structural Theory of imperialism where he established a harmony of interest between the Centre in the Centre Nations (i.e. the government of advanced countries) like the USA and the centre in the peripherynations (i.e. the government of less developed countries like Nigeria). As long as there is a harmony of interest between the two centres, which is basically against the interest of the poor masses in the less developed countries, there will be continuous sustenance of the structure that promotes both parties interest.
How Do These Two Positions Explain The Subject Matter Of This Paper?
2015 is a year of decision, which must be made by Nigerians. Individual Nigerians and the political parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Party (APC) must decide which way for Nigeria from year 2015. What I have noticed is a very high tempo of desperation on the part of the individuals in Nigeria, the PDP and APC.
While the individuals are desperate for a change (a change that its direction is not particularly defined); the PDP is desperate to hold on to power at all costs and the APC is also desperate to snatch power at all costs. This triangular desperation will definitely bring about a change but certainly not a change that will necessary improve the quality of lives of Nigerians or quality of governance.
The change that Nigeria needs is a well defined change that will alter the present structure that sustains the harmony of interest between all political parties and ruling elite against the common Nigerian. Nigeria needs a change that will alter the dynamics and chemistry of the Nigerian system in order for it to survive the presentstate of less impressive status. Nigeria cannot afford to have a change for change sake or a change for politics sake in 2015. It is a change that must go beyond chameleonic change, which only exhibits temporary and available excitements that leads nowhere in particular.
The bus and the driver
The triangular desperation seems to suggest an hypothetical situation where in a people (Nigerians) needed to travel in a bus. The bus is, however, not in a very good shape because some of the parts are not good enough for a journey at all. The current driver (Jonathan) is desperate because he has enjoyed the position of a driver having driven the bus for six years. The intending driver (Buhari) drove the same bus when the bus was in a somewhat ‘better’ condition some years ago. He is also desperate now to take over as a returnee driver.
He is seen as a ‘better’ driver by many, whilemany do not care to ask about the condition of the bus before the journey starts. The condition of a vehicle can only be complemented by the expertise of a driver. A bad vehicle cannot go far before it breaks down or is arrested by road safety corps. Inspite of all these, the people are equally desperate, they only want a change in the driver of the bus without having a second look at the condition of the bus. These three levels of desperation will not produce the Nigerian system that will deliver the goodness of fit for the common man if the bus is not first repaired by changing the various parts that are in bad shapes. This is the change Nigeria needs first then, Nigeria can change the driver later on.
Several years ago, our own late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe identified the path a new Africa (Nigeria) must tread to greatness. He said , ‘’For the sake of fairness to all parties concerned, a review of the fundamental bases of the philosophy of a new Africa (Nigeria)…. The followings are essential:
The cultivation of spiritual balance, the experience of social regeneration, the realisation of economic determinism, the creation of mental emancipation, and the expectation of political resurgence.’’
All the above have somehow been touched by the just concluded National Conference which report is yet to see the light of the day. Non-publication and implementation of the report is a deliberate gang up by the government of the PDP and any other likely beneficiary of the structure that the report might actually alter for the good of the less privileged Nigerians. The change Nigeria needs, therefore, is a change that will see to:
.*Removal of immunity for governors in Nigeria
.*Legislative work to be done on part-time basis without salaries, but sitting allowances
.*Full autonomy for the third tier of government, and
*Restructuring of revenue allocation
Every lover of Nigeria should call for the immediate publication, adoption and implementation of the peoples will – the report of the National Conference before any election for a new and truly democratic Nigeria to emerge in 2015.
Now is the time to send the report back to the people to adopt and ratify in order to completely alter the existing exploitative Nigerian structure which benefits only the elite, the rich and the political class. This is the change we need before any other change. It is a fundamental that must come before any other change, if Nigeria must be re-positioned for true progress and development that is not skewed in favour of the elite only. The ‘Change’ or the ‘Transformation’ or the rebuilding that is being echoed by the politicians and their friends is just a patch work on the existing Nigerian structure. We must grow and move beyond ‘patch-patch’ work and go for a major re-structuring.
If President Jonathan really wishes Nigerian well and if he is really sincere and now that almost all the National Assembly members are against him (for all manners of reason including selfishness), he should be bold and manly enough to give power to the people, whose resources were spent to arrive at that report, and call for a referendum to adopt the report early next year and then call for election afterwards.
Let me conclude this article by quoting Pastor Tunde Bakare’s view in an interview on December 25, 2014. He said in part:
“ In the book, I stated why I find it inconceivable to jump into bed with certain characters. Outside of that, I know that with trustful give-and-take, if Nigerians will prioritise the development of our nation, the anti-corruption stand definitely, he (Buhari) has all the things going for him in that direction. Can he do it all by himself? NO, a tree does not make a forest. These are some characters that you don’t want to get into bed with……”
It is these characters that feed and live on the present Nigerians through exploitative and dominant structures that will frustrate any Buhari that may come up. The characters across parties in Nigeria will all combine efforts to make sure Nigeria does not experience the real change needed because they have a harmony of interest irrespective any political party they belong to now. Indeed, all the parties are the same in terms of their interest, which is contrary to the interest of common Nigerians.
On the National Constitutional conference report, Bakare is of the view, as I have argued here, that the report must be implemented. He said: ‘If those resolutions are not implemented by Jonathan, I will call him the greatest hypocrite that ever led this nation. I hope that will not happen to him because there are some of us who have made up our minds that we will demand for its implementation and, by the grace of God, we have what it takes to make it happen.” The view is that it must happen before any election. Then a new Nigeria may begin to emerge for the good of all.
*Alliyu (PhD) teaches sociology at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun-State.