Olulana Alofe

Nigerians have never been able to sit down at a table in order to decide how they want the nation they find themselves in structured.

The British FORCED a union and divided up the ensuing amalgamation along generally preexisting theoretically homogenous groups of people, ignoring smaller tribes in the process as these equally proud people were compelled to wallow in anonymity under the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba with more recognition given to the Ijaws, Ishekiris, Benin and a few other tribes out of the hundreds which make up Nigeria.

Following this, using the power a gun, rifle, tank, helicopter and plane gives an ordinary man the ability to FORCE another to obey him (women were totally subjugated in all of this), the several Military dictatorships which ruled Nigeria further carved up the three regions into smaller divisions until the current 36 state structure was arrived at.

Some of the smaller tribes were happIER with this restructuring but it came at a huge price. Many like to blame oil but in reality, it is the people whom deserve the honour of messing up their own future.

The greater majority of those 36 states are completely dependent on handouts from the Federal government which simply divides revenue generated by Oil based income using a formula that evolved over time and is seen by many to be extremely unjust to pay their main “industry” — the Civil Service.

Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is virtually non existent! Again, this is a FORCED bottle feeding due to extreme neglect by everybody involved.

Oil producing states from which these handouts are drilled have been neglected by their leaders who simply stole these monies and did not develop their states, helped along by the Federal government in colluding with international oil companies which destroyed the natural habitats of these regions giving out what amounts to a pittance (as some form of compensation) that a few benefitted from to shut up complaints.

Murder was also a tool used to quell organised calls for equitable compensation and control of what is under their land.

Non oil producing states were also neglected in that the traditional mainstay of their local economies such as farming and textiles were ignored into oblivion and much worse, untapped natural resources such as mining and tourism were not developed at all. Anyway, these states simply continued to be bottle fed.

Everybody was cheated even if to varying degrees, leading to stunted development if at all. Bow-legged, jaundiced states with distended abdomens waddling aimlessly with weak smiles are what Nigeria comprises of for the most part. You get the picture?

That is the background. Here is the substance of unabated cries for “restructuring.” Let me divide them into three main groups.

Group 1. Requests for a fallback to almost the default zones pre Lord Lugard: “To your tents o ye Nigerians.” Let each ethnic group govern themselves is the thrust of this desire. It encompasses everything from Biafra to an Arewa kingdom.

Group 2. Requests for states (as they stand — not realistic or with a combination of two or three into larger ones like the 12 under the Gowon administration — more realistic) being in control of resources within them: All tethered together by a weak central government that cannot FORCE them to wait for less endowed states to catch up in development. Each state/region will move forward at its own pace.

Group 3. Requests for the current political structure to be reorganized with states having more control over their resources, only giving the federal government a stipend as it were: State police and reduced representation at the federal level through a single legislative body or some less involved system in place being outcrops of this longing exemplify what this will result in.

Ostensibly, restructuring should take care of the hated quota system and Oil Blocks ownership by a select few, external oppression and inequality in representation at government levels among other issues holding the Nigerian state to ransom! That is the hope.

So, what exactly do you want?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these three major ways to restructure Nigeria into greater efficiency or out of existence.

It appears many are not thinking beyond the base emotive state of getting rid of those they think are oppressing them.

That in itself is a strong delusion in my opinion because the greatest oppressors of each region are within. That though is a topic for another discussion.
Over to you.
~ Lana 2017

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