The penalty of an eye for an eye is that one day everyone in the society will surely turn blind. This necessitated the formation of government which is vested with the functions of legislation, execution, and adjudication of law for the benefit of all. However, while performing these duties, it’s pertinent to take into cognizance the voice of the people which seems to be a missing link in the activities of the government in Nigeria. Particularly, in dealing with the issue of restructuring which has birthed diverse agitations threatening the soul of the nation.
On 1st July, 2021, the officers of the Department of State Service (DSS) reportedly invaded the resident of Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, one of the agitators for Yoruba Nation and killed two of his aides while arresting twelve persons who were later presented before the Federal High Court in Abuja after one month in detention.
Prior to this period, the freedom fighter, Sunday Igboho had in January chased away the Fulani herders for allegedly killing and kidnapping the people of Igangan, his home town in Oyo State. This demonstration turned him to a beautiful bride that was married to the camp of those that had turned their call for restructuring to agitation for Yoruba Nation.
For over two decade, the call for restructuring has continued to resonate in a manner that has prompted some religious leaders whose members cut across the six geopolitical zones to publicly stated that it’s either the country restructure or, breaks up. For instance, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian church of God, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, said at one of their annual programmes that the nation does not need a prophet to know that it’s either it restructures or breaks up.
Though, the word restructuring in the struggle for a better Nigeria has been subjected to different interpretations which have made it to almost loss it’s value, however, a critical look at the aggregate of the views of its advocates suggest that the country should return to the people’s Constitution handed over to the people at Independence in 1960 where each of region of the country managed its resources.
Quest to douse this tension was acclaimed to be the rationale behind the formation of a national confab organized by former President Good luck Jonathan led administration in 2014. Unfortunately, the timing of the conference made it look like a polo orchestrated to score political goal. This seems to be the major reason President Mohammed Buhari described its outcome as a report meant for the archive.
However, looking at the state of the nation, it seems those that have thrown the report to the archive of history are yet to provide a replacement for it with the rising tide of agitation for Yoruba nation, struggle for Biafra Republic among others.
No doubt, the celebration of Oduadu for instance is not new in Nigeria. It has always been a celebration to complement the existence of Nigeria and not compete with it by forming a parallel troop calling for the collapse of the country till recent time when some people took the advantage of the in ability of the government to listen to the demands of the people to lunch a chorus of division.
In an heterogeneous society like Nigeria, the voice of the people is the vitamin for success. That was the reason colonial masters didn’t hesitate to listen to the demands of the people by setting up commissions that gave autonomy to each region before independence.
Should it be that the nation was given the current constitution where the resources from a particular region is converted to national cake before distribution, the independence wouldn’t have been on a platter of gold because of the views of the founding fathers.
For instance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, described Nigeria as mere geographical expression while Sir Ahmadu Bello portrayed it as a mistake of 1914, so it would have been impossible for people with this kind of thought to accept a “feeding bottle federalism” where the federal controls all resources. This “feeding bottle federalism” has bred laziness on the side of the federating units and promote the culture of dependency on the center. Thereby aggravating the rate of unemployment and poverty currently serving as fuel for the cancerous disease manifesting in different forms across the country.
From the North to the south, East to west and to the center of the country, peace seems to have gone on vacation with the daily report of killings, abduction, kidnapping among others. How the nation got to this deplorable stage seems to be a mystery though it cannot be totally separated from the epidemic poverty in the land.
For couples of years the country has maintained a permanent seat in the comity of poverty infected countries of the world. An antidote to this disease has been a rocket science for the “economic magicians” who pleaded in 2015 that the only way out of this quagmire is to accept “change” at the centre.
Unfortunately, since 2015, the change has changed to chain with the rising in the rate of unemployment and numbers of those struggling to survive across the country. The funniest aspect is that the more they claimed to invest in empowerment the more unemployment rate increases.
To worse the case, the freedom of expression which was greatly enjoyed before the advent of change mantra is gradually being eroded with the increase in the “symptoms of soft-autocracy” on the side of the government. A perfect picture of this display is the suspension of Twitter.
Though, the government claimed that the suspension is done in order to prevent the micro-blogging platform from setting the country ablaze, but the timing of the suspension shows that the government is intolerant of dissent views. The same thing could be deduced in the on going war against agitators.
Ordinarily, what government ought to have done is to look at the source of their agitation which is restructuring and try to address it. Instead, what seems to be at play is the arrest of the agitators forgetting that the arrest of agitator does not ends agitation. So, the federal government should deeply look at the source of the agitation and proffer solution to it instead of focusing on the symptoms alone.
Written by Femi Oluwasanmi.