Nigeria has, for many years, teetered on the precipice of failure and the deterioration has continued unabated. Synonymous with a downward slippery slope, the journey to the abyss has continued unchecked and Nigerians can only groan. The political elites who run the country like a private estate have refused to allow reason to prevail. They have collectively refused to overhaul the entire system to save the sinking ship, and as a result, Africa’s most populous country now faces an impending implosion.
The Nigerian state has become a failing state of critical geopolitical concern having failed abysmally to keep its citizens safe and secure, provide basic amenities for its teeming population, and make life liveable for its citizenry. Every available statistic and record speaks to the fact that the government in Nigeria has lost control and is grossly inept. No wonder notable sections of the international community now refer to Nigeria as a failed state waiting to collapse and disintegrate sooner than later.
Today’s Nigeria is nothing close to what an ideal country should be. Agitations and strong calls for secession have continued to dominate conversations in several parts of the country and this has empowered several non-state actors to fill the void because even nature itself abhors any form of vacuum. As expected, the calls to renegotiate Nigeria have continued to fall on deaf ears, and the crack and fault lines have continued to widen and fester. Rather than respond to these agitations and calls for self-determination with diplomatic restraint, the Nigerian state has continually deployed brutal force to suppress and quell the voices of all agitators. The ugly situation of things has only managed to energise the people to resist the brutal force by peaceful means, non-cooperation, and civil disobedience. The big question however remains; for how long will the Nigerian state continue to hold on without caving in?
The problem of the country is systemic and not personnel-related. The faulty structure of Nigeria has ensured that its disgruntled citizens have continually blamed the ‘forced’ amalgamation which was carried out over a hundred years ago when Lord Lugard married the Northern and Southern protectorate of the country together for administrative convenience. Given the sensitivity of this union, the marriage can only function optimally when the structure of the country is rooted in equality, justice, and fairness. This hasn’t been the case in Nigeria hence the failure of the marriage.
The problems bedeviling this geographical expression called Nigeria are too enormous. Tribalism, corruption, nepotism, radical Sharia, Islamisation agenda, and a lopsided fraudulent constitution that is tailored to favour the Fulani oligarchy are only but a few of these problems and the list is endless. The promise of equity and fairness which has often been put forward by a number of nationalistic Nigerians has never been kept by the people who run the country. Only a segment of Nigerian society enjoys the largesse of governance while a majority of the citizens are marginalised by a small, closely-knit group of people who have hijacked the apparatus of the government at all levels and all security institutions. There is no justice in the land as the levers of power have fully taken over the judiciary and nothing seems to be working. How can a country survive this way?
Talking about justice is perhaps even laughable because the constitution which is supposed to provide the template for justice in Nigeria is fraudulent. When a group of strange bedfellows are forced to live together, it is expected that they must have a rule but Nigeria has none. The 1999 constitution which is still functional in Nigeria does not even have a fundamental backing, to begin with. The so-called constitution began with lies by asserting that Nigerians have ‘agreed’ whereas they never did. Nigerians never agreed! To be succinct, it was an Abacha constitution that was written by Abacha’s crooked legal luminaries. That fraud of a document is what Abdulsalami Abubakar handed over to a civilian administration when it took power in 1999. The 1999 constitution upon which so many absurdities going on in Nigeria were built is an illegality and Nigeria must completely discard it for a new people-backed constitution if it wants to make any headway going forward. The first resolve Nigerians must show is to come together to junk that silly Constitution and draft something with some modicum of intelligence in it.
The people who currently run Nigeria have succeeded in giving off the impression that Nigeria is a country that has absolutely proved to be incapable of cohesion and that Nigerians are incapable of thinking for themselves, incapable of drafting a constitution, and definitely incapable of governing themselves. Over 60 years after independence, the ruling elite class has only managed to create an evil forest; a jungle where the predators hunt the prey; where human beings live like wild animals, and where sanity remains a luxury.
The present structure of the country has completely failed and has proven to be unworkable. A structure that concentrates power and authority in a very unjust centre is criminal and must be dismantled. For many years, successive governments have continued to treat virile calls for a holistic restructuring of the country with disdain and animosity. Calls for a decentralised system to correct the current abnormality have been met with stiff resistance. Calls for more transparency, cuts in the cost of governance, bringing governance to the grassroots, and a people-propelled democracy have been completely ignored by the government of the day. How can such a country continue to survive?
The current system in Nigeria is tailored to empower the Fulani Oligarchy and ensure they maintain their stronghold of the country. It is time they are forced to understand that the culture of Fulani domination in the country can no longer be acceptable under any guise. Nigeria will never make any progress if the institutions in the country do not rid themselves of the Fulani marginalisation agenda, nepotism, corruption, violation of human rights, abuse of power, inept officers of the law, arbitrary detention, state-sponsored killings, kidnapping, rapes, and other vices. If these things continue unchecked, it will only be a matter of time before the country bursts into several pieces which will rock the very foundations of Africa.
What Nigeria needs to free itself from its present shackles of bad governance is economic growth and development through investment in agriculture, technical education, and entrepreneurship. Sadly, none of these will come to fruition under the current madness and structure. Nigeria needs to be holistically restructured.
The present manager of Nigeria must come to the full realisation that restructuring is the only thing that can save the country from imminent collapse and total disintegration. The myriad of challenges Nigeria is presently facing clearly speaks to the fact that the country is now in a vegetative state and will not survive too long under the present circumstances. The pervasive insecurity, the economic downturn, and the failure of governance generally clearly explains that there is a fundamental problem with the structure of the country.
In conclusion, Nigeria is a failing state that is operating a unitary system yet claiming to be the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ at the same time. What an irony! Ordinary Nigerians who are being bled to despondency must now insist that the time has come to end the deceit. The only options left are to restructure or break up the country into regions or nations. The painful reality is, should the political elites continue to ignore these germane calls, the system will eventually cave in and the results will be cataclysmic. Nigeria must restructure or prepare to burst. Time is running out!