By Wale Awodiya
We are now at the crossroads, and this is a good place to be. It is at this juncture that we are forced to make decisions about the future that we desire. Our children have taken us this far and we should commend them for forcing us to see what they have refused to accept. They have refused to resign themselves to poverty of ideas, irrationality, self-hatred, failed state, and a cursed future.
The coalition of our children has rejected fascism, crass capitalism, and failed federalism, which has foisted on them joblessness, arrogance of the ruling class, indiscriminate killings, and wonton theft of national resources by all of the politicians and the privileged ilk.
Our children have gone beyond the preoccupation of the parents and grandparents, which was intellectual exercise of analyzing Nigeria’s problems to death, with little or no serious action to actualize their desires.Our children have not accepted that the Fulani should dominate the rest of Nigeria and that we should demand restructuring from them. This smart generation has realized that our collective efforts would put asunder the mythical grip of the Fulani and achieve our most desired political goal of self-determination.
The young generation has come to detest the illegality of politicians representing themselves and not those who elected them into office. They have come to reject the idea of a national Assembly whose budget is about half of the nation’s gross domestic product—a body whose members have never proposed a single bill about restructuring—the singular most important demand of the electorate.
Now that our children have taken us this far, we should rally round them and point them in a more consequential path.
The next step for this movement that is upon us is “recall your senators, governors, and representatives.”
Simply recall your elected officials and demand that they present your listed agenda points to the National Assembly and get the bills passed for assent by the President.
Without this, refuse them as your representatives. You pay their salaries, their security, pension, and it is your money they are stealing. And while at it, the least you request of them is to act on your demands.
What must happen now? Request the following of your representatives:
• That constitutional recognition be given to the geo-political zones/regions. That each region should enact its own constitution.
• That the geo-political zones or regions should be the Federating units.
• That the Federal Government should have a constitution that cannot subjugate that of the Federating Units, unless in areas and matters ceded to the Federal government by the Regional Assemblies.
• That the geo-political zones/regions should be created using such parameters as culture, land, ethnicity and political expediency.
• A strong Unique Nigerian Political System (UNPS) Amendment of the Constitution should include a clause for regional self-determination.
• The Military—There is need for a fundamental restructuring of the Military.There should be a region- based army with command vested in the regional leaders. A Coalition Federal army should exist at the behest of the Regions.
• The Nigerian Police should follow the structure of the Army.
• The Federal Assembly should be Uni-camera and members duly seconded from the Federating Regional Assemblies. A true Federal administration based on Unique Nigerian Political System (UNPS) of government should be entrenched, rather than the ill-conceived and applied existing presidential system. The Unique Nigerian Political System should allow for collaboration and will greatly assist in reducing the cost of governance.
• The Federal Assembly members are selected among the elected Regional Assembly members and seconded to the centre on a rotational basis from the Regional Houses.
• The Federal Assembly members should work on part-time basis and receive sitting allowances only, which should be determined by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, RAFMAC. The salary and emoluments of the members should not be higher than that of the most senior public servant in the employment of the Federal Government.
• Executive powers at the Federal level should be exercised by a Presidium—executive committee. With this arrangement, no region will claim marginalization or attempt to dominate another.
• Fiscal Federalism calls for each geo-political zone to control its resources with certain percentages as may be determined by the Federating units ceded to the Federal Government.
• That all manners of taxes, including VAT, shall be the exclusive preserve of the geo-political zones/regions except those dealing directly with matters relating to the Federal Government.
Without mincing words, that is, without ambiguity of doublespeak, all these are for considerations in the interim for quick action. If the elected representatives cannot embrace and present the demands as bills to be voted on in both Nigerian Houses, then, they should cease to represent you and you should withdraw their mandate.
This is the dawn of a new era and you should not let the sun go down on your momentum.
• Prof. Awodiya wrote from Delaware, US