Nigeria: Restructuring A Body Without The Soul

August 3, 2017 Africa , Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

Oshomah Abubakar photo



Jerome-Mario Utomi


Since the agitation for restructuring took over our political wavelengths, I have had the opportunity of reading different opinion based articles expressing divergent views. While some writers see restructuring as a panacea for an enduring nationhood, others are of the view that if the federal character is implemented to the latter, it will take care of the result that restructuring is hoping to achieve.

These differing opinions generated on this burning issue tagged ‘restructuring’ by different writers, public affairs commentators and concerned citizens, I will safely but humbly describe as counter, trans, cross and to some extent intercalary ideas.

The need for restructuring of this nation should be compared with, and likened to, the indispensability and inseparability of the blood from the body. The nation is currently structured and standing in an inverted pyramid shape with more power concentrated at the top and the base not formidable enough making collapse inevitable if urgent and fundamental steps are not taken. This state of our polity as it stands urgently needs to be revisited and possibly reversed.

No matter how long it will take us a people to live in denial, devolution of power at the center has become inevitable as most of the items contained in the exclusive list should serve their best purpose when handled by the states and the local government. The padding of the exclusive list with activities has made ‘Abuja’ appear as a general surrounded by many lieutenants instead of the other way around. The truth is that for a true federalism to be practiced, there is an urgent need for the nation to make the centre less attractive and federating regions or states strengthened with greater autonomy.

Also, the federal character, which some believed was created to take care of restructuring, tends to enjoy more moral burden than good intention. Its provisions and operational matrix are perceived as ‘goodness without goodluck’. This is evident as it is based on the spirit of equitable distribution of political positions and socioeconomic booties among federating states and regions as against the promotion of meritocracy. This provision has long been undermined by ‘political Maradonas.’

But irrespective of the above, this call for restructuring is to my mind viewed as a one sided narrative and which we should handle with care in order not to end up curing the effect without scratching the cause. The problem that necessitated this agitation is more man-made than natural. The deliberate demonstration of impunity, as well as superiority by one group or region, led to this burning agitation today.

As succulently remarked, ‘never be so foolish to believe that you are stirring admiration by flaunting the qualities that raised you above others. By making aware of their inferior positions, you are only stirring unhappy admiration or envy that will gnaw at them until they undermine you in ways that you may not foresee. It is only the fools that dare the god of envy by flaunting his victory.’

In addition to the above cause of this agitation is the round misrule and very high propensity for corrupt nepotistic practices on the part of our leaders. These leaders in question have allowed themselves to become the primary reality that the people worry about as a result of their nefarious actions and inactions. What is playing out today in Nigeria is the result of the practical demonstration of the will of man as against the rule of law as practiced in the time past by our so called leaders. Leaders without ‘disciplined thoughts and actions’ are the people holding swear in our political fronts and that informs the reason for our not having a disciplined political and socioeconomic culture as a nation.

Again, our leaders play of mindless politics also contributed to this. They have not been able to draw a distinction between politics and leadership as they play politics all the way. In doing so ‘they use the people to further their own end which is unpleasant, selfish, narrow mindedness and petty. Their politics involves intimidating people, getting things done by lying or other dishonored means.’

To make this restructuring enduring as well as bearing the expected fruit, let us be holistic in approach. Let us commence first by restructuring ourselves as a people. No matter how beautiful a policy appears, no matter how strong an institution tends to be, we always have deconstructionists that can undermine it. Bearing this in mind, our primary concern should be to work out modalities of instituting a reorientation plan that will erase the unpatriotic tendencies in us as well as usher in a robust nation.  Let us bear in mind also that restructuring a political entity called Nigeria is important but restructuring our mentalities is not just essential but fundamental.

In the same vein, every generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, remarked Frantz Fanon. Now that restructuring has graduated from mere rhetoric to become an issue of national concern, your responsibility and mine also graduates to double folds. First, it is time for us to use our pragmatic intelligence devoid of emotional attachment to ask solution oriented questions in a solution oriented manner. Secondly, and very important is that the hour has come for us to become the bearers of a ‘true’ restructuring flagship by conscientiously restructuring our actions and inactions as it will collectively add up to restructuring the nation.

Very importantly also, we have to develop a ‘war room’ using our resolve and powers to fight the undemocratic and criminal tendencies in our consciences in order to usher in a truly egalitarian nation we all yearn for. This pivotal step must be taken, as failure to achieve this may render our race to restructuring elusive and view our discourse as a body without a soul.






Jerome-Mario Utomi

Jerome-Mario is a Social Entrepreneur and an alumnus, School of media and communication, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

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