Restructuring Nigeria…a problem for critical thinkers

June 21, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Prince Charles Dickson

Okay, I am from Plateau state, and the real issue aside from many little squabbles in the 2015 General Elections was that we were not going to allow the Berom ethnic nation to continue the domination, eight years later it was the Musheres from Bokkos. We argued and debated that there was a power sharing formula…bla bla bla

In Benue, it is the Tiv versus the Idomas vs others, in Kogi it is the Igbiras versus Igalas, in some cases it has even degenerated to no Catholic has ruled our state, and in others we cannot allow the Muslims to continue.

None of these debates has brought the much-needed development for a nation that is so structurally divided, and again Mr. Atiku has stated what we all know but are afraid to do–Sit and talk!

Because we are structurally deformed we check how many SE, SW, SS (which by the way is an anomaly), NE, NW, NE are on a list before we check whether they are qualified. We still suffer an Ebola-like disease called Federal Character in a characterless state, still plagued by terms such as catchment area, educationally disadvantaged (by who abeg).

We pride ourselves by our state of Origin, yet are minorities in many cases in the so-called state. We debate which region is poorest, and which feeds the other. A nation of an elite and intellectual class that lacks critical thinking.

So, Sagay, Falana call for restructuring, Ben Nwabueze and Alex Ekwueme advocate the same, we keep amending our constitutions and reviewing them since forever, and Tony Momoh says Buhari and the APC must get the courage to do the restructuring.

The debate again is that the elite won’t allow for the restructuring, maybe because we do not have the benefit of war and we have experienced on countless occasions the futility of talk, we stay on our high horses and cry restructure like in that one pill is the local Yoruba “agbo” that cures all ailments.

We need a referendum so that restructuring can take place, that is the take of eminent lawyer Clarke, but when a nation cannot get its elections right, how can it conduct a sincere referendum?

I am still crying wolf despite the best of explanations, I cannot understand why Plateau State has no ambassadorial nominee, I cannot understand why there are Muslims who are allowed to wear a Hijab, and Christians cannot wear Choir apparels to school. Would restructuring solve all these problems?

Nigerians remind me so much of what deep thinking men are…and permit me to share this.

I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer. The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking.

My wife walked by and asked me what I was doing and I said ‘nothing’. The reason I said that instead of saying ‘just thinking’ is because she would have said ‘about what?’ At that point I would have to explain that men are deep thinkers about various topics, which would lead to other questions.

Finally I thought about an age-old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts? Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts.

Well, after another beer, and some heavy deductive thinking, I have come up with the answer to that question. Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby; and here is the reason for my conclusion. A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, “It might be nice to have another child.” On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, “You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts.” I rest my case.

Time for another beer…but before I pop it open, will restructuring Nigeria make Rochas deal with the erosion that litters that road to his palatial country home in Imo state.

Will restructuring remove shame from the Niger state governor who shamelessly praised himself that he had reduced daily expense of the government house from 300M to 150M? For the Governor of Benue that prides himself as an ex-tout, will restructuring cause him to think that in 2016 asking that civil servants take every Friday as holiday is like wanting to get kicked in the nuts again?

In sincerity have we really allowed the Federal structure to work, with bogus census figures and criminal politicians, is it about systems, structures or those that work it? If today we have a feeding bottle federal fiscal structure, do we expect much difference or will it be a Seven-up case when we restructure?

The last talk-shop, went as far as recommending 50 plus states, all in the name of marginalization, who really is not marginalized, from the cruel mother-in-law that wont let her daughter-in-law be, to the woman that terrorizes her husband, to the lecturer that teaches better with his third leg…we are all victims of our current structure, albeit do we want to think or we just want a quick-fix, an ambulance solution?

Let me end with this little narrative, a young man chooses to change his name for reasons best suited and known by himself alone. For small money he walks into the High Court, swears to an affidavit, that reads, “I, Zakka Davou Dangwang, Nigerian citizen, Adult residing at XYZ, deponent to the oath, and by virtue of positions (that I know his not conversant with), changes the said name to Zakka Azi Nyam, all documents/credentials bearing old names remains valid.” He even adds a newspaper change of name publication.

What has changed? The young dude is still who he is…in reality all those calling for restructuring are the same elites, that have refused to restructure the structure, especially when they had the opportunity, the way we jump onto a matter when it is trending often reveals our inability to think critically in resolving issues that plague the Nigerian state.

Nigeria, Nigerians are not yet sure what they want, to restructure, or to structure the restructuring, or to make structures work—Only time will tell.










Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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