How President Tinubu Is Restructuring Nigeria Silently - Reportgist

How President Tinubu Is Restructuring Nigeria Silently

Reportgist
13 Min Read
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It was the iconic Charles Darwin, who made the case that: “it is not the stron­gest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most re­sponsive to change.”>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

Nigerians may wake up one day soon to the reality that “our own dear native land” has been reformed in very profound ways without the usual debates associated with such change. This assertion is underscored by the fact that President Bola Tinubu seems to be responding to the desire for change in the manner that our country has operated since the military coup in 1966 ended our six-year-old democracy that began in 1960 when the British granted our country inde­pendence.

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After being governed largely by the mil­itary since the unfortunate 1966 interreg­num, which degenerated into a civil war that raged from 1967-70, followed by governance through elected civilians who have been applying the statutes books (1978, 1989, and 1999 constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) developed by the military and foisted on politicians, President Tinubu, hav­ing obtained the privilege through the ballot box to govern the nation since May 29, 2023, appears committed to restructuring Nigeria.

But he seems not to be doing so in the traditional way of a set-piece National Sov­ereign Conference such as the 2014 National Conference held during the watch of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which is the type Nigerians are familiar with.

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Nevertheless, slowly but surely, Presi­dent Tinubu is engaging in the process of restructuring, relying on the legislative and judicial systems, respectively, whenever each of them is found to be more suitable for the purpose.

Tinubu
Perhaps, his apparent piecemeal restruc­turing initiative is driven/motivated by the fact that more often than not, the records from national conferences on governance systems that are supposed to move our coun­try forward, hardly get implemented but end up being shelved to gather dust after billions of naira must have been invested and a lot of man-hours expended by the wise men/ women assembled from across the country to fashion or more appropriately hammer out a system of government or leadership formu­la that is best suited to move our nation of multiple nationalities forward.

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Clearly, Nigerians were uncomfortable with the parliamentary system practised by the United Kingdom, our former colonizer, that handed over their system to us when it granted our country independence in 1960. Hence the military coup of January 1966 and the counter-coup of June of the same year that ended the practice of the parliamentary system of governance.

It is striking that while Nigerian leaders were involved in adopting the parliamentary constitution bequeathed on us via several meetings between our elected political lead­ers and UK parliamentarians in Lancashire England before granting Nigeria indepen­dence 64 years ago, the 1999 constitution which is currently being used to govern our country is a product of purely military diktat.

Although, Nigeria is a multi-nation coun­try (with three major ethnic groups – Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa/Fulani) like the UK which is an amalgam of four nations – Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England, and has been func­tioning well together since a parliamentary system of governance was established in the European country on 1st day of May 1707 when the parliament first met, Nigeria has after only six years of independence (1960- 66) dumped the parliamentary system and replaced it with the American presidential system in 1978.

Our country changed from a parliamenta­ry to a presidential governance system after a bitterly fought civil war for three years, heralding a series of military coups with the men in uniform toppling one another until democracy was restored in 1978, which was dovetailed by the crafting of a constitution by the military modeled after the United States of America system.

It may appear innocuous, but the rever­sion to the 1960 national anthem, “Nigeria We Hail Thee…” after jettisoning the ver­sion that had replaced it from 1978 “Arise Oh Compatriots…” on May 29, 2024, is a clear testament to the fact that President Tinubu is on a mission to overhaul Nigeria from the root to the trunk and the branches, albeit he is doing it piecemeal, hence not many people have noticed the silent evolution.

In fact, it would take a very keen observ­er to notice the political wheel of change turning slowly and steadily. But in my view, although I am aware some Nigerians may differ, the change of our national anthem from the former to the latter by the National Assembly is part of the restructuring of our country via the legislature in their normal course of work.

It aligns with President Tinubu’s vision of restructuring which he shared with se­lect members of the Yoruba intelligentsia during a visit to the National Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State, South West Nigeria last Febru­ary.

Reportedly, in the course of the meeting, President Tinubu had assured his audience that he was aware of the need to restructure Nigeria but that a good foundation must be laid before restructuring so that it would stand the test of time. The national public­ity secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, who was part of the closed-door meeting, made the disclosure. “The President said that the structure he is trying to put in place in Ni­geria economically, socially, and politically would be such that it would bring Nigeria back to where it is supposed to be.”

Shortly after Tinubu’s reassurance to Yoruba elders on his commitment to re­structuring Nigeria, making him the second sitting president of Nigeria after Goodluck Jonathan to acknowledge the need to re­structure the nation, which is remarkably unusual as it would ultimately whittle down the power of the president, in April last year, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, a strong Tinu­bu supporter, raised the fear of the following consequences if Tinubu did not restructure Nigeria, “… even your economic policies will fail, your infrastructure and transformation will fail. We will just go back threading the same old spur.”

Although the restructuring started from day one when he made the proclamation: “subsidy is gone” during his inauguration on May 29, 2023, which is about a year ago, the subsequent policy pronouncements that President Bola Tinubu has made towards restructuring Nigeria for good have been positive and bold steps.

They include the initiative of securing lo­cal government autonomy from the strangle­hold of governors by suing them (governors) in court for a clear court ruling concerning the illegality of their not conducting local government elections, rather they appoint caretaker committees comprising people that, rather than being elected representa­tives of the people, are nothing but glorified Special Assistants or Sole Administrators, thereby usurping the role of men/women who are supposed to be elected by the masses.

Once that matter, which is currently pend­ing, is resolved in the law court (the Supreme Court has reserved judgment), there would no longer be ambiguities through which there had been contraventions of the law as it would become grounds for impeachment of any governor in breach.

Another aspect that President Tinubu has commenced setting up the framework for restructuring is central policing, which has been in practice since it replaced local polic­ing with native police that is the nucleus of the Nigeria Police Force, as it is known today.

This means that like our political system, which has changed from parliamentary to presidential and is subject to another change, policing has also changed from local polic­ing in the colonial days to the centralized policing currently in practice and about to be reversed to the old system like the national anthem which recently got reversed.

Preparatory to adopting a state policing structure, of which Nigeria remains the only country amongst 25 in the world still operat­ing federal policing systems, Mr. President has set up a committee with the 36 state gov­ernors to achieve the mandate of devolving the central policing system in Nigeria to the states in conformity with the practice in the United States of America, Australia, Germa­ny, and Sweden.

Currently, the Federal Government keeps 52.68 percent of all incomes in Nigeria. Some pundits are making the case that no matter how difficult, President Tinubu should let go of some of the 52.68%. That would certainly happen if the state policing initiative of Mr. President becomes a reality.

That line of reasoning is validated by the reality that it would be required that some funding currently going to the Federal Gov­ernment be allocated to the states to support state police as soon as the current central police is rejigged with less power.

Put succinctly, perhaps the NPF would be reverting to the way it was in the pre-inde­pendence days with provincial police taking charge of managing local crimes and the NPF only getting involved if the crime was committed across state boundaries, which was the prevailing order of things.

The third silent restructuring sign on the horizon is the ongoing negotiations between organized labor and the Federal Government on the national minimum wage.

By the time it concludes, the identified aberrations in the National Minimum Wage Act 2019, which imposes a uniform minimum income for workers nationwide (a law that some of us have argued breach­es the principle of true federalism which guarantees a reasonable level of autonomy of each of the federating units) may likely be reversed to allow each state to negotiate the minimum wage that it can afford to pay depending on the state’s capacity and ability.

If such a likely scenario were to manifest as a product of the intensive engagements between organized labor and the Federal Government, it would require the parlia­ment to amend the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 in the manner that the National An­them Act 2024 was amended as part of the activities marking the first anniversary of the incumbent administration on May 29, this year.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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