#Project2019, restructuring and education

[FILE PHOTO] PDP leader, Uche Secondus

As it appeared at the weekend that the two dominant parties in Nigeria, the APC and the PDP would still be in charge of Nigeria as either governing or opposition party from 2019 to 2023, what else should we do than to fast and pray for the battered country.

The governing APC has already sealed its presidential candidate issue: no controversy, it is the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari. And whoever emerges as the PDP’s presidential candidate will lock horns with Buhari if February comes next year.

And so since the arrowheads of all the coalition noises from the not-too-young- to-run to the not-too-old-to-continue groups are still disoriented and can’t yet confront the principalities and powers in the too dominant parties, we are still trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea from 2019. It is not funny.

But the only weapon of survival is hope against hope. But blessed are you if you are hopeless, in this regard, for you will not be disappointed.

But for those of us who ‘cling on to the old rugged cross’ – and see hope, we will continue to sing redemption songs for members of the old set-up who will be crowned for #Project 2019-2023 at all levels.

As I was saying, ‘if February 2019 comes’ we will thank God.

I am afraid for February 2019 because from the way state actors are behaving in Abuja showcasing despotic and undemocratic acts to elect their candidates, what will happen to the victims of the rule of strong men all over the place?

From the way Ekiti and Osun states’ election battles were fought lost and won, what will happen in February 2019?

From the way some dress rehearsals are going on in Jos at this moment and our leaders shrug their complacent shoulders, what will happen in February 2019?

Fellow Nigerians, what will happen after these primaries and during campaigns proper if opposition party leaders including president of the senate, number three citizen and serving governors can be tear-gassed and dispersed for demonstrating peacefully and demanding credible elections and security of the elections processes in a democracy?

Before February 2019, what will happen to journalists who report situations they don’t like if the president of the senate and governors are undesirable elements at this time? Has peaceful protest over an election outcome become a crime in Africa’s most populous nation?

Is the president aware of these developments in the nation’s capital?

Is Mr.Rauf Aregbesola himself, a sitting governor so power-drunk too that he could be quoted as saying the senate president and his protesting colleagues ‘are mentally unstable’?

Are the APC leaders and the police chief not creating more image problems for the election management agency, INEC after the Ekiti and Osun debacles?

Answers to these questions should not be allowed to blow in the wind if we are to expect February 2019.

‘2019 Should Be About Restructuring and Education’

Let no one be discouraged by all the shenanigans and peccadilloes state actors an overzealous police and security chiefs have been throwing up to scare people in Abuja. Fear not, Nigeria belongs to all of us.

The only weapon they can fashion against the people is intimidation. Such a weapon can only prosper if we are complacent, dismissive and break some laws as they often do.

As I once wrote here early in the year, thank God Buhari won the 2015 election after promising to deal with corruption, insecurity and restructuring of the country. We have now seen the promises he is capable of keeping.

We can see the government’s insincerity about ‘true federalism’ after receiving his party report on its implementation.

The president and the ruling party want to pin Nigeria down under the yoke the Class of 1966 with unitary and continued ‘military’ government.

We should no longer be carried away by any promises about fighting corruption and dealing insecurity by any political party leaders. There is now insecurity everywhere we go.

There are two things we should demand of whoever wants to lead us from 2019. We should ask them what they intend to do with restructuring of the federation.

Meanwhile, there is a complex situation in the North about restructuring and it is beyond the fears of the conservative core North: It is the fear of the northern minorities in the Middle Belt, notably in most of the areas the wickedness of the wicked has badly hit.

It may not be in the news media. Checks have since revealed that the minorities in the North would not like Nigeria to be restructured in a way that would place their political lives and security in the hand of most states alone where they could be oppressed and exterminated.

They (northern minorities) would still want to be in a federal republic that could guarantee their security from the centre as they still enjoy, in any case. This is curious but true.

Therefore, political leaders, resourceful aspirants, researchers and civil society organisations should ask these questions about the fears of northern minorities within the context of the federalism that we clamour for in the southern parts of the country.

It is a complex federation. It is a complicated diversity we are seeking to restructure. It requires some political communication strategy!

Hers is the thing, if we are sincere about development, if we care a hoot about the future of the most populous black nation on earth, we should hold those who are jostling to return to or remain in power to show us their organic blueprint on how and when to restructure this ‘failed federation’.

The current structure is a big lie that the power elite in Nigeria, their family members and supporters would like to continue.

And the last 19 years of democracy have clearly shown that the colonial arrangement the military rules consolidated into a unitary system, now the worst federation in a Forum of Federations (based in Canada) cannot take us anywhere near development.

The current crop of politicians who are all jostling to continue are the worst dealers any country can parade as leaders.

Let’s tell them to forget about promising critical infrastructure and other sweet nothings.

Let’s ask them to tell us how to develop the country through practice of federalism – that will enable us to face development according to resources in and around different states.

Let’s insist that a new minimum wage mechanism outside the construct of federalism is farcical.

Let’s insist to the Buharis, or the Atikus, or the Sarakis or the Tambuwals, etc that the policing challenge we have in the context on internal security can only be tackled by decentralisation of the current federal police force.

This is the time to tell the APC and PDP candidates that what Bishop Hassan Kukah was saying at the weekend is this: Nigeria’s presidency is always prone to lawlessness and irresponsibility.

It is the same for governorship. Our leaders – from local through state to the federal level have always failed us.

Specifically, the president of a very poor country and global centre of extreme poverty is curiously too powerful and so unaccountable.

He can use the scarce resources very irresponsibly and can deploy the police, security and intelligence chiefs to harass anyone who challenges his irresponsibility.

He can authorise his intelligence chiefs to detain even ethical journalists for years and deny their detention when global human rights and professional bodies ask questions as they did to Citizen Jones Abiri the other day.

Bishop Kukah, an organic intellectual in the household of faith had in his seminal self, at the weekend noted, ‘no world leader has been as irresponsible as Nigerian president’ at any time.

Since our so-called independence, he singled out only the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the late Aminu Kano who had had clear idea of what purpose-driven leadership was all about.

He said all our presidents and heads of state (elected and selected) have always been accidental – they never prepared for the high office.

And we, the citizens have been the victims of their mediocre and irresponsible leadership that we have been tolerating.

The conclusion of the whole matter here is that unless we ask for an aspirant who is sufficiently angry about the whole lie that we live now as a federation and the corruption that nurtures all the infrastructure and super structure of corruption that sustains the lie, we will all weep sooner than later.

In the same vein, although our leaders at all levels are not ready to see the other danger that will soon end the Nigerian dream, we should say so now: it is collapse of education at all levels.

The fact that a few private schools are producing a smattering of quality at the post primary school level should not be construed to mean that there is a glimmer of hope in education.

It is curious as has been noted several times here that the Buhari administration, which has been promising to address education quality by first declaring an emergency in it in April this year, has failed to do so six months after. There is no more time to do that now.

It is unfortunate that the same president on the occasion of the World Teachers Day at the weekend said with over 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, at least 250,000 teachers would be needed in the country to achieve the recommended teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30.

Besides, our leader lamented that teaching as a profession has been despicably regarded as a ‘dumping ground’.

Government has been aware of these facts about the dearth of teachers to shape quality in education, which is the only known weapon of country and global competitiveness.

All over the country, teachers are being owed salaries and allowances. The governors don’t care and no consequences for such wickedness to education!

Let’s not deceive one another anymore: God is not mocked, whatever we sow into our elections, democracy, governance and education we will reap. And so we cannot reap what we did not sow.

Just as nobody can give to the people what he or she does not have. Let’s not leave these clueless and wasteful leaders alone. They believe they have conquered us.

Let’s ruthlessly demand of them one thing needful: purpose-driven restructuring of this fake federation even as we remember how to fix the fear of the northern minorities, in this regard.

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