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As The Rogues In The Senate Move To Kill Restructuring

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Nigerians who were fed up with the failure of the government to deliver the dividends of democracy and blame the current federal system for the shortcoming. They see “restructuring” as the magic wand that will solve every problem in Nigeria. I, however, see myths and misconceptions in the noise over restructuring. I also have doubts that these present sets of rascals as senators will risk their political future and do the needful.

The substance or lack of it in the 33-item report voted on by the senator and currently being debated by the House of Representatives is a confirmation of my doubts. Already, the Senate has voted against devolution of powers. Will Nigerians accept alteration of the constitution without significant changes in resource control as restructuring? Will the senators from oil producing states support this crap? Have Nigerians accepted the 33-item report that arrogates more powers to the rogues in the state and federal assemblies as restructuring?

Did Nigerian senators rush into these votes with intent to kill the agitation for restructuring? Did the rascals masquerading as senators consult their constituents? Should we blame the leaders of different ethnic nationalities that championed economic and political restructuring for going about in the media making empty noise and threats rather than building bridges and support around their course?

The central argument in support of decentralization which is what Nigerians are asking for, is the expectation that it will bring government closer to the people. It is also expected to expand the political space and allow greater government accountability and citizen participation.

None of the 36 states in Nigeria have demonstrated any form of financial accountability in the past 18 years. As a matter of fact, the political space at the state levels has been contracting. The State House of assemblies is firmly in the back pockets of the State governors.  Without recourse to any oversight, state governors have been squandering local government funds.

The Senate just voted for financial autonomy of LGs and for INEC to conduct LG elections instead of State appointed electoral body. This sounds good, but the big question is: will the State Houses of Assembly kill this item of the amendment as they did in the Seventh Assembly? Will the state governors that conduct sham LG elections or appoint stooges as administrators, support this autonomy that will guarantee the expected expansion of political space at the LG level?

Nigerians should shine their eyes.  The emergence of the clause that empowers the Nigerian rouge senators to first approve any move by the electorate to recall a senator is an indication of the extent these selfish representatives at Abuja can go to circumvent the real power of the people.

Clearly, the agitation for restructuring is already dead on arrival if we go by the 33 item report. As the amendments move through different phases, I hope Nigerians will begin to realize that their representatives are only interested in consolidating their grip on power. These senators and federal house members that are notorious for financial rascality have approved the proposal for financial autonomy for state legislatures by seeking alteration of the Constitution “to provide funding of the Houses of Assembly of states directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.” They simply want their colleagues in the states to enjoy the same level of financial rascality rather than serving as checks to the excesses of the state government. In effect, they are simply democratizing corruption under our watch. Why are they just calling for the review of the revenue sharing formula instead of debating and voting on it as part of the constitutional amendment?

You see, in allowing ourselves to fall for the misconceptions of restructuring, we now have a senate that voted on items that will not improve the relationship between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Agatu Benue or Ukpabi-Ninbo in Enugu. We have senators voting on issues that will not stop the harassment of Igbo traders at Ladipo market in Lagos. They are voting on items that will not stop the imbecility in southern Kanuna or Taraba.

In allowing ourselves fall for the myths of restructuring, we now have senators voting on issues that will not guarantee resource control of the local population in whose backyards these resources are exploited. But until the oil money from oil communities is used to develop the towns and villages in Isoko or Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, for example, the allocation of 13% oil derivation to the crooks in Asaba will not end cries of marginalization.

“No matter how much a bachelor tries to avoid clearing the ash from the previous night’s cooking, the ash will still be waiting for his attention.” Nigerians should start cooking their food and clearing the ashes rather than seek what they think is the easy way out – restructuring. I have always seen agitation for restructuring as a temporal measure like kicking the ball down the line rather than squarely facing the terrifying struggle to fight for justice and accountability.

Here is the obvious: the equity benefit of restructuring is in the decentralization of natural resource control. Any form of restructuring should, therefore, begin with a revenue sharing system and power to control resources in various states and then LGs. The present local government system in Nigeria does not guarantee such equity. Until we advocate for and get a local government system empowered with some level of discretionary decisions over natural resources, the cries of marginalization will not cease.

It is also very important for our representatives to start debating items that will restructure; 1) the frivolity in the likes of Rochas Okoroach that cannot pay salaries and pensions, 2) the criminality in the philosophy of the likes of governor Yari of Zamfara that are using state funds to build mansions in Lagos in the midst of hunger, 3) the hypocrisy in the likes of Peter Obi that refused to conduct LG elections for 7 years and 340 days of his 8 years administration.

We need the Nigerian senators to be debating on items that will restructure the corruption in the blood of the likes of the Apkabios, Orji Kalus, Fayoses, Kwankwasos. They should be discussing constitutional amendments that will drain and replace their blood of corruption with that of accountability and transparency. Nigerians want a debate and vote on how the brains of political office holders will be rewired and restructured, starting with the senators.

Until Nigerians realize that good governance is not achieved by empty noise on social media or Jamboree on the streets, everything, I mean everything, including this waste of time by the senators and other representatives, is an exercise in futility.

These rogues in the senate and the different houses know that Nigerians are powerless. That’s why they can look us straight in the face and tell us to hell with restructuring and go ahead to constitutionally strengthen their ability to loot the national treasury at will.

You can email Churchill at or follow him on Twitter@churchillnnobi.

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