Recently I did a piece: “Belgore Committee: Another Jonathan’s Salutary Team”, where I commended Jonathan’s selection of most members of that Committee. But because other choice teams of Jonathan have not rolled out gallantly and ‘brought home the bacon’ yet, we called for national prayers to help us home in on results. There is no doubt that in Belgore Committee we expect to see fireworks in the form of display of brilliance, or in the form of impressive display of grammar, and, in the sorry form of angry outburst. But given the caliber of people we have there we hope to see minimal display of the last form of fireworks. And because Labor and co is there dealing with gentlemen, it is expected they will also wear the garb of gentility while remaining traditionally pungent.
While we canvass that Committee members be not unnecessarily antagonistic, that all fireworks should know convivial sessions and find common ground in patriotism; that strong regional positions should therefore be well articulated, sold and bought or pinned down with better reasons; and that regional positions should converge, with nationalism standing tall there from, true federalism must be the goal of those sessions and papers and bills that will come there from. There should be no acting ad libitum. So, let’s say it differently: Besides the documents they have to work with, they must not forget that the conjoint, corporate, and shared and, indeed, sweeping cry by all is that this country need true federalism as the way forward. This is the heart beat of almost everyone, and no half measure will do. And the best political structure that can make this good is this six-region ‘structure’ that has come to stay with us. Any outcome that does not anchor on a six-region political structure would be half measure. Many of those papers with the Committee for consideration are for true federalism anyway; but the present intensity and need must force the Committee to roll out bills that will truly help a national debate (legislative debate) that should see to the eventual alteration of the Constitution in favor of true federalism, and that which is confidence inspiring and enforceable. And nothing can be better than the six-region political structure.
We want to see, as a matter of utmost urgency, a federation based on our already naturally and brilliantly emerging six regions. Those with eyes to see how nations evolve see well into natural build-ups as also with deliberate political concoctions and constructs. The six-regional thing appears to be the only natural aspect of our national evolvement presently, and to deny it full-blown political expression and be content with this hide and seek application of it will make us to know political and economic derailment continually. We cannot belabor ourselves here cataloguing the place of the six-regional arrangement in our polity so far. We take the most recent; and that is, instructively, the very composition of the Belgore Committee. The Committee is selected on the basis of these six regions, and it cannot therefore derail itself from the foundation that tacked it together by not recommending it as basis for future political existence.
And, what easiest, cheapest and best way to express our federal character! And all our recent federal governments have since learnt this to be true, but for some unexplainably crooked reasons they held to this present unproductive and wasteful 36 mushroom states; some even want more states. Insolvency of the states should not surprise anybody. Even without the apical corruption that men who should ordinarily be in our motor parks have subjected our treasuries to, insolvency cannot be avoided given our present staggering number of states. Then corruption has not only been added but reached Everest. That is the result of bringing untold political neophytes, myriad hoodlums; matchless Mafiosi, hardened bandits and international swindlers to fill the sadly too many political openings. You do not need everybody to govern everybody. Governance must be representative, and restrictively so; and if restrictive, it must consist of men who can represent the people best.
Government, the way we handle it today would soon be defined as “a system of wasting national resources on low morals, ineptitude, and over-bloated workforce that in the main is drenched in apical avarice and heinous financial profligacy, and all that is corrupt and bestial”. But with true federalism anchored on our six regions; ineptitude, low morals, over-bloated workforce with the apical avarice and heinous financial profligacy and all that is corrupt and bestial would have been scaled down very considerably.
A Nigerian State with six political regions that will only attract men that can really, really deliver; men of stuff, potentials, creativity and ability; men of intelligence, integrity, and high morals that will in turn go searching for few men of like stuffs to appoint would scale cost of governance to its barest minimum, and leave abundant surplus for real governance and startling development. This was the picture we saw in Obafemi Awolowo’s Western Region that has ever remained a benchmark in governance in Nigeria. Real governance based on the six-regional political structure would save for us 70 percent of what we have been wasting ‘on low morals, ineptitude, and over-bloated workforce that in the main is drenched in apical avarice and heinous financial profligacy, and all that is corrupt and bestial’.
Here the rules to getting to the governorship of the regions would have changed in favor of sanity, technocracy and mature, good, enthralling and respectable representation. It is a structure that would produce the best or near the best around; it will pull the very best in each of the present states to the region; a synergy of the best of men. Here, there will be no much room to pull crowd of ruffians and thugs into our political trail that would all be politically or financially compensated at the end of the day for ruining and wrecking lives and properties. And because these ruffian-thugs may hardly be compensated with political posts and or government funds their thuggish mentors cannot now make it to the state houses.
This arrangement shall also see us having average of fifteen federal constituencies and six senatorial districts in each of the regions respectively, scrapping the present local governments and returning to the old provinces with some boundary adjustments that reflect wishes and cultural attachments of the people and if possible done by referendum; rather than using natural features to divide kinfolks.
Igho writes from Warri
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