One year after the official emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the centre, the most unexpected scenarios are here. The current situation in Nigeria was unimaginable 12 months ago when expectations and stakes were raised, following the victory of the APC at the 2015 general election.
Even my invented slogan that the 1999-2015 Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, years were the worst in Nigeria had been beaten.
What led to these unexpected sufferings is arguable. But the degradation of human life, extremely high cost of living and endless surges of joy-killers like the fuel-related problems are both sad and regrettable.
My opinion is that if there had been adequate proactive-ness, Nigerians would not be suffering more today than they already did under the wasteful 16 years of PDP. The APC-Buhari mandate was ill-equipped for the year that went by. Therefore, the mandate has become a questionable one and I am afraid.
My opinion is premised on the fact that the APC-mandate and the rest of us had a clear understanding of what the challenges ahead were. We knew that Nigeria was in a bad shape. Our collective expectation was that things should not get worse because they were already bad.
The APC-mandate failed to curb a bad situation. So it grew worse and it is still going down the road to perdition in many uncountable ways.
What enlightened and knowledgeable Nigerians must do now is to see the current situation as an opportunity to access the country from 1960 till date. Why Nigeria got into the mess it is now is no longer rocket science.
Primarily, the country was misruled by almost all the regimes that have held sway at one time or the other after independence in 1960. As if the colonial drainage was not enough albeit side-by-side remarkable infrastructure development, citizens chose to loot the country to dryness.
As you read, Nigeria is being looted by some elements either directly by their positions in government or indirectly by the failure of the system to curb external appendages of looting.
Looting is so grave that the recovered cash that was revealed recently by the APC government is a tip of the iceberg of what actually disappeared under APC and PDP controlled states in the last 17 years.
Politicians on both fronts practically emptied the treasury.
Everything that has a beginning will have an end, when the APC-Buhari mandate is over (because it will be), we will surely be informed of how much went down the drain daily. What went down in the APC terrain whilst PDP held sway are top secrets today. We are looking the other way because the bulk of the latter brought Buhari to power.
In Nigeria, anybody who is elected or selected as president can play god. All thanks to the system. But I love the concept of time and truth. They outlive everyone and everything.
Apart from the fact that Nigeria was misruled and looted, there is the other factor of running a political system and constitution instituted by the military junta.
Some people may want to argue in favour of unitary government. This is a system that continues to feed the elites, politicians and their accomplices. On the other hand, it puts hunger, death and sorrow at the doorstep of the common people.
The strongest argument against unitary government cannot be missed: One man cannot rule Nigeria. The last one year provided the most visible evidence and the end of the first APC-mandate will nail it.
The one man show is not going to lead Nigeria further. He has ministers, yes, but they can’t do anything if that one man does not approve.
There are governors, yes, but they cannot do anything if their begging plates are not filled by that one man.
This system is wrong, it is a product of intellectual deficiency that arose from lazy, corrupt and unproductive minds.
This system is no longer acceptable. It has not worked and it will not work. Nigerians have a way of hoping in the midst of hopelessness. The results? More than 100 million poor people, a disgraceful world record accumulation of poor people in Africa.
Summarily, the APC-mandate is doing worse than the PDP because of a system that promotes corruption, looting and incompetence. Again the unitary system of government is ridiculous and devoid of intellectual-problem solving approaches. It is so bad that even the current minister of solid mineral resources cannot guarantee wealth production from solid minerals in the next five years.
For several years now, some people have suggested a change in the system of government, but those calls fell on deaf ears. Politicians are not going to willingly change a system that makes them fat and rich.
Recently, some prominent Nigerians including those who have benefited from the fraudulent unitary system of government joined us in singing: restructure Nigeria.
It took so long for the chorus to emerge and one wonders how long it will be before the actualisation.
The APC-mandate under Buhari must not act as if it is deaf because the music is too loud: change the system.
Of course we know it will not happen in one night. We know that it is a process. What is important at this stage is to ensure that the process is initiated using the right institutions and appropriate agencies.
There are so many options for Nigeria and they are far more preferable than agitations in the different regions that have metamorphosed into wars (in form of terrorism in the north, the so-called militancy in the south and the unending secession in the east).
Under the current unitary system, war/agitation/militancy have no end in sight. Even the re-structuring of Nigeria will not heal all wounds automatically. But restructuring is a necessity to avoid the final collapse of Nigeria in a way that is undesirable. The road that leads back to regional autonomy will be rough, windy and long. Still, it is the better choice if well managed.
Those familiar with medical science know the difference between controlled cell-death and uncontrollable cell-death/destruction. Nigeria and Nigerians need to make the choice whilst common sense still prevails. When hell is let loose, there will be no room for common sense and negotiations. Necrosis in any country is not desirable.
It is easy to say that corruption is fighting back in form of NDA-militancy. What was fighting in the name of Boko Haram? What had been agitating in the name of Biafra? We must not forget the words of wisdom. If the wall does not open its mouth, the lizard will not crawl in. These walls have been open for too long and a lot of lizards have crawled in. Now several lizards have stomach ache.
The benefits of regional autonomy outweigh those of unitary government. The different regions in Nigeria need to start producing wealth again. Nigeria needs to return to the days when 5-10 percent of the regional wealth was sent to the capital for administrative purposes only. Today, money is sent to Abuja for siphoning.
All the parasites and leeches in Abuja under this APC-mandate need to do one of their last jobs which is to initiate the re-negotiation of Nigeria and go back home in peace. A time may come when they will return compulsorily.
I stand always with the common Nigerian.
The fight for freedom itself is not a day’s job. It may take a few years, it may last several years. But like l wrote in The Kings Are Mad, when the time for freedom comes, there will be no going back.
Aderounmu is a public affairs analyst