NO TO MILITARY TAKEOVER, YES TO RESTRUCTURING
BY DONS EZE
Never again shall we allow the military at the corridors of political power in Nigeria. We have had enough. Almost thirty years on the saddle, and in the process, eroded people’s confidence in the nation, courted a civil war, bastardized the economy, and presided over monumental corruption, whoever has wished the return of the military to the country’s body politics, temporarily or permanent, needs to have his head properly examined.
For a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, to propose that handing over power to the military by President Muhammadu Buhari would be the solution to the present security, political and economic quagmires in which Nigeria has found herself, would be far-fetched and borne out of desperation and hopelessness.
Speaking on a television programme, Clarke said the military should take over the government temporarily, and get Nigeria back to six states. He claimed that President Buhari had the powers under the 1999 Constitution to delegate all his powers to the military, who would now be charged with the task of getting the country back to six states.
Hear him: “Now I’m going to propose about this security. I don’t know whether I may be right or wrong …if anybody feels I’m right, thank God, if they feel I’m wrong let them tell me. Now there’s no gainsaying that Nigeria is on the way to collapse. Nigeria has to be changed and the only way to change it is to create a state that will make the 1999 Constitution ungovernable for its existence.
“We want a state of emergency to be created in Nigeria today. As it is today, the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief has the powers to delegate all his powers to the Chief of Defence Staff.
“Let him now talk to the Senate, House of Representatives, State Governors and House of Assembly Speakers, that a state of emergency has been created in Nigeria next week, which means that all governors and legislators must go.
“Then the military will now set up what we call the six geographical zones. Let us start on that and allow a military governance over these states.
“Reduce Nigeria to six states and I can assure you the day Nigeria is reduced to six states and there’s a state of emergency, 80 percent of the money spent on governance will return to the treasury,” he said.
This proposal appears too simplistic, and it will not work. First, neither President Buhari, nor members of the National Assembly, State Governors and members of State Houses of Assembly, will ever agree to step down from their privileged positions.
For them to agree to step down would mean admittance of their failure, which in our clime, has never happened. Since these people are benefitting from the system, how will they ever agree to the declaration of state of emergency, that will kick them out of office?
Second, we have had enough of the military. They were the people who put Nigeria in its present state, who turned the country upside down. How can anybody in his or her right senses ever propose of inviting them back?
Again, when people talk about Nigerian military as presently constituted, they fail to see a system in which one particular geopolitical zone has been totally edged out from its command structure, and where one ethnic group is in firm control of the system. How can such a jaundiced structure, which is akin to what we in the country presently, inspire confidence on the people?
The only way out of our present situation would be the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), composed of all the ethnic nationalities in the country, and which would have powers to propose and implement all its programmes of how Nigeria would be governed.
In 1967, when Nigeria was faced with the situation in which we presently are, the leaders of the country met at Aburi, Ghana, between January 4 and 5, where a far-reaching agreement was reached, which would have pulled Nigeria out of the woods. But due to ill-advice and bad faith, the Aburi agreement was jettisoned and Nigeria began to descend into the Armageddon, which resulted to a civil war, the effect of which is still here with us.
With only two years remaining for President Muhammadu Buhari to quit the stage after serving the country for eight years, the only way he could redeem his battered image and leave an enduring legacy, would be for him to convoke that National Conference, and give it powers to implement its decision of restructuring the country.
It would be foolhardy to believe that one man would be sitting in Abuja and successfully drive the affairs of a country as large and heterogenous as Nigeria. We have been tinkering with this idea for about these six decades since Nigeria became independent, and it has failed to work. That is why the country is currently on a life-support.
Dr. Dons Eze KSJI