By Prof. Femi Mimiko
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo WAS probably on the side of restructuring, but I doubt if he still is. All he is trying to do now is, political correctness – making himself intelligible to those he now works for, whose opposition to restructuring is as clear as the morning sky. That explains the obvious confusion the VP has found himself in, on this all important subject. He likes to speak glowingly of the accomplishments of the old Western Region under Awolowo, but fails to acknowledge that such was substantially consequent upon the high level of autonomy the Regions had under the 1960/1963 constitutions. The whole of the old Northern Region still speaks with nostalgia about the quality of delivery of the Sardauna Ahmadu Bello government; and mutatis mutandis, Zik’s in the Eastern Region. One reason they were that successful can be located in the conducive environment emblematized by the governance structure of the era.
VP Osinbajo speaks of corruption as if this malaise is not consequent upon a pretentious ‘federal system’ that has alienated substantial segments of the population, and made what elsewhere, I called a ‘terra nullius’ of this republic. He would rather that we go on with this cat and mouse efforts at fighting corruption, rather than a structural attack on the very basis and foundation of corruption.
Most recently, rather than face the issues squarely, Osinbajo invented what he calls ‘geographic restructuring.’ This would have been quite laughable if not because our country is facing an existential crisis. By the way, are there not pockets of populations in this country that desire to be aligned with what they legitimately regard as their kith and kin? The Okun of Kogi, Ekiti of Kwara, Anioma of Delta, etc, have always expressed this desire. What right do we have to disparage their choice, as the VP seeks to do with his attempt at putting down what he likes to call ‘geographical restructuring’?
One would have expected the VP to build on the accomplishments he likes to speak about, as AG of Lagos, in the direction of fiscal federalism, rather giving the impression that restructuring is steeped in confusion. A careful reading of the 2014 Confab Report would give anyone a clear idea of the appropriate direction in, and the screws and bolts of restructuring. This would qualify any day as a veritable blueprint, or working paper, if you will, on restructuring. The Governor Ahmed el-Rufai APC Committee was courageous and smart enough to merely clone the Report. Since then, nothing has been heard about the encouraging work of the Committee. Rather than speak to, and get his principals to activate this, VP Osinbajo goes around pontificating and sermonizing on how microcredit to half a million Nigerians, and feeding one million (or what’s the number?) school children per day should be celebrated as accomplishments of a federal government! (See the latest, VP of a country of 200 million people coming to our State here in Osun to dispense N10,000 to citizens – in the year of our Lord 2018!). It is quite worrisome, for, even if Nigeria survives in this rickety state, these efforts in tokenism in the context of a warped governance structure, which we may choose to pretend is not debilitating, would make this country remain in this permanent state of nonperformance.
Nothing is more embarrassing comparing what we do here with how other people in other climes are running their own public space. These are people who, one to one, are not better than Nigerians. Now, you have a bright professor who should be showing direction vis a vis the appropriate path to real governance, making the rounds to befuddle otherwise clear paths to national rebirth. So, I most humbly disagree that ‘Osinbajo is on our side,’ – that of course is if ‘our side’ means the restructuring constituency.
*Prof. Femi Mimiko, mni is of the Department of Political Science, OAU, Ile-Ife. E-mail: email@example.com
– Sept. 7, 2018 @ 12:25 GMT