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Nigeria’s restructuring agenda and 2023 polls

What happens to Nigeria, after the polls in 2023? Where will the country be in six months and one year after the 2023 polls? Will…

What happens to Nigeria, after the polls in 2023? Where will the country be in six months and one year after the 2023 polls? Will the country be spurred into a fast-paced race to lay claim to a future where old tendencies in its public space shall be systematically discarded for a new regime of assertive good governance to take over?

Or shall the country still remain in the doldrums of stagnation and continue with the present order of arrested development, and all the attendant national maladies that have imposed on the citizenry, limited choices in life? To put the matter in a succinct context, to what extent can and shall the 2023 polls address the burning issue of restructuring the country, now that we are face to face with it, being just seven months away?  Shall the journey towards a new country start with the 2023 polls? These questions and others not listed here, constitute the main issues that should guide Nigerians as they rev up preparations for the polls, slated to hold just seven months away. 

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Time for issues-based politics

Expectedly, the electioneering campaign manifestoes of the various political parties are also offering mouth-watering promises – all of which offer in one way or the other, a new country if elected. Seen in proper context, with the circumstances of the polls exercise offering another opportunity for facilitating the advent of a new leadership community, the minimum expectations of Nigerians is that the course and tenure of political debates and plans should resonate with the agenda of restructuring Nigeria in one form or the other. 

Meanwhile the mere mention in Nigeria of the word restructuring, evokes different meanings in the country’s political space, given the wide variety of contradictions and incontinences which the country’s unique political culture, has bestowed on the dispensation. Yet restructuring which simply connotes ‘change’ remains a constant feature of life which progress-minded countries across the world reconcile with in the course of pursuing legitimate goals of governance. In fact, leaders of countries that do not provide for the imperatives of restructuring, soon and easily exit from office for driving their nations into stagnation. In their exit, their erstwhile hamstrung nations, easily respond to fresh political imperatives that dictate the onset of the very restructuring that had been denied them earlier. This is the irrevocable march and tempo of history, which wise leaders allow themselves to be guided by. 

The recent death of Mikhail Gorbachev former and last President of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) reminds the world of one classical example of a leader whose tenure  (1985-1991) witnessed the play out of seismic internal political, economic and social contradictions that eventually led to his superintending the break-up of his nation into 15 independent countries. The fallouts from that dispensation across the entire complement of the successor states of the USSR have not abated, but have been reverberating in one form or the other, including the current war between Russia and Ukraine – two leading member-entities of the USSR. 

 Beyond the USSR, other leading nations of the world have also been consistently restructuring their policies in order to reconcile with demanding political realities, as such play out. For instance, the story of the UK and BREXIT is a modern-day example of how a complicated British society allowed itself to undergo a drastic restructuring in the course of embracing sustainable peace and development. China too has had its own share of pains and gains in moving from fixations with Communism to the embrace of its own brand of capitalism. Even the US with its iconic model of balance of political interests among its constituent peoples has been running with endless processes of consensus-driven, restructuring exercises. 

For Nigeria like other countries, the issue of restructuring is also a historic imperative that has been taking place since 1914 with the amalgamation of the country into a single political entity by Frederick Lugard. The processes that led to the advent of the three regions in 1960, to the coming of states’ creation in 1967 – with the first 12 states and others in 1976, 1987, 1991, and 1996, all fit into the drama of restructuring. In another context is the argument to return the country from the current Presidential system of governance with principal feature as the full separation of powers between the three arms of government, to the former Westminster model that runs on the convergence of the Executive and Legislative arms, are also processes of restructuring.  

 An interesting angle is the complement of additional contexts in which the restructuring agenda now manifests in the country and which the 2023 polls exercise offers Nigeria the opportunity to interrogate and adopt what can be achieved through its dispensation. Of interest are the contexts that manifest as contradictions especially at the level of personal circumstances of the individual Nigerian citizen, whereby he or she is exposed to daily deepening levels of excruciating conditions of living in a country that is endowed with capacities that should provide better life for its people.  Yet lastly and certainly not the least, is also the context in which basic processes of governance have collapsed at the various tiers of governance, leaving the innocent citizen as the hapless victim of disorderliness and uncertainty. At virtually all tiers of governance, governance has collapsed to give way to bare-faced politicking, with merit succumbing to the brutish playout of parochial political expedience.

 It is human beings that make up a country. Hence the quality of life of the least citizen defines the state of affairs in the country.  For Nigeria, the citizens are in anguish and want a restructuring from the 2023 polls.   

The foregoing therefore provides the underpinning for the anticipated onslaught of campaign manifestoes to be unleashed as from September 28th 2022, for the 2023 polls. God help Nigeria to get it right this time.   

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