The search for “the way forward” from the days of the various military interregnum to the present fourth republic under which Nigerians have had a total of twenty-three years of uninterrupted democratic experience has not yielded the much-expected dividends of democracy for the generality of Nigerians till day. Given the much concerned unprecedented inflation in the economy, widespread hunger and increased spate of terrorism, Nigerians should unite together to make a call for a new political order that can take this great country out of the woods to the missed promised land.
With the population of the country above two hundred million, the presidential system has failed and failed again to provide basic survival for Nigerians and put a permanent end to the rising threat of terrorism in the country. At this precipice, the Federal Government and Nigerians alike cannot continue to pay lip service to the nation’s survival amid multifarious complexity. The current structure of governance needs an overhaul because of its anti-climax, as the institution is our general enemy, not any individual.
Nigerians ardently beg for quality foods that would be available and affordable as their first security. However, if this ongoing presidential democracy should continue, in another fifty years to come, Nigerians’ hope to survive poverty would continue to be a mirage even as we proceed into the 2023 general election without a rethink of how we have fared as a people compared to other countries like Malaysia and Dubai; two countries that once depended on Nigeria for their survival.
How do we navigate? There is a need to collectively pursue a reasoned search for a new political order that can develop the mass populace and not just some privileged individuals among over two hundred million population in the polity. The way out is that Nigeria can no longer be governed successfully as one nation by a single president but as an integration of six nations with one president and six vice presidents in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country. The president would govern the country jointly with the six vice presidents and shall retain the title of being the sole commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The six vice presidents may not necessarily belong to the same political parties to form the Federal Government.
Nigerians have a major problem and we need to do away with it now to set the country free from its hegemony in different quarters. We are too gluttonous to anything foreign without a quick sense of self-examination to nativise foreign political systems in a way that suit the peculiarities and challenges of the Nigerian environment. Let Nigeria have six vice presidents to make each zone a coordinate equal of the others. Enough of this absolute power play. It has been the source of absolute corrupt power and abuse of power in the political landscape. The only way to grow a bigger and vibrant economy is to isolate absurd power from the democratic system.
Again, the Senate at the centre should be abolished, leaving the Houses of Representatives and Assembly in the various states as the main democratic assemblies for both the federal and state governments. The Senate should be for each of the zones and the composition of its membership should not be on partisanship but strictly on meaningful and recognised interest groups across the country such as the traditional rulers and professional associations only. The selection and zoning for a fixed term must be determined by the civil service in the Senate. The purpose of the new Senate Assembly is to check and balance of power across the country.
The Senate will have a Senate leader and other principal officers as usual, and permanent staff. The vice president in each zone shall preside over the Senate and the vice president and the Senate shall form the government in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country. The new senate would also take over the functions of the current Senate and shall perform them as dual roles alongside the House of Representatives.
Nigeria can only take the lead again in agriculture in Africa to eliminate hunger, poverty, unemployment, wealth creation and rejuvenate the economy if we toll this new, well-reasoned political order to eliminate unbridled corruption, indiscriminate waste and inordinate ambition. We would set this country on the right path of good governance and make it a giant of Africa again by adopting the new order.
This recommendation is achievable in the ongoing transition under six months. Let Nigerians hear the loudest voice in their interest to save the country from the impending peril that may confront us again. A stitch in time saves nine.
Hopo sent this piece from Shasha, Alimosho LGA, Lagos State.