Nigerians want to dey their dey…

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By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Dey your dey

Make I dey my dey

Dey your dey o

Nobody worry nobody

Kpekele kpekem

Dey your dey

My brother dey your dey

Make I dey my dey

Dey your dey o

Nobody worry nobody

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, said Nigeria should break up if the path would solve the country’s challenges. Soyinka said this at the PUNCH Newspapers’ 50th-anniversary lecture held in Lagos recently.

Delivering his lecture titled ‘Recovering the Narrative’, Soyinka said Nigeria should decentralise for Nigerians to enjoy the country more.

The elder statesman said decentralisation would allow governance to get closer to the people, adding that it was high time for leaders to stop taking Nigerians for a ride.

“I know the fear. The fear is collapse, break up. That’s been the excuse given by several regimes. But suppose the nation is breaking up informally, in other words as a fact rather than as a theory. Then, you better just address this. Come straight on and see exactly what happened. What is wrong with general representatives seeing them and saying this is the protocol of our association, Anything outside of it? Anyone who does not want to accept these protocols, abide by these protocols and manifest these protocols in the act should take a walk. I have no problem at all.

“We live in what is known as the nation beginning as a vast football field ending up as a ping pong table. If that is going to restore dignity to citizens. If that is going to guarantee three square meals a day then so be it. One of my favourite expressions with people is “Let nations die, that humanity may live.”

He explained that while Nigerian politicians know the importance of restructuring, they change their tune when they get to power.

He said, “What do you mean by restructuring? Well, I don’t even like the word restructuring. I prefer expressions like reconfiguration and decentralisation. And those who lead, recognise the necessity of it. They recognise the importance, almost the inevitability of it…

“It’s about time, I think leaders stopped taking this nation for a ride, you know, we must decentralise. Security, you know, has become a burden to bear. Decentralised so that the government can come closer to the people, and productivity can really be manifested as a product of citizens, not simply as a manna from heaven.”

In the same vein, Mr Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, has said that Nigeria’s current constitution would not adequately address the nation’s economic predicaments and other myriad challenges. Anyaoku spoke to newsmen in his country home, Obosi village of Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He said the current challenges being faced in the nation like poverty, insecurity, and dilapidated infrastructure, among others, were serious challenges bedevilling the country.

“We cannot effectively address these challenges that have assumed nationwide dimension, especially insecurity which has pervaded the Northern part of the country and other communities,” he said. He stressed that the current constitution was a departure from the constitution that the nation’s founding fathers negotiated and agreed upon.

“I am on record for saying that these challenges cannot be effectively addressed under the constitution and governance system we have at the moment.

“The constitution for a pluralistic state as Nigeria; we have to return to those principles of the constitution as earlier agreed by our founding fathers. “Until we do that, I am afraid that we cannot effectively deal with the challenges facing the nation,” he added.

Now, let us get to the underground (In Fela’s voice)

I will pick randomly, in Benue, it is the Tiv versus the Idomas vs others, in Kogi it is the Igbiras versus Igalas, in some cases it has even degenerated to no Catholic has ruled our state, and in others we cannot allow the Muslims to continue.

None of these debates has brought the much-needed development for a nation that is so structurally divided.

Because we are structurally deformed we check how many SE, SW, SS (which by the way is an anomaly), NE, NW, NE are on a list before we check whether they are qualified. We still suffer a COVID-like disease called Federal Character in a characterless state, still plagued by terms such catchment area, educationally disadvantaged (by who abeg)

We pride ourselves by our state of origin, yet are minorities in many cases in the so-called state. We debate which region is poorest, and which feeds the other. A nation of an elite and intellectual class conspiracy against the ordinary citizens and themselves.

We keep amending our constitutions and reviewing them since forever. We stay on our high horses and cry restructure like in that one pill is the local Yoruba “agbo” that cures all ailments. We speak to decentralization, to a people that have not allowed the local government system work, we recommend a shift to the parliamentary system of old like if we go back, spirits would operate it.

Nigerians remind me so much of what deep thinkers men are…and permit me to share this.

I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer. The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking.

My wife walked by and asked me what I was doing and I said ‘nothing’. The reason I said that instead of saying ‘just thinking’ is because she would have said ‘about what’. At that point, I would have to explain that men are deep thinkers about various topics, which would lead to other questions.

Finally, I thought about an age-old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts? Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts.

Well, after another beer, and some heavy deductive thinking, I have come up with the answer to that question. Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby; and here is the reason for my conclusion. A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, “It might be nice to have another child.” On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, “You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts.” I rest my case.

Time for another beer…but before I pop it open

In sincerity have we really allowed the current skewed federal structure to work, with bogus census figures, with criminal politicians, is it about systems, structures or those that work it. If today we have a feeding bottle federal fiscal structure, do we expect much difference or will it be a Seven-up case when we restructure.

Let me end with this little narrative, a young man chose to change his name for reasons best suited and known by himself alone. For small money, he walks into the High Court, swears to an affidavit, that reads, “I, Zakka Davou Dangwang, Nigerian citizen, Adult residing at XYZ, deponent to the oath, and by virtue of positions (that I know he’s not conversant with), changes the said name to Zakka Azi Nyam, all documents/credentials bearing old names remains valid.” He even adds a newspaper change of name publication.

What has changed? The young dude is still who he is…in reality all those calling for restructuring are the same elites that have refused to restructure the structure, especially when they had the opportunity. Nigeria, Nigerians are not yet sure what they want, to restructure, or to structure the restructuring, or to make structures work—May Nigeria win.


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