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Saturday, 13 July 2019

Nigeria is a mismatch of political and ethnic identities, true federalism is the answer

"The question of government should be decided by the governed not autocratic and militaristic empires bent on expansionism and conquest"-Giuseppe Mazzini.

Nigeria is a federation comprising thirty-six states and the federal capital, Abuja, but its struggling to find a permanent solution to nationhood as members are yet to regard themselves as a nation. Nationalism must be addressed through constitutional reform.Today the golden age is about freedom and autonomy, true federalism is the only solution to colonial constructs built on divide-and-rule politics  that served its interests only. Find out more soon.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

APC Government in Nigeria is simply writing its political obituary

"I believe that the solutions to most of the problems we face today lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. If we take politics out of consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the conference will lead the nation out of the woods"-Dr Goodluck Jonathan; Former Nigeria President.

Political parties everywhere  compete for power by promising growth and prosperity, not  capture and corruption, poverty, insecurity and instability, high inflation, huge debts, mass unemployment, poor infrastructural development, poor social services including education and health care, etc. This is the position of the APC ruling government in Nigeria today, political power for luxury and adorenment. Dr.Oby Ezekwesili captured the mood of the nation when she declared that "Nigeria has no president". Sadly the government meanders from crisis to crisis, each its own making. When a government feels powerless in the face of growing challenges, what role is left for politics? Few years ago, Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in Africa, so how come the promise of a good future has now turned sour. Look at what we have got : Sham elections, insecurity, Killings, kidnapping, routinized terror, politicisation of public policies, political bias and favouritism, fear and terror.  Nigeria is now the world's poverty capital with more than 70% of the population living below poverty lines. There is mass unemployment, no jobs, poor infrastructure development, collapsed manufacturing, collapsed capital markets, diminishing Foreign Direct Investment, Poor economic diversification, Poor tax administration with only active tax payer population of less than five percent, no electricity and internet, no good roads, railways, seaports, no refineries, fraudlent petrol subsidy, high inflation, huge debts, intimidation of the judiciary, selective justices, the government chooses the law at will and obeys only favourable court orders, opposition intimidation and witch hunting, partial corruption war, police state, repression of civil liberties, forged certificates by government officials, funding terrorism through ransom payments, engineering legalization of theft by seeking to transfer land and wealth from one group to another without their consent, attack on constitutional checks and balances, propaganda, lies and untruths, RUGA settlement of manipulating to impose foreign terrorists on various communities across the states despite the bloody borders of the foreign herdsmen described as the world's fourth dangerous terror groups, who don't even speak Nigeria languages as evidences have confirmed, these are people described as bandits who are supposed to be brought to justice not providing them with shelter. Indeed, abuse of power is the worst corruption and bad omen that can befall any country. I wonder how the electorates will reward this political party and its leadership in future elections in Nigeria. According to Forbes Magazine; President Trump has warned that ; "continued ignorance of the Nigerian government and President Buhari's ''dismissive approach'' to the herdsmen killings of indigeneuos population in Nigeria is  not ''justified". The lessons learned so far is "there is no escaping political economy''. Capture and corruption are really the political economy problems of Nigeria. The president should heed to the candid advice of  former President Goodluck Jonathan to implement key recommendations of the 2014 National Conference report, this is one sure way to get out of the mess we're currently in .The political system that promotes abuse of power must be overhauled to address the interconnectedness of trust, governance and growth. Every objective enquiry has endorsed restructuring of the monstrous political structure as the only solution to capture and corruption in Nigeria.The APC government must discontinue its endless political football with this urgent national dialogue. Barbaric politicians who believe that political power is a means for oppressing others, oppression and subjugation, exploitation and domination ought to learn from the monsters of history that power is only temporary and creationism is real. The time has come to resist and reject  political leaders of "cunning, cruelty and manipulation who conceal personal ambition behind the rhetoric of public service". We must rise up against this national tragedy and  national embarrassment. The future has no place for totalitarian barbarism. The golden age is about freedom and autonomy.

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation. He lives in London.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Investment Data For Nigeria

"A country without a stable macroeconomic and political environment will not be able to attract long-term investment. Similarly,  a country without a sound banking sector lacks a key pillar of capital markets development,..., WBG's Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017/2018 found that political stability and security, a stable legal and regulatory environment are the leading country characteristics valued by multinational corporations"- The World Bank Group

i) Official Development Assistance (ODA); 2017- (USD) 3471.6(11%)
ii)Other International Sources: 2017;  (USD)1449(5%)
iii)Public Finance; Central Government Debt: 2017; (USD375.74Billion)
iv) Tax Revenue: (N1.3Trillion) (3%), 2018
v)Imports, Exports: 2017 (USD13.2)
vi) Foreign Direct Investment: 2017; (USD3,497) (11%)
vii) Remittances: 2017; (USD 22,001) (72%)
viii) Capital Markets: 2017 GDP US $375.745( )
(Source: The World Bank Group)

Nigeria has oil revenue as the main sources of Financing. According to the IMF; Nigeria has one of the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratios relative to peers with an active taxpayers population of only 5%. Nigeria has a significantly higher revenue potential from structural tax measures, tax administration reforms. Estimates of tax potential from the literature ( Fenochietto 2013, IMF 2017b), suggest that a non-oil tax capacity of 16 to 18 percent would be optimal for a country with Nigeria's economic structure and per capita income levels. This estimate implies space for additional tax collection of 12 percent of GDP. The largest source of International Financing in the country in 2017 is Official Development Assistance(ODA) at 11%. The United States, The United Kingdom and the European Union are the largest donors of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to Nigeria. Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) to Nigeria is at 11% and Personal Remittances at 72% are other important sources of International Financing in Nigeria. The Diaspora is the largest Foreign Direct Investment to Nigeria. According to  Professor Andrew Nerving, Chief economist at Price Water Coopers (PWC) Nigeria; "Nigeria's citizens living outside the country are its biggest  export remitting about  US $25Billion in 2018"(Allafrica.com, 16 Feb 2019). Domestic Public Finance is crucial to Nigeria's continued development to reduce dependence on volatile oil revenues. Tax collection is low at about three and five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017. Recent data from the National bureau of Statistics indicate that Nigeria's external Debt is rising while the total government collection in taxes was decreasing barely N1.3 Trillion in the Second Quarter (Q2 2018). Debt Sustainability is a huge concern and it is unlikely that the government can continue to lend to finance its development. Private Financing, International and Domestic is promising if the Government commits to building an enabling investment environment and to developing its capital markets. Foreign Direct Investment is very important for economic growth of any nation, but 'there are both global and country-level barriers to private investment in EMDEs'. "At the country level, the World Bank Group's(WBG's) Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017/2018 found that Political stability and security, and a stable legal and regulatory environment, are the leading country characteristics valued by multinational corporations". Poor societies must diversify and recognise the need for Private Finance to fund Sustainable Development Goals. One sure way this can happen is electing people of expertise and experience to drive sound government that will provide the enabling environment for long-term investment not fear and terror. Insecurity is the biggest threat to investment and most Nigeria states are on International terror lists with various governments hightening travel risk to Nigeria. According to Priti Patel , former UK International Development Secretary; "Nigeria is the only member of OPEC that is dependent upon petrol imports to keep the country going and the country is ranked 145th in the world for ease of doing business which demonstrates the risks of investment into Nigeria.  Professor Pat Utomi, A Professor of Political Economy, confirmed this in a recent seminar in Lagos Nigeria. In his words; "lack of investors' confidence is slowing the economic growth of Nigeria despite enormous investment opportunities in the country". He noted that Nigerians are now establishing their businesses outside the country due to the fear of unknown in Nigeria. I have argued several times that the only way to make progress is to acknowledge the failings in the system and address the flawed political system that creates abuse of power, insecurity and instability. Nigeria must be bold to restructure the country to embrace true federalism which enables comparative advantage and competition to drive growth.Capture and corruption, luxury and adorenment is never a growth good fit, thinking needs to change if the country will join the rest of the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and eradicating poverty. Poor leadership with barbaric and primitive ideas are a big threat to democracy and development and should be avoided. The essence of democracy is to achieve economic growth and improvement in citizens living standard and well-being not a return of the society to the primitive state where life is 'nasty, brutish and short'. The future is to think different. The future is thinking big. We must be mindful of incompetent, and divisive leadership that don't bother about a dying economy and citizens well-being just power grips. Political leaders of ''cunning, cruelty and manipulation who conceal personal ambition behind the rhetoric of public service". Nigeria does not need barbaric politicians who believe that political power is a means for oppressing others, oppression, subjugation, exploitation and domination, rather leadership that will embrace high investment for development and better ideas to transform the future and change people's lives.. The future is Peaceful, and inclusive societies for Sustinable Development, Justice for all and Strong Institutions that are effective, accountable and inclusive at all levels.

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation, he lives in London. He has participated in ; Unlocking Investment and Finance in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies(EMDEs).

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The left behind in Northern Nigeria suffer not for their sins but ideology


"Practical solutions abound, sadly they're in danger of drowning in the snake oil.., the left behind are feeling the pain but putting up barriers is not the answer"- Stephen King.

In my last blog post on the controversy about RUGA settlement initiative of the Nigeria government to address the herdsmen-farmers crisis ravaging the North, i was quick to observe that this initiative widely rejected in the Southern Nigeria has further exposed the historical divide which the politicians assume can be swept under the carpet with elections every four years. Personally , i'm yet to see the need for such an irrational policy having made my position known in my writings. The truth is if the country is serious about a stable future, everything, national identity, diversity, integration should be on the table. Politics is about co-oeration not conflict.  Its only when we do the right thing that we will not only solve the problem, we will get it done as a nation, unfortunately double standards does not guarantee a stable future. A lot has been written about the level of poverty in the North despite nearly six decades of power grips. The truth is there is lack of political will to address this urgent task despite becoming a national catastrophe. The extent of a burning desire to solve this problem is yet to be seen, just mere political rhetorics as everyone knows that the development model in that region does not support growth. Available Records show almost zero domestic tax revenue, mineral resources fuel conflict and insecurity,  and oil revenue funds luxury and adorenment and the next election. Traditional rulers in the North are the most paid, government officials fund medical and education tourism, their children are rewarded with choice jobs on return, funding religious activities including pilgrimage is part of the state budgets, borders are kept wide open in the name of brotherhood, etc. instead of investment in infrastructural development, education and healthcare, agriculture which is their main stay is now threatened by terrorism , an attack on food security. Whether we agree or disagree, the political leaders in the North should apologise to their citizens for a disservice by denying them economic opportunities especially inability to exploit comparative advantage and competition which federalism guarantees with abundant evidence, instead of pursuit of capture and corruption, grab your share. The times are changing fast, only those socities who are equipped or provide the enabling environment will be able to benefit from the challenges of the future. The North must embrace mordenity to drive growth not violence, unfortunately increase in violence simply brings more violence. Investment in security to maintain power is a development misfit, it only promotes capture and corruption which benefits just few people as events of nearly six decades has shown. No doubt, by pursuing this ideology the region has failed to look at the big picture to realise that charity begins at home. Come to think about it, how and why do you think you can change the whole country when the rest of the people in your home states are the poorest in the country, thinking needs to change. According to Stephen King; ''Practical solutions abound, sadly they're in danger of drowning in the snake oil..., the left behind are feeling the pain but putting up barriers is not the answer". A shift in mindset holds the magic key. Young people in the Northern Nigeria should be challenged to re-think ideology, carry out objective enquiries to find the right answers instead of wholesome allegiancies to bias, lies, distorted facts and untruths to keep them more impoverished. Today any society that resists adaptation will definitely be left behind. If Dubai can become one of the world's most attractive centre, i wonder why such wouldn't happen in the Northern Nigeria. Definitely we would all be concerned because ''everybody  eventually loses out'', as we're currently witnessing now, the horroffic atrocities of extremism and terrorism due to bad governance. It's unthinkable to imagine that cows are being allowed to travel from Sokoto to down South-East destroying private and commercial farmlands in the name of cattle grazing , wheras the rest of the societies who have unlocked great opportunities in this sector have all embraced innovation and modernity to achieve growth so this total bad governance, ruthlessness and failure of governance, fresh thinking is needed.The political leaders in the North must be bold to accept the truth about their dysfunctional system and bring the political will-power to effect change, now is the time to make change happen. I read an insight on Facebook about how the Igbos who were massacred, and given only £20 to survive have suddenly emerged stronger and richer whereas the dominant North that masacred and destroyed them are now the poverty capital of the world with ravaging and incurable terrorism which has come to stay, this should be a great challenge to everyone, not the next election and where the next President comes from, charity begins at home.
In the words of Einstein the great; "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". Every society must embrace universal values that champion peace, prosperity and progress to make the world a better place. Everyone wins if the political leaders do the right thing, Political Power can be a force for development if properly utilised. Growth requires a shift in minset.  The Politicians in the North created a philosophy of ''greed is good'', there must be a desire for people to stand on their own feet. People must think of taking responsibility for their economic and social circumstances. My view.
Click on this link to read about my position on the controversial RUGA initiative of the Federal Government: http://www.theleadprojectfoundation.com/2019/07/the-honest-truth-about-controversial.html

Uche Okeke is the Founder of  The LEAD Project Foundation. He lives in London. He has participated in the course: From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development.

Friday, 5 July 2019

The Hard Truth About 'RUGA' Settlement Controversy in Nigeria

"Governments must create the policy space to allow innovation to flourish. They must be clear on their goals for inclusive growth and then step back to allow actors across the economy to innovate, creating a learning ecosystem through which they can identify successes and be prepared to shore up investment to back emergent winners across the economy"- Tony Blair Institute For Global Change.

Today people people love their freedoms and autonomy, they don't want to be colonised, enslaved or killed in their own country. Recent policy initiative by Nigeria government to address the nationwide killings by Fulani herdsmen across the country has been met with stiff opposition and rejection in various states of the country. The reasons are not far-fetched, safety and security remains a major policy consideration in development intervention projects, secondly the federal government must respect shared government and the rights of indigeneous people, shared values and shared responsibilities as recognised by the constitution.  The truth is we must leverage modernity to achieve inclusive growth instead of allowing extremists to win. Everything history tells us about demagoguery and totalitarian barbarism is true as the controversy of the RUGA policy has just shown. Meat is a big business which requires leveraging innovation to achieve inclusive growth rather than violence and destabilisation. Today Nigeria is poverty capital of the world with mass unemployment. Ranching could provide a great opportunity to reduce unemployment by embracing innovative public-private-partnership for development. State Governments should mobilise widely available resources to set up ranching in their various states to enable unemployed youths to exploit cattle business instead of unnecessary controversy and politicisation by extremists seeking a return of the society to the primitive state. According to the World Economic Forum, analysis by A.T Kearney shows that the "global meat market was worth $1000 Billion dollars in 2018 and is set to grow". This is a huge opportunity to unlock inclusive opportunities instead of providing a platform for radical extremists to cause havoc to the society. We should be very worried about how to reduce astronimical unemployment and poverty which creates insecurity and instability not politicising important national policy to favour one particular homogeneous group over others. We must be mindful of extremists who are not bothered about liberal values, economic development and inclusive growth, rather violence and unending poverty to foster their barbaric ideologies on the society. Societies must do more to resist dangerous fundamentalist movements across the world still obessed with the fascist ideologies of the 20th century, colonization,  exploitation and domination especially in ethnically diverse societies that must leverage diversity to drive inclusive growth. Extremists thrive on crisis, violence, deepening poverty and stagnation to have their way. Ranching is a good practice that is adopted globally to grow cattle business, so it must not be a cause for violence. The practice is for people to pay for grazing not land-grabbing, destroying individual, community and commercial farms and assets which threatens human and food securtity. The world has changed and many societies are adopting global best practices to address societies complex problems not 'blood letting' by extremists who detest the rule of reason and good sense. Political power should be to improve lives and change the society not to endanger it. Nigeria risks a slow descent into a civil conflict if the leadership allows extremists to exploit this policy by taking a particular world view. States that need RUGA should be encouraged to go for it whereas the states that oppose it be allowed to develop their own ranching business model which is open to everyone to rent thus maximizing the huge potentials of the cattle business. Cattle ranches is for rent not absolute right of occupation/ownership already addressed by the country's constitutional land laws, similarly it will enable only genuine business owners to harness the benefits it offers rather than providing cover for bandits and extremists to achieve hidden objectives . Everyone is aware of the global tag of the herdsmen as the world's fourth largest and dangerous terror organization, so providing a blancket cover to settle them in our various communities is a very bad omen given abundant evidence of horriffic stories of their atrocities nationwide. Historically they are associated with religious intolerence, raiding, land grabbing, maiming, raping, killings, depopulating indigeneous communities and these unique features are what the country is currently witnessing, so it's a tragedy to suggest that they should be imposed to settle with the rest of the societies despite the risk they present. People are not looking for evidence because the evidence is laid bare for everyone to see, people are now living with the evidence. Societies need value not devastation, prosperity not destruction. In the words of Amy Chua; "when one group feels threatened , in danger of being extinguished by another predictable results follow", basically resistance. We must not allow unthinking extremists to ruin our world, destroy our country. Choas and crisis are inevitable outcome of offering irrational policies to support a particular world view especially in ethnic diverse societies where national identity is weak and the pull of ethnic identities are stronger. The country must be willing to rescue itself from tribal hatreds driven by demagogues seeking to replace shared values with sectarian and fundamentalist interests. Tribal division is a unique feature of Nigeria society so expecting it to vanish overnight is being dishonest and justifying the dysfunctional system. Capture and corruption can never build a stable and sustainable society.  The only option is embracing true federalism as events of more than five decades have shown, this calls for urgent national dialogue not despotism or using sentiments to replace facts.I like these words; How hypocritical this whole debate can be: "You took all our wealth now you have come to take our land". The time has come to recognise that Federalism promises Prosperity not Destruction, indigenous rights must be respected not violated. Let me conclude this writing with a remark by Governor Yesom Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State ; "Nobody can tell me what I should do. I represent Rivers State, so I have the right to speak the mind of my people. So if because i said I'm not going to participate in whatever they call..., I don't know the name. So you're not going to kill me because I can't participate. I can't participate because there's no land. The little we have, I have said we're going into Agriculture so if I give it out, where's the Agriculture we are going to do? But if they say that they want water, then we lay pipe from here and take our oil to other areas, is it not? They can also lay pipe in the Bonny Ocean and then take the water so that the cows can be drinking. Atleast, we have tried to contribute water. But any other thing, I'm not a party to it"
Meanwhile Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the spokesman of a Northern Nigeria Group seeking to impose the RUGA  Initiative across Nigeria's thirty-six states has described the suspension of the RUGA settlement by the Federal Government as "Ragging Madness" and warned the State Governors opposing the idea to 'give peace a chance'. In his words; "the federal government must act to halt and completely stop this raging madness within 30-days, failing to, we will most definitely be left with no option than to consider resorting to our decisive next line of action"
The  leadership of the Igbo apex organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo has raised alarm of impending 'land grabbing and ethnic genocide' and called on its citizens to embrace self-defence in their various places of  resident, and vowed to hold the Governors of the Nothern Nigeria states responsible for threats to lives and properties of their citizens resident in Northern Nigeria. The Governors of the Nothern Nigeria states have sued for peace in their various states.
So sad that the promise of Federalism for Salvation and Prosperity has now become a bad omen. Indeed, if the purpose of Federalism is unity and continuity, its a failed Federalism. Nigeria is already a failed state, the focus now is to avoid conflict status.  I totally agree with the Nigerian Tribune Editorial  position on this policy; 
"The Federal government wants an ethnic enclave created in spaces belonging to other people by a strange fiat that is unknown to any democratic imagination", this should be a huge cause for concern. The RUGA settlement policy brings distrust, suspicion, and rivalry, similarly it has failed safety and security, trust and co-operation tests and tend to confirm the collective views of the various ethnic identities as a 'cloak for expansionism and conquest'.
The future is people not cows. The future is new approach. The future is to think different. My View.

 Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation. He lives in London.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Pseudo or forced national identity will never overcome the reality of ethnic plurality in Nigeria

"It can be a catastrophic mistake to imagine that through democratic elections people will suddenly rally around a national identity and overcome their pre-existing ethnic, religious, sectarian, and tribal divides"-Amy Chua

When politicians distort reality by manipulating ignorant people to see the world in a way that favours them predictable results follow. Today Nigeria is now a deeply demoralised nation infested with a chronically chaotic government obessed with the fascist ideologies of the 20th-century. Despite ample warnings by critics and well-meaning citizens, the scenario unfolding on a daily basis has the potential of tearing the country apart. The future is very predictable; impotent government, chaos and crisis. The truth is the era of conquest and domination is over so one wonders what the power holders intend to achieve if they decline exploring comparative advantage and competition among all sectors in the country. Nigeria is never a homogeneous society so pseudo or forced national identity will never overcome the reality of diverse ethnicity that has come to stay, this is the obvious truth that the politicians must understand given the experiment and experience of nearly six-decades of unitary-centralised system of government . In a recent award ceremony organised by Governors of the ruling All Progressive Congress party -APC in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari, the president suddenly acknowledged that "True Federalism is necessary at this juncture of our political and democratic evolution", despite disagreeing on several occassions in the past on the need to restructure the country to address development challenges of the country's rapidly growing population. In his words; "true federalism and better collaboration among all sectors in the country is needed at this time in order to move the country forward", however, the political will and the courage to translate this sudden discovery into reality is what many observers are keen to see in the next four years as he prepares to start the second and his last term in office,despite controversial presidential elections, perhaps a lasting legacy that could define his presidency currently marked by the destructive forces of tribal politics, division, insecurity, discrimination, political bias and favouritism, repression, brutal force and the use of the power of the state to relegate certain ethnic groups and political opponents in the country. Never has the country felt more divided than in the past four years.We have said repeatedly that in ethnic diverse societies like Nigeria, restructuring the country is one sure way to address ethnic-hatred, religious zealotry, trust, governance and growth, not flawed elections every four years. No matter which political party that comes into power the story remains the same. The post colonial legacies of ''divide-and-rule, corruption, and autocracy'' brings more backwardness and hardships, 'exclusivism', persistence of poverty and stagnation as we are currently witnessing the 'catastrophic consequences' in Nigeria. The time has come to embrace reality; a new world in which all people co-operate freely and peacefully with minimum central control.  Find out more as we continue to analyse the activities of the government as they prepare for a second term in office come 29 May 2019. Read More : The tragedy of the evil brom; a difficult future ahead for Nigeria: http://www.theleadprojectfoundation.com/2019/03/the-tragedy-of-evil-broom-difficult.html

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Restructuring is one sure way to guarantee security and prosperity of citizens in Nigeria.

"A dysfunctional political system for luxury and adorenment, exploitation and domination must be overhauled to guarantee citizen security and prosperity in ethnic diverse society like Nigeria. The current political system is flawed, expensive, exploitative, wasteful, oppressive, dictatorial, people deserve more than that"-Uche Okeke

I have argued very strongly that politics in Nigeria is dominated by self-interests, narrow demands of the cabals who weild power; ruthless cabals with a 'distinct lack of conscience'. The country has been shaped more by political decisions of the centre ; unitary-centralised political system characterised by exploitation, ruthless pursuit of self-interests which affects economic development , trust, governance and growth. It needs adjustment/restructuring to guarantee autonomous states/regions, independence of the political decisions of the centre, i.e, greater devolution of responsibilities and resources. There is abundant evidence of successful economies that do not have the benefits of oil. They have thrived on efficient tax system, technology, entrepreneurship, Agriculture, manufacturing,  trade, greater citizen engagement, inclusiveness, knowledge economy, empowering women, pioneering investment and innovation, modernisation, prudent management and better governance, the myth of diaspora, NGOs, global partnerships etc. Independent states with more economic and financial resources present great opportunity not risks for development. Restructuring is the solution to the current political system/structure which 'obstructs development and consolidation of democracy' in Nigeria. Homogeneous society is a great advantage to democratization, this is not far from moving economic and political power down to identity. Restructuring is about alternative policy responses to stagnation, persistence poverty and instability .Restructuring Nigeria is one sure way to address the 'inter-connectedness of trust, governance and growth'. Employing a political economy approach, Independent States/Autonomy will avoid centralised leadership, promote decentralized leadership for more effective governance, prevent dominant coalition, make it 'easier to obtain consensus, develop and propagate its own agenda , build separated and strong institutions-investigative and judicial arm and promote its own ideology and diplomacy, cultural and historical factors, greater citizen engagement-accountability and transparency, embrace partnership as part of its own development strategy. Unlike the current structure characterised by self-interests, formation of dominant coalition, lack of transparency and accountability, weak institutions and mechanisms to hold leaders to account for their promises. Restructuring Nigeria is one sure way to harness or manage our diversity, make the union strong and leverage global partnership to effect development and growth. Restructuring is neither disintegration nor seccession, as the politicians want ignorant people to believe, so ordinary people need to be properly informed. Without restructuring anything else is distraction. Electoral democracy, i.e. election every four years does not bring development especially in a political climate/environment characterised by pitch invasion-'gutter' politicians in charge. Some of us still see the world through the map phenomenon or 'map' narrative; distorted views that tend to  make us celebrate and fight for the status-quo, the same reason for persistence of poverty, mass-unemployment, stagnation and political instability. Thinking needs to change. We must learn to look at the solution to our problem from the global best practices, not the distorted/narrow views of the power grabs; self proclaimed statesmen influenced by prejudice, outdated knowledge and self-interests. Homogeneity increases trust, good governance and leads to economic progress. No doubt, Restructuring is one sure way to guarantee security and prosperity of citizens in Nigeria.The current system promotes abuse of power by people who still envisioned a world dominated by one human group that violently subdues all others. Restructuring is not an option rather a development intervention whose time has come. Restructuring Nigeria is long overdue.

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation. He has participated in ; Political Economy of Institutions and Development , Universiteit Leiden. He lives in London.

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