Federalism Discourse at Nigeria’s 62 Independence

The maiden edition of FEDERALISM DISCOURSE, a programme of a coalition of Nigerian non-state actors and partners, took place this evening at RovingHeights Bookstore in the City Centre Mall, Gimbiya Street, Abuja.

The conversation mirrors the perspectival arguments of the informed literatures I was used to as a student at the University of Ibadan two decades ago, as periodically released by Programme on Ethinic and Federal Studies (PEFS) at UI.

Today’s session was incisive, informed illuminating, and resonates with the characteristics of our enthralling, ever lively and often controversial national debates. It was an intriguing mirror, a microcosm of the beauty and contradictions of the Nigerian sociological reality.

The prognosis and suggestions for resolutions of Nigeria’s inherently contradictory federalism were multiperspectival but certainly as beautiful as the potential glory of Nigeria. The depth of intellection shown by the rainbow panel constituted to provoke and animate the discourse will rekindle hope in any patriot and lover of Nigeria. The panel of Cynthia Mbamalu, Ndi Kato, Dr. Tope Fasua, and Majeed Dahiru, moderated Dr. Chido Onumah and supported by Frederick Adetiba gave treatment that is befitting to the intractable challenge of ensuring freedom, equity and justice to diverse elements of the geographical entity called Nigeria.

There are arguments on conceptual issues and the minority question as well as contentions over practicality of propositions that some discussants and panelists considered utopian and so there are submissions on the need to recognise the extant, objective realities of the Nigerian condition in a pragmatic sense if we are sincere and willing to face and resolve the Nigeria Question frontally.

Dr. Chido Onumah, Dr. Omoniyi IbietanOseloka ZikoraIke OkontaChiedu Ezeanah, and Julius Ogunro

But all speakers agreed that Nigeria is ill and requires clinical surgeons to get to the root of her malaise, including severing the cankerworm eating at her soul. The elites have been called upon to walk the talk, even as contained in our defective constitution, because no Constitution is perfect, including America’s which has had 27 Amendments.

All representations of public intellectualism and the elites have been tasked to enlist in the duty of education because we need an ethical turn, a new orientation that emphasises our commonalities rather than promotion of the issues that divide us. As a corollary, there was a convergence of opinions that Nigeria should begin to incentivise acts that promote unity, and give recognition to the equality of nationalities and based on a groundnorm or framework that speaks concretely to security and welfare of all citizens however they may be circumstanced by birth, religion and geography of ancestry. There is unanimity that the notion of state of origin should be abolished, and in its stead Nigeria should adopt state of residence.

Participants reiterated that all governments failed that fell and faltered to guarantee the welfare and security of their citizens because the security and welfare of citizens in a free, democratic and fair society is the fundamental purpose of government.

From Dr Omoniyi Ibietan’s FaceBook Post

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