Recommendations by South West Governors are compelling evidence of how Nigeria could truly work

The Nigerian federation is at a critical juncture where virtually every citizen agrees that the national political setup needs to change before the progress citizens aspire to see can happen; particularly the kind befitting a nation-state in the 21st century.

This has led to various moves by power brokers across the country with the forum of Southwestern governors appearing to be the loudest in recent times. There are historical claims that the Yoruba is arguably the most sophisticated ethnic group in the country. It therefore would come as no surprise to students of the school of thought that the Southwestern governors were the first to put up a united front against insecurity and the violent excesses of herdsmen.

With at least one governor from an opposition party, the forum teamed up to establish the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Amotekun, not minding the barrage of criticisms and challenges that came their way.

As a follow up to the recommendations made by the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) which impressed Nigerians as the formation of a united Southern front in the clamour for a restructured Nigeria, Southwestern governors have taken a step ahead to propose that the present six geopolitical zones be converted into federating units, among other issues to be considered in the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly.

They also proposed that the Federal Government be stripped of the powers to create additional states while local government creation should be the exclusive duty of the state government.

The document entitled ‘Proposals for the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended): Presentation by South-West Governors’ Forum’ also emphasised the need “to promote national unity, fair representation of individuals and groups,” and also ensure that there is no predominance of gender, ethnic or sectional group in any governmental setup.

The governors have also been lauded for their courage in taking direct yet significant steps, despite the seeming anti-restructuring posturing of the Buhari government (if Malami’s intermittent bouts of criticism are to go by) brought to power by the same political party as an overwhelming majority of the governors.

The South West governors are obviously leaving nothing to chance and they have instances in the not so far past to motivate them. The sophistication that the West is praised for has often been attributed to the solid educational foundations laid by the former Premier of the old Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who championed free education and set a legacy that would be used to define the region decades to come.

Apart from the West, other regions can be argued to have unique socio-historical selling points. Easterners are undoubtedly reputable for their economic intelligence while the North continues to set the pace in ensuring food security.

Therefore, the proposition by the governors indicates that each region with its unique attributes will grow at its own pace, especially as virtually every region possesses socio-cultural denominators and there would be no government at the centre to blame.

As each region would operate independently, it would be up to them to come up with developmental strategies that befit a 21st-century government. Some regions would then find it difficult to accuse others of dragging them behind.

Some political critics have also pointed that the kind of constitutional amendment proposed by the Yoruba governors could quell the agitation by the South East to control the federal government as regional governance would give them the kind of autonomy they crave for the development of their peoples. And certainly, it would be hard to dispute that.

While the proposal will continue to generate fireworks, either for or against, its argument remains compelling and provides for a hint of how Nigeria should be structured in the first place.

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