Comment on The Pursuit of ‘True’ Federalism by Mystic mallam

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For a welcome change, commentators on Simon’s posting today have shown unusual maturity in responding to his Janus-faced, on-the fence position on restructuring and true federalism; – no inter-ethnic insults, no puerile self-abuses. I have up-voted many of them. As for Simon himself, sometimes one has to wonder how such a talented writer succumbs so easily to such contradictory statements in the same essay, while proposing childish generalisations that one could only expect to hear from beer-parlour banters. After a useful dictionary definition of federalism, he concludes with an insinuation that Nigerians ever agreed that the federating units should be subordinate to the centre. A few soldiers decided that not us, and for good measure, that wasn’t just in the 1999 constitution, it was the case from the commencement of army rule, and the advent of inordinate greed fuelled by oil rent, made bad-enough unbearable. It was the sharing of oil rent as a constitutional entitlement to arbitrary, non-viable states that stopped agricultural development, nothing else did, and it’s futile for Simon to try changing that narrative. Yes, the prior 3 regional governments built 3 world class universities which Simon rudely compares to the new ”no-class political” state universities whose degrees are virtually worthless outside the states that award them. That is not healthy competition, that’s unhealthy rivalry. Simon’s mindset appears still locked-in the world of natural resources, otherwise, why would he be asking ‘what resources Japan and Las Vegas have’ in defending the sustenance of the present 36 states, 28 of which are said to be incapable of paying salaries. If he is unaware, Japan has the most important resource of all, and it’s called intellectual resource, so does Las Vegas, which by the way, is a city in Nevada not a federating unit of the USA. And, please Simon, no one is romancing the 1st Republic, we know it wasn’t perfect, and we didn’t need any major Nzeogwu to tell us that. All we are saying is that, in comparison, the present unitary system comes a distant second in terms of national cohesion, stability and service delivery. The growing tide of across-country revolt against unitary rule is enough evidence. I will resist the temptation to comment on your infantile experiment of Nigerians and Germans trading places. At the least, you should have known that the proposal clearly illustrates your confusion about federations being sui-generis because of variances of culture, history and whatever.

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