Like all Nigerian sloganeering, restructuring has been the new song on our lips of most Nigerians since the present President Muhammadu Buhari APC-led government came into power. Our issue in this country is that we act out George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm. We never know nor understand fully what we talk or bandy about. Our understanding of national issues seems too often impaired by our primitive desire to remain a mediocre country and yet enjoy the benefits of excellence.
When we talk of restructuring, what does it mean to the ordinary Nigerian? To the ordinary man the politician in Abuja is trying to use Katakata English to confuse them again. Restructuring to the student should mean that public schools work well. Let the laboratories have equipment and let their teachers and lecturers be paid what is due them. To the market woman, a restructured Nigeria should mean when she is able to make profit from sales, when she can freeze her fish and not lose them due to low patronage and NEPA palaver. Restructuring, to the civil servant in my dear State Kogi should mean that he is not paid half salary after being owed 15 months by the state government while the governor travels abroad every now and then to pay eye-service visits to Buhari who was sick in a London hospital.
The ordinary man does not want to know who is the Minister from his local government or who the Senator representing his constituency is. He just wants to know that his government is able to provide roads and electricity and water and also good hospital.
The president, Mr Muhammadu Buhari spent over 100 days in a state of the art hospital in the United Kingdom, that is after Government has spent billions of Naira on the Aso Rock Clinic. This is also in spite of the fact that many people are dying in the villages and even urban centers for lack of adequate medical facilities. Yet politicians sit in Abuja to sing about restructuring as if Nigeria is all about politics.
Restructuring the polity without restructuring the minds and economic status of the people is just a waste of time. Yes, we agree Nigeria has an urgent need to revisit the way things are done in this country. We agree that since Nigeria is TURN BY TURN Plc, every member of the mediocre entity deserves a feel of belonging in the stakes. We agree that Nigeria ‘belongs to all of us’ and therefore no one section deserves to lord it over others in terms of appointments and selection. The President having stood against this, purposely lopsided his appointments into key offices and this has sparked off debates even at akara joints about restructuring.
That is for the high and mighty. The ordinary farmer in my far away village needs to be empowered with fertiliser and mechanisation. That, to him is restructuring. The youths need to be given employment and career developing opportunities, loans and funds etc. These to the youths are effective restructuring.
My one penny thought is that the ordinary Nigerian is very comfortable with what he is getting. He is okay with his share of the national cake and so is fighting for Senators who hardly knows he exists. I want to close by asking a thought provoking question; how many ministers have ever resigned because their constituencies have not been faring well in the government’s infrastructural development?