Our Love Affair with Kings and Queens; the Reason Nigerians Don’t See the Need for Restructuring. 

We revere them. We worship them as though they are mini gods. We look up to them for guidance and wisdom. We enrich them with wealth and power even if it means depriving us of both. But you can’t blame us, we were born into a culture that accord traditional and religious leaders with so much reverence, power and wealth.

Our current form of government has very powerful center, weaker states and even weaker citizens, just like the nature of our traditional and religious dynasties. This is codified in the 1999 Constitution which has placed more powers in the national government than all the 36 states combined while each individual state controls everything within it leaving the people almost powerless. 

For example, we do not own but “rent” our lands. Police, education, roads and many more are paid for and controlled by them. This system where total control of our affairs are handled at the top goes hand in hand with the way our traditional and religious rulers had and continue to rule over us. It is a projection of our tradition into the realm of modern day governance. 

It is no wonder majority of Nigerians do not see the ills of having a government system in which the federal government has almost all the powers and therefore do not support the calls for restructuring. Subconsciously to them, it is normal to have over-centralized government, after all it is just like our traditional kings and queens. If the system isn’t working, it is because the rulers or leaders are not God-fearing or sympathetic to us our needs. Again, you cannot blame these Nigerians. 

We have to restructure Nigeria so that the people are the ones doing the controlling; we have to return powers to Nigerians as though each and every one of us is a king or queen. This involves letting Nigerians pay (tax) for the provision of public goods and services, allocate government powers according to Fiscal Federalism and reserve sovereignty to us. They say whoever pays the Piper dictates the tune. Well, if Nigerians are the ones paying for the provision of public goods and services then everything would work according to how we want it, right?