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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
General…

RESTRUCTURING: REDUCE POLITICAL TEMPO

SIRACH 37: 16, SAID, PLANNING AND THOUGHT lie behind everything that is done. This is probably the basis of the injunction, ‘think before you act!’ This means that once the thinking that underlies an action is faulty, the action cannot be right. The rapid development of a nation demands the knowledge of what development entails but this knowledge has never been a common thing. This is why we can say that great nations are created by great minds; great nations are owned by the people who deserve them. In a write-up in THE NATION newspaper, June 7, 2007, p. 21, under the sub-title, ‘No more the hopeless continent,’ Nicky Oppenheimer wrote that the Commission for Africa while advocating for foreign aid for Africa in 2005, described Africa as the ‘hopeless continent, a scar on the conscience of the world.’ What is the situation today at the end of 2017? Is Africa no more the hopeless continent? The situation in Africa suggests that there is poor conceptualization of the development process. This is reflected in every aspect of life in the continent, including the current debate on restructuring of Nigeria. So, we can say that the indispensable restructuring Nigeria needs is the one that would make Nigeria a progressive nation, a nation with a clear direction.

The development of a nation is usually multi-dimensional – economic, social, political, etc. Whereas history shows clearly that nations achieve industrialization or economic democracy (mass participation of citizens in the economic sphere of a nation) before political democracy (mass participation in the political sphere of a nation), Western social sciences (political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, economic, etc.) and related fields (like law, administration, international relations, etc.) assume that a nation achieves political democracy before economic democracy. This is the cardinal reason why Africa nations including Nigeria whose development strategies are based on the understanding of the development process by Western social sciences and related fields are stagnating.

Industrialization must precede political democracy because illiterate and poverty-stricken people cannot accept democratic principles.

Britain achieved the first modern Industrial Revolution in the period 1770s- 1850s ( Gregg, 1971). The inhuman conditions created by free capitalism directly produced the Labour Party and Socialism in Britain (Trevelyan, 1948; and Carrington and Jackson, 1954). The political neglect and anxiety consequent upon  the economic depression of the 1870s and 1880s led some people to search for more radical solutions. Socialism which had been espoused and elaborated by Robert Owen (1771-1858) in the 1820s and 1830s, was articulated into a more scientific and resolute ideology by Karl Marx (1818-1883); who after 1849 lived in London and wrote from his desk in the British Museum, his revolutionary masterpiece, Das Kapital, in 1867. The Febian Society in 1884 was one of the several socialist groups formed at that time. The characteristic activity of the Society was teaching, speaking to any group that would listen. The Society, through the Febian Essays, successfully established its authority as an intellectual group. By 1900, the Febian Society and other

socialist groups and Labour unions formed the Labour Representation Committee which metamorphosed into the Labour Party in 1906 in England.

Following the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, the discovery of gold and silver in the New World, America was considered a land of wealth and great opportunity. The beginning of lasting English colonization dates back to when a group of English merchants and investors applied for royal charters to authorize enterprise in America. King James issued a single charter to them as the Virginia Company in 1606. Early Virginia was a land of small famers which later became one large plantation devoted to one crop, tobacco. Over a period of about one century later, a tide of emigration swept from Europe to America (Whitney and Glick, 1965; and Baldwin, 1969).The consequence was the immigration of Europeans and Africans, willingly and through force with their habits and traditions to the New World. There were thirteen colonies (Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhodes Island, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware) by 1776. The colonies revolted against Britain, declared independence July 4, 1776 and fought the War of Independence 1776-1783. The colonial government assisted by France, Spain, Netherlands and other European nations, won the Revolutionary War (Hicks et al., 1970).

In 1783, the United States of America after surviving the Revolutionary War, took its place in the league of nations. Its future was assessed by Frederick the Great of Russia, who dismissed the new nation as a mere temporary freak. It could not exist for long, he said, because it was too large, it would fall apart (Bulletin of Science and Technology & Society, 1984). The new nation was over 880,000 square miles in area, four times as large as France, and had a population slightly more than 3 million squeezed into the Atlantic coast. America was a trackless wilderness. The problem was intensified in 1803 with the purchase of the territory of

Louisiana, another wilderness. That purchase doubled America’s size to over 1, 700,000 square miles – an area almost as large as all Europe outside Russia. 

The American fought a civil war in the period 1861-1865. When the Civil War began in 1861, the prediction of Frederick the Great met its ultimate test. It was technology that saved the Union. Were it not for the North’s industrial and technological superiority, the South would not have been beaten, and the Union would have fallen apart. Technology built America and proved Frederick wrong.

The British type parliamentary and American type presidential systems are too advanced for young Nigeria, which does not have the institutions that make them work. But the parliamentary system is more responsible to the people than the presidential system. The United States occupied Japan for seven years after Japan surrendered at the end of World War II. As part of the reforms America introduced into defeated Japan was the replacement of the Japanese feudal-military system with the British type parliamentary system, explaining that it is more responsible to the people than the American type presidential system (Hall, 1971). This is the reason Japan has a parliamentary system of government today.  Had Nigerian lawyers and other who prepared the 1979 Nigerian Constitution been sufficiently careful, Nigeria would not have adopted the more difficult presidential system when the parliamentary system failed in 1966.

Let Nigeria reduce political tempo by adopting a humble part-time committee-type parliamentary system like Switzerland. Five   federating levels (learning levels)  – Federal, Zonal, State, Local government and  Mayoral,  should be practised.   That is, Nigeria should have: federal, zonal, state, provincial and city/mayoral independent/interdependent governments. Six Zonal vice-presidents (VPs) should form the federal executive-committee government for six years; each VP to be head of state for one year. State representatives (SRs) should form zonal-committee governments, each SR to be head of zonal government for one year. Senatorial representatives (SERs) should form State-committee governments, each to be governor for two years. Local government chairmen and mayors should be in government for three years each.

Nigeria should increase economic tempo. Our research has revealed that all the technologically advanced nations of today were agricultural nations for many centuries. They learnt laissez-faire (slowly) over 2000-3000 years and achieved the modern Industrial Revolution (IR), a status of knowledge, skills and competence. European and Asian nations did not set up public educational institutions and neglected intensive learning for centuries. From the duality of nature – up/down, man/woman, night/day, we can infer that there are two aspects to learning. Learning can be decomposed into education and training. That is, Learning (L) = Education (E) + Training (T). Education alone coexists with mass unemployment and poverty. That explains the mass unemployment situation in African and Latin-American nations. Anyone who acquires either education or training alone is a mediocre person. An indispensable restructuring African nations including Nigeria need is establishing a standing training framework to train university graduates especially engineers/scientists 4-5 years to acquire adequate complementary skills and competences. This is how Nigeria can start engaging Nigerian youths in their Golden Decades (30-40), promote rapid industrialization (economic democratization) and solve mass unemployment, poverty and high crime problems and save Nigeria.

 


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