Should the old restructure Nigeria for the youth?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

As the discussion on the restructuring of Nigeria takes up the conversation space, the matter of the persons to carry-out the process has necessarily been brought up.

Very many persons, old and young, believe the present structure of the country is a contraption bound to worsen by the day. But not everyone agrees on whose duty it should be to negotiate the terms of the new Nigerian deal.

For any restructuring to be initiated and completed, it has to be driven by the Executive in union with the Federal and State Legislatures, as well as the Governors. The big players and ‘godfathers’ that run these systems behind the scenes, from Asokoro mansions, Kano palaces, and Ikoyi clubs, will of course have their own major interests covered in the major dialogues that would lead to any restructuring agreements.

Most of these persons are part of the lower proportion of the age demographic of Nigeria’s population. The older generation of elite, who (some through fathers, mothers and uncles) have long been involved of the politics of the country since 1960, have recycled themselves in positions of power. They have, at times, bruised and burnt each other. Eventually, they know when to congregate to move their interests forward.

The fact is that for all the ills of the present state of Nigeria, it is absolutely working out well for many members of Nigeria’s elite generation, even amongst those who have come out to lend sympathy to the idea of a new structure. The lopsided Nigerian federation has, for a long time, tilted the treasury outlet towards their pockets and foreign accounts, making them able to comfortably stride through every political and economic challenge that has beset the Nigerian state over the years, regardless of the party in power.

Wealth quite never satisfies but there obviously is a point where one can feel at ease off and hustle less, at which point the concern for others can be granted permission to filter through. But even then, Nigeria’s older generation will still have stakes to fight for in the question of shifting their erstwhile means of largesse.

They will still be involved – even lead – the restructuring drive, but should they determine the future for the coming generation?

The youth will need the wisdom and directions of the elders, and there are questions as to if they are indeed ready for the responsibility of leadership and governance. However, for any restructuring to be sustainable, those who will live in the future restructured Nigeria must play more of the leading roles in the on-going discussions.

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