Restructuring: The Trojan Horse At Our Gates By Joseph Aku

Let those who have ears, hear. Let those who have eyes, read. And those who have a good knowledge and understanding of history, join me in referring to the interesting story of the Trojan horse and its role in Greek invasion of Troy. My apologies to pound the alarm but we have a Greek gift at our gates. To interpret the metaphors and symbolism, we are the Trojans, the politicians of old are the Greek soldiers, our future, minds and relevance our the fortress of Troy and Restructuring is the Greek gift of we know as the Trojan Horse.

On March 17, 2014 the National conference was inaugurated by the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in Abuja. This was a congregation of 492 members of the elite nominated by those in power and not the people. Its advertised aim was “a national project, a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, long standing impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly United Nation”. In summary it was meant to be a representation of the common man and an avenue for issues affecting the ordinary Nigerian to be aired and brought forth to Mr. President and those in power at the time.

The rationale behind the decision to nominate rather than have the people, organizations and unions vote on who represents them is one that has still been questioned till date. Not to mention the private conclusion most have, that the national conference of 2014 or confab as it is popularly known, was just an avenue for old politicians, friends to those in power and members of the elite to air their grievances and stick their arms and submerge their legs into the ‘Cookie Jar’ for maybe one last time.

This conclusion can be backed by the exorbitant amount of money paid to each member which was rumored to start at a whopping N30 Million (thirty million naira) per delegate. Some committees and many arguments later it adopted its final report on august of the same year. Some of the recommendations of the report are now the repackaged and re-assembled Trojan horse at which some politicians of old and their intentions seem to be concealed in of resent and used as a way to pass through our defenses if any still exist.

A wise man once said it is best to ignore who said what and focus on what is being said. With that said it is important that one does not ignore the reports of the 2014 confab but look into it without bias or prejudice. The report submitted contained recommendations. These recommendations plus some ideas have been dissembled like the Greek boats at the beaches of Troy and been put together to form the Trojan horse that we call ‘Restructuring’. These recommendations like the creation of 18 new states, fiscal federalism, revenue allocation, forms of government, power sharing, governance and state policing are now components of this gargantuan gift from our politicians which is gradually being allowed to tower over issues that are more important to the common man. If one were to look at some of these components, there will be a rejection of some parts that will make we the Trojans of this situation think twice before letting dragging this horse through the gates of our minds.

Components like the creation of 18 new states will be the first to make one think twice and hard, especially at a time when most of the already existing 36 states are owing workers’ salaries. Not to mention contractors, vendors and others who are waiting to be paid for services rendered and goods supplied to the government. The non-viability of most of the states already raises an eyebrow to the rationale and intention of our political soldiers as to their reasons for restructuring. The matter of the local government which does not recognize the local government as a tier of government but still then allocates 22.5% of revenue to a tier of government that is not recognized. Not to mention the fact that local government council representatives are to be nominated, as is already the case in most states.

With this said one most applaud the dubious craftsmen extraordinaire of this Greek gift who have made sure that the more sellable components are well placed in more visible areas of the horse in other to not raise an eyebrow or an alarm. Before I continue, it must be said that some of these points or components are actually good points that with the right implementation can lead to a more desirable tomorrow in Nigeria. Nigeria a country riddled and highly infected by the cancer that is corruption. And there lies the problem. In the past we have seen some good policies being manipulated and wrongfully implemented by people in government.

Commissions and policies like the NDDC for instance were created to bring about development and improvement in the lives of people in regions and places applicable but instead were manipulated and morphed into systems which lined and enriched the pockets of a few privileged enough to be in the system. Allow me to bring up the amnesty program, which most privy to certain information know, was put together with the best of intentions but then whose coffers were looted and pillaged. With this said, one with a sound mind cannot ignore the undesirable effect of the weapon that is corruption, unsheathed and being held in the hands of these politicians hiding in the different parts of this Greek gift. Let us for a minute endure the imagination of the horrors that may occur if components of restructuring like state policing, were to be implemented during time of corruption being at celestial heights.

And the story will not be complete without the deceitful witness to a Greek retreat that never happened. Cue in former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was in office from 1999 – 2007. A man who some see as being of questionable character and intentions, has been seeking power since he ran for office of Governor of the now defunct Gongola state in 1991 and is still fighting for relevance till date. He has become the de-facto champion for restructuring mantra in Nigeria. Like Sino in the story he proceeds to deceive the masses, and any who cares to listen, into thinking that accepting Restructuring in the country is the way out of the dire situation we find ourselves in today. He presents it as a solution that will grant overnight success and the path to the promise land. He with the help of other conspiring politicians present it as the only way to fix Nigeria’s problem.

But is it? Let us not forget that the difficulty we face today is one that was spawn from the activities of politicians like him in the past. A difficulty that they, thanks to the riches they have amassed at our expense, have been made immune to or at least have been able to quarantine them and their families from in other not to feel the effects. It has to be said that their blatant actions not only insult our memory but can also be seen as attempt to prove that about 160 million Nigerians suffer from some acute case of amnesia.

May I also mention that asides his character and person, what is also questionable is the timing of this campaign he has been on. With the 2019 elections around the corner, it is safe to say that like the Greeks he is still being relentless in achieving his objectives by any cunny means necessary.

To quote Laocoon, the priest of troy who warned them about the Trojan horse, “I fear the Greeks and even those bearing gifts”. So should we heed to this warning and reject this Greek gift. So to should we realize that these politicians are not to be trusted, especially the ones bearing gifts. Most politicians if not all have an agenda. No politician gives anything without looking to gain something more than what is being given. One cannot help to overlook the camaraderie amongst them. Especially the over exhibited ability of the biggest of rivals to reach mutually beneficial agreements at late hours and behind closed doors while the common man sleeps. Only to have the common man wake up to the news and feel the effects by morning. To hit the nail on the head further, these old politicians will not be clamoring for restructuring if it were not another means to their self-serving end. Or better still, another means to the further plundering and pillaging of the treasury and our common wealth.

It has to be said that, with the backing of Poseidon-like god fathers and benefactors to this scheme, there is a danger that the warnings, those who give them and blatant signs of caution will be strangled by sea serpents we best known as their cronies in the media whose pockets are well lined for the purpose to make sure that people take no heed.

It must be noted, though, that there are elements of distrust towards politicians deeply submerged in the minds and subconscious of the average Nigerian. A distrust by the blatant and audacious acts of corruption carried out by most of these politicians hiding in this Trojan horse called ‘Restructuring’. It is with this that all must note that restructuring is neither the answer nor a bad thing to implement.

In fact, it is a move that can bring about eventual improvements. Like the Trojan story the issue lies not with the gift but what is concealed in it and its intentions. Hence why it is so far obvious that restructuring if implemented with the present level of corruption in the system and with the intentions within, will be like one with a very high blood pressure taking salt.

It can lead to a case of a good idea being implemented in the wrong situation and at the wrong time therefore producing regrettable and devastating results. It can turn this country, which is in political, economic and social comatose into a failed state.

What we then truly need is a re-evaluation and restructuring of not our system but first our mindset. A restructuring of the society that has so far and for so long produced mostly defective leaders who have gladly created this problem we are in. Our restructured minds must embrace high levels of national responsibility, pride and selflessness. It must put integrity first in all our dealings, frown upon immorality and discourage the scourge of mediocrity. Only then can we be able to defeat those armed with swords of corruption and shields of poverty. If this country is to move forward begin to think differently and do things in the right way that is in the interest of millions and not a few.

For as Albert Einstein once said “madness is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result”.