Perhaps if having to go by the conceptualization that societal behaviour-whether positive or negative emanates from the organizational acumen of savvy managers using constitutional laws well interpreted by a dynamic justice system as the benchmark-then the mortal words of renowned poet Ralph Waldo Emerson reaffirms the notion that every organization indeed is the lengthened shadow of one man. And If perchance exploring the socio-political realm of life, ab-initio economic and financial spheres of human influence based on rational decision making that’s in tandem with multi-cultural yearnings of every society, the rule of law as well as its functions and equally important institutional approaches to human management have to remain the custodial responsibility of the State. The inception of mankind through an evolution that has been replicated in his family, the clan to which his family belong as well as its subsequent fusion with similar others to come about a village, town or a city encapsulates the essence of incorporation in the form of towns, villages and cities.
When Macgregor Laird returned in 1834 alongside R.A.K Oldfield back to England after their expedition along and into the basin of the Niger River in West Africa. With one of the Lander brothers who just completed his second expedition-first as a worker for Mungo Park- he not only attained global acclaim with his pioneering of the first iron clad vessels-SS Alburka-to sail the ocean that was built by his father’s Laird, Son & Co. in the Birkenhead ship building yard in the Merseyside. Although Macgregor never returned to Africa but his influential support for trade along the Middle Belt river banks of the Niger and the Benue encouraged merchants and explorers which were quite instrumental into developing trade stations along the two major rivers in Nigeria. One of such station is the present day capital of Kogi state-Lokoja-established by one of his trade expeditionists by the name of William Balfour Baikie. His trade influences extended down into the Deltas of the Niger and into the Trans-Atlantic trade route.
There’s however a remarkably stark difference in the processes of governance in the developed States of the world in which Macgregor Laird left behind in comparison to the faltering Third World counterparts/shenanigans in the sub-Sahara region of Africa prominent from which the Niger River still plays an important role albeit in very under-utilized circumstances. Besides that, the Laird, Sons & Co. have grown in bounds and leaps in their success in the areas of commercial marine, renewable energy, defence services as well as heavy fabrication as a result of its merger in 1903 with Johnson Cammell & Co. to form Cammell Laird. This much can’t be said of the Niger River, the inhabitants of its banks as well as the highly coveted dream of Macgregor Laird whom in his diary records stated thus-“This phenomenal difference brings to fore the bare-faced facts of the long endured deceits and abysmal manipulation by a few privileged political buffoons in the political climate of Nigeria. Chicanery, vice, and the control mechanisms exploited to keep control of repetitive but desired result”. That this exclusivity for political relevance have become rife over the years with its destructive tentacles widespread in our clime is a reminder to the dysfunctional political order set in stone to amplify an unworkable instrument of governance.
Every Nigerian whom can or has ever brood the notion for societal change can quite be assured of taking the first step in the right path to quasi-political freedom. This is in tandem with the common sense frame of mind that one acknowledges with political events lately at the national level which has been instrumental in unearthing woeful institutional arrangement where protocol adherence and dictates to rules and regulations have taken flight, and in its place is a rooted melancholic admonitions to due processes that is normative in functional public service management. Nigeria is bruised and battered beyond reasonable doubt however is the fixation with fantasy that recent calls for restructuring appears ill timed . Beyond the specter of retrogressive services by public management structures, the stark reality in a typical society of ours is driven by lack, want and need. The menace of street begging has been taken to an all time high on many corners of our towns and cities. The change mantra is not only a wake up call for federal state or local services. It’s for all Nigerians whether private driven or artisans. The horrific acknowledgement that corruption thrives in Nigeria is an understatement. How the tide can be stemmed with ideas rather than ambition is a subjective matter regarding the characters that appear as game changers. What do Nigerians have, need, want and lack?
I’m a firm admirer of the President of Nigeria barring any misconceptions which is forgivable. However, I fervently believe his perception about the clamour for restructuring Nigeria stem from political misgivings, ill conceived utterances and the palpable fear for Nigeria’s political future that’s swirling in the contemporary Nigeria whirlwind that’s been sweeping across the land. The avoidable Boko Haram carnage in the North East, the needless upsurge of militancy in the Niger Delta, IPOB/MASSOB in the South Eastern flank of Nigeria are a reminder to the fact that Nigeria is indeed on dire straits.
That restructuring of the present day Nigeria began in earnest from the criticisms that trailed the Willinks Commission Report on Minorities in Nigeria and their reservations on the tripod arrangement of Northern, Eastern and Southern Nigeria regional autonomy of pre independent Nigeria. The fallout from this outcry was the referendum conducted in Western Nigeria which brought about the Mid-Western region in 1963 with Capital in Benin City. The two other regions balked and cocooned themselves from the realization that restructuring was inevitable in their respective regions. The Tiv riots in the early 1960s, the fight for the political soul of the Mid-West as well as the attempts to foist an unpopular government on the majority brought politics in Nigeria to the precipice culminating in the Coup d’etat in January 1966 thus terminating the life of the First Republic in the most brutal, savage and callous manner and the departure from Parliamentary Federalism into what William H. Riker termed as political heresthetics; direct manipulation of the political structure to determine or perhaps win a specific outcome. That such outcome is the hallmark of the Nigeria presidential system is an understatement as the presidential system is alien to the pre-conceived Political arrangement by the founding fathers for the country before 1966 culminating in the presidential systemic maze that’s been heaped upon Nigerians by manipulators.
To be continued.