The balkanisation of Nigeria into states began on May 27, 1967 under the Yakubu Gowon Military Regime, when 12 states emerged. On February 3, 1976, Nigeria was further partitioned into 19 States and a Federal Capital Territory under the Military Regime of Murtala Mohammed. On September 23, 1987 and August 27, 1991, General Ibrahim Babangida again separated the country into 21 and 30. The final partitioning or compartmentalization into 36 States was done on October 1, 1996 by the late General Sani Abacha
The balkanisation campaign of these military men gave us what is today known as the 36 Federating units, though they do not possess any form or shape of federal characters.
One of the fallouts of the 1967 balkanisation exercise of General Gowon, which was believed to have been done in anticipation of the secession of the eastern region, what we today know as Agitation for State Creation in Nigeria..
It is my socio-political theory that Agitation for State Creation was borne out of a dummy sold to the masses of the people of Nigeria that the way to get government closer to them is the creation of more states.
Now the architect of the State Creation Agitation, who are members of the elite political class are interested in creating duty posts, known as states, which make the commonwealth of the nation more accessible to them for personal sharing.
It is important to note that the elite political class has never served the interest of the Nigerian people since the amalgamation of 1914, purely for ease for doing business for the colonialists.
The military in response to this agitation and to entrench itself in power and build an impregnable political dynasty acceded to the agitation of state creation, which I even believe they might have instigated in the first instance. The principle is clear, ‘you don’t talk while you are eating.’ When a state was created, military administrator or governor will be appointed, who will in turn appoint members of the elite political class as commissioners and advisers.
It is also important to note that the people appointed as military administrators were the ‘best hands’ in the military. Therefore, the military government again solidified it’s power base by keeping busy as state administrators, it’s men, who may become restive out of being idle in the barracks and begin to nurse the idea to seize power.
Today, the agitation for state creation is still on and been embraced by the masses as the strategy to bring government closer to them to deliver the dividends of Social Contract, which is the welfare and the security of the people.
Yet is is a dummy. State creation neither brings the government closer to the people not help them access the dividend of social contract.
Today, it is common and public knowledge that most of the states created by the military are not economically viable and sustainable.
How do you keep states that are not economically viable if it is to bring government closer and deliever to the people dividends of Social Contract?
Why are there no efforts and innovative, tangible or otherwise both at the federal and state levels to create wealth at the state level and make it self-sustaining economically?
Why do states, which are not economically viable carry the financial burden of providing for the extravagant lifestyle of government officials, making the cost of running government in Nigeria one of the highest in Africa.
To my mind, the answer is simple. The states are already fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. It is to make state resources more available to the political elites.
The Nigerian State has ruthlessly perfected and outstandingly succeeded in that act and art of thinking ahead of the masses of our people and creating their agitation for them as a deliberate distraction from the real issues of good governance, which is historically measured by the welfare and the security of the people.
They are skillful in doing everything with the resources of the state but governance, create the people’s social and economic pains and turn round to create a populist agitation, using undercover members of their class to lead same, gain the confidence of the people and keep them dancing and complaining on one spot, creating a lot of motion without movement and delievering to the people a sensation of change. What I just described is the real opium of the masses in Nigeria, apart from religion.
It is with this at the back of my mind that I draw a correlation between the agitation state creation and the agitation for the balkanisation of the Nigerian internal security system under the Nigerian Police. The foregoing is christened agitation for the creation of State Police, which I believe has culminated in the creation of the nebulous and amorphous Amotekun.
Why did I say it is nebulous and amorphous? Amotekun, as at today is not a creation of the law in states that have embraced same.
This is my first point of suspicion? How do exposed and learned governors with functional ministries of justice and houses of assembly embark on the mission of creating a security apparatus without first subjecting it to the thinking and backing of the law? How do we create a security apparatus without defined terms of reference and codes of engagement made available to the members of the public, who must be aware to understand the boundaries of their authority and be able to challenge them they step out of same.
How do you begin to allocate the resources of state to an entity that is not known to the law of the state?
I know some may argue that Amotekun is funded from the Security Votes from which the governors are not accountable to make public how it is disbursed. So, are we saying the governers can fund bodies like The Oodua Peoples Congress, Egbesu Boys or any other body, who claim to exist for the securing the lives of the people in a particular geo-political zone in Nigeria from the Security Votes, since a loose fund.
Yes, there is gross insecurity in Nigeria as a whole. The insecurity is creation of the state, first as a result of its poor economic policies and programs; second, as result of the inability of the state to secure the lives and property of the people.
The people are afraid, agitated and restive and do not see any efforts being made by the Federal Government. By the wiring, created by the elite political class, when the people do not find succour at the federal level they look for same in their tribal set-up, known as states or geo-political zones.
As far as I am concerned, Amotekun is another well crafted distraction from the real issues of good and people-oriented governance.
I have listened to argument that Amotekun is a response to the havoc being wrecked particularly within the territories of the South West by Fulani Herdsmen and will curb their excesses.
The uninitiated masses believe through the script sold to them by the polical elites that the North will now be careful with the West as the principle of a sense of mutual destruction will kick now that there will be balance of forces with the creation of Amotekun.
Do the masses really think that the South Western governors, prominent members of the elite political class will create a body that will be powerful enough to checkmate and go to war if need be with the Fulani Herdsmen or any other similar body?
I do not think so. I do not think there is any member of the political elites, directly or indirectly in power, who desire that the present contraption, known as the Nigerian State be disrupted not to talk of being heated up.
Nobody sets his/her business center on fire or deliberately disrupt it’s smooth operation.
And even if things get out of hand, be sure that elite political class has another plan to check out of the country.
Almost all the masses singing the song of Amotekun has come to stay neither have a visa nor the means to leave this country if Amotekun gets out of hand.
See, the issue of insecurity in Nigeria, irrespective of its colouration, ethic or otherwise is first a social problem, powered by the poor personal economic of the majority (87 million)of Nigeria, who live on less than $1.9 per day and must be addressed as such first.
We must not be deceived that crimes in Nigeria are mostly committed because of the sheer will and defiance of the criminal to take the life of crime.
According to Henry Thomas Buckle, ‘the society prepares a crime, the criminal commits it.’ When the state fails in her traditional responsibilities to provide for the welfare and the security of the people, insecurity through vicious crime is the primary result.
Poverty and its many children do not know tribe and the polical class are never divided in cornering the commonwealth of the Nigerian people for personal use since independence.
The masses of the people must wake up from the distractions carefully orchestrated by the polical elite and demand good governance by all peaceful and organised means possible and necessary under a reengineered Nigerian State, deliberately designed to serve the very best interest of the people as a long-term agenda.
In the short-term, they should demand for the payment of salary arrears from their state governments, who are mouthing Amotekun and will not pay salaries of civil servants. They should demand job creation and enabling environment for legitimate businesses to thrive. They should agitate for the governors to embrace true federalism, beginning with being innovative and creative in making their states economically viable and self-sustaining, instead of sharing monthly allocation from the Federal Government and leaving the crumbs to the masses of the people. I do not think there is anything ingenuous in sharing allocation and therefore gubernatorial candidates must be judged by their innovation to create sustainable projects, which increase the Internally Generated Revenue of the state they seek to govern, apart from federal allocation and imposition of multiple and prohibitive taxes. They should demand for qualify and 21st Century Sensitive education, health services, shelter, food, sanitation and hygiene.
If the foregoing are achieved, I assure us that our lives will be better and crime will reduce considerably when people have a sense of belonging.
It is after good governance fails to satisfy the hopes, yearning and aspirations that we can begin to think about these miserable palliatives, being disrespectfully dangled before us as our salvation by the political class.
Do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees this LORD’s day as I do SOCIAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY now and forevermore.