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A year of restructuring

By Gabriel Osu
15 January 2017   |   3:06 am
To the woman, whose only daughter died, while serving as a Youth Corper somewhere in Kano, this year is bleak. For the traders, whose shops were razed down by early morning inferno at the market, this New Year is scary.
Gabriel Osu

Gabriel Osu

What does this year have in stock for us? Is it going to bring succour after months of economic hardship? Will it be a year of peace and reconciliation for us as a country? Will this New Year mark the beginning of greater years ahead for our country and the world at large?
To the woman, whose only daughter died, while serving as a Youth Corper somewhere in Kano, this year is bleak. For the traders, whose shops were razed down by early morning inferno at the market, this New Year is scary. For the parents, who lost their son three days after his wedding in the New Year, grief is now the order of the day.  For the politician, who is assured of his regular salary and allowance to the tune of millions weekly and monthly, let the music continue. For those unsure where the next meal would come from, there is nothing to be merry about in the Year 2017. But for all of us, who are privileged to be counted amongst the living this New Year in spite of all odds, we must continue to thank God from the depth of our hearts. There is hope for the living. It is never over until it is over. My prayer is that the good Lord will wipe away our tears and grant us our hearts’ desire this New Year. Amen.

It is said that those that fail to plan, plan to fail. What plans have we put in place to get us out of the current economic hardship? Are these plans realistic? How do we intend to rehabilitate our youths rotting away in our prisons? Do we even care about them? So many prophets have made predictions on the fate of our country this year. However, in many instances, we do not need an anointed prophet to tell us point blank that we are missing the road and heading towards the precipice. Logic dictates that a hungry man is an angry man. A situation where lots of our youths are jobless, would naturally breed corruption and crime. There is no two ways about it. At the moment, several states are still unable to pay their workers salaries as at when due and many companies are closing down by the day. Besides, the rate of inflation is quite alarming. And to compound issues, our professors and economists seem lost on the best way to salvage the situation. The reasons for all these are obvious.

This year is going to be very monumental. In recent times, there has been a clamour for restructuring of the country. Some believe this has become necessary in view of the chaotic situation we have found ourselves. The Biafrans are daily protesting over the continuous detention of Nnamdi Kanu and threatening hailstones. The people of Southern Kaduna, predominantly Christians, are in pains owing to attacks by herdsmen. Hundreds have died, many more have been displaced and yet there seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel. The Niger Delta is in shambles and the South West is not better. Companies are closing down, and several foreign investors are moving out.

It is a fact that the current federal structure is no more productive. True, the government deserves some commendation for kick-starting the doling out of N5, 000 to the poor. But this is like scratching the wound surface. It is already an established fact that a good number of states and local governments in the federation are not viable. Is it not time we reappraise the viability or otherwise of some of these states and merge same, where necessary? As long as state governors keep on going to Abuja monthly to share money, we cannot truly develop.

As long as the current huge wage of political office holders subsists, majority of the masses will continue to be impoverished.

I want to sympathise with our leaders who are always under considerable pressure by so many interest groups to do their bidding. Our prayer should be that God would empower them to take the right decision in the interest of the generality of Nigerians. They should look beyond partisan politics and other parochial interest and do that which is right, so that posterity would judge them right. I believe sincerely that government needs to return to the reports of the last constitutional conference and dust them up. I believe very many realistic solutions were proffered for this nation. Even the idea of restructuring was well encapsulated in the recommendations of that very report. Beyond all these, we must come before God’s throne and seek His intercession, so that this country would remain as one. But it is one thing to pray and another to do what is right. My prayer is that God will touch the hearts of our leaders and make them do the right thing in the interest of this great nation.

• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.