The Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), South West, Zone, Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, has made a compelling case for Nigeria to undergo a critical political governance reconfiguration with the example of Switzerland, to enable the Nigeria to make progress and remain united.
Speaking on Monday, November 13, 2023, at the Third Distinguished Eminent Personality Lecture, entitled: “Inperative of Nigeria’s Rebirth: A Pathway to Peace and Progress’, organised by the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, he highlighted the socio-economic and political challenges that have hindered the country from realising its potential.
Oladejo observed that Nigeria has been grappling with foundational problems that have widened the gulf between ethnic groups, including weak governance structures, ethno-religious conflicts, inequality, asymmetric power relations, and a unitary governance structure, hough the country is supposed to be a federation.
He attributed the problems to the steps taken by colonialists, whose aim was to serve their economic and colonial interests in Nigeria, and the inactions of subsequent regimes after independence.
To tackle the challenges, Oladejo has proposed a collective commitment to change, with a focus on transforming Nigeria’s economic and political system to serve everyone, not just a select few.
Oladejo’s suggested path to this transformation is a reconfiguration to establish the United Regions of Nigeria (URN) through the National Rebirth Commission (NRC) and State Rebirth Commission (SRC).
According to Oladejo, the new governance structure should resemble the 1959 (Independence) Constitution, with autonomous, self-governing regions, saying the nation’s rotational leadership should be formed through a Central Parliament, Central Executive Council (CEC), Central Council of Elders (CCE), and National Council of States (NCS), with functions identified for each council.
Oladejo also advocated the creation of National Government, Regional Governments, State Governments (to form Regional Governments), Provincial Governments (formed by those from the Districts), and District/Mayorality Governments (made up of people from the Wards in the given area).
He noted that national elections would no longer be held to get the head of government in the country; instead, Rotational Presidency would be established, whereby the head of regions would form the National Council, and one of them would become the Head of Government, while the other would be their deputy. They would spend two years before handing over to the next person from another region, following the system of Switzerland. The headship would move from one region to another, and elections would be within the Regions.
Oladejo noted that such an arrangement would engender peace and progress, as advocated by former Governor of Ogun State, the late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, who suggested Confederacy in 1983. The former Governor’s advocacy, according to Dr. Yemi Farounbi, a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Phillipines, warrants immediate implementation.
“Beginning from the Abacha Constitutional Conference, the need to make political power equitably accessible to all parts of the country has been recognised. And that constitutional power was never promulgated. It is the constitutional power that created the six zones for the country. It was agreed that for Nigeria to continue to subsist as an entity, all parts of Nigeria must have equal opportunity,” Farounbi said.
The Vice-Chancellor of Bowen University, Prof Jonathan Babalola, also endorsed Oladejo’s proposition, saying that the university is open to universal ideas in all spheres of knowledge adding that this is one of the reasons the university community always creates avenues to enhance the frontiers of knowledge in every sphere.