Nigeria, since “earning” her full independence from British colonial masters in 1960, has been a nation that has experienced diverse mediums of leadership in her march to glory.
Since the time, the country has endured Military dictatorships spiced with several coups, civil war threatening her oneness, Interim governance, and a bittersweet Democracy, as she strives to take her “children” to the “promise land”.
Since 1999, Nigeria has been steering her affairs on a highly valued Democracy rule, unifying all ethnic groups – about 270 of them – and she hopes to stay that way.
However, 17 years after, her direction appears yet to be clearly defined.
The direction Nigeria currently tows with her system of governance has elicited a thought-shattering illustration by Dr. Joe Abah, a prominent political observer.
Dr. Abah, in a series of tweets, analysed the dilemma that the country finds herself with the kind of constitutional law she practices today.
Read his analogy below;
There’s this king. His name is Igwe Ebeano of Ebeano Kingdom. Ebeano Kingdom is made of 36 villages that came together over time to be one.
To keep the peace, Igwe Ebeano must take a wife from each of the 36 villages. There’s also an Igwe-In-Council (Igwe’s cabinet of advisers).
Apart from these, there’s an Ohaneze, the consultative group of royalty and the people, the height of democracy.
Now Ohaneze is very powerful. They make the laws. They approve who can spend what. They must approve members of Igwe-In-Council.
Ohaneze is so powerful that, if the need arises, they can even remove Igwe Ebeano. They create any age grade associations they want.
Only Ohaneze can create age grade associations or disband them. Even Igwe Ebeano doesn’t have that power. They can force Igwe to fund them.
If Ohaneze asks Igwe Ebeano to fund another new age grade association they’ve created and he refuses, they won’t fund him either.
Now Ebeano is not a rich Kingdom. However, the little it has could have been better managed but for corruption & the big govt it runs.
Now, remember that Igwe Ebeano has 36 wives (lucky guy or poor guy, depending, right?) He’s also very prolific in terms of procreation.
Igwe Ebeano can only live on N150,000 per month. It is from this that he has to feed his family, run the palace & clothe his wives & kids.
Because Igwe Ebeano has so little, the quality of the food in the palace is poor. He has cut the things he can that are within his control.
Igwe Ebeano has banned cola nuts and garden egg in the palace. He has banned the serving of palm wine. He’s done these to show commitment.
However, the main expenditure is the various age grade associations that Ohaneze creates and for which he must go to them if he is to scrap.
Now because Igwe has 36 wives and seeeeveral children, each wife and her kids can only eat N100 Indomie once a day.
That means that out of Igwe’s N150,000 per month, he spends N108,000 on food alone. Poor quality food o. That expenditure recurs monthly.
Apart from food, Igwe Ebeano spends another N4,500 on cleaning, firewood, etc. Before you know it N112,500 (75% of his income) is gone.
Now Igwe Ebeano has a young son in “the abroad.” His name is Feyi nwa Fada. People call him FF. He doesn’t get F in school o. He’s bright.
Feyi nwa Fada is angry that there no development in Ebeano. He wants schools, hospitals and roads, just like they have in “the abroad.”
He shouts daily at Igwe Ebeano and threatens to burn down the palace if Igwe doesn’t reduce the N112,500 he spends every month on food etc.
FF has come up with a formula. He says that out of the N150,000, Igwe Ebeano must not spend more than N60,000 on food and running costs.
That way, they will be money for Ebeano to spend on schools and hospitals, just like Ala Aku village not too far from Ebeano does.
Igwe agrees there’s a need to develop Ebeano but is not clear what he’s expected to do with his wives, Council, Ohaneze and age grade groups.
Igwe asks how on earth he’s expected to live on N60k a month. He looks at his son FF and wonders when exactly he hit his head on a stone.
Igwe Ebeano wonders where FF’s 40% formula came from, especially as Ala Aku he’s comparing Ebeano to has a much smaller population.
The political structure of Ala Aku also means that they have an absolute ruler. None of this Igwe-In-Council, Ohaneze and age grade nonsense.
Igwe Ebeano is jealous that 40% of Igwe Ala Aku’s N300,000 per month is N120,000. His own 40% is only N60,000. He wonders about this formula.
Now Igwe chooses to consult his native doctor. People call him Dr Aristo because he tries to be tush but he’s really a village bush man.
Dr Aristo says: “Igweeeeee! Ebeano has a number of choices, but virtually none within your gift. Custom says you cant send away your wives.”
“Igwe, you also can’t disband Ohaneze or the expensive age groups on your own. It seems to me therefore that you have 2 main options.”
“1. You can convene a dialogue to enable Ebeano debate its own future and hopefully evolve a leaner, cheaper political structure.”
“2. You can focus on making Ebeano as rich as Ala Aku. Remove impediments to wealth, use Ebeano’s population & resourcefulness positively.”
“In the meantime, negotiate with Ohaneze, simply don’t appoint into the age grades and budget for but don’t release funds to the age grades.”