Nigeria must return to First Republic structure to progress – ARG

The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has called for a return to the First Republic’s regional political structure or the constitution of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones into federating units.

In the First Republic, Nigeria practised a true federalist system with three regions, Western, Eastern, and Northern, as federating units and each being quite semi-autonomous.

The ARG, a Yoruba Socio-cultural pressure group, argued that Nigeria can no longer afford the cost of running the present political structure.

The group made this call in its ‘Nigerian Democratic Governance Report,’ subtitled: ‘Curbing Political Instability and Extravagance.’

It argued that the country is over-governed with 36 states and 774 local governments and 1 Federal Capital Territory and said with the prevailing dire economic situation the country can no longer afford to maintain the alarming cost of government bureaucracy.

The group said the reason for the infrastructure decay in the country is that a huge part of government revenue in all tiers of government is used to service the bureaucracy of government that merely covers 3 per cent of the entire population.

“When budgets of all these government tiers are collated, more than 60 per cent of all public expenditure in Nigeria goes to service these bureaucracies that consist of less than 3 per cent of Nigeria’s population. This high cost of governance is the reason we cannot fund the delivery of critical infrastructure and social programmes. High cost of governance contributes to high cost of doing business, which in turn reduces Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global market.

“Unfortunately, current economic realities show that Nigeria can no longer fund these bureaucracies as some states now owe workers as much as four months’ wages, with no respite in sight. One would not be a Prophet of Doom to say there is a high probability that two-third of states in Nigeria might not be able to pay salaries in 2015. This is another threat to political stability as social vices and malfeasances would increase.”

The group also advocated the devolution of power, and the restructuring of the revenue allocation formula where states are made to control the resources in their domain and percentage contributed to the government at the centre. For instance, it frowned at the where Lagos is not earning derivable funds for the thousands of ships that berth at its coastline yearly.

“When will Lagos and other suffering South-West States have access to derivable funds, be it on import/export duties, corporate taxes, and VATs being carted away therefrom? Arising therefore, as revenue from other regions is not faithfully remitted to the nation’s coffer, can the South-West region pursue means through which a per cent of revenues generated from its area can be kept or taken up as other regions are doing?”

The group, which also did an assessment of governance in the last 15 years, concluded that there are no appreciable differences in the manner the country was governed during military rule and during the 15 years of democratic rule.

Using the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators from 1996 to 2013, ARG argued that regulatory quality, government effectiveness, rule of law, and corruption have largely remained what it was during military rule and throughout the current democratic dispensation.

Failed Administration

The report also shows a deep disappointment in the manner the present administration has run the country.

ARG said the Goodluck Jonathan Administration has failed in key governance indicators such as job creation and poverty rate, electricity, anti-corruption, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), political leadership, and special intervention funds.

For instance, it said the government has expended over N2 trillion on a myriad of Special Intervention Funds with only appreciable results in Nollywood and the textile industry. It concluded that most of the funds have either been stolen or diverted to other uses.

Despite anchoring the 2014 budget on “Job Creation and Inclusive Growth” ARG said the number of jobs created is a far cry from the number of new additions into the labour market. It said the number of unemployed youth in the country is a recipe for trouble.

“Such dire situation is bound to promote crime and aggression, evidence of which includes the stampede that led to deaths during the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise. Rather than confronting the issue of job creation and poverty frontally, Mr. President and his government faulted the World Bank’s report saying “If you talk about ownership of private jets, Nigeria will be among the first 10 countries, yet they are saying that Nigeria is among the five poorest countries.”

ARG also said that President Jonathan has also allowed corruption especially in the oil sector, to fester while corrupt officials acts with impunity with the tacit support of the president.

“Why is the oil industry in Nigeria such an opaque box? Why can’t the government investigate the claim of Berne Declaration that NNPC in connivance with some Swiss traders swindled Nigeria’s government of about $6.8bn?”

It, however, commended the government for removing corruption in the fertiliser distribution system.


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  • Lanre

    Up Awoooo! Thank you Premium Times for showing the picture of the Greatest Nigerian Leader ever! This was Papa on the campaign trail. The quintessential public servant cum politician. Thank you Afenifere Renewal Group. We are going to get there.

  • Otitokoro

    There are two Afẹ́nifẹ́res in Yoruba space and polity. First, the TRUE AFẸ́NIFẸ́RE and the FALSE Afẹ́nifẹ́re-the jẹun jẹun, chop I chop Goodluck Jonathan SPONSORED Afẹ́nifẹ́re. Obviously the so-called Fashoranti/Olu Falae/Ayo Adebanjo/Seinde Arogbofa(brother of Goodluck Jonathan Chief of Staff Brigadier Jones Arogbofa)/Yinka Odumakin/Mimiko/Femi Okunronmu/ membered ‘Afenifere” is clearly a Goodluck Jonathan Sponsored Afẹ́nifẹ́re who are looking for what they will eat from Goodluck Jonathan’s Oil money and campaign Fund. It was so shocking that such people in the so-called Fashoranti/Seinde Arogbofa membered “Afẹ́nifẹ́re” will look Yorubas in the face and say they endorse Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. Endorse Mr. Goodluck Jonathan for what and on what basis? I am no surprised. Why? Beside wearing Awolowo cap, one does not see any serious attempt on the part of this so-called Fashoranti/Ayo Adebanjo/Femi Okunronmu/Olu Falae/ Mimiko/Yinka Odumakin/Arogbofa etc membered “Afẹ́nifẹ́re” to rigorously understand the political and economic thought of Chief Obafemi Awólọ́wọ̀. They think all they need to do is wear Áwò Cap, and that is it. This is why it is easy for Goodluck Jonathan to throw oil and oily crumbs at them, and they will collapse and DỌ̀BÁLẸ̀(prostrate) for Mr. Goodluck Jonathan just because of oil money he is distributing all over the place. This old group even point to the fact that Brigadier -General Jones Arogbofa-the brother of Seinde Arigbofa-the secretary of the faction of these old people is the chief of staff of Mr. Jonathan as achievement for Yorubas!!! This is how low these few individual old men have brought the Yoruba legacy, heritage and the fine legacy of the Awólọ́wọ̀ political tradition.
    However, on the other hand If we go by the profound history of the west, of the Yorùbás, if we thoroughly and rigorously understand the deep political and economic thought of Ọbáfẹ́mi Awólọ́wọ̀ the AFẸ́NIFẸ́RE RENEWAL GROUP (ARG) approximates the true Afẹ́nifẹ́re to the extent that it stays loyal to the fine tradition of Ọbáfẹ́mi Awólọ́wọ̀’s federalist policies, social demoractic politics, welfarist economic policies in its actions and clarification of events and trends in Nigeria. The AFẸ́NIFẸ́RE RENEWAL GROUP (ARG) is consistent with the Ọbáfẹ́mi Awólọ́wọ̀ tradition to the extent that you see an attempt on the part of ARG to rigorously understand the profound ethical, social and political thought of Awólọ́wọ̀. This is one Afẹ́nifẹ́re that strives for its own independence as Obafemi Awólọ́wọ̀ taught and not one looking for something to eat. Hence THE AFẸ́NIFẸ́RE RENEWAL GROUP approximates the true Afẹ́nifẹ́re. I want to thank the ARG for coming out at the approrpiate time to effectively draw that distinction among Yorubas and especially among Yoruba youths. This is good for Yorùbá youths so that they are not misled by those few individuals who are looking for something to eat. I will suggest that the ARG should do more OPENLY to synthesize Awólọ́wọ̀’s thought so that none of these hungry looking old people and their young ones-Odumakin/Mimiko will hoodwink the Yoruba youths-by corrupting them with cheap and easy oil money. Thank you ARG and God Bless. Your stepping out is so timely.

    • Fatai Fehintola

      thank you for this piece!

  • Akanji92

    Thanks to the real Afenifere as against the Mimiko led Afenifunya. We are in agreement with your observations.

  • 1MASK01

    I don’t think the issue is lack of funds to run the government, the AFG is very right in saying that the funds are either mismanaged or outrightly stolen. if the Federal Government has not been paying lip service to the fight against corruption, the federal system as it is now could be maintained. one need to see the kind of money being stashed away waiting for campaigns, you will want to cry for this country.

    • Abia_Man

      Sorry, regional govt is coming. You will soon show what you can produce. No more blaming GEJ and Niger Delta militants for your poverty.

  • Sabo Inuwa

    Whatever restructuring we do to Nigeria, geo-zoning, quasi-federalism or whatever, long as we remain lazy at empowering institutions that deepen democracy & rule of law, resolve to fight corruption head on, Nigeria shall remain stagnant. You can chop Nigeria into a million pieces & at the discover that it’s not going to work till & unless we resolve to be accountable to man & God!

    • Abia_Man

      Carry your region and run your saintly government. We must not have a unitary govt structure that allows parasites to overwhelme producers using the federal govt.

  • favourtalk

    By the grace of GOD, that is why we are voting out GEJ becaue he doesn’t understand the problem of Nigeria not to talk of ways to solve it. We need a better leader to solve our problems. We need change

    • Abia_Man

      No chop chop for you soon. Regional govt is coming.

    • bugwu

      May be we vote you in as his shoe shiner??

  • wonderboi

    The truth of the matter is Jonathan isn’t fit for purpose, we need a leader, leader with passion, a patriotic leader, a leader that knows what it takes to build a vast nation like ours, create & wealth distribution fight corruption, unite all people of the nation irrespective of their religions and tribes, our sitting president lack leadership quality in all quite evidential that all Jonathan cares about is just to remain in Aso-rock have unlimited access to fleet of private jets and flying around the world is ready to spend any amount to remain in office but the long time effect will be devastating to our economy and our people, please Jona go in peace now before is too late

  • d don

    Unless we change a brainless president with president with brain, if not we won’t be able to get to d promise land. May God save our country from d evils.

    • bugwu

      Are referring to GMB because for sure nothing is in his brain

  • Citizen

    the regional government would have been the best system for us, but our sentiments makes it difficult. Imagine an Igbo man being in control of a whole region, he will wake up the next day and break the bridges leading to the region. Or imagine Boko haram overiding a whole region, that would be a disaster. Or a Yoruba man in charge of a whole region may start deporting other Nigerians as non indigines. the problem is having too much power at the center which should be corrected by given more resorces and some level of authonomy to the 36 states and the 774 local govts. The earlier we chose to live as one entity the better for us to grow and prosper

  • Musanga

    I am surprise that instead of debating the pro and cons of this regional system, we are busy abusing GEJ. The bitter truth is that until we return to regional system, Nigeria shall not know peace and progress under any leader. Nigeria is not Niger, Liberia or Rwanda. Lagos alone bigger than those country add together.

  • sammyctu ode

    I agree with ARG because I am one of the millions of youths in the old Western Region who benefitted immensely from the Regional concept when there was no oil. The so called national conference that jonathan organized can and will not take us to any promised land as being advocated by some Yoruba so called elders who are supporting him because they have been given money. During the late sage – Chief Awolowo, I was a young boy who enjoyed free education, free health care, superb infrastructure, scholarships to study abroad and we hardly hear of corruption. For the past 16 years under pdp rule, trillions of Naira and Dollars have been wasted on many things and for me, jonathan and pdp are not the solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Assuming he is reelected (GOD FORBID), our economy will go to the bottom of the sea because they would say they have a mandate to steal more. In 2010/2011, I campaigned for jonathan but not pdp thinking he will be different but now I cannot because he has failed and disappointed majority of Nigerians. Nigerians from all tribes, ethnicity and religion should rise up and face the fact that we are not going nowhere under the present structure and government. It is up to all of us to think seriously and band as one nation to salvage the entity called Nigeria.

    • TrueNja

      You’ve spoken majority of Nigerian minds and this is why change must come on March 28, 2015

      • bugwu

        Chage to GEJ second tenure and followed by restructuring Nigeria

    • Festuso

      Sorry to say but the entity called Nigeria is not worth salvaging because it is made up constituents that are not homogeneous. That is the simple reality that we refuse to face and admit. The three main tribes Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa/Fulani are so different in culture, social outlook, temperament,etc, that they can NEVER make a united country. It is only the oil wealth that is still holding the nation together. Once the Oil runs dry or a new source of energy is identified and exploited by the developed nations, it will be goodbye to NIGERIA and everyone will have to head for his/her father’s village and develop at their own different pace. And so it should be ….you can only keep incongruent and non-homogeneous parts together for so long! We can avert bloodshed if we face up to this reality and do the needful like the USSR did without firing a single bullet!

    • bugwu

      how many in your Village were in school those days relative to about 100m youths today.

  • ICC Hague

    Our major problem is corruption, and now we are unlucky to have the most corrupt and unpatriotic president GEJ, who doesnt know what leadership is all about. That is why we need change and Buhari is the answer. If the fear of Buhari can make GEJ that is not serious against BH for six years, to be serious after election postponement, that means one week of Buhari presidency will be a great blessing to Nigeria.

  • Fairgame

    ARG speaking from both sides of the mouth. First they identify that Nigeria needs restructuring as the only way to progress then they blame the president for the current messed up structure that breeds a system that makes development of regions and states difficult – a structure which has been there for decades.anyway President Jonathan will continue the work he has been doing once he is sworn in for his second term on May29 and his first action will be starting the process for restructuring ofNigeria based on the outcome of the National conference – a conference which APC leaders refused to participate in initially because they feared it would not serve the interest of their born to rule Lords and their slaves. But thank God the conference was very successful and the report ready waiting for implementation. Bokohari is only working hard for his final burial from Nigeria political space come March 28.i can’t wait!


    It is not enough to change this clueless and incompetent government, Nigeria must quickly reform if it wants to survive. I support the return to regional governments as federating units or, like ARG said, converting the six geopolitical zones to federating units. Honestly, we just cannot continue like this, especially with a profligate government that believes everyone can by bought with funds from the ailing commonwealth.

    • Fairgame

      You will vote PDP then? Atleast that is the party committed to implementing the outcome of the last national conference. All this rambling by this ARG means nothing in reality as it was for those shouting constitutional conference. Talk is cheap. Action by President Jonathan that constituted the very successful national conference is what it means to change Nigeria and it is President Jonathan that will implement the report and restructure Nigeria based on the outcome of that conference. Those who want to remain rbslaved by born to rule can go on being enslaved but for the majority of Nogerians March 28 can’t come soon enough when born to rule will be buried forever in Nigeria.


        Bunkum! A man who could not implement the report when his party had control of both houses of parliament cannot do any magic when he doesn’t

        • Philip Musa

          do you just wake up one morning and implement report? Is that your understanding of democracy? Oh, wait! You’re APC!! You know absolutely nothing about democracy, hence your call for a return to dictatorship!!!!

        • bugwu

          TABUWAL is not in PDP. he pretended to be he should have killed it as he killed PIB,

  • Isaac Boro, Nzeogu & Orkar

    “…Our history is replete with numerous and uncontrollable instances of callous and insensitive dominatory repressive intrigues by those who think it is their birthright to dominate till eternity the political and economic privileges of this great country to the exclusion of the people of the Middle Belt and the south….”

    “…They have almost succeeded in subjugating the Middle Belt and making them voiceless and now extending same to the south. It is our unflinching belief that this quest for domination, oppression and marginalization¬¬ is against the wish of God and therefore, must be resisted with the vehemence….”
    —– Gideon Orkar (April 22, 1990 Revolutionary Speech)

    • Umar Dendi

      Bloo** Idio*!
      It was Nzeagwu and his hench men that tried to overthrow the first republic.
      And what the hell is this middlebelt. Please, do tell us!

    • Maitama Tambari

      Confused! Confused!! Confused!!!, Middle Belt? South? Where are you in your structure? Ndigbos can never go with the Yorubas, Yorubas can never go with Ndigbos. This is Nigeria. Where is Middle Belt? Is it Plateau with Benue States? Is Taraba and Adamawa States in the Middle Belt structure of your mind? Or is Niger, Kogi and Kwara States in your minds Middle Belt? Sometimes you include Kaduna. If Middle Belt you are referring to minorities, there are more minorities in Borno, Yobe Gombe, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna and Sokoto States than you can find in the Middle Belt. Ndigbos are single tribe with common religion while Yorubas are single tribe but with slight language differences around Ondo State and multi religious affiliation. South South is like the Northern States, mixture of different ethnic groups with different languages but common religious believe. The only common factor in the far North is religion and mixture of religion believes amongst the minorities. The Yorubas did not allow religion factor to divide them because both side of the religious equation speak same language, have same cultural affiliation. In the North, Hausa became the trading language of the minorities but also some of them share common religion. All Hausas are not Muslims. There are Christians amongst them. Maguzawa in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna North and part of Zamfara and Sokoto States. Sardauna molds these small groups of different tribes into a very strong entity, but people like you do not understand see the reasons for it because you are confused on your existence in Corporate Nigeria. But this Group is referring to the old federation structures which the people you mentioned destroyed out of bear parlour ambition talks. The far North the whipping baby of Nigerians is there quietly watching. WE BELIEVE CHANGE! YES WE CAN IN NIGERIA.

      • peaceometer

        Your analysis shows you are a follower of Nigeria posterity. He that have ears let them ear..

      • Bright-78

        Hahahaha…kai! who is the real confused one? Only if you can see the irony all over this your post. For your education, there are people of Igbo origin in south south states like Rivers and Delta. And the same goes for people of Yoruba origin who under northern states of Kwara and Kogi. Also you are trying to be clever by half in pointing accusing fingers regarding who changed the old federating units structure. Or do you want to claim you are not aware that the core north pressured and influenced Gowon into switching from regions to state system?? So, you see it’s not about tribe and religion but about the best way for Nigeria to function well and be productive. This is the change we should all pursue, regardless of all our diversity!

  • Gideon Orkar

    “…This clique has an unabated penchant for domination and unrivalled fostering of mediocrity and outright detest for accountability,¬¬ all put together have been our undoing as a nation…

    This will ever remain our threat if not checked immediately. It is strongly believed that without the intrigues perpetrated by this clique and misrule, Nigeria will have in all ways achieved developmental virtues comparable to those in Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, India, and even Japan….

    Evidence, therefore, this cancerous dominance has as a factor constituted by a major and unpardonable clog in the wheel of progress of the Nigerian state….” —– Gideon Orkar (April 22, 1990 Revolutionary Speech)


    “…. the need to stop intrigues, domination and internal colonization of the Nigerian state by the so-called chosen few. This, in our view, has been and is still responsible for 90 percent of the problems of Nigerians….” —– Gideon Orkar (April 22, 1990 Revolutionary Speech)

    What Nigeria needs and deserves in outright and exigent DE-AMALGAMATION

    • segun

      But you have been shouting restructuring ever since. You even went to Yorubaland to give oil money to some old men masquerading-Fashoranti, Ayo Adebanjo, the jobber called Femi Okunronmu, Seinde Arogbofa and their young ones Mimiko , Yinka Odumakin etc as “leaders” of Yoruba, you President Jonathan gave them some crumbs to get their “endorsement”. Now that the real yorubas are talking, and the the real Afenifere comes out to defend the legacy of Awolowo you are shaking. President Jonathan, you better go and collect your money back from Yinka Odumakin, Mimiko, before it is too late. The real Yorubas have talked. We will not vote for you-period.

      • Fairgame

        Who is we? You have only one vote abi you are speaking of your APC plan to rig? That will never happen.

        • segun

          I am Yoruba. I do not know if you are Yoruba. But I am talking about Yoruba issues. Yes some few Yorubas like the few individuals (Seinde Arigbofa, Yinka Odumakin, Mimiko, Fashoranti Femi Okunronmu, Ayo Adebanjo etc group) who Mr. Goodluck Jonathan gave money to believe that since Brigadier General Jones Arogbofa (the brother of Seinde Arogbofa) is

          a gate man(Chief of Staff) for Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, that is enough for Yoruba people. We Yorubas DO NOT think that way-(if you are Yoruba to be a gate man (chief of staff) may be okay for you. But for us real Yoruba it is NOT OKAY. And we will not vote for Jonathan just because he made someone his gate man! He can have his oil. We do not need it. But we Yorubas know where we are headed. Hope this helped you Mr. Game!


          • peaceometer

            You have spoken well

  • Dele

    Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) lacks believability as errand boys of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

  • warry

    If it is true,that NNPC is still withholding money,why don’t we privatize it? Who is afraid of the PIB bill, that this Gov proposed to remove Gov overbearing on the industry

  • Sanmi Falae

    It doesn’t add up that bureaucracy is the reason for our primitive and non existent infrastructure. For example, since money is budgeted and allocated for construction of critical infrastructures, it follows that the reason those infrastructures are not constructed is not lack of funds but corruption.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Good that the Afenifere Renewal Group is waking up now! In other words they are apologizing to Nigerians for the part people from their own part of the country played in dismembering the regional structure and imposing this nonsensical structure that has led Nigeria nowhere. This nonsense started right from the Nigerian Civil War when Gowon was led by the nose into splitting the administrative structure in Nigeria and declaring a ‘schoolboyish’ Twelve-state structure. Then the weird 19-state structure that was at the epicenter of the ‘twelve-two-thirds’ electoral litigation between the UPN and NPN in the late 1970s. And then this 36-state structure that is as useful as a sharp knife without a handle or a blunt knife with a handle. But the coup de grace occurred when some self-styled lawyers, academicians and other professionals assumed the responsibility of playing Mr-Fix-It political role for Nigeria by giving the nation this useless Presidential System of democracy fashioned after that of the United States of America. And, trust Nigerians who know how abuse everything, the political parties fashioned on their own this system of ‘North-South’ rotation in taking the presidency of the nation. And the consequence of that is what we are seeing now. Never in the history of Nigeria has much money been made and much money being spent ONLY in running government structures (I am not talking about corruption here). A major part of Nigerian budget goes to supporting indolent and useless occupants of the two-tier legislature. And same goes in each of the 36 states plus the Abuja special status. What this amounts to is that Nigeria only creates resources to be distributed to do-nothing legislators at the states and federal levels!

    I am sure that members of the Mr-Fix-It political ‘rescuers’ of Nigeria would see reason why Nigeria must have to go back to the First Republic administrative and regional structures (with some slight modifications in some regions as were done to carve out the Midwest State of 1963). With the British Parliamentary system, as practised in this era, the idea of a zoning of the presidency would not be there. This system is far superior to the American-style presidential system.

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