By Pastor Tunde Bakare
Phase 1: The First Two Years: 2019 – 2021
Step 1: The President, by an executive order and in full consultation with the National Assembly and the Council of State, shall establish a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring.
Step 2: To chair the Presidential Commission, the President shall appoint a wise and discerning Nigerian who must be incorruptible, of high moral standing, and of unquestionable integrity, highly respected among national influencers, able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the country, and willing to serve his/her fatherland without remuneration.
Step 3: The Chairperson shall devolve the Presidential Commission into six Zonal Commissions and shall appoint for each zone a Zonal Commissioner. The Zonal Commissioners shall be technocrats mandated to create and implement masterplans for their respective geo-economic zones and to coordinate the transition of the economies of the states within the zone into integrated zonal economies, working closely with the respective state governments.
Step 4: The Presidential Commission will launch a nationwide reconciliation and reintegration drive and shall creatively communicate the New Nigeria narrative with a compelling national vision and brand identity.
Step 5: The Commission shall institute a social impact bond for the implementation of the zonal economic masterplans; the financing scheme shall be structured into key sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and solid minerals development, as well as the creative, culture and innovation industries, based on zonal competitive advantage. Education and human capital development in each zone shall be designed to build capacity for the socioeconomic and industrial agendas of the respective zones.
Phase 2: The Next 2 Years: 2021 – 2023
Step 6: Through policy harmonisation and coordination, the state governments will progressively integrate the state economies into zonal economies. The Zonal Commissions, at this point, will relate to the states as regional development consultants, midwifing the emergence of six geo-economic zones in line with the zonal masterplans.
Step 7: As internally generated revenue increases, the federal allocations disbursed to the states and local councils from the federation account will be progressively reduced. At the same time, the percentage derivation, which is the amount of revenue retained by the state from which it was generated, will be progressively increased by necessary constitutional alterations.
Step 8: A counterpart funding mechanism will be instituted as a competitive reward scheme for the zones based on their internal revenue generation efforts. Access to this counterpart funding will not depend only on the amount of internal revenue but also on the effort and creativity deployed in integrating the economies of the states in each zone, especially in areas of competitive advantage.
Step 9: A series of constitutional alterations will be championed as needed through the National and State Assemblies. These will progressively devolve powers to the states so they can have greater control of their economies. In turn, the states will confer greater powers of consultation on the Zonal Commissions, such that, on behalf of their client states, the Commissions can take further steps towards integrating the states in line with the respective zonal master plans.
Phase 3: The Next 4 Years: 2023 – 2027
Step 10: A series of succession steps will be taken to consolidate the gains of the first four years. First, the Chairperson of the Presidential Commission, having been tested with the geo-economic development agenda, may opt to serve in an elective or appointive capacity. The Presidential Commission will then be transitioned to the Office of the Prime Minister dedicated to implementing the regional development agenda. The President, who will emerge from the 2023 elections, will then appoint a technocrat as Prime Minister with the ratification of the National Assembly.
Step 11: The federal government, through the office of the Prime Minister, will begin to reduce its involvement in socio-economic management to that of a policy standards regulator and facilitator ensuring global best practices.
Step 12: The states, through the Zonal Commissioners, will continue to manage socio-economic policies in line with the zonal masterplans, with the facilitation of the Prime Minister. At this point, the Nigerian economic map will have taken the shape of 6 geo-economic regions, 36 economic hubs, and 109 industrial clusters derived from the present senatorial districts.
Step 13: The President, focussing on defence, foreign affairs and national integration, will begin to geo-strategically position Nigeria in the international community as an African Great Power.
Phase 4: The Next 4 Years: 2027 – 2031
Step 14: By 2027, this geo-economic and geo-social model, which will have been in operation for eight years under the 1999 constitution (as amended), will be codified into a geopolitical framework. The framework will have geopolitical zones as federating units as well as a modified presidential system of government. The result will be a new draft constitution that will have for its preamble the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration.
Step 15: Nigerians at home and in the diaspora will be accorded the opportunity to adopt this framework through a referendum, thereby giving the people a constitution that will be truly deserving of the introduction, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”
Step 16: The succession plan will, once again, be activated to bring in a new generation of leaders. This new generation of leaders, who will have already been integrated into the leadership ecosystem, will continue the rapid socioeconomic advancement. They will ensure the consolidation and expansion of Nigeria’s positioning as a global power made up of six geopolitical zones, each of them more prosperous than Dubai. In due course, this generation of leaders will, in turn, pass the baton to the next generation.
The sixteen steps are mapped out with the confidence that the best of the North and the best of the South can come together to lay out the frameworks of an equitably structured nation. They are designed with the understanding that we, as one people, can begin to unite our hearts in the quest for a more perfect union. They are phased in such a manner that ensures that no part of our nation is left behind and no part is hindered from developing a competitive edge. In the end, we will have provided sure answers to the Nigeria Question such that it will no longer matter which part of the country one is from, North or South – we will all be proud of our identity as Nigerians and citizens of a great and prosperous nation. That is the New Nigeria we must vigorously negotiate for in 2019 and beyond.
I am convinced that, by the grace of God and the resolve of Nigerians, Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime.
Thank you for listening, God bless you, and God bless our nation, Nigeria.
Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (The LRA);
Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG)