The title of this Blog post was the theme of a national discourse in Abuja on the 1st of December 2021. The parley was the brainchild of the 'National Prosperity Movement' (NPM). Prof. Attaghiru Jega (former Chairman of INEC), delivered the keynote address, where he traced the history of Nigeria's federalism and zeroed in on the 1957 McPherson Constitution as the very first truly federalist one. Jega noted the following:
*Nigeria has a distorted/dysfunctional form of federalism, which ought to be reversed.
*There are certain threats to national unity which include ethno-religious and promordial identities, hate speech, misinformation & fake news, lopsided citizenship rights, dangerous and genocidal narratives about e.g. the farmer-herder crisis/the BH insurgency and irredentist militancy.
*Governance at the federal, state and local government levels leaves much to be desired.
*Nigeria is hurting and craving for a better political recruitment process.
Jega recommended the following:
*Communities should uphold and protect the rule of law and citizenship rights: All citizens should have equal rights wherever they reside. A clause may be entrenched in the Constitution, stipulating the qualification for residency.
*There should be focused and targeted programmes of socialisation in schools to instill core values in the students. The content of the 'Civics' curriculum needs to be stepped up. There should also be citizenship and leadership training programmes.