Thanks to Nnamdi Kanu with his his irritating methods of calling Nigeria’s attention to the inequities in Nigeria other agitators from all over Nigeria have jumped onto the band wagon to vent their anger on what is going on to the extent that the ruling Party has been forced to set up a committee on restructuring. Somebody is listening after all. The Muslims making up a sizable population of Nigeria have given their own six conditions for supporting restructuring. They are in power and that encourages one to believe that Nigeria will be restructured. But I am afraid that restructuring will be a bitter and long struggle because those who are currently contributing next to nothing but getting the lion share of the national wealth that is shared according to land mass and `fake’ population figures will not easily give up what they already have.
As an Igbo man, a Christian from the south-east zone of Nigeria, I hope in the end that we agree on restructuring Nigeria into six zones putting the majority of Ndigbo in one zone so that we can largely control affairs in our zone including work ethics, holidays, schools, roads, police and so on.
Looking at the six demands by Muslims two of which are Fridays as work free days and an extra public holiday, they are asking for Fridays to go to the mosque since Christians have Sundays free to go to church. Nobody will argue against that. Nobody will be against the 1st Muharram bringing their public holidays to four. What happens now is that on any public holiday including Christmas, Easter and New Year you will find Igbos, Christians, in the markets or their shops. If you are stranded and need something urgently you can get it to buy from an Igbo man. Yes, the offices are closed but in a restructured Nigeria the offices will be closed in Igbo land on Christian holidays only. Of course Muslim holidays and Friday work free days will not be observed. Muslim majority states can observe Muslim holidays plus a Friday work free day. Since they say no work on Saturdays was a concession to Christians nothing stops them working on Saturdays and even Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas and New Year Day.
The pity of Nigeria now is that there are too many people employed to `work’ in government offices. They are usually late to work, make long phone calls in offices and welcome visitors and relatives and not much work gets done. Compare this with a place like the United States of America where you can hardly make a call in the office and cannot be a truant without being fired. Some workers keep two jobs to make ends meet. Workers come home really exhausted from hard work! If workers here really work you will find that all those staff smuggled in by relatives and others will be redundant and the incidence of workers being owed salary will be a thing of the past. Government Departments will only employ those people they really need. Restructuring will force governments to be serious and demand extra from their workers. Any state will be free to observe the holidays it wants and perhaps the only national holidays may be Independence Day and worker’s day. Perhaps with the reduction of the international demand for oil states will be forced to diversify and extract the best from the manpower available
The issue of the acceptability of Islamic and Christian marriage certificates should not be a problem whether Nigeria is restructured or not. In fact this `discrepancy’ can be easier to tackle now that the Muslims are in total control of the central government than in a restructured Nigeria. But there will remain the problem that Muslims can marry up to four wives. Besides, Muslims must be aware that foreign immigration or other government departments abroad do not have to agree with our own arrangements.
The issue of `stereotyping’ Muslims who apply for international passports is one that I do not believe that the Muslims can make headway on. Internationally the whole facial profile of the individual should be seen and that includes the ears. This is important in these days of terrorism and the Muslims must be aware that terrorism is is mostly perpetrated by Muslims. You could be hiding a bomb in the turban or some wicked thing including scorpions or lice in the bushy beard. Something could be hidden in women’s hijab. Remember Mutallab who hid explosive powder in his pants to blow up a plane and the passengers with himself. Driving licences, passports, national identity cards must conform to international standards. This is especially important in case of passports unless you want to go to all that trouble to have a passport for identification purposes locally.
On the issue of uniforms apart from hijab for women I do not know how uniforms for the police, army, immigration and other uniformed forces will be amended to suit Muslims. But if other countries have an answer surely we can follow them. In schools Muslims will do what they want in predominantly Muslim states or zones. I cannot see my zone or state which is overwhelmingly Christian catering for girls who want to wear hijabs and I am sure the Muslims in Muslim majority states may not care much about what the Christians want.
The issue of Sharia in Western states will be dealt with by that zone but nobody has proved that there are more Muslims in the zone than Christians. Thank God that nobody can force Sharia on all of us. If it is not possible in Nigeria’s current confused state ruled by Islamists it will be impossible in a restructured Nigeria.
Most Nigerians in the south and the middle belt are looking forward to a restructured Nigeria. We can run our schools as we like, teach History which has been dropped. History is important. There will not be the stupid attempt to drop Christian Religious Knowledge in favour of Islamic Studies. The federal government will not be messing around with things they know nothing about. The mad rush to Abuja will reduce. Most of the things the federal government is handling most unsatisfactorily can be better handled by the states or the zones.
They want the wearing of hijabs in schools. There are thirty six states in Nigeria and I believe girls are already wearing hijabs in the Northern states and I hope Christians are not forced to wear hijabs. In the states that are predominantly Christian I do not see a problem if it is nationally agreed that Muslims are allowed to sew their uniforms in hijab fashion. This is a minor issue.
First Muharram to increase Muslim holidays to four as against five for Christians. At present under normal circumstances not much work is done in public offices. There is not enough seriousness. Nine public holidays are too many. In my part of the country, predominantly Christian, private businesses work through the Muslim holidays. They observe Easter and Christmas strictly and the other holidays not so strictly. It is government offices that are closed.
This restructuring debate may help re-energise the country. Why should predominantly Christian states observe Muslim holidays and close government offices on those days and why should predominantly Muslim states observe Christian holidays and close government offices on those days. I believe the central government should not continue to control everything.

Fridays should be declared work free. If after we have agreed on restructuring the predominantly Muslim states want to declare Fridays work free days let them. As at present not much work is done in government offices and it will be absurd to have a four day working week nationally. Self employed people especially in the south have no business with these holidays or work free days.

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