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Nigeria’ll crash without restructuring, say opposition parties

Gbenro Adeoye

No fewer than 10 political parties have lent support to the calls for restructuring in the country, describing it as necessary for Nigeria to survive.

The parties noted that restructuring the country offers Nigeria the chance to quickly address the various sectional agitations, which they described as capable of crashing and destabilising the nation.

There have been calls by various groups and individuals on the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to restructure the country in line with the federal system of government being practised in other climes.

Although, the first item in the APC manifesto promises to “initiate action to amend our constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states and local governments in order to entrench true federalism and the federal spirit,” the party is said to have failed to do so since it came to power in 2015.

National Chairman, Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, likened the APC’s refusal to restructure the country to perjury and described it as a“disappointment” and a “betrayal”.

Udeze, who called for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference report, said, “The disintegration that some people have prophesied about this country may come to pass if we don’t restructure.

“If we don’t restructure, this country may not be the same in the next 10 years, and that is the gospel truth. It may not even last up to 10 years. With restructuring, the agitations of the people will be accommodated and we will be better for it.

“But if not, we are heading for doom and it may even be before the 2019 elections. The only way to douse the tension in the country is to restructure and that is where the acting president (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) needs to work and stand his ground. A lot of leaders of thoughts have been calling for this and some of us strongly believe that Nigeria will be more united when we restructure.”

Also, National Chairman, Green Party of Nigeria, formerly called Citizens Popular Party, Chief Sam Eke, who described Nigeria as standing on a shaky foundation, said a nation standing on a shaky foundation would never move forward.

Eke, who is also the Secretary General of the Interparty Advisory Council of Nigeria, said restructuring would silence the different groups that are agitating and calling for secession in the country.

He said, “Calls for secession are borne out of the fact that a lot of people are not comfortable and things are not working. Restructuring is to practise federal system of government the way it should be practised. If you copy something, you copy very well.

“We should have state police and states should be allowed to control their resources. By so doing, the concentration on the Federal Government will be lesser and there will be healthy competition among the states. We need to empower the states and the local governments should not operate joint accounts with the state governments; it is a monumental fraud that must be stopped.

“The constitution that was bestowed on us by the military government cannot be allowed to continue. And any government that refuses to look into the recommendations of the 2014 confab does not mean well for this country.”

Publicity Secretary of Accord party in Oyo State, where the party is strongest, Akeem Olatunji, said the party was in support of restructuring as it “actively participated in the 2014 confab, where restructuring was extensively discussed and adopted, only for this government to refuse to implement it.”

“There are agitations going on simultaneously all over the country and without restructuring, Nigeria can never know peace,” he added.

The presidential candidate for KOWA Party in the 2015 general elections, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, who identified restructuring as a key programme of the party, said the country could not afford to continue with a system that is not working.

She said, “Certainly, we cannot continue like this. In our party, one of the key points that we focus on is the need to have true federalism because what we are practising is not a federal system of government, yet, we call ourselves the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Since the military forcibly centralised the government, successive civilian administrations have continued with that system that was imposed on us. It is not a good system and we have seen that it is not working. With a true federal system, each region will determine their priorities and work in line with the priorities.

“Government has been saying the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable but nobody is saying that Nigeria should break up, I’m not saying that. When we ran a true federal system with regions then, we were one country. Let us do the right thing. What is preventing us from doing the right thing?”

National Secretary, Alliance for Democracy, Akin Fasogbon, who recalled that in the First Republic, Nigeria worked better with the regional system of government, said “restructuring is better for us.”

While noting that there will be chaos without restructuring, Fasogbon said, “The country’s federal system of government is lopsided because the power at the centre is too much, which is why people are saying they feel cheated. That is what can give us good government. Without it, some people will wake up one morning and ask that all the Igbo should leave their region. The Igbo will continue to say they want Biafra, Yoruba will want Oduduwa, and so on.”

According to the National Chairman, All Democratic Peoples Movement, Okey Chikwendu, without restructuring, “agitations will keep growing and develop into something uncontrollable.”

“We strongly believe in restructuring. So our desire is to build a nation that has true federalism, which clearly stands for restructuring,” he added.

National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdullahi Isa Abdulmalik, said, “Nigeria should to go to the drawing board to look at where she went wrong and where she missed it.”

“For instance, our party is of the view that there is a need for state policing,” he noted.

In the same vein, National Chairman, National Conscience Party, Alhaji Yunusa Tanko, identified restructuring as capable of bringing “equity and justice to all.”

He said, “We don’t believe in taking care of some areas and making other areas feel uncomfortable. We believe in a structure that will make the system work and check the neglect that is causing all these agitations. The system is non-functional and not delivering to the people; we should consider everything that will give comfort to the society.”

The National Secretary, New Nigeria Peoples Party, Agbo Major, warned that “there is an extent to which you can kill these agitations; at the time it is right, you won’t be able to control it anymore which is part of what we are seeing now.”

Major, who noted that calls for restructuring should not be broad but be specific, however, added that “as a party, we think the government should listen to all the groups that are agitating because they have their legitimate reasons for doing so.”

National Chairman, New Generation Party, Dr. Yakubu Shendam, who was a delegate to the 2014 confab, described restructuring the country as key.

Shendam was however sceptical about the motive of many calling for restructuring, whom he described as “political jobbers using it as a tool to gain power in 2019.

Recently, the Progressives Governors Forum made up of APC governors called for restructuring and true federalism as the solution to agitations or Nigeria’s breakup.

The Peoples Democratic Party’s Governors Forum, led by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, had backed the call by the 24-member forum for the urgent restructuring of the country.

However, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Bernard Mikko, said “restructuring was not in the party’s manifesto”, although he said it could be discussed at its convention.

National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Movement, Bashir Ibrahim, said even though the party was in support of the need to restructure the federation, “any political restructuring without a mental restructuring is merely running after form rather than substance.”

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Source: The Punch

Nigeria’ll crash without restructuring, say opposition parties

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