Restructuring: Looking beyond politicking to national best interest


The call for restructuring the Nigerian Federation has remained a reverberating echo of topical concern in the discourse of state-of-the-nation. The resonating frequency of the call has graduated to attract much attention as it has been advanced and propagated to be the ready and feasible solution to the degenerating socio-economic and political turbulence prevailing with ravaging impacts on the entire fabrics of the Country.

The apparent inability of the ruling Government to give handy solutions to the myriads of stormy winds vitiating the Country has placed it at a seemingly handicap posture, on the basis of which observers and statesmen have come to believe strongly that except structural re-definitions are instituted into working patterns of the Federation, the Government would remain helpless. Arguments have thus been firmly made that, any government coming into place under the prevailing formation without restructuring of the working fabrics of the Federation, would only operate under frustration.

The collision of numerous deficiencies apparently sprouting out of dysfunctional parameters in the architectural formations of the governmental structures of the Federation are recently fusing stronger with harsh outcomes which have produced wild reactions from citizens who have been at the receiving end of suffering disadvantages from a system believed to be out of tune to attend to present demand realities. Thus, the expression of dissatisfaction from various angles with diverse sorts of reactionary expression have been finding reflections in various dimensions. The reflections have assumed broaden patterns of both direct and indirect impacts in violent and non violent dimensions. The compounding impacts have only graduated to create circumstances which at large premise of consideration, have subjected the Government to situations of pressure with what has been described as roving under the state of confusion.

As the campaign for the restructuring call continue to attract stronger strength, the apparent hostility of the present government to yield the call has not deterred proponents of the idea to relapse to silence. It is saddeningly observable that as socio-economic and political turbulence continue to wax gross, the campaign for restructuring as continued to wax stronger with resonating echoes. The reason cannot be far fetched from the construction that the only plausible solution to the myriads of problems and challenges ravaging the Country, realistically dwells in restructuring the working formations of the Federation. The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), comprising Afenifere, Ohanaze Ndigbo and Middle Belt Forum, which have been at the vanguard of championing  the campaign for restructuring had in a communique following a meeting they held last week, restated the demand for restructuring the Nigerian Federation. They had in their joint resolution demanded a brand new Constitution produced by the people themselves, against the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.

Meanwhile, it is apparent the present government is ill-disposed to any demands to restructuring the Federation. Thus, while resolutions from the 2014 National Conference (Confab) convened by the last administration has been pointed to as containing ready resolutions which gives some resemblance to the parameters of restructuring the Federation, repeated calls on the present administration have neither attracted any sympathy nor any show of will to implementing the resolutions of the 2014 Confab report which has only been reduced presently to a mere ill-favoured document. Hence, the hostility displayed to the call for restructuring is still, at present, on the ill-fated fence of unwilling patronage from the power that be.

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, at the event of the launch of Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari, Zaria Peace Foundation in Zaria, Kaduna, on Saturday, gave ill-favoured positions  apparently foreclosing the idea of restructuring of Nigeria, mentioning that there was nothing to restructure.

He was quoted, “And again those who are discussing restructuring, my question is, what are you going to restructure? If you ask many Nigerians what they are going to restructure, you will find out that they have nothing to talk about. Some of them have not even studied the 1999 Constitution. The 1999 Constitution is almost 70 to 80 per cent 1979 Constitution. It is okay to demand for restructuring, renewal of Constitution, but what is most important now is how can Nigerian states make local government functional, how can Nigerian states make judiciary independent? Rather, we ask Nigerians to focus on putting pressure on National Assembly members to make sure that that autonomy as enshrined in our Constitution is respected and implemented

“And I said also that majority of those calling for restructuring are people that are so afraid to go into partisan politics. And even if they were to go into partisan politics they will not win. There is no government in the world that will cede their authority to the people that are not elected. You are telling us to resolve a system and call for an obscure conference to come and discuss how we can move forward as a nation, that can never be done and no country will agree to that. So those who are doing that should go back and meet their representatives in the House of Assembly and ask for whatever amendment of Constitution. So, those calling for whether separation or restructuring, some of them I will say they are very naive or even mischievously dangerous. Those agitating for restructuring are ignorant of war and its consequences, because Nigeria is a dominant force in West Africa.”

The need for the present government to look beyond reducing the call of restructuring the Federation to political gimmicks is paramount.  It is pertinent that the best interest of the Federation be put ahead of any primordial, myopic, ethnic, tribal or pecuniary sentiment. The time to give honest consideration to the subject in the light of the best interest of the sustainability of the entire Federation in the long run is paramount. Reducing the call to mere politicking may result to outcomes which may be too costly and undesirable, whether intended or unintended, for the Government to handle if critical reformative necessties are not attended to in order to redefine the working formations of decayed fabrics of existing structures which by and large have proven inconsistent and hostile to meeting and satisfying the realities of present demands.