Whether President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, like it or not, the restructuring debate will linger till the 2019 electioneering period.
That Nigeria urgently needs a political restructure to allow for peaceful and purpose-driven coexistence among the numerous constituent ethnic groups is a truism that has remained a topical issue no past or present administration wants to look into.
But that notwithstanding, there is a convergence of opinion on the need for the country to take the bold step – and from all indications, just as the ‘change’ mantra was the catch word during the last general election in 2015 – restructuring of the nation will take a central place in 2019.
Though President Muhammadu Buhari does not favour restructuring Nigeria recently, one of his bosom friends and closest political allies, the founding pastor, Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was his running mate in the 2011 general elections, joined other citizens to advise the Nigerian leader that it is the only way to move the country forward.
While Bakare’s advise should pass as a candid suggestion, as most of his predecessors, the president can’t deny the unending agitation among Nigerians that the best legacy he could give the country is to allow a political restructuring of the country. The proposal is that Nigeria must restructure to correct the glaring mistakes in its federal system.
“This was the case when the Nigerian federal system was originally conceived by our founding fathers. Prior to the coming of the colonialists, sovereignty was domiciled in empires, kingdoms, city-states and republican villages,” Bakare posited, adding that now that Nigeria is a sovereign state, the various people that make up the nation should be allowed to discuss their unity.
The clergyman who is the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) emphasised that “the hues and cries for restructuring in our nation appear not to have been well received by this present government.” Adding that he holds the view that whatever successes the President Buhari-led government might have recorded in the past one year, could not take away the fact that “restructuring the country will correct the fundamental flaws in the nation’s federal system. The president and his team must summon the courage to make hard choices, especially the choice to restructure”.
That has been the views of most of those who discuss the topic. Hence, the argument that the mantra of change on which President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) attained presidency should include changing Nigeria’s obvious structural defects.
The assertion by the president as regards the national conference organised by former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that “I have not even bothered to read (the report) or ask for a briefing on it and I want it to go into the so-called archives”, is an indication that he is not favourably disposed to the topical issue. This is however contrary to what he promised during the election campaigns that he would look into the report and implement the good aspects of it.
The position expressed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who also recently said restructuring Nigeria will not make any difference and that if states are given half of the resources of the federal government it would not make any difference, is a further indication that the current leadership is not on the same page with proponents of restructuring.
Still a Sustained Quest
Despite the fact that successive governments and the present administration have not shown the political will to genuinely pursue the agenda of restructuring the country, the list of individuals and groups clamouring for it is nearly endless, because to every discerning minds, it is the best option in addressing the plethora of problems confronting Nigeria.