Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, on Thursday, faulted the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the call for the restructuring of the country.
The governor said Buhari’s comment that those pushing for the restructuring of the country were motivated by selfish motives, was, indeed, a threat inimical to the desired stability and prosperity of the country.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted him as having made the comment while delivering a lecture with the title: “Restructuring and the Search for a Productive Nigeria,” at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, yesterday.
The Bayelsa governor stressed that the Nigerians in the vanguard of the campaign for the restructuring of the country were the patriotic ones who are motivated by a desire for the nation’s peace, prosperity and stability.
He wondered why the president would dismiss the general quest of the Nigerian citizenry to restructure the Nigerian Federation which would not withstand the test of time in its current lopsided nature.
He said: “When everybody in this country is talking about the need to restructure this country, our President, Buhari, made a statement that is not only wrong, but is also faulty. It cannot withstand the test of time and a threat to the continued stability and prosperity and development of our country, when he dismissed outrightly, the notion of restructuring.
“And he did not stop there, he went ahead to say that those who are in support of restructuring are doing so for parochial agenda. Mr. President, you are wrong. In fact, the reverse is the case. The majority of Nigerians from the North, South, East, West and Middle Belt, who are making a case for restructuring are, indeed, the patriots of Nigeria.
“We want a Nigeria that works with equal citizenship. A Nigeria for the many as well as for the few; a Nigeria that we will be proud to call home any day, that we can proudly pledge allegiance to.”
The governor said the time had come for a second look at the Nigerian system, stressing that even the current presidential system of government is too expensive and, indeed, wasteful for the country.
He said the current arrangement where the central government would take over all responsibilities such as the judiciary, the police and others to the exclusion of the state, is an arrangement in need of change.
The governor said the federal government had not fared well even in its core responsibilities such as defence and security as shown by the killings in the land.
“I don’t believe that a presidential system is what this country needs; it is too expensive and wasteful. It easily lends itself to abuses and there are not enough checks. We cannot have a productive Nigeria the way it is structured, a Nigeria where the exclusive list is longer than the concurrent one. A Nigeria where the federal government is a Jack of all trade but a master of none.
“A Nigeria where the federal government dissipates itself in areas that it has no competence, no local knowledge to deliver productivity to the extent that it has abandoned its core areas of responsibility, and these core areas of responsibility are defence and national security.
“Is there anyone in this hall in doubt as to whether the federal government has stood up to its primary responsibility of protecting Nigerians? So, that is a failure of responsibility.”
The governor also took a swipe at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which he described as opaque.
He said the rule of 13 percent derivation funds to the producing states is not being implemented in the country.