… Wants presidential candidates to unfold restructuring plans
A pro-restructuring group, The Core Federalists, founded by the late Comrade Yinka Odumakin and a few others has re-emphasized the urgent need for restructuring of Nigeria in the run up to the 2023 presidential elections.
The group also called on all the presidential candidates in the 2023 presidential election to make restructuring a fundamental objective of their campaigns so as to assure Nigerians that if elected, they would restructure Nigeria in a way beneficial to all zones of the country which according to it, would go a long way to ensure equity, justice, peace and the elusive development in Nigeria.
The Core Federalists, in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by Ambassador Humphrey Orjiako, Chief Handel Okoli, Mark Jacob and Comrade Mark Adebayo stated that as the 2023 general elections beckons, it had noticed with serious concern that the issue of restructuring Nigeria had not gotten the kind of attention it deserved in the conversations around the elections.
“We, in the CF, believe that there is no issue more important and urgent than restructuring in present day Nigeria due to the fact that almost all the challenges the country is battling with – insecurity, underdevelopment, economic backwardness, massive corruption and inter-ethnic distrust, religious violence and allied crisis are not unconnected with the warped structure of the country that is not only unsustainable but also unworkable. Obviously it has not worked for us judging by Nigeria’s recent and not-so-recent history.
“We like to remind Nigerians in general, those in power today and those who aspire to be in power in a short while that Nigeria’s only golden era was the period it ran a system of true federalism from 1958 to 1966 before military putsch truncated the first republic and the federal structure that sustained it up to that point. Nigeria functioned far better under real federalism than it has under a unitary system that has drawn it backwards by several decades and renders it incapable of competing with the same League of Nations like Singapore, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and others.
“Restructuring Nigeria to make it function optimally as a country of multiplicity of language, culture and religion is an urgent imperative. We believe strongly that development and peace will continue to elude Nigeria if the federating units – geopolitical zones, states and local government areas are considered mere appendages to the so-called Federal Government to which the former must kowtow for monthly hand-outs without the capacity to determine the direction they want their communities to proceed and the development templates they wish to apply as relevant to their environments. There is no gainsaying the fact that this type of system discourages productivity and kills creativity and consequently stifles development.
“It is even worse that the federating units are denied the authority and plans of how they can effectively defend themselves against internal aggressors that terrorise their communities. Nigeria is today at war with itself, yet the federating units are denied the authority to protect themselves by a Federal Government that has woefully failed to secure the territorial integrity of the country.
‘’The current unitary structure of Nigeria has overtime demonstrated its lack of capacity to guarantee manifest justice, peace and overall development. It is a system customized to generate distrust, strife, stifled development and peace. It is the reason why Nigeria has remained egregiously backward on all indices of socioeconomic development and does not know peace nationwide’’, the group said.
It went on to note that one reality that Nigerians cannot run away from was that, considering the current state of the country’s insecurity, even the seat of government at the center was threatened by terrorists and that Nigeria was a rapidly failing country that must be urgently rescued adding that the recent easy access and attack on the Kuje prison protected by the military, the Police and other security agencies pointed exactly to that reality.
The Core Federalists maintained that it guaranteed that true federalism in a restructured Nigeria birthed from a true people’s Constitution with a national consensus built across board nationwide, would make securing the country much more effective than the current subterfuge.
‘’In this respect, we consider it imperative that the report of the 2014 National Confab and the 2018 All Progressives Congress Committee Report on restructuring headed by the Kaduna State Governor, His Excellency Nasir El-Rufai, be revisited with an open mind by the incoming government because there is no need re-inventing the wheel on this all-important issue.
‘’We demand that each of the presidential candidates running for office in the 2023 presidential election make public their restructuring plans for Nigeria. This is informed by the indubitable fact that there is no manifesto or leadership capacity, no matter how good on paper and in practice that can deliver the required results in a unitary system that currently subsists in Nigeria. A perfect policy thrust will be frustrated by a faulty, badly engineered structure that Nigeria currently operates.
‘’More than promises, we demand assurances from the presidential candidates that whoever wins will make restructuring Nigeria a distinct priority. We call on all Nigerians to see restructuring as the irreducible minimum agenda that we require to save the country and should make it a point of critical action to support and vote for a presidential candidate who is unequivocally committed to restructuring Nigeria. That is our saving grace that must be embraced by all’’, it added.
The Core Federalists, however, rejected and condemned the renewed efforts to pass the notorious and totally unacceptable Water Resources Bill that sought to further weaken the states’ control over their land spaces as expressly guaranteed in the Land Use Act describing it as a crude attempt to take away from the states the little powers they had over their lands and a deceptive way of re-introducing the rejected RUGA policy of the current government which was/is meant to seize ancestral lands from their owners and redistribute same to those who had no connection whatsoever to those lands, including those whose nationality was questionable.
It continued, “This is certain to exacerbate the insecurity in the country and provoke intractable inter-ethnic tension and war. The Water Resources Bill must be dropped finally and never considered for deliberation by the National Assembly. We call on all state Assemblies to throw out this iniquitous Bill if, by any way, it gets to their legislative Houses. This is a Bill that will further shatter the country’s peace and remove any semblance of unity that remains in Nigeria. Drop it now!”
Photo: Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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