Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, has said that restructuring is unavoidable and inevitable for Nigeria in the face of national consensus.
The former Chief of Army Staff from October 1979 to April 1980, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take immediate steps towards restructuring the country in the best interest of the citizenry.
Proponents of restructuring, who formed a panel of discussants include, former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Mr. Shettima Yerima; Spokesman for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin and founding President, Nigeria Oral Literature Association, Prof. Godini Darah.
While stressing the need for state Police, Akinrinade particularly urged President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate a bill to unbundle the overburdened centre by removing some of the items in the current Exclusive List.
“By decentralizing and devolving power from a bloated and overburdened centre to the margins, genuine federalism aims to liberate the local genius of the people and unfetter their creative and enterprising spirit.
In the last few weeks, a national consensus seems to have coalesced around the issue. Restructuring is unavoidable and inevitable for Nigeria.
It is not a done deal yet; neither are the procedures and modus operandi cast in marble.
“But with the All Progressives Congress Committee on the subject turning in one of many of the cardinal imperatives of restructuring report with a bold approval and the Peoples Democratic Party buying substantially into the project through its legislative caucus, a new vista of bi-partisan cooperation has been opened.
“If we cast our mind to the recent battle for restructuring in Nigeria, we see all the rich ironies of history in slow motion. Four years ago as the battle for the restructuring of the nation raged unabated, then President Goodluck Jonathan convoked a National Political Conference with the express mandate to look at the grave political issues facing Nigeria and come up with acceptable solution.
“Given the urgency of the situation, one would have thought that the convener would have acted with express resolve once the conference turned in its report. But for reasons best known to him, Jonathan delayed and prevaricated until he was defeated in a landmark presidential election, which for the first time in the history of the nation had the opposition winning by a landslide.
“In his own case, and as if government is a radical discontinuum, President Muhammadu Buhari would have nothing to do with the Confab report. In fact it is on record that the former infantry officer went as far as to flatly assert that he would make sure that the report ended up in a permanent cooler – the archives. This was not just a case of benign indifference but active hostility.”