Buhari’s “no restructuring” posture
the The issue of restructuring continued to generate controversy across the country. The unitary nature of the Nigerian federation made restructuring very imperative.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari reopened the debate by rejecting calls for restructuring. The president, who is said to have declared: “there is nothing to restructure”, described those who campaign for the restructuring as “naive and maliciously dangerous”. The President, who spoke through the Executive Secretary of the Revenue and Taxation Mobilization Commission (RMFC), Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, in Zaria, Kaduna State, at the inauguration of the Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari Peace Foundation, said many of those campaigning for restructuring do not know what it means and they have not even studied the 1999 Constitution. the president’s statement elicited reactions from Nigerians and affected groups. Afenifere, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Apex Igbo Group, Ohanaeze, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and some prominent Nigerians condemned the president’s statement, calling it unhappy. They also noted that not accepting the restructuring could lead to the disintegration of the country.
However, a few days later, the president backed down somewhat, saying he could enact any bill duly passed by the National Assembly to that effect. Despite the posture, his aides maintained that the president has not changed his opposition to the restructuring. Also, some northern lawmakers have threatened to “kill” any restructuring bill presented to the NASS.
We regard the President’s firm position and similar anti-restructuring statements as reckless and unacceptable. There is no doubt that the current system is not working at all. The general insecurity across the country and the growing agitations for autonomy are all signs that the country must be saved by some form of restructuring to make our federation work like any other in the world. It is sad that the country is gradually sliding into anarchy because the existing order has failed to resolve the contentious issues facing the country.
The president missed the point. The real problem is that restructuring has become inevitable. The president cannot continue to refuse to accept the urgency of restructuring. The president’s stubbornness does not help matters. At best, it has dug the rifts that have divided the country.
Buhari’s rejection of restructuring is inconsistent with the previous position of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which set up a committee headed by Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, which , among others, recommended the restructuring of the way forward for the stability and unity of the country. During the 2015 campaign, restructuring was one of Buhari’s promises to the electorate. What may have informed his current stance on restructuring is not so clear to many Nigerians. It’s rather confusing and unfortunate.
It bears repeating that the essence of restructuring is that we have real federalism. It involves the devolution of powers to the federating units. To this day, power is so focused on the center with 68 items on the exclusive legislative list. There is a need for impartiality and fairness in the functioning of the Nigerian federation. We believe that the duty of the government is, among other things, to exploit the human and natural resources of the country and to ensure the well-being, freedom and happiness of every Nigerian citizen on the basis of equity and justice. social justice. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. To refuse restructuring is to support the country’s current regression.
There is no denying that restructuring is the way to go. It calls for the need to comprehensively reassess the dominant structure and the corporate existence of the country. There is no longer any doubt that delaying restructuring amounts to postponing the day of evil, or, as Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka so aptly put it, would likely lead to the break-up of the nation. Across the country, the level of discontent continues to grow. It arises from the inability or refusal to do what is necessary. As we have said many times, this government should listen to the views of eminent Nigerians and decentralize power.