A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, has said restructuring is the only way to save Nigeria.
Bode George said this in an open letter to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in reaction to his recent statement on restructuring.
Buhari had during the launch of Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari, Zaria Peace Foundation in Zaria, erased any doubt about his dislike for the call for Nigeria’s restructuring.
He was represented at the event by the Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu.
Reacting, Bode George, in his letter, stated that it will be wrong and even cynical for anyone to pretend that the present Nigerian structure is smooth and without flaws.
He said history will be kind to Buhari if he aligns with the clamour for restructuring, adding that his advice is “without partisan or ethnic intimations.”
His letter read, “It will be wrong and even cynical for anyone to pretend that the present Nigerian structure is smooth and without flaws. On the contrary, the very skewed structures are provoking everywhere the glaring indices of terror and widening chaos. From Sokoto to Calabar, from Jigawa to Delta, from Borno to Rivers- the Nigerian state is sinking deeper into loose banditry and general uncertainties.
“Virtually everyone is vulnerable. There are no safe havens anymore. The present policing architecture is obviously unsuitable to modern threats and challenges. Policing can no longer be centralised. This is one of the cardinal points why the restructuring of the Nigerian state is important.
“Power has to be loosened at the centre for the survival of this very fragile union. The states must be constitutionally empowered to determine their growth and development. We cannot all be held down by an overarching unitary system that stunts merit and halts individual progress and initiatives.
“Nigeria can only survive when the states can prosecute their individual vision, explore their God-given resources at their own pace without the intrusion of the central organ.
“The states are suffocated, stifled, hindered and cluttered by inimical constitutional constraints that are savaging to developmental enlightenment. We are a nation of nations whose innate diversities should be cultivated as our collective advantages.
“Where we have disparate visions, where we have contradicting values, we can steer towards a unifying compromise without anyone being elbowed out. We can reconcile on the peace table without recourse to sectional triumphalism which invariably fans the embers of violence.
“A nation can only be sustained on the platform of equity and fairness and not when some sections of our society feel fettered and squeezed out of the national equation.
“While I will never support a violent dissolution of the country, I am a strong proponent of a very loose, tight and elastic union where each state can freely assert itself without any overbearing intrusion from an outsider, where the indices of economic advancement are devolved to the states, where policing is enforced as local matters, where natural resources are controlled by state organs and where the collective wealth of a state are sustained and steered towards the development of each state.
“That is not the case now. The subsisting situation is an aberrant unitary constitution that flames anger and distrust, prompting many fissiparous actors who feel that the union has disadvantaged a large section of our society to canvass a separatist agenda.
“But this is hardly a redeeming solution. An angry resort to a dissolution hardly ends in harmony. It often leads to the grim path of war. Surely this is not what we want. A progressive and graduated restructuring of the union, mandated at the peace table, will strengthen the bonds of our union, rouse individual competitiveness, encourage the stirring of merit, widen our collective economic growth, galvanise the fields of industry, encourage initiatives and ultimately enhance the national harmony.
“To remain on this same spot, to refuse to acknowledge that our nation needs to rectify the glaring wrongs through a new progressive, fair and equitable constitutional arrangement will be to scoff at reality and postpone more compelling and inevitable chaos which nobody wants. History would be more kind to President Buhari should he choose to align with the popular clamour for devolution of powers and progressive restructuring of the Nigerian state.”
- The Punch