The Senator representing Abia North Senatorial district, Mao Ohuabunwa has said that Nigeria cannot move forward without restructuring, and that there is no going back on that.
Speaking in Umuahia, the Abia State capital after inaugurating the local government areas chapters of his campaign organisation, Follow Better Organisation (FBO) said he is a proponent of restructuring, noting that it was regrettable that majority of federal lawmakers had voted against devolution of power to states.
He added that there was the need to further engage in dialogue and full explanation of the need to restructure the present political setup which has become an anomaly.
He expressed his belief that what happened on the floor of the Senate was that, there was a “misunderstanding” of the concept of restructuring and true federalism,” hence the need to carry some of our colleagues who didn’t understand what devolution of power is along,” adding that devolution of power was just an aspect of restructuring as being canvassed.
“So many things where put together, but what we intend to do when we return is engage our colleagues, explain to them and if possible split them into bills, but that is just revolving of power.
“For us total restructuring is the answer, because I have told people that we were practicing democracy before the military dictatorship. The structure today was not the democratic structure our founding fathers used,” he said.
According to him, “What we have today is a military structure. If we don’t review those structure to align with democratic tenets, it will not work and that’s why we say, because of the plethora of agitations here and there, the only way out is for us to look back and see what our founding fathers who started democracy bequeathed to us and if we don’t do that we are missing it. We have to go back to those democratic structures for us to move forward.”
Ohuabunwa noted that the political structure in place now is a product of military rule which operated under unitary system of government and that Nigeria, having come out of that era, there was no way a democratic system of government could work effectively with the unitary structure, stating “now that we have democracy we should use democratic structures.”
According to him, the suitable structure was not farfetched as the founding fathers of the Nigerian nation had in their wisdom laid down the suitable structure in the First Republic hence the present crop of political leaders should go back and adopt the original structures of true federalism.
He said on restructuring, “It is not secessionist, it is not separation, it is not disintegration but what we are saying is we must restructure for Nigeria to move forward and there will be competition amongst the states.
On the autonomy of the local government areas, the Senator said “We have granted the Autonomy to local government areas, where we believe that local government is the grassroots, so that people will begin to have value for democracy and enjoy their democratic dividends, and they will begin to hold their local government chairmen accountable for their campaign promises.”
On the issue of primary healthcare in the country he said “I’m the chairman Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, but I have told them that the Federal Government has nothing to do with primary health care and primary education. These should be the functions of the local governments and at worst the state.
“It was the military that ran a centralised kind of government that lumped everything together and that is why we are having problems today hence the reason why governors run to Abuja every 30 days to share money and states are not producing anything.
“Look at what happened in Kebbi State with production of rice. Can you believe that Kebbi can feed the whole of this nation and still export? Yes restructuring will give them the opportunity to run their business, so that is why we must go back to make them understand that restructuring is in the interest of all of us.”
Sunday Nwakanma – Umuahia