Eminent Nigerians, including the Sultan of Sokoto, have said that dialogue remains the only viable tool to transform Nigeria to the benefit of its citizens than the call for divided Nigeria.
Sultan Alhaji Sa’ahad Abubakar, former Justice of the Federation, Justice Alpha Belgore, as well as former Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomohle all stated that economic restructuring should be dialogue than the agitation for divided Nigeria.
Unanimously, the speakers opted for the devolution of power and revenue allocation stressing that the agitation must be defined to enable the lay man draw lines between breaking of Nigeria and fixing Nigeria to the benefit of all.
The lead speaker during the colloquim organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) with the theme: ‘The Labour Movement and the Future of A United Nigeria, What Role for Restructuring?’ Professor Sam Egwu of University of Jos, said that the reason for the unwarranted agitation, was due the fact that unity government was killed by Federal Character, which means that the country’s existence at the moment determined by ethnic and religious sentiment.
According to the lead speaker, restructuring of Nigeria was as old as the Lord Lugard days of amalgamating the Northern and Southern protectorate to ensure better governance to the heterogeneity of Nigeria. He noted that the formation of regional government brought quicker development but was distorted by the creation of 12 states by General Yakubu Gowon followed with the amendment of constitution which reduces the power of states and brought end developmental competitions among the regions.
The professor held that this imbalance in sharing of assets and by the central Government brought agitation in the life of Nigerians that led to several National reform till 2014. The conference he observed opened up many diverse agitation of Nigerians with all the region’s presenting different ideas as it affects the people.
However, in summery he said that Nigerians should see the agitation for restructuring as an undefined pronouncement that Should not be misrepresented. “You see I do not agree that Nigeria is indisoluble and this is what I meant with the way things are happening in Nigeria, people should not go to bed with the felling that nothing will happen. What restructuring mean to me is that there are certain things we need to put right at the Federal level to get to the States and the local Government. It is how to re-arrange certain things that has gone wrong”.
Further speaking, the lead speaker the agitation became intense because the State was taken away from the people when ethnicity and religion now defines a citizen contrary to what colonialism introduced in the country. “It was a question of federal character in exchange to Government of National Unity. And every day, we work against National unity. We do not have problems with that but there are other ingredients that question to nationhood”.
The former governor of Edo state Comrade Oshiomohle, stated that Nigeria Nation failed with over concentration of power to the center, stressing that the devolution of power and the empowerment to the local authority will better define Nigeria and can hold a better restructuring.
According to Comrade Oshiomohle, the construction of roads and maintenance of Government facilities at the local government, has no supposedly should be the concern of the local or state and not the Federal in a normal setting.
His words, “as a Governor of Edo State, there the different between being a politician and doing the work. I came at cross road, when the people demands that certain roads should be done but I was helpless but was forced to put a sideboard to notify the people that the road they are asking for stands a federal road and that is because Nigeria remains the only country where federal Government construct roads at the local Government for controlling the resources at the localities”.
He said that agitation, should be shifted from dividing Nigeria to asking of what the people need as citizens of the country.
Oshiomohle, who turned unleashed his anger on the opposition party after losing the 2015 election, stated that the opposition may have found a ground to distabilise Nigeria instead of being supportive to the Buhari administration.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, former Justice of the Federation, Justice Belgore while lending his voice said that fight for independence, was involved all Nigerians cut across all regions and should remain the same. The former Chief Justice recommends dialogue for what so ever agitation as it remains the only weapon used in gaining independence of Nigeria.
Idu Jude, Abuja