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Jonathan, Jega, Nwodo Adebanjo disagree over restructuring

Jonathan, Jega, Nwodo Adebanjo disagree over restructuring

Oba Darasimi

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, has said that the clamour for restructuring which has been on the front burner of national discourse will not solve the gamut of problems confronting Nigeria.

But other eminent Nigerians have disagreed with him.

Jonathan, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, at the 18th Edition of Daily Trust Dialogue on restructuring, argued that Nigerians should first of all restructure their minds against nepotism, ethnic and religious differences that have polarized the existence of the country for donkey years before thinking of fiscal restructuring.

However, Chieftain of Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, disagreed with former President Jonathan, maintaining that the current constitution was fraudulent and does not reflect the yearnings of Nigerians.

So also the former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, who reiterating Adebanjo said the country should be restructured as it would help every region to establish public services.

“My conviction is that discussion on restructuring will not help except we restructure our minds because of the area they come from, the language they speak or their religious belief,” Jonathan said at the event.

“Take a look at how local government elections are conducted at the state level. Why is it very difficult for an opposition to win a chairmanship or councillorship seat in a state, despite the fact that same party probably secured seats in the State Assembly and National Assembly elections, organised by a federal election management body.

“This shows that restructuring along may not solve all the anomalies in the system.

“I believe that restructuring for a better nation is good but there are other fundamental issues we should also address. We cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges that polarise our nation. These include nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism. The issues of tribe and religion have continued to limit our unity and progress, as a nation,” he said.

Adebanjo said calls for restructuring is gaining ground because the current constitution does not represent the true yearnings of generality of Nigerian.

Adebanjo said, “Why we are clamouring for restructuring is because the present constitution is a fraudulent constitution. It is not the constitution of the people. We want a constitution that will bring peace and unity in the country. And when we talk of federalism there is a political philosophy to earn it.

“It is not just a philosophy that you get from the air. Restructuring is important now which is backed with federalism. All the problems we are having today is because of the constitution.

Nwodo said it is important to carry out the restructuring even before the next general elections in 2023.

“We must restructure to reduce insecurity in our country. While other crimes may not have been reported, the continued menace of the Boko Haram in the North East and consequent decapitation of our civilians and soldiers continue unabated.”

“We must do all we can to restructure before the next election in 2023 because the level of dissatisfaction in the country as evidenced by the last ENDSARS protest gives one the impression that any delay may lead to a mass boycott or disruption of the next elections to the point that we may have a more serious constitutional crisis of a nation without a government.”

On his part, the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, said the best approach to effect restructuring would be to “reduce powers and resources of the federal government specified in the Federal and Concurrent Legislative List;

“Increase powers and resources of the state governments on the State Legislative List; devolve powers and resources from the states to the local governments; require the states to create ‘Development Areas’, as the lower level tier of governance at the grassroots level, below the LGAs;

“Accordingly, review the resources allocation/revenue sharing formula between federal, states (and local governments) taking into consideration the new sharing of power and responsibilities.”

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