North not against restructuring- Bugaje

Some eminent Nigerians have argued that the only way for Nigeria to overcome her present challenges was through restructuring.

They gave their separate submissions on Wednesday in Ibadan at a summit organised by The Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative (TYLPI).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit with the theme “Strategies and Tactics for the Actualisation of a Restructured Nigeria” was chaired by Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo.

Dr Usman Bugaje, a former House of Representatives member, said that Nigerians must collectively agree on the kind of federation they want.

He described as entirely wrong the notion that the North was against restructuring, adding that Northerners were groaning under a terrible federal system operated in Nigeria.

According to him, the North is suffocating, suffering from violence, lack of good livelihood and more keen for restructuring than some other geopolitical zones in the country.

He argued that the current structure was unsustainable such that a timeline needed to be set to restructure.

The former lawmaker said that the present leadership recruitment mechanism in political parties was faulty, saying “it cannot produce better individuals.’’

Bugaje said that it was time citizens across all zones of the country meet at a roundtable, pulll together ideas and arrive at a consensus on a restructuring of the current federation.

“It is entirely wrong for some people to say the North does not want restructuring. I am surprised when people say so. I do not know who they interviewed.

“The demand for restructuring in the North is not any less than that in any other part of the country. Some of us have held conferences and have taken positions on this matter.

“I want everybody to understand that the North is more than willing for restructuring.

Nigerians should agree on the kind of federation they wanted,” he said.

Adebanjo, the Afenifere leader, said that restructuring was the only way the nation could remain one.

He said that the present 1999 constitution was a problem in operating a true federal structure.

Adebanjo, who described champions of restructuring as federalists, cautioned against branding advocates of restructuring as secessionists.

“I am only a champion of restructuring in Nigeria, I don’t want secession. I don’t support secession and I don’t oppose secession.

“Restructuring is the only way you can keep this country together. I don’t support secession.

“Those of us who talk about restructuring are federalists, we are not secessionists. The blackmail must stop and we will resist it,” he said.

Also, Prof. Gabriel Darah, the Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Delta State, said that until restructuring was achieved, there would be no country.

He explained that restructuring was returning Nigeria to a federal system of governance and not secession.

Darah said that the 1966 military takeover of power destroyed the nation’s federal system, noting that restructuring would guarantee united, free and equitable Nigeria federalism.
He demanded that the 1999 constitution should be discarded.

Similarly, Dr Akin Fapohunda, the Afenifere’s Director, Research and Strategy, said that the Yorubas were poised to lead the way by drafting a new constitution.

He canvassed that not more than 10 items should be on the exclusive list while more should be on the concurrent and residual lists.
Fapohunda described the current federal and 36 states structure as wasteful.

He called for unicameral legislature, provinces to replace states, adding that each region should have a separate constitution and should run as autonomous self-running entities.

Ms Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough, charged elders to allow the youth to be more involved in the running of the country.

She demanded that there should be more deliberate actions towards education of the next generation of youths, noting that free education and free health by government was much imperative.

Mr Alistair Soyode, the Founder, BEN TV, UK, said that the elites were not helping in the attainment of restructuring of the current system.

He said that there was no good mentoring and coaching, describing wanton cross carpeting as injustice to the electorate.

Earlier, Mr Olusegun Ahmadu, TYLPI President, said that the nation’s priority should be restructuring and not 2023 election.

Ahmadu called for a Westminster parliamentary system of government, adding that states must be made viable by being allowed to manage their resources.

NAN reports that other dignitaries at the summit included Sen. Gbenga Kaka, Dr Yemi Farounbi, Prof. Adebisi Sowunmi, Chief Taye Ayorinde, Dr Sadiq Gombe among others(NAN)