Restructuring: Tinubu under pressure

Ten months into the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, and amid the economic and security challenges facing the country, representatives of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, have intensified pressure on President Bola Tinubu on the need to restructure Nigeria.

The groups include two factions of the pan Yoruba socio-political and cultural organization, Afenifere, pan Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF),

Just last week Tuesday, a faction of Afenifere led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo had stated that Tinubu had no choice than to restructure, having been in the vanguard of the struggle, as well as being a beneficiary of the call for restructuring within this democratic dispensation.

The other faction, led by Chief Reuben Fasoranti, also insisted that the parliamentary system was the best form of government for the country.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said that in restructuring Nigeria, there should be autonomy for the federating entities which should control their resources and pay tax.

On his part, Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Dogo Isuwa agreed that the country was in dire need to be restructured.

He noted that the restructuring the country goes beyond constitutional amendments, insisting that the best way forward is to implement the report of the 2014 National Conference inaugurated by then President Goodluck Jonathan on 17 March 2014.

Let’s have United Regions of Nigeria – Afenifere

National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi reiterated that the organization is unrepentant in its advocacy for restructuring “because we strongly believe that it is the surest means of tackling the myriad of social, economic, political and security challenges that the country is facing”. He added that this would come into play because with restructuring, each constituent part of the country would be in a position to determine how its area is governed and administered.

“The envisaged restructuring will change the present arrangement so that we can have what can be termed as United Regions of Nigeria (URN). Under it, each region would be able to determine what its priorities are and how to take care of these priorities. For example, at any given time, security may be the most threatening challenge for a region while power shortage may be that of another. But there must be certain basics for all the components of Nigeria under the new arrangement. These include the establishment of state and local government police services, democratized fiscal policies within the general economic framework of the country and certain shared values as citizens of the same country etc.”

Ajayi added that a return to parliamentary system of government is also advocated as part of the expected constitutional reform.

“We are advocating parliamentarism not because we see it as a cure-all for the country’s problems but because it encourages greater participation by the people, greater accountability and a substantial reduction in the cost of electioneering and governance”.

Implement 2014 National Conference Report –MBF

National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Dogo Isuwa said the best and quickest way to restructure Nigeria is by implementing the 2014 National conference report.

He said: “The position of the MBF is that the report of the 2014 National Conference set up by President Jonathan should be implemented. It is not about the National Assembly amending the constitution, every part of the country, profession and religion was represented in that 2014 National Conference, and they agreed on the terms and conditions of living together, and implementing the report is the best way to restructure Nigeria. It is a complete waste of time for the National Assembly to be talking about amending the constitution. Amending the constitution is not the same thing as what was done at the National Conference. The clean document of the 2014 conference is there, and it can be implemented between now and the end of the year. There is too much politics in everything we do in this country,” the MBF publicity secretary said.

Grant autonomy to federating entities – Ohanaeze

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia said: “We believe that Nigeria must be restructured. Ohanaeze supports restructuring, we believe that there should be a kind of Title authority where every community has control over the resources on their soil and that percentage tax is paid at every level. The system where federating units go to Abuja every month to collect money is not the way federalism is run. When we talk about federating units today, the federating units are the states, not the local governments. Still, we want a situation where the local governments will control their resources and pay a percentage tax to the state, which will in turn pay a percentage tax to the center. We have to restructure the country so that every region will control their resources. That is the only way we can grow this country.”

Let’s return to parliamentary system –Adebanjo group in Afenifere

Speaking after a caucus meeting held at the Isanya Ogbo Ijebu residence of one of its chieftains, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, spokesman of the Afenifere group, Gboyega Adejumo, stated that the organization already has a blueprint, which favours a parliamentary system of government in place of the presidential system in place, which the organization noted is too expensive and unsustainable.

According to him, the adoption of a parliamentary system of government would help, not only in cutting down billions of Naira spent on electioneering campaigns, but also, cut down significantly the heavy cost of governance.

He said: “Tinubu himself is a product of Afenifere, he was elected on the platform and ideology of Afenifere. He took the Federal Government to court under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo 31 times to implement restructuring.

“He didn’t do anything when former President Buhari was there for eight years, probably he was bidding his time because he knew that northerners wouldn’t implement restructuring because they thought it wouldn’t favour them. But Tinubu is there now as the President.”

Adejumo added that the Southeast, Middle Belt and South-South share the position of Afenifere on restructuring.

“What we are proposing is a parliamentary system of government. The old Western region was from Badagry in Lagos to Asaba in present-day Delta State. But Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo never had to be campaigning everywhere as we do now. It makes governance so cheap, that nobody will have to spend billions on campaigns again. You will need as much as N100m to campaign for local government chairmanship elections.

“So, under this system, you will from your constituency come into the House of Assembly and it is from here you will choose your ministers and commissioners. You are not going to be appointed by anyone again from outside but those who have been elected to the House of Assembly.

“With this system of government, we are going to be spending one-tenth of the humongous resources we are using to run this presidential system of government.”

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