‘Restructuring is a path that Nigeria must follow’

President Muhammadu Buhari

As the demands for restructuring continue to gain momentum in the Nigerian polity, the Nigeria National Summit Group (NNSG) has warned of a lurking danger if President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) fail to address the issue.

In similar vein, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), urged the Federal Government not to discard the popular will and desire of the people.

A former President of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike in his opinion said the subject has become “a must address if the country must continue to enjoy peaceful relationship and unity.”

In a statement yesterday, the Executive Secretary NNSG, Mr. Tony I Uranta warns that Nigeria stands the risk of failing if not restructured on time.

The NNSG rising from an emergency NEC meeting in Lagos yesterday stated, “It is a pity that even the National Assembly pretends that Nigerians are bound together in a non-negotiable unity, when we have very loud secessionist agitations ongoing in at least three of Nigeria’s six zones.”

According to the group, “At this stage in this country we must stop sticking our heads in the sand, pretending that all is well with Nigeria. We must all agree that there is a need to restructure Nigeria, that we will have a necessary devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and review of the many unjust laws that hold the country from attaining it’s maximum potentials economically, politically and socially.”

The NNSG statement pointed out that there is no need to panic or reinvent the wheel. It recommends that the National Assembly should immediately commence the process of amending the present constitution, “such that future amendments, or creation of a new constitution, must be submitted to a national referendum by Nigerians; and, let the President send the report of the 2014 National Conference to the National Assembly, as an Executive Bill for urgent consideration, without delay or histrionics.”

The group added that if all persons elected into offices, especially at the federal levels, resolve to be patriots and nationalists, the legalities regarding restructuring Nigeria can be concluded in much less six working months.

The statement reads: “Should we all choose to let this window pass without us proactively seizing the time, there may be no Nigeria around, let alone politicians, to vie for offices come 2019. We may be a failed state, like Somalia, by then.”

They however seek audience with both the Presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly, to advise on the best way forward to ensure Nigeria’s sustainable unity and progress going forward.

Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran said only a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), which report would be subjected to a referendum, is the best option to go about restructuring the country.

According to him, “Many people have been talking about the subject, calling for devolution of powers, granting autonomy to states, resource control and reversal to the 1963 Constitution, if these are what the subject is all about, then the 1999 Constitution can simply be amended to address the issue.

“However, what we have today is beyond that and I will suggest a SNC where all reports of past conferences would be brought to the table and appropriately discussed.”

Adeniran, who kicked against the demand from Notational Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that Nigeria should revert to the 1963 Constitution, posited that if nothing was wrong with the constitution, the military wouldn’t have struck, overthrew the government in 1966 and suspended the constitution “in fact previous government after the 1966 coup would have reverse the constitution long ago but because of its flaws.”

While Adeniran suggested the need to hold SNC now, he said the reason reports of other conferences held could not be used was because none of them was sovereign.

Uwazurike said restructuring has become a must address because it is now a general and popular demand. Even former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan were left with no choice but to address it during their tenure despite their lackluster attitude towards it initially.

He said “the issue is not about Buhari, as a matter of fact it has even gone beyond what an individual wants or not but what Nigeria deserves.

“I do not care which group is concerned but the fact that PRONACO, NADECO, NNSG, Southern Leaders Forum, Ohanaeze, Afenifere among other forums, are asking for it and even some past Heads of State are now turned in the direction, the ruling party should give it a consideration, at least let us look at previous reports of the conferences we have had.”

Meanwhile, a group within the ruling party, APC Rebirth 2019 in a position paper signed by its Convener/ National Coordinator, Prince Tony Akeni warned the APC leaders to save the party from a disastrous electorate revolt in the next general election.

The group noted that there is presently anguish of unprecedented scale and depth among the poor and the lower middle class in the country, which must be addressed with sense of urgency.

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