Calls For Restructuring Unnecessary – Ndume By Leke Baiyewu
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, has described the renewed calls for restructuring of the Nigerian federation as unnecessary.
He said the idea had yet to become popular among Nigerians.
According to the lawmaker representing Borno-South Senatorial District at the Senate, the call for restructuring was still by individuals.
Ndume warned those calling for restructuring of the country to be cautious in their demand by respecting the feelings of other Nigerians.
A former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had, at a forum in Abuja in June 2016, called for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation along the model of what was practised in the defunct First Republic, with strict adherence to the principle of fiscal federalism between the government at the centre and the coordinate units (states or federating units).
Atiku had argued that the country needed the process to record genuine development.
His call had sparked a national debate on the best government structure that the country should adopt.
But Ndume, in a chat with journalists on Tuesday, argued that good leadership and good governance at all levels of the federation were the only things needed to turn the country around for the better, rather than restructuring.
The Senate Leader stated that calling for restructuring at such a critical stage the country was in, especially with the enormous challenges facing the nation, was like missing the point.
He cautioned those making the call, including Atiku and the South-West caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress, to respect the feelings of other Nigerians in their agitation.
Ndume said, “Whatever it is, my own position on the clamour for restructuring is that since we are in the era of democracy, the people should be allowed to decide and not individuals. Nobody should claim monopoly of interest of the people from his or her area, by sitting down with few others and calling other zones, saying that Nigeria should restructure. No, I don’t support that.
“I support collective decisions by Nigerians. We came together collectively, not by force, not by insult, but by negotiation. Even when our colonial masters wanted to carve out a country called Nigeria out of three basic regions – Northern, Western and Eastern regions – there were series of conferences that led to that.”
“Pointedly, I think at this critical stage of nationhood and in view of the enormous challenges confronting the nation, what is needed is good leadership at all levels, which I think we have presently at the centre (Federal Government) for the required solutions to all the problems, and not restructuring. But if the agitators still want to continue with their agitation, they should push it to the centre of national discourse where a collective decision can be taken on it by all Nigerians through their representatives and not just individuals championing it.”
Ndume, however, declined comment on the ‘Emergency Economic Stabilisation Bill 2016’ reportedly being proposed by the Presidency to send to National Assembly for approval.
“I cannot comment on what is not with us here in the Senate and by extension the National Assembly yet,” he said.