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President Buhari’s new year broadcast not a surprise, says don

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: Reuters

A lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Sylvester Odion Akhaine, has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s new year broadcast did not come as a surprise to most Nigerians.

He said the President addressed three basic issues of consequence, namely, the lingering fuel scarcity, road infrastructure and the debate on restructuring of Nigeria.

Akhaine, who noted that beginning of year messages by leaders across the world was now widespread, pointed out that African leaders have also keyed into the practice.

He said Buhari argued that the fuel scarcity was the handwork of saboteurs, while railway facilities would commence to link all parts of the country through the creation of major trans-state routes to be financed with credit facilities.

He noted that the President said Nigeria’s problem was not with the polity and structure of the state but process, hinted that restructuring the country under the present dispensation was not an imperative.

The university teacher said the speech was not only meaningless but lacked the benefit of the nicety of ‘sound and fury’.

His words: “It can only come from someone who has lost touch with Nigeria’s contemporary realities.

“First on the fuel scarcity, the prevailing scarcity is a consequence of the dynamics of the global price of oil and the failure of the government to live up to its responsibility by ensuring that
we refine our oil domestically.

“Indeed, the government intends to increase the pump price of petrol and Nigerians must gird their loin to resist it.

“It is unfortunate that the incumbent leadership does not know that the country is sitting on a keg of gun powder and the people of this country feel emasculated by the prevailing political structure of the country dominated by a tiny arrogant elite that controls the material force of the state and employs the resources of the country in a patriarchal mode.”

Akhaine said the country as presently constituted was brimming with inequities, adding that structures of government are not only skewed in favour of sectional interest, but are structured to atomise the federal essentiality of the Nigerian state.

“It is this distortion that is at the heart of the political crisis in the country. To deny it is tantamount to postponing the doomsday.

“The autonomy of the component nationalities of Nigeria must
be restored in ways that underscore authority and responsibility and in a manner that is coordinate with the centre,” he added.

He noted further that the ongoing effort to make local council autonomous as a tier of the Nigerian state was incongruous with the federal protocol and a salient perfidy of the Nigerian state.

“Re-arranging Nigeria’s structure and its government is a categorical imperative. It will come either legally or otherwise.

“A railway network for the country is desirable but a project based on credit facilities in a context of mindboggling corruption remains at the level of imagination,” he stated.


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