‘Nigeria moving towards a failed state’
Prominent Nigerians including former governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, former ambassador to Switzerland, Dr. Humphrey Orjiako and others have stressed the need to restructure the country to true federalism for it to move forward.
Although, they concurred that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is doing its best to reposition the country such efforts will not yield the desired result until the nation is restructure.
Speaking during the presentation of a book titled: ‘Nigeria: The Forsaken Road to Nationhood and Development’ authored by Ambassador Orjiako in Lagos recently, Adebayo, who was the chairman of the event said when the country was a true federal state “it worked perfectly.”
Adebayo, who was also a Senator in 1979 under the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) said, “From my vantage position of age and experience, I can confidently say that when Nigeria was a true federal state it worked fine.”
He affirmed that since it transformed to a unitary state as the aftermath of the tragic events of January 1966 military coup “it has only become a federal state only on paper. Regrettably the country has not function as properly but rather moving dangerously close to a precipice of a failed state.”
While advocating for the restructuring of the country, the former lawmaker warned that any attempt to restructure the Nigerian entity “should not be equated with an attempt to dissolve or break it as some unnecessarily fear. There is no correlation whatsoever in restructuring we are advocating for and the breakup, which some fear.”
He said the real and present danger to its continued corporate existence “is the resistance to its being restructured to satisfy all aggrieved components.
According to him, “If we sincerely want to keep Nigeria together in peace and unity, we have to take steps that will address the fundamental concerns of components unit who feel marginalised in the scheme of things. These are concerns that we can no longer afford to ignore, else a cataclysmic implosion is inevitable, which we don’t pray for.”
Ambassador Orjiako on his part said that re-establishing a true federal system is no longer an option for mere consideration, but it is the only path that can lead to a strong, united and prosperous nation for which we have all made historic sacrifices already.
The former envoy however proposed a six-structure zone, arguing that the prevailing 36 states structure currently operated “is not helping the growth of the country.”
He noted that the arrangement of these zones should not be seen as immutable or cast in iron but could be reformatted in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the peoples that inhabit them using the peaceful instrumentalities of consultations, negotiations and referendum.
According to him, “The consultative states need not to be de-established, they would cease to be federating units and become zonal development centres, while the local governments take up the task of grassroots transformation within their zones.”
In his remark, Agbaje said it is lamentable that under the present structure “it is practically difficult or impossible for any minister to make any impact. Looking at the size of Nigeria, a minister who stays in Abuja and has limited knowledge of events and happenings across the nation, will certainly not be able to address the problems in the areas he has no knowledge of.
He therefore challenged members of the core federalists to continue to sell the six-zone concept federation to the generality of citizens.
In a similar vein, Spokesman of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said that the central plank of restructuring is for Nigeria to go back to the true practice of federalism wherein mineral resources that abound in all states would be freed from the exclusive list so that states would move into prosperity.