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Falana, Aborisade, Gaskiya, Olorode fault restructuring along ethnic lines 

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Human rights lawyers and activists, including Femi Falana (SAN), Femi Aborisade, Prof. Omotoye Olorode and Jaye Gaskiya have faulted the call for restructuring along ethnic divides. 

They spoke, yesterday, at a Political Education Forum webinar organised by Oyo State Chapter of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), at NULGE House, Onireke, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. 

The theme was: “Poverty, Restructuring and the National Question in Nigeria”.  Falana, who is the interim National Chairman of ASCAB, said various state governments did not need restructuring to provide good governance for citizens. 

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He said: “The Constitution, as bad as it is, has already taken care of the problems. If you look at the Chapter Two of the Constitution, it talks about Federal Character principle.  And that principle is not about ethnicity. It is about geopolitical zones. Ninety-eight per cent of criminal offences in Nigeria are state offences, including murder, armed robbery, kidnappings.  You don’t need restructuring to manage your states, because they are already restructured.

“If the parliamentary system of government was the best for us, we would not have the crisis we had in the First Republic that culminated into civil war and long years of military rule”. 

Aborisade, who is the state’s Vice-Chairman of ASCAB, said: “We need restructuring of philosophy of good governance for it to serve the people’s interest. We need a restructuring that will take back all privatised public enterprises and prioritise basic needs of ordinary people above ruler’s greed. 

“Politicians should not earn more than what is needed to meet incidental needs. They should earn minimum wage…” Guest speaker and National Officer of ASCAB, Jaye Gaskiya said: “I’m for fundamental social restructuring of governance. I’m not for an ethnic restructuring of Nigeria. One of the arguments of people, who are calling for restructuring is basically to create an ethnic federation. That is a recipe for disaster.  We can have a federation that is more responsible to its citizens than the one we have now. 

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“We can even have regions, but it should not be on the basis of ethnicity. It must be based on residency, so that if I live in a region, as a resident,  I should be able to enjoy good citizens’ rights”.

The state’s Chairman of ASCAB, Prof.  Omotoye  Olorode, also said restructuring along ethnic lines might not solve the nation’s problems.However, the Oyo State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Emmanuel Ogundiran, stressed the need for a negotiated Constitution, where regions would come together to form a united Nigeria.

Ogundiran said: “The government has failed us. Something is fundamentally wrong with the system. Nigeria got it wrong through military intervention…”

“The fundamental issue that led to where we are today is poverty.  If everybody has food, nobody would question the system. I’m advocating regionalism. It worked for us in the past. It will bring back development through healthy competition. The right time for restructuring may be now. Present system and the Constitution are outdated”.

Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba Summit Group, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, also stressed the need for the country’s restructuring . The event was moderated by Edmund Obilo. 

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