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Restructuring will only create power centres, increase corruption, says don

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A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ibadan (UI), Bayo Okunade, has said that restructuring will not solve Nigeria’s problems.

Okunade, who stated this during the fifth yearly Professor Bayo Okunade Inter-varsity Debate titled: “The Hegemonic Agenda: A Myth or Reality?” which took place at Distance Leaning Centre, University of Ibadan, maintained that unless some fundamental issues are addressed, the problems would persist with or without restructuring.

The former Head of Department of Political Science of the premier university said restructuring would only create more power centres and increase corruption in the country. He said that major stakeholders who are beneficiaries of the current system would not even want restructuring.

According to the immediate-past Director of Distance Learning Centre (DLC) of the university, “Restructuring is a function of our desperation and frustration at finding solutions to Nigerian problems.“Restructuring is based on some faulty assumption models. Out of restructuring, apart from the fact that it has basic elements, it has different models depending on who is using the word. The assumption is that Nigeria worked better in the First Republic because of the fact that there were regional governments. And despite the fact that there has been creation of states, 36 states apart from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, things seem not to be working.

“But let me say generally that any system that is not totally off the mark can work. It takes people for a system to work. For a system to work, there has to be consistency with the construed norms and supportive ethos that will make it work. If we change the system, even the restructuring or whatever, how much of what on ground are we substantially complying with? And then we change to another system. They are the same thing. It was like when we said HSC was not working and we changed to the current system.

“Most importantly is the fact that restructuring cannot be solutions to our problems because the problem of Nigeria will still be there with or without restructuring. What is in people’s minds and what some people mean by restructuring is regionalism; people to be in their geo-political zone. But my position is that if we have those things that do not want the current system to work, especially the nature of the political class corruption, all these tendencies like nepotism and others, they will contaminate the new system we are talking about.

“The issue of restructuring is more difficult than creating states. Let’s look at the states created in the 70s, how developed are those states? Where are the promises of the creation of more states? State creation was simpler than doing restructuring, which is more complex. You now bring hitherto separate entities together. What is the probability that there will be cohesion?

“What says that you can now revive the old Western Region at this age and time. What says the politicians are even ready to work together? There are serious stakeholders on the present system that won’t want to let go. What happens to the federal bureaucracy? The Presidency happens to be the most established bureaucracy in Nigeria. All these theories will affect everything.”


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Bayo Okunade
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