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Why restructuring should be Buhari’s priority

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President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO.

That President Muhammadu Buhari’ s priority is to fix Nigeria and not restructure it as reported is neither honest nor creative at this time because it is quite impossible to fix a broken economic and political system such as Nigeria’s without restructuring most of its components. No question about the inescapable fact that there are so many areas of Nigeria’s life that should be urgently restructured.

The provocative statement coming shortly after the one attributed to the Attorney General of the Federation was credited to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who said on a news interview programme that given what the administration of Muhammadu Buhari inherited, restructuring could not have been its priority.

The minister, who was the governing party’s spokesperson, noted that with the high level of corruption, economy downturn, insecurity, particularly with the activities of Boko Haram in the North-East, the government could not have contemplated restructuring.

Curiously, he noted that the focus of the government, which also formed the basis of its campaign in 2015, was to fight corruption, insecurity and fix the economy. The information minister should be told in clear terms that in Nigeria, there cannot be any measurable and appreciable progress without restructuring.

Specifically, the government cannot fight corruption, improve the economy, and deal with insecurity anywhere without restructuring the critical elements that produced all the ailments listed for fixing. And this is why the government’s first two years didn’t receive significant plaudits.

In development studies, restructuring is a permanent feature, which should not necessarily be construed as synonymous with disruption of the polity. And so any leader or manager who is scared of a re-engineering of processes is not likely to make significant progress with the lives of the people or returns on investment.

So, this administration should swallow its pride and vanity and listen to what the people are saying about restructuring.

What is even more intriguing is the fact that restructuring of the polity is a remarkable portion in the ruling party’s manifesto. Besides, the mantra of the ruling APC is “change”. Is there no correlation between change management and restructuring of the systems that triggered the change mantra with which the party won elections anymore? Once again, nation-building is not for the faint-hearted.

This administration told Nigerians it was coming to change the way things had been done; the way public finances had been mismanaged and the way development of critical infrastructure and insecurity had long been neglected, among others. And it was obvious that the administration began with the restructuring of the bureaucracy when it merged some ministries for supposed operational efficiency. Why would the same change not come to a wobbly fraudulent federal structure that has served no good?

For example, the Buhari government on October 4, 2016 inaugurated the Ken Nnamani Electoral Reform Committee, which submitted its report on May 2, 2017 to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. The committee, among others, recommended the unbundling of the federal election management agency for efficiency. If this is not an example of restructuring in the polity, what is it?

There is no question therefore that, apart from the political system, there are so many areas that urgently require reforms in the country. The areas include, education that is at the moment not capable of producing the manpower needs of the 21st century, healthcare system that is so bad that even the country’s leaders at all levels cannot patronise it and the economic system that cannot lead to the prosperity of the citizens. All these and many more require reforms to make them work. And the time to get cracking was May 29, 2015 when the government of the governing party was inaugurated. The minister of information should, henceforth, desist from blaming the last administration for the current failure to continue with the restructuring which his government campaigned to carry out. The implementation of recommendations in the report of the 2014 constitutional conference report is a good starting point, especially now that the representatives of the people, the federal legislators have asked for the report. All told, it does not help either the government or the people to say that restructuring is not a priority of government. Frankly, it should actually be its only duty.



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