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Amucheazi: Restructuring will reduce problems of internal security

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
08 May 2016   |   2:03 am
Former Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, has stated that following recent attacks, killings, kidnappings, among others ...


Former Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, has stated that following recent attacks, killings, kidnappings, among others, have brought to the fore, the need for restructuring of the country along six or seven geo-political zones.

He stated that the development has raised consciousness to the point that citizens are beginning to ask questions about governance, stressing that Nigeria would continue to boil with the system of government in place that has not allowed fairness and equity among the various ethnic groups.

In an interview with The Guardian, the professor of political sciences noted that incessant killings and agitations were fuelled by imbalanced structure, stressing that restructuring Is the way to go for the country’s continued survival.

He said: “What we are seeing now would have been taken care of since, if we agreed to restructure the country. We have noted President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement since the recent killings and we hope and believe that his directive to security agencies to deal with these marauders would be obeyed. I’m sure you understand the feelings of the people; the level of consciousness triggered off by the various killings and agitations; honestly, the country was on the brink; anyone who doesn’t know that is not sincere to himself. The person does not understand what is going on. There was almost a revolt in the South South, Southeast, Middle Belt, Northeast and that is why I found it interesting statement made by some northern governors and Senators that there will be no country. The era of threat and brinksmanship is over. It is not somebody sitting up there and saying things he cannot defend. From 1966 to 2016 is 50 years, and there is a lot of difference. The people, who fought the other war, are in a better position to recount how it started. But like I said, times have changed and we all want the country to be together, but not on their terms again. I pray and hope that the President’s directive works, otherwise, I see people taking laws into their hands as a way of protecting themselves.

“Like I said, the solution is quiet simple for this country and that is by way of restructuring into six or seven geo political regions. When you have a balanced federation, all these issues of state police, kidnapping, insecurity would be taken care of. America is stable, because they have been able to give the regions that make up the place equal sense of belonging. When you restructure the country, all these questions would be addressed. We don’t have a federation, but we have a unitary government that decides what goes on and that is why I will continue to say that the British, which handed over this country to us, did not complete their job. They left a very weak structure that is being managed by people who lack leadership qualities, by compradors. That is why Chief Femi Olukayode is saying that we should not thread the part of Burundi. There is no way you can expect peace. Look at what is happening in all these African countries created by the British and French. Unless you have a federation, there will be instability. The West want instability so that they can sell arms and then come back to rebuild. That is why I keep saying that it is lamentable that, up till today, we don’t have leaders, who can take us out of this logjam. Maitama Sule was angry the other day when he was saying we don’t want rulers, but leaders. So much has been bastardised and I think it is proper we restructure the country.”

He continued: “There are so many things that need to be corrected in this country, which are apparently allowed by the constitution. For instance, I hear people talk about grazing reserve. How do you talk about grazing reserve for persons who have taken cattle rearing as a trade? Is that not supposed to be a private enterprise? I hear the minister talk about importing grass and I dare ask for what purpose? What about farmers are you still going to buy land for them, are you going to provide yam seeds to them? Cattle’s rearing is a private enterprise and should not serve as government business. I believe that Buhari has come to serve and he would not want this country to be divided or blow up during his days. So, he needs to unravel the mystery behind the level of arms being carried about by the Fulani herdsmen. Ndigbo survived the 30 months civil war and if that was possible then, I don’t see them given up this time.”

On how the country degenerated to this point of sitting on the keg of gunpowder, Amucheazi noted: “The country has been taken over since the end of the civil war by the hawks who championed in leadership. The country functioned effectively until the military took over and what they left behind has magnified in civilian politicians. Now, there are agitations, because many ethnic groups in the country want to be given the sense of belonging. They have watched for several years without hope. The logic of the situation is that we need a federation. Those who created states from 12 to 19 and 27 and now 36 knew why. It was the same search for unity but we have seen that the solution failed. It failed because they did not put equality at the forefront, they did not think about the welfare of others. Today these states hardly pay salaries and meet up the needs of their people. So the military deliberately distorted the federal structure and created what we have now.

“Given a federal structure, there are laws and constitutions. What we have now as politicians are compradors and businessmen, they are ignorant of statecraft. People are coming up and can no longer fold their arms and watch things. It is the present constitution that enables these governors amass such powers and call themselves ‘executive’ governors. We say we want to restructure and that is strengthening the constitution. Before now, when the constitution was effective, there was development, you could not hear about corruption because the structure was intact. Structure has its own effect on behaviour. People talk about structure and behaviour. Why we have constitution is to check absolutism, look at people jumping from one party to another. That tells you that there are no rules and that somebody has come to power without an ideology. The truth is that every person wants to get involved in the way he is governed and I know that the only way to avoid people asking too many questions is to restructure so that they will have a sense of belonging,” he said.

To President Buhari, he said: “ I thought that as soon as he came in, that he wanted to change the image he created before as a dictator. I thought he would like to write his name in the book of history as the person who created stable Nigeria by implementing this restructuring. The way things are, it has become almost inevitable that there should be a federation. Let him draw up a constitution to start the process. Let’s have six or seven region with a weak centre so that they can contribute to the centre. These constituent units will have their own constitution. The way we operate now, no governor has the right to control the police force but with restructuring, they easily take control of their activities. Others are killing Nigerians daily, due to frustration and weak structures. After fifty years, we need to tell ourselves the truth that we have tried a methodology that has not really worked and change to another.”