Oshiomhole, Sagay, Ezeife Oppose Restructuring Nigeria
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and a former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife on Friday, disagree with the restructuring of Nigeria.
They spoke in Benin City at the 20th Professor Wole Soyinka Annual Lecture series organised by the National Association of Seadogs.
Oshiomhole, who delivered the keynote address said those canvassing for restructuring were diverting Nigerians attention from the real issues of governance and leadership.
Oshiomhole who noted that it was not the right time to discuss on whether Nigeria should remain as one said what was viable was to do things differently as a nation to make the country great and Nigerians benefit from its huge resources.
The former Edo governor stated that many of the country elites advocating restructuring were the same persons that pushed for creation of states since the days of the military.
He said those pushing for the implementation of the National Confab report were doing so because part of its recommendation was that 18 additional states should be created.
Oshiomhole who insisted that President Mohammadu Buhari is fighting corruption the right way said what should engaged Nigerians should be how to make the Nigeria project a reality.
He noted the many states that received the 13 per cent oil derivation deviated from using the purpose of the fund to procure aircrafts, built state of the art government house without building state of the art hospitals, health centres and schools.
His words, “There is no one part that is doing the rest of the country a favour more than the other parts.
“These same people were there at the beginning. Some of the people talking now were those that said the regions were not balance and states should be created to bring government closer to the people.
“They said the center was too weak. Today, they turn around to say the states are not viable and the center is too powerful. We should be talking about how to apply our natural wealth to benefit Nigerians.
“What we need to restructure are our values, the attitude to governance, issue of corruption. There are structural problem because there are two main tribes in Nigeria, the tribe of the very rich and the tribe of the very poor.
“We should be talking about how to apply our national wealth in a way it will bring about equality in wealth distribution. We need to restructure our attitude, character and value system in a way it gives opportunity to all Nigerians.”
On his part, Prof. Itsey Sagay called for the scrapping of the federation account to make states viable.”
He stated that restructuring the country meant return to true federalism and autonomy of the federating units.
Prof. Sagay said it was an insult to federalism for states to be paid allocations as currently being experienced in Nigeria.
Sagay insisted that Nigeria would never develop if it remains as a civil servant waiting for monthly salary.
He stated the only way out was to have a national conference on ways to have devolution of power.
Prof. Sagay however lambasted the Organised Labour, Federal Lawmakers, and the northern elites for opposing true federalism and autonomy of the federating units.
He said organised labour want wages to be determined by the Federal Government instead of states.
“The northern elites are so used or proceeds of oil that they abandoned the thugs that make them Great as a region. It it better for them to accept federalism and autonomy because it will be better for them.
“The North will be the greatest beneficiary of autonomy. They have a great means of revenue which they are ignoring. They should convince cattle rearers to build ranches instead of whipping cattle to the south.
“Federal legislators reasons are selfish. If you have true federalism, that free allowances will not be available for them.”
“Any act of misgovernance in Abuja reverberate across the country. The current unitary system suffocating and states are struggling to grow and dependent on the Federal Government feeding bottle. It is imperative we return to the 1963 modified to suit our present challenges if we are to coexist in a crisis free Nigeria.”
Chief Ezeife however said Nigeria faced extinction if there was no restructuring.
Ezeife noted that only restructuring would free Nigeria from the plot by the British government to keep the country underdeveloped.
He urged the Acting President, Yomi Osibanjo to before 2018 convoke a conference that would discuss the country.
“Every honest Nigerian knows we are at the brink of extinction. Nigeria will cease to exist if we do not restructure. It is a joke for people to think we should not restructure.
“Northerners will lose most from the disintegration of Nigeria. We need to go back to the agreed Nigeria. Make the six zones federating units. Allow states in the zones to develop their own constitution.
“Osibanjo should make sure the issue of restructuring is complete by the middle of 2018. Make sure the zones control their security.