Why I dont support calls for Nigeria’s restructuring – Obasanjo

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NIYI ODEBODE, FIDELIS SORIWEI, ENIOLA AKINKUOTU, ADELANI ADEPEGBA and GODWIN ISENYO

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why he is opposed to those who are advocating for the restructuring of the country, Punch Sunday Reports

Obasanjo, who stated this in an interview with Channels Television, said Nigerians should rather advocate for a better management of the country’s resources.

According to him, instead of fighting for restructuring, people should be concerned about inclusiveness and the restructuring of their minds.

He stated, “I have spoken to six different people who talk about restructuring and the six of them gave me different points of view. The other day, some people came to me and what they were talking about didn’t make sense.

“So, what are we talking about? We have a country that God has endowed; the management of that endowment is what we have to work on. All hands must be on deck. Some of the people clamouring for restructuring are nostalgic about the country’s independence; that’s their restructuring and some of them are nostalgic about post-independence. Some of them are nostalgic about their tribes, and that’s their restructuring. I cannot be part of that.”

Speaking further, the ex-president said, “My own restructuring is what I have said: we have to restructure our mentality. We have to restructure our minds. We have to restructure our understanding of Nigeria. What country do we want? And if we decide on what kind of country we want, how do we get that country? We need to get every Nigerian to have the feeling that they have a stake in the country?”

A similar view was expressed by the Arewa Consultative Forum and a member of the House of Representatives during the Second Republic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed.

Mohammed told SUNDAY PUNCH that the call for the restructuring of the country was a futile agitation.

He said, “I completely agree with what he (Obasanjo) said because we have done too many restructuring and none of that has done anything to improve the quality of the country. So, I think it is perhaps time we changed tactics and engage in a paradigm shift.

“Knowingly or unknowingly, I think Obasanjo may have paraphrased Socrates who said, ‘Let us always define our terms before we get into any meaningful discussion’. So far, I have not heard any meaningful definition of restructuring and as far as I am concerned, the whole thing is just a meaningless agitation. It is going nowhere and if we insist on doing it, it will only lead us to disaster.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Biu, said what Nigeria needs is good governance at all levels.

“We have always said this and we still maintain that Nigeria doesn’t need restructuring as being clamoured by some advocates of restructuring. What we need is good leadership at all levels of governance which comes with honesty and transparency. We should also understand our core values of equity, fairness and justice as a nation,” the ACF spokesman stated.

However, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said the bone of contention is the structure of the country.

The group’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said the current structure was anti-development and responsible for Obasanjo’s inability to achieve much during his eight-year rule as a civilian president.

He said, “We are saying the present condition of Nigeria is not conducive for development or growth. Obasanjo was president of Nigeria for eight years; yet he didn’t even renovate the road that led to his farm. It is because the structure is anti-development. Meanwhile, Awolowo was premier of the Western region for seven years, and till date, we are still talking about what he achieved under the regional structure.”

He stated that Nigeria spent 90 per cent of its resources on overhead, an indication of the anti-development structure of the country.

Speaking in a similar vein, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, said Obasanjo or any other leader of the country would be wrong to ask those agitating for restructuring to first restructure their minds, asserting that the problems Nigerians face were caused by the country’s leaders.

The IYC leader added that it was the position of the Niger Delta people that the country should be restructured so that they could have control of their resources.

“Obasanjo has done his best as a leader but it is not right for him to say that we should first restructure our minds. How can you restructure your mind when the establishment is not restructured? It is because the institutions are disorganised that people have defective minds,” he said.