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Restructuring, main task before next president – Afenifere, others

Afenifere and Ohaneze

The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Ijaw National Congress have said whoever emerges as the next president of Nigeria must be ready to restructure the country.

They insisted that each state must be allowed to manage its resources while contributing a percentage to the Federal Government as opposed to the current system.

Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, said, “When we are talking about true federalism, it has to be federal. That’s what we had that made Chief (Obafemi) Awolowo able to do what he did. This is not a sectional matter.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Chiedozie Ogbonnia, said, “Political leaders were united in adopting the jaundiced constitution handed over by General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd.) with the hope that as democracy progressed, there would be vital amendments to the constitution, otherwise, the Nigerian constitution is the source of our national calamity.

“It should be emphasised that there is no part of the world that admits to our paradigm of unitary-federal system. This federal structure is a contradiction; just like a building sitting on a faulty foundation, it is bound to collapse. When we say restructuring, we mean release several items in the exclusive legislative list to states.”

In the same vein, the INC National Publicity Secretary, Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha, said the group would only support a presidential candidate committed to restructuring.

He adedd, “Restructuring is paramount. Although the INC is a non-partisan group, we are still concerned about what happens in politics. So, recently, we set up a political committee to engage the presidential candidates and paramount on our list is restructuring, to know which of the candidates we will support.

“Our aspect of restructuring is about true federalism where a percentage of what states get will be given to the Federal Government and it’s not the reverse where the Federal Government will allocate a portion to states.”

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General, Arewa Consultative Forum, Murtala Aliyu, says whosoever emerges should be encouraged to dissolve power to the regions.

He also said the northern part of the country was open to any bilateral discussion with other regions on the issue of restructuring.

He added, “I think people are not looking at the issues from the historical perspective. The kind of federation we have is a little different from what other countries have. In Nigeria, it was the centre that created the sub-national units, and not the other way.

“Even when they amalgamated the North and the South, it wasn’t that we wanted to be amalgamated, they forced it. It was the centre that brought it together.”

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