Many Nigerians across ethnic, political and religious divides have canvassed for the restructuring of the country by the incumbent administration headed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Although previous administrations had ignored those calls, there are overwhelming views that it would be the right step to take to salvage Nigeria by the Tinubu administration.
When the All Progressives Congress (APC) was birthed in 2014 and during its campaign for the 2015 general election, the then presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari had promised to restructure Nigeria if he won.
But Buhari reneged on this promise all through his eight-year rule.
In 2016, in a national broadcast, he had said that the problem of the country was not the structure, but the way of doing things.
Although the party was to later raise a panel to look at the desirability or otherwise, and the nature and modalities for the restructuring, despite the recommendations submitted to the government by the then Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai who headed the panel, there was no implementation.
But with coming on board of the current administration, Nigerians say that the precarious socio-economic state of the country, occasioned by the obvious failure of governance at the centre, have necessitated the urgent need to carry out the restructuring.
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The agitations have increased in recent weeks as leaders of different ethnic nationalities have urged President Tinubu to take steps at restructuring Nigeria to a true federal state as it was in the First Republic. They strongly believe it is the way forward to save the country.
They also said that restructuring Nigeria had become inevitable under the weight of its current unworkable unitary federalism.
President Tinubu is seen as the right person to restructure Nigeria since he was a vocal voice while with the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in years of advocacy for restructuring of the country and enthronement of democracy.
The President has also been advised to practise what he preached now that the ball is in his court.
Proponents of restructuring have argued that restructuring Nigeria with the six geo-political zones as federating units would work much better because these zones each would have economies of scale.
The leaders equally warned that the problems bedevilling Nigeria would likely remain in the years to come if President Buhari refuses to urgently restructure the country to eliminate the illegality of the 1999 constitution and re-order the country along the article of faith that the founding fathers of the country had with the British before the independence in 1960.
There have howver, been equally oppositions to the idea of restructuring Nigeria, especially from leaders from the Northern part of the country, who accused the proponents of fronting such ideas to dismantle the country for their selfish interest.
But such thoughts have been waved aside by leaders in the South who argued that the North may continue to oppose restructuring given the huge allocation it derived from the current socio-political configuration of Nigeria.
Recently, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, told a world press conference made a call for some forms of restructuring, while also making constitutional and electoral reforms proposals that could move Nigeria forward.
He was speaking to dispel the rumour that he was retiring into political oblivion following the decision of the Supreme Court on the 2023 presidential election.
“I am not going away…For as long as I breathe, I will continue to struggle, with other Nigerians, to deepen our democracy and rule of law and for the kind of political and economic restructuring the country needs to reach its true potential,” he said.
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams also said: “I believe in restructuring as the best solution to the foundational problem of Nigeria, I will continue to support your administration as a Yoruba man, a brother and father of the nation, especially, a Nigerian nation that is tied to this political ideology.
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“It is the dream of our founding fathers to see Nigeria becoming a prosperous nation. A nation that is ready to fulfil its dreams and the collective aspirations of the citizens.”
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) leader maintained that Nigeria was currently going through a lot at the moment, noting that only restructuring was the way forward.
In May 2023, before his inauguration, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) had tasked Tinubu on restructuring, saying such would help the federation units develop at their pace.
The group said: “We feel assured that the new President will bring a proper orientation and give the affairs of Nigeria renewed strength in all aspects of its administration.
“The YCE is hopeful that the new President will introduce a dynamic change to the fortune of Nigeria through effective management such that the machinery will work smoothly and efficiently for the good of all Nigerians to promote the glory of God over the Country Nigeria.
“It is the hope of YCE that the incoming President will make good his word with regard to the re-introduction of or erstwhile National Anthem which we (YCE) believe portends a lot for the progress of Nigeria and all Nigerians.”
It further said: “On the issue of restructuring YCE is keen to see the President take decisive position in effecting dynamic action to restructure so that each part of the country can develop its potentials for all parts to grow at its own pace whilst all these parts will ultimately move the country forward together.”