We must restructure Nigeria, Afenifere, Mimiko insist

Olusegun Mimiko

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Thursday, insisted that Nigeria needed restructuring to guarantee peaceful coexistence among its various constituents and also fast-track development.

The group stated that “the restructuring goes beyond increase in revenue allocation to the federating units as being canvassed by the Sokoto State governor, Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.”

Afenifere said this in a statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, just as it described the present structure in the country as iniquitous, skewed, unfair, unjust and not conducive to justice, harmony, development and happiness of the constituent units.

Tambuwal had, while receiving various professional groups, who paid him Sallah homage, in Sokoto, said the way forward for the country to get out of her current crisis was to ensure an increase in revenue allocation to the federating units.

The groups included Sokoto Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture; Association of Resident Communities and Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations.

Afenifere, while acknowledging Tambuwal’s call as being consistent with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, said that the Sokoto governor’s submission that Nigeria did not need to go beyond fiscal restructuring was “totally parochial and we outright reject it.”

“We insist that the Nigerian crisis will evade peaceful resolution with such a mindset,” Afenifere said.

“The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the latest intervention of the governor of the seat of the caliphate, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, on the Nigeria crisis and the way forward.

“While we acknowledge the Sokoto State governor’s call for increase in revenue allocation to the federating units, as being consistent with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, we are quick to add that his submission that we do not need to restructure Nigeria beyond that is totally parochial and we outright reject it.

“We insist that the present structure is iniquitous, skewed, unfair, unjust and not conducive to justice, harmony, development and happiness of the constituent units of the country.

“It is, therefore, no accident that the country is not at peace today as we witness horizontal and vertical conflicts across the space with a lot bordering on the clash of civilisations.

“This is what Chief Obafemi Awolowo predicted in 1967 in his book ‘Thoughts on Nigerian Constitution’ that any attempt to run Nigeria along unitary lines would be productive of conflicts, disharmony and complications of governance except super humans are sourced to run its affairs,” the group added.

According to Afenifere, the country is on ground zero currently with the government as confused as the governed and all the citizens on their kneels praying to avert a looming implosion, saying it was only those dwelling in mischief or the hopelessly ignorant that would not see that the terminal crisis the country found herself today flowed from her structural dysfunction.

The group contended that it would be wrong for anyone, therefore, to say “that the constituent units of Nigeria should be in their chains inside a suffocating cage with a little more meat added to the slave ration they currently enjoy.”

The group, while throwing a poser as to the availability of money to ensure an increase of ration as being suggested by Governor Tambuwal, said the Federal Government whose land was only the Federal Capital Territory and which contributed nothing to the Federation Account could no longer have overall influence on destiny of the federating units.

“Where is the money to allocate for this increase of ration being suggested coming from, if we don’t restructure and remove all constitutional impediments on the way of owners of resources to begin to harvest what is under their soil?,” it queried.

“The minimum requirement to, therefore, keep Nigeria together and have a fresh start and repurchase the confidence of its building blocks, is to bend the current constitution.

“We are, therefore, at loss as to what unity that the present order has produced that Tambuwal is telling us is ‘non-negotiable.’ Is it the farmer whose crops are being eaten up by the herdsman’s cows that are dancing at Unity Fountain? What unity is there between those being slaughtered for their beliefs and the killers? How united are those being denied of access to their God-given resources and those raping them?”

In a related development, the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has restated his firm belief in the restructuring of the country even as he submitted that he was misrepresented in a newspaper report published on Thursday over the same subject.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ondo State governor who is a notable crusader of the restructuring of the country, said his comment on the statement of his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, was limited to fiscal federalism.

According to the statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Honourable Kayode Akinmade, in Akure, on Thursday, Mimiko restated his belief in the restructuring of the country, maintaining his support for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference report as a genuine pathway to progress in the country.

He added that “it is important to follow the recommendations of the 2014 Confab,” stressing that “in the conference report, under political restructuring and forms of government, the conference agreed that federalism denotes a political arrangement in which a country is made up of component parts otherwise called federating units,” and that “in a federation, political powers are constitutionally shared between the central government and the federating units.”

While explaining further his contribution to the Tambuwal’s position, Mimiko submitted that what the country needed at this time is beyond fiscal federalism, insisting that Nigerians should join the clamour for the enthronement of true federalism.

According to him, only true federalism can encourage devolution of powers from the Federal Government to states and local councils and also guarantee effective policing.

Mimiko explained that increasing state allocations alone without total restructuring would amount to begging the question and mere surface scratching, adding that the country must be restructured in line with the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.