O NE thing the Federal Government must know is that the demand for the restructuring of Nigeria does not mean that the country will disintegrate; rather, it will give everybody a sense of belonging so that we can all have equal say in how the country is being administered.
Politically restructuring the country will also bring an end to the agitation for secession by certain sections of the country.
What we must realise is that as a multi-ethnic country, some people will not like the manner in which certain sections are dominating their political affairs, which in turn, reflects in their personal lives.
To these people, having control over their affairs is the only way that they can be politically satisfied.
The political restructuring I am talking about will pave the way for regional governments to have more control over the affairs of their people. As someone who was around when Nigeria had only four regions, I can testify that we had aggressive economic and infrastructural growth at that time. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo established the first television station in the Western region, the Eastern region also immediately set up its own.
For each economic project that the Western region implemented, other regions, not wanting to be left behind, also implemented theirs. Therefore, at that time, the Western region economy was even stronger than that of Spain.
If we had continued like that, I know we would have become a developed country by now.
Even, the people of the different regions were happy to be Nigerians because of the economic competition, which resulted in economic prosperity for the people.
Our problem started when we began to create the states, thus making the Federal Government more powerful. Most of these states cannot stand on their own, as they were only created out of ethnic sentiments.
It is then important for the Federal Government to revert to regionalism so as to prevent the disintegration of the country, and also to aid massive economic development.
It is necessary that the central government does not see political restructuring, which is being clamoured for, as an opportunity to break the country, but as a chance to further strengthen our socio-economic ties.
Apart from that, it will also help in boosting the country’s economy. At a time when the country is falling into recession, restructuring the country will bring about economic competition among the six geo-political regions, thereby strengthening our economy.
One good thing is that, apart from South South that will still rely on crude oil, other regions will have to look at agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, and even the service sector to develop.
It is, therefore, imperative for the country to restructure now.
- Dr Sanmi Olopade,
Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.