Matter of urgency: Security or restructuring?

Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Top on the list of the numerous challenges in the polity today is the clamour for the restructuring of the country and the insecurity experienced in all regions of the country.

Over the years, there have been agitations from the Southern part of the country for restructuring and some voices have been added to this call from the North, making it a national issue and a matter of urgency. This has given birth to demand for the Biafra Republic and the Yoruba Nation.

Events in the past have forced Nigerians from some quarters to opine that as a way to contain adverse effects on our efforts towards nation-building, national integration and national development, Nigeria’s politics needs to be restructured and institutionalized.

The clamour for restructuring can be traced to the feeling of inequality and inaccessibility to national wealth. This has been traced to the lack of true federalism in the current federal system

It is a generally accepted fact that leaders who are unable to ensure justice at all times and to citizens regardless of their ethnicity, region, creed or ‘state of origin’ will have to restructure or face anarchy as history teaches us that those denied justice have no interest in peace.

Going forward, restructuring gives room for a transparent and true federal system as the United State and a system that make room for citizenship instead of ethnicity. Federalism, in essence, will make room for effective resource control, structural dispersion of power among many centres, whose legitimate authority is constitutionally guaranteed.

This helps to promote unity and progress and “coordinate supremacy of the levels of government with regards to their respective functions”. It is also necessary because of the destabilization that the current conditions have bred.

It has, however, been observed that the quest for restructuring cuts across devolution of power, state police, fiscal federalism, creation of additional states, local government autonomy, amongst others.

The question of when to restructure Nigeria as demanded cannot be answered by this piece but it has been established that the real test of leadership is to create a real spirit of nationhood, and the willingness of every stakeholder to build a united, stable and cohesive nation – hence the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has the political will to respond to the calls from Nigerians.

While Southern governors have asked President Buhari to call for a national dialogue for the restructuring of the country, clergymen, including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, made the same call.

“Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria? Let me explain. We all know that we must restructure. It is either we restructure or we break, you don’t have to be a prophet to know that one. That is certain – restructure or we break up.

“Now, we don’t want to break up, God forbid. In restructuring, why don’t we have a Nigerian kind of democracy? At the federal level, why don’t we have a President and a Prime Minister?” he said earlier in October 2020.

On the other hand, the issue of insecurity is a national crisis that cannot be overemphasized as it affects all regions, class, religion, and ethnicity.

Kidnapping and killings have become the order of the day in both the South and North, in a manner that makes it look uncontrollable and unending. It affects all Nigerians, including the rich and political class.

Both Chambers of the National Assembly have, at different point in time, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency on Security of the country as a result of the killings and kidnappings by bandits which adds to the existing insurgency in the North-East.

The pattern of insecurity has been regionalized: militia groups in the south, insurgency in the north, kidnapping in the east and south, ritual killings in the east and west, political and non-political calculated assassinations across the nation.

Hardly will you read the news without reports of abduction and killings in all parts of the country, despite claims by the Federal Government that it has done well in the aspect of securing the country.

The Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, unwittingly admitted security issues when he claimed that President Buhari cannot be judged by the current security challenges.

However, in the first half of 2020, more than 1,100 people were killed in the rural areas across several states of northern Nigeria, according to Amnesty International while almost double-figure was recorded in the second half.

“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed at least 1,126 people in the north of the country since January,” the London-rights group said in a new report on Monday, giving a figure until the end of June.

In Kaduna State alone, a total of 323 people were killed by bandits between January and March 2021, the government said. There have also been killings in the South-East and South-West since the start of the year.

Nevertheless, political analysts have argued that the call for restructuring has been heightened by the activities of criminals in the Southern part of the country, which makes tackling insecurity a priority.

However, the level of damage so far also makes the restructuring a matter of urgency so as to save the country, as they can both be tackled at the same time


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