By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Special adviser media to the President, Femi Adesina has described the ongoing calls for restructuring of the country as another form of opposition.
Adesina spoke Friday at the change we need Nigeria initiative annual lecture with the theme “disintegration or restructuring: the way forward.
Adesina observed that people who have been in power for 16 years are now the champions of restructuring.
According to him, talks on restructuring should not be accompanied with disintegration pointing out the Nigeria can restructure without falling apart.
Recalling that Nigeria had been restructuring since independence,he stated that the administration of President Buhari is not opposed to restructuring but will not do anything that will splinter the country.
He said “The topic of today Disintegration or Restructuring: Which way Nigeria, is topical, germane, is current. But then I have my own opinion about the topic.
“When we talk of restructuring we don’t necessarily need to accompany it with disintegration. Because we can talk restructuring without falling apart.
“In the history of Nigeria there was a time where the various people and communities lived in this space that is today called Nigeria. And then the colonial masters came, formed what is called the northern protectorate, southern protectorate that was restructuring of what has subsisted. And then in 1914 precisely, the northern and southern protectorate, were amalgamated into one country, that was another restructuring. Did it come with any cyber -rattling or did it send the country into tailspin, no.
“And then we we got to a point that we had regionalism in the country, the regions were formed and we begin to grow, that was another restructuring, it happened almost altrusively and each region begin to work on its own pace.
“Eventually Independence came. Independence came we had parliamentary system at the beginning and we continue to grow.
“Today, we have a presidential system of government that is another form of restructuring from parliamentary to presidential.
“And then there was a time we had a unitary system when the then Gen. ironsi tried to formalize through the unification decree. We have a unitary system which to a large extent still subsist in the country, is a form of restructuring. Don’t forget there was a point in this country we had diayache – president Babangida was at the center and the civilian governors were in the state, another form of restructuring. Did we disintegrate? No, we didn’t.
“Nigeria has always restructured. There was a time we had 12 states, and then at a point it became 19 and then to 36 states, that is restructuring.
“Then why must restructuring then be accompanied with cyber -rattling, it is restructuring or disintegration that is what I disagree with.
“Restructuring will come, this country will be renegotiated, restructured but then we will not disintegrate.
“I begin to get suspicious at times that is this call for restructuring another form of opposition? When you found people who have been in power for 16 years now be champions of restructuring, so I begin to suspect that restructuring is becoming another form of opposition in Nigeria”
“Nigeria will eventually be restructured. This Government is not opposed to restructuring but the government is opposed to anything that will splinter the country.
“We will get to where we are going on restructuring and Nigeria remain one united indivisible entity. That is my thought. And from the first paper I have heard I know this issue will be dissected properly today and at the end we will come up with something that is pragmatic, something that is not emotive, something that is not knee jack, something that can take this issue and clamour for restructuring forward,” he stated.
On his part, spokesman of Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Yinka Odunmakin disagreed with Adesina saying given the level of agitations over the unjust nature of unitary Nigeria which we misname federalism today, it is clear that there are two options before the country – restructure or disintegration.
“As one of the leading light of restructuring calls, my choice obviously is that we must restructure and the restructuring we ask for is to restore Nigeria to a federal spirit. We must reject the 1999 constitution whose unitary sport is at the core of most of our problems.
“But if we remain obstinate and refuse to address the structures of Nigeria, we risk the fate that befell the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia; they have all disappeared from the world map. Let that not be the fate of Nigeria,” he said.