It is high time Nigeria got restructured, says former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida on Monday as he launched an appeal to Nigerians to draw back from further campaign of hate the like of which he said led to the 30 month civil war.
Noting his own historic linkages across the various divides in the country, the former military president said that there was little discord among Nigerians of different social classes as he urged Nigerians to synergise their different potentials towards building a great nation.
Towards restructuring the country, Babangida called for the devolution of more powers from the federal level to the states even as he urged Nigerians to embrace the creation of state police. He said the fear of state governors using state police to run amok was not as strong as the greater benefit that creating state police would do for the nation. While passionately appealing to leaders of the different divides in the country to show more maturity by reining in the younger elements, the former military president observed that war is not a joke anyone should toy with.
Nigeria, my dear country, is not a stranger to crisis, nor is she immune to it. In a profound sense, she can be said to have been created out of crisis, a nation state that will continue to strive to subdue and transcend crises. In over a century of its formalized colonial architecture, Nigeria has grown and made remarkable progress in the midst of crises he said.
Starting wars or political upheavals comes with the slightest provocation, but ending them becomes inelastic, almost unending with painful footages of the wrecks of war. I have been involved and its ripples are tellingly unpalatable, with gory details of destruction and carnage. I am a Nigerian, a citizen, patriot and concerned stakeholder.
Restructuring has become a national appeal as we speak, whose time has come. I will strongly advocate for devolution of powers to the extent that more responsibilities be given to the states while the Federal Government is vested with the responsibility to oversee our foreign policy, defense, and economy. Even the idea of having Federal Roads in towns and cities has become outdated and urgently needs revisiting.
That means we need to tinker with our constitution to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen our nationality. Restructuring and devolution of powers will certainly not provide all the answers to our developmental challenges; it will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile.
The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make the union more functional based on our comparative advantages.
On a final note, I really wish we see strength, determination, commitment and confidence in our diversities rather than adversities. As a heterogeneous country with flourishing skills and numerous endowments, we should dictate the pace in Africa and lead by example of what is possible amongst a people that are focused and determined to pursue common national goal.