By LAOYE ‘SESAN
The clamour and the agitations for the restructuring of Nigeria from what it is at the moment would continue to be at the centre stage of the country’s political and economic discuss because of the controversies generated in the past three years, as it was
also viewed as a way out of the present distrust among the ethnic nationalities that constitute Nigeria.
This was the stand of the Incumbent Gonbe State Governor Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo who is also in the presidential race under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement from the office of Director of communication and Strategy of his campaign organization, in Abuja.
According to him, restructuring Nigeria has become a strong issue which all the various ethnic and geo-political zones are crying for and as such, it has become a serious matter which should be urgently dealt with and not swept under the carpet, to save Nigeria from total collapse and disintegration.
Dr. Dankwambo, who is one of the young vibrant Nigerians who wants a new hope for the people, strongly believed that Nigeria if properly restructured would be greater than some of the so called developed nations in the world.
He argued that anyone, who now fails to realize that the future of Nigeria now depend on a new order that would make all ethnic groups and different nationalities to see themselves as one should be regarded as the enemy of the country.
He argued that all the leaders across the country who have been supporting restructuring meant well and do not want what would adversely affect the future of Nigeria, saying that the clamour for restructuring, was overwhelming not because of any other thing but for the simple fact that many Nigerians believe the Nigerian project is now at crossroads.
He said the notion all over is that the symbol of Nigeria has broken and that, to some extent, the young generations of Nigerians have started questioning the capacity and objectivity of the Nigerian state as well as wondering where their leaders are leading them to, as many of them have lost faith in the Nigerian nation because the country rather than being reckoned with globally is diminishing and fading away while her greatness leaves much to be desired.
Dr. Dankwambo posited that in spite of the abundant economic, human resources and potentials to be great, Nigeria has not been in the right position in the comity of nations. This was as a result of the belief by most Nigerians that the country Nigeria, in her present structure and the way it is being governed is not sustainable.
Going down memory lane, the Presidential aspirant said that the country’s political founding fathers, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sadauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mallam Aminu Kano, Sir Tafawa Balewa and other nationalists negotiated and bequeathed Nigeria with truly federal constitutions which majorly centred on the basic principles of federalism, such as autonomy of federating regions, Fiscal federalism, devolution of powers, citizenship and indigeneship rights which are all entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.
He pointed out that unfortunately, these basic principles which guaranteed autonomy for each federating units were eroded by the Military that brought unitary system of government. But Dr. Dankwambo believed that if there was no Military intervention, which gave room for the Civil war and the destruction of the level of growth and development planted by the visionary, leaders we had then, Nigeria would have by now been one of the greatest power brokers in the world.
He pointed out that with the rate that the cry for maginalisation is going on in Nigeria from different ethnic nationalities, ”it is an indication that they have all realized and reached a consensus that right now truly federal structure would be the best and durable for Nigeria’’
The presidential hopeful declared that he was joining the array of leaders, youths and patriotic Nigerians on the mission to restructure Nigeria in a manner that would guarantee, justice, fairness, equity, freedom, liberty and ability to develop and utilize the resources at our disposal.
He further believes that apart from this, the present system if not amended may pose serious danger for Nigeria and may not endure or survive much longer if the agitations of maginalisation continue, unabated, a situation which could make Nigeria more an unstable country.
Dr. Dankwambo was of the view that Nigeria should be restructured in a way that would continue to safeguard the unity and coexistence of the people who have taken themselves as one entity. He argued that though the old system that the country was restructured into three Regions could no longer be adopted, he believed that the country the way it is now, could be restructured in line with the Six geo-political zones
which has become the acceptable way of sharing positions and political offices .
According to him, Nigeria should be a federation of six regions with the federal capital standing on its own while the federal government is expected to limit its functions to the items on the exclusive legislative list. He was also of the opinion that the six zones should be the existing federating units which should as well have states under them.
To effectively operate the system under the new order of restructuring, Dr. Dankwambo suggested that all the zones or regions as the country may want it should have their separate constitutions which would be clearly stated in the concurrent legislative lists that would define how the zones and their states would be operated.
The presidential aspirant believed that the restructuring should be done amicably by amending the constitution, saying that what restructuring would bring, would be enormous and should be operated in a manner that would not bring rancour or conflict of interests among the zones, as the zones to him should be in position to enable them have residual powers to create their states, control their resources and as well create local governments that would be under their states.
He believed that if Nigeria is restructured, the sharing formula of the nation’s revenue would be altered both in terms of the taxes collected and the revenue accruing from the mineral resources in the zones or Regions as it may be.
He said that there are so many advantages to be derived from the restructuring of the country because it would give everybody a level playing ground to operate. He further argued that it would bring political stability and encourage proper infrastructural development across the country as we had in the first republic when the regions were autonomous.
Dr. Dankwambo debunked the notions and feelings that if the country is restructured some zones would have more advantage than the others as a result of the mineral resources in their respective domain. To him, there is no part of the country that does not have its advantage and mineral resources to be controlled for development.
He cited the example of the first republic when all the regions controlled their natural resources for development which even brought competitions among them. The west he said had cocoa, the Nort h Groundnut and the east robber. Apart from all these, they all had other natural resources which brought huge revenue for them.
Even, some of the mineral resources which now opened to us were not available in their time and right now, in the country, there is no state or Zones where we don’t have abundant and sustainable mineral resources.
He believed that restructuring and control of resources in the zones would help reduce greed and corruption as resources would not be centralize to give room for the kind of pilfering of the nation’s wealth by the privileged Nigerians who are only fortunate to be in power and at the control of ”our wealth”.
He said that with the new order, resources in the zones would be properly controlled and it would be very easy to discover corruption and corrupt personnel, pointing out that there would be proper rule of law with the system of government operated in the zones because everybody would be on guard to protect the interests of where they come from through close monitoring.
Dr. Dankwambo said that it was sad that the present All Progressives Government (APC) at the federal level failed to look into the report of the last National conference engineered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led federal government.
According to him, the report which was adjudged to be the best put together by eminent Nigerians that cut across all sectors could have been useful for the government and may be it could have helped in reshaping the country which is now full of agitations from different ethnic groups crying of maginalisation.
He said that former President Goodluck Jonathan was emphatic about the Confab report and made it clear to the APC government that it was even more importance to him than the handing over note because it was a document which should not be ignored or swept under the carpet. Unfortunately, for Nigeria, the Present Government failed to see reasons in what the PDP government put together which more or less bother on restructuring of the country.