Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), has restated his position on the future of Nigeria, noting that restructuring remained the only pathway to a sustainable future and not another election.
Uko, who is the secretary of the Eastern Conservative Assembly (ECA), lamented that Nigeria is bleeding but instead of finding real solutions, politicians have preoccupied themselves with another election in 2023, warning that the solution doesn’t lie in another election.
The Enugu based activist noted that since the NADECO days when the late Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu sold the idea of restructuring to Emeka Ojukwu, and since the late former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, proposed a six regional structure to Sani Abacha, there have been no superior suggestion on the way forward for Nigeria.
“Since 1996, during the NADECO era, when Admiral Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu on one hand, sold the restructuring agenda to us, and the duo of Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu and Dr Alex Ekwueme on the other hand, presented the six regional structure and devolution of powers to the General Abacha constitutional conference, I am yet to see a superior argument for the salvation and rebuilding of Nigeria, save returning to true federalism and devolution of powers and resource control,” Uko said in a statement titled ‘unappealing but imperative truth,’ issued on Thursday.
According to him, “Any other route sounds more expensive, unhealthy and unhelpful. This electioneering season our brethren will find any talk on restructuring Nigeria, offensive and unappealing.
“Yet it remains the only pathway to a new greater, better, united Nigeria. From now till early next year, our country men and women will remain committed to ascendance to power via the 2023 General elections.
“They will care less about the political, social and economic health of the country. They want power and the fame, authority, wealth and the good life that comes with political office.”
The activist warned that those who insist that the 1999 constitution is cast in iron, don’t mean well for the country, even as he noted that piecemeal amendments to the constitution is a waste of time.
“They think advocates of restructuring are trouble makers. Some of our brethren insist the 1999 constitution is cast in iron. They say only piecemeal amendment of same will transform the country,” he said.
“They see reconstructing the polity as an unpredictable excersise that could lead to unexpected consequences. They prefer to continue managing the 1999 constitution and only allow certain “safe” amendments that won’t rock the boat.”
Uko regretted that, “the land is bleeding. The unitary structure bequeathed us by the military isn’t working. The situation continues to deteriorate,” noting that “Elections alone won’t solve this. Massive unemployment, inflation, insecurity and agitations eat up the land.”
According to him, “From 66 million people in the 1970s to over 200 million folks today, from the command and control military era to a very rickety democracy with very weak institutions, ethnic and religious differences that encourages dichotomy and exclusion, the ever-growing population makes it difficult to run the country solely on crude oil royalties. Without diversifying the economy, the country crashes.
“Fossil fuel will soon be out of fashion with very little demand for it. The 36 states can longer survive on monthly allocation from oil proceeds. The hegemonic control of an all powerful central Government carrying the 36 states, is no longer viable.
“The frenzy and euphoria of the electioneering season has blinded us to the undeniable fact that only an early restructuring of the polity along the lines of true federalism and devolution of powers, can heal Nigeria.
“It is not true that some popular or powerful politician can make Nigeria great under this unitary 1999 constitution. It is also untrue that any political party can transform Nigeria under this suffocating 1999 constitution.
“The truth rather, is that the restructuring of the country remains the most important, urgent and needed thing today in Nigeria. Our problems as a country, stem from structural defects.
“If the 2023 election will be manipulated, that would be because the 1999 constitution and the current prevailing unitary structure makes it possible for the manipulators to succeed.
“I hereby put expected and prospective wailers on notice, that when they begin to wail, to cry, to complain and lament how the electoral process was abused and perverted to aid a certain candidate or party, be it known unto them that such evil happen only because of the unkind unitary structure that is killing the country.
“Those who are blinded by the quest for political power and high office should do well to realise that unless we courageously face reality and revert to true federalism and devolution of powers, our dear country will continue to drift.
“Elections come and go. Actors also come and go. The real issues plaguing Nigeria continues to hold her down, regrettably.
“The truth of the matter is that the litany of troubles afflicting the land stem from the foundational errors.
“The feeding bottle system that encourages sleaze and indolence. The central control that inspires mediocrity, marginalisation and discontent.
“The disaffection that grow agitation and the loss of faith that encourages bitterness and anger. Elections alone cannot heal the land. Addressing the structural disease will rejuvenate the land, restore unity and patriotism, rekindling hope and love for fatherland.
“This inalienable truth maybe unappealing especially at this time of politicking and election, but it remains imperative truth and the only pathway to peace, harmony and progress.
“Without restructuring Nigeria, we will continue to swim backwards. Since 1995/1996, the campaign to restructure Nigeria has remained germane till date.
“A restructured Nigeria will be home for all, progressive and promising. There’s no better pathway.
“Meanwhile, I wish our politicos and their “customers” happy elections.”