Tinubu votes restructuring, return to 1963 constitution
Frets That Calls For Secession Are Getting Stronger
National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has thrown his weight behind calls for restructuring, stressing that the country needs to imbibe the culture of dialogue in tackling differences.
He advocated a return to the regional system exemplified in the 1963 constitution, stressing, “when we unite and not untie, we build on an existing maxim of one Nigeria by describing that oneness as the fabric of a larger society S.E.W.N (South East West North) together.”
Tinubu regretted that: “We exist in an era where progressive reform and compassion in governance are not oft spoke; it is a dark period the world has entered, where the lesson is the powerful do as they will and the weak suffer as they must.”
The former Lagos governor made the summations yesterday, while delivering the keynote address at the 2017 Annual Dinner of King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA), at King’s College, Lagos.
He declared that Nigeria needs to sit down at a table to discuss and proffer answers to issues that dog its progress, stressing: “We argue over matters that long ago should have been settled. The longer such fundamental questions fester, the more extreme become the proposed answers.”
On the separatist agitations from some groups, the former Lagos State governor noted that, “it would be wrong to mistake this for a tempest in a teapot; if not careful, we may be tossed about like a teapot in a tempest.”
He added: “We must listen to what is being said so that we can determine what is really meant. I am a firm believer in Nigeria. I believe this land will become a great nation and a leader among other African nations. We can resolve our dysfunctions in a manner that will make this nation rise as a standard of decency, justice and prosperity for all Nigerians.”
While urging for caution in response to the separatist agitations, Tinubu regretted that the cry for separation has gained traction among average people, which according to him “is due to the chronic failure of government to meet basic aspirations.”
His words: “If over the years government had delivered on the promise of growth, prosperity and justice, all those calling for such extreme remedies would be but a small fringe of little consequence.
“It is a rather curious lapse that a nation with such diversity as ours has not taken time to give our legal marriage its proper functional underpinning. In other words, we all lined up to call ourselves Nigerians without gathering to discuss what it meant. Thus, we inhabit a nation that has not defined its governance.
“We may be defined by political borders and boundaries, but we have not glued ourselves to collective purpose and vision. Too many of us are born in Nigeria, but not of it. Thus, we have people clamouring for secession in one part of the country and the murmur of such a course grows stronger in other sections.
“These other areas resent that some have advocated secession. Blame and recrimination become the political currency. Statesmanship falls in short supply. The dominant urge is to confront instead of reconcile. In too many ways we resemble a wrestling match instead of the nation we were meant to become.”
Restating his call for true federalism, the APC chieftain noted that; “we must articulate our objectives; that which we cannot think clearly, will not be attained despite the magnitude of our exertions and expenditure to achieve it.”
“I oppose talk of break up and all other exotic political arrangements tantamount to it. That I am a foe of disunity does not mean I have blinded myself to the truth that our nation is in need of great repair.”
He blamed the lopsided nature of the federal structure on Nigeria’s particular history and its military legacy, remarking that the quality of our federalism and the quality of our democracy are intertwined; “the more we repair federalism, is the more we improve democracy.”
Laying the pillars for restructuring, Tinubu stated: “Constitutionally, we are a federation of 36 states. However, the vestiges of past military rule continue to haunt the democratic road we hue. We function like a unitary state in many ways.
“We cannot become a better Nigeria with an undue concentration of power at the federal level. It would be better to restructure things to attain the correct balance between our collective purpose on one hand and our separate grassroots realities on the other.
“Many of the 68 items on the exclusive federal list should be transferred to the residual list. This would be in harmony with the 1963 constitution, again an instance of reaching back to revive something old, yet more likely to give us a better Nigeria. That prior constitution granted powers to the regions, enabling them to carry out their immense responsibilities as they saw fit.
We must return to this ideal.”
Perhaps in allusion to claims that his APC lacks ideological framework, Tinubu declared: “There is no such thing as having no ideology. Every political and economic institution is founded on one thought system or another.
Noting that not all change is good, the keynote speaker said; “our very actions are determined by what we value so as to keep and what we are willing to discard when the ship of state is tossed either by storm or errant navigation.”
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