Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday raised hope on the ongoing debate over restructuring, with a pledge that government would harvest the various views and act on them to move the country forward.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the official presentation of a book, ‘Nigeria: The restructuring controversy,’ written by Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr. Mike Okiro, in Abuja, said government was observing and taking note of the debates.
“We can assure you that all of the contributions being made across the country, whether from the north, from the south, east or west; the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is taking note of all the contributions you are making, and very soon, we are going to come out with policies that would take care of some of the issues that are germane in this debate about restructuring,” Osinbanjo, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said.
In recent time, restructuring debate has received a groundswell of support from eminent Nigerians including Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Ayo Adebanjo, Olu Falae and Ike Ekweremadu.
The acting president who identified lack of inclusiveness as Nigeria’s major problem, said the right thing was being done through the debates.
He insisted that the nation could not afford to go back to issues that were resolved during the civil war.
“Many have died in the course of fighting for one Nigeria. Therefore, we cannot afford to go back to issues that were resolved during the Nigerian civil war. What we can do is what we are doing, as we have gathered here today: writing books, debating and arguing among ourselves, and in the process of debate, we would find solutions to our problems.”
Citing the break up of Sudan and the Soviet Union, Osinbajo noted that no country had been able to resolve the nationality question, stressing that the government was working to achieve equity, justice and fairness.
He warned against taking up arms, as Afghanistan had been fighting a war for over 40 years without resolution.
“We want everyone to continue with this debate across the country, in boardrooms and conferences. This is what we need and not war. We are going to observe and take note of all your opinions, and be rest assured that we are hearing you loud and clear and that something will be done accordingly to make this country respectable and peaceful,” Osinbajo declared.
However, to move the nation forward, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, said the report of the 2014 national conference could not be consigned to the trash bin.
According to him, the future of Nigeria lies in the implementation of the reports of the conference, convened by former president Goodluck Jonathan.
Falae who spoke on the topic: Restructuring Nigeria: Options and strategies,” at a meeting of the Conscience of Yoruba Race, held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan, said the present government might not be positively predisposed to negotiating the unity of Nigeria, but the currency the debate about restructuring has made it critical for it to be discussed if Nigeria is to have a future.
“What we have come to discuss is a big subject in Nigeria. Not long ago, the new president, my friend, said it was a non-issue and that the report of the national confab had not been read.
“But that subject has become topical, and like I said in my recent interview, the restructuring of Nigeria via the report of the national conference is the future of Nigeria, if Nigeria has a future.
“The options for restructuring are many. We went to Abuja for a regional agenda, but on getting there the Middle Belters were scared of it. But I am happy that in recent times, they are at the forefront of what the region shall be. I asked my friend, Jerry Gana what had happened; he said they had had a change of mind. Change must come but not the partisan change that has no meaning. Massive devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources must take place from the centre to the federating units.
“I want to add that the devolution will not stop at the old regional capitals of power. It must continue to the states created in the regions and the local government, which is where our people reside.”
The administrator of the Conscience of the Yoruba Race, Akogun Omololu, who said the group started as a social media group for the mobilisation, argued that it smacked of injustice for the government to insist that the unity of the country could not be negotiated, adding that the colonial rulers even allowed the negotiation of terms of governance.