By Dennis Agbo
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has ascribed the continued resistance to restructuring to fear of the unknown, especially that of survival in the absence of free oil money.
Ekweremadu, however, described this as ironical as, according to him, the same product was fast losing its value in global economy because many nations were already phasing out petrol and diesel-powered cars.
He spoke at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he delivered the Third Adada Lecture entitled “Restructuring and the Nigerian Youth”.
Speaking at the event organised by the Association of Nsukka Professors at the weekend, the Senator said: “There is a gross misunderstanding of restructuring. There is the problem of political and ethno-sectional interests and sentiments. There is the fear of abuse of a decentralised police system.
There is the fear of losing perceived advantages. Above all, there is the fear of survival under fiscal federalism. Some feel they are better off with free monies from Abuja, which could actually be pittances compared to what they could generate if they begin to access the bountiful wealth, such as solid minerals buried in their soils.
“Ironically, oil is fast going out of fashion. Many countries have found oil in large quantities, including those that used to patronise our oil. Importantly, it should worry us that many countries are already phasing out petrol and diesel engines.”
Ekweremadu gave examples of UK, Germany, Norway, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, South Korea, Ireland, Austria, and Japan, as countries with policies targeted at phasing out petrol and diesel-powered cars.
The senator then admonished youths to “have a patriotic mind of their own to fix a broken federal system. The hardship, poverty, and retrogression, which our disjointed federal system imposes on Nigerians, have no tribal or regional marks. The man from Jigawa bears the brunt of the failures of the past 50 years just like his counterparts from Enugu, Oyo, Bayelsa, and Gombe.”