By Chukwudi Enekwechi
The issues surrounding restructuring in Nigeria have remained topical at least since 1999, but it assumed a new level of resonance recently as the 2019 general elections approach. As expected, different pressure groups, socio-cultural associations and politicians have joined the fray. The most discernible motive for the high tempo in the resurgence of discourse about restructuring mainly centres around the ploy by some opposition politicians to take advantage of it to harangue the Buhari/Osinbajo administration as if all Nigeria’s problems will be solved with restructuring.
In their attempt to pull wool over our eyes on the topical issue and profit from it politically, they have tried to hinge the myriad of problems besetting Nigeria on restructuring, thereby insisting that the Buhari/Osinbajo administration must restructure Nigeria in their own terms and conditions.
As a responsible government, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo made an intervention on the need to focus more on rebuilding the country for the benefit of all citizens which is evident in the administration’s programmes, and equally acceding to fiscal federalism as a restructuring model.
Some politicians who ab-initio had hoped to gain mileage with the advancement of a holistic restructuring will not listen or accept the Vice President’s line of argument rather they chose to pour invectives on him.
Being a gentleman and patriot, Professor Yemi Osinbajo further adduced reasons to justify his position for fiscal federalism, rather than geographical restructuring as being canvassed by some politicians. For any discerning mind, Professor Osinbajo’s postulations on fiscal federalism as a type of restructuring is not only patriotic but realistic and workable especially if we consider the heterogeneous nature of the country. As a country with divergent ethnic, cultural, religious and political backgrounds it will be chaotic and disruptive to embark on a geographical restructuring of the country at present, yet in a bid to benefit from the clamour of the crowded streets, some opportunistic politicians are insisting otherwise.
It is, however, important to remark that any long-lasting tinkering of the Nigerian political firmament as it is presently constituted must be weaned of the shout or plaudits of the throng, because in the end the essence of government is to guarantee the security of lives and properties of the citizens as well as cater to the needs of the people. I think it is within this prism that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo tried to reason with the other schools of thought on the issue of restructuring. Unfortunately while as a statesman he is endeavouring to toe the patriotic line which will be acceptable to all the strata of society, his traducers chose to play to the gallery ostensibly for immediate political gains.
Therefore as the controversy over restructuring rages it important that Nigerians come to terms with the position of the Vice President, bearing in mind that this is one man who has never failed to stand shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians in their moments of need. There is no doubt that he has remained altruistic, devoted, committed and determined to sink and swim with Nigerians in the quest for an egalitarian society, and this is in line with the stand of President Muhammadu Buhari who has seen in him an undiluted level of patriotism and love for Nigeria, hence his decision to run again with him in the 2019 presidential election.
Nigerians must be wary of the later day restructuring converts to avoid any disappointment in the future. In the three and half years of the Buhari/Osinbajo administration it has become crystal clear that they have a clear focus of where to take the country, and using the three enablers of providing security, reviving the economy and tackling corruption Nigerians have seen the duo as partners in progress in whom they can entrust their future. As we approach the 2019 elections, we must distinguish mere rhetoric, deceitful political propaganda and realistic postulations as advanced by the Vice President of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
It is rather disappointing that some politicians in bid to gain momentarily from a prevailing situation will throw caution to the wind and condescend to the level of being impervious to reason. Lest we forget, Professor Osinbajo is not averse to restructuring as he has consistently promoted the creation of state police which is an aspect of restructuring, but he has always maintained the need for fiscal federalism which tends to devolve more powers to the sub-national governments rather than geographical restructuring.