By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, has said that restructuring Nigeria is no longer debatable but a necessity that must be executed urgently, going by the mounting levels of insecurity and slow pace of development across the nation.
He made this submission on Monday evening while speaking at the public presentation and formal launch of a historic book “In Memory of Nigeria: Where the past is forgotten” in Abuja.
According to Prof. Gana, the founding fathers of Nigeria were right in adopting a federal system of government for a nation with multiplicity of ethnic and religious groups with marked diversities.
But he regretted that the hierarchical nature of the military administrations of the past usurped much of the powers and authorities of the federating units and left them weak and incapable of securing the lives and properties of the people as well as meeting their basic needs at the local communities.
He, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria can surmount its present challenges and be great again if the security architecture of the country is decentralized and true federalism as envisioned by our founding fathers is practiced.
Gana, who is the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said: “One of the reasons we must have restructuring is to give back to the federating unit the powers and authorities to be able to govern effectively in the interest of the people and provide the basic needs of education, health housing, security and other things that matter to the people on a daily basis.
“Security is local. The insecurity we suffer is because we have over centralised our security systems. Nigeria army used to be one of the best in the world going by the number and performance of our troops in peacekeeping operations we were involved. But now, the army has very serious difficulties in terms of the things they need to become efficient. It is not their fault but that of political leadership.”
In her address, co-Chairman of the ocassion and Chairman of the Board of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mrs Enyantu Ifenne, said Nigeria is currently at a crossroad.
She, however, stressed the need for the nation to have a retrospective look into history, embrace its past and chart a better way forward for the future.
The book reviewer, Prof. Sam Amadi, in highlighting the features of the book, described the writing style of the author as simplistic and easy-to-understand. He praised the author, Arc. Jackson Okpale, for conveying his thoughts and ideas through the book in a unique and well-arranged manner
On content quality, Amadi said Okpale’s messages allows the reader to confront the truth of Nigeria’s history objectively and ungarnished.
He said the author was bold and courageous in his presentation; hence, the book is a must read by all citizens, if the nation must avoid repeating its mistakes of the past.
“The same pattern of distrust and failure of leadership of the past is repeating itself even today, because we are afraid of confronting our history,” he said.
On his part, the author, Jackson Okpale said he was motivated to write the book, because at the peak of the restructuring debate when there were fears that the country would disintegrate in 2015, there were no up-to-date history books relating to Nigeria.
He also added that the scrapping of history studies from the curriculum and the need to fill the vacuum created by the government policy also fueled his passion for writing the history book.