Nigeria needs the col laborative and selfless efforts of the political elites as well as constitutional amendments to build a better Nigeria for all.
Former United Nations Under-Secretary and Nigeria’s permanent representative to the UN, Professor Ibrahim Gambari expressed these views as guest lecturer of the maiden University’s Public Affairs Forum held at Babcock University Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.
The Babcock Public Affairs Forum, an initiative of the School of Veronica Adeleke School of Social Science, was created as a veritable vehicle for addressing pressing national issues.
His paper, Federalism and the Future of Nigeria: the Challenge of Restructuring, called for a paradigm shift on restructuring and a revisiting of the 2014 constitutional conference to allay fears on restructuring and move Nigeria forward.
He said had the consensus reached at the 2014 constitutional conference been implemented rather than thrashed, we would not be talking about restructuring today.
According to him, since restructuring, nation building, and federalism were hinged on the same principles, Nigeria needed to embrace restructuring as a necessity, not an option for survival.
“You cannot build a nation with increasing inequality,” he said. “Our constitution should continue to be amended until we get a perfect model.”
He said as a matter of urgency, Nigeria needed to create safety nets to take care of the underprivileged and the handicapped.
Citing the restructure of Nigeria from three regions to four before states’ creation, he said agitations for change were inevitable.
Professor Gambari also called on universities to be part of the national conversation and be in the forefront of brainstorming on solutions to national and global challenges.
He commended Babcock University for its role in adding value to higher national education.
On his part, independent consultant and Professor of Political Science and special guest of honour Professor Adele Jinadu said Nigerian intellectuals had a duty to become the voice of the people.
He frowned at the idea of Lawyers muddying the waters with confrontational views on federalism rather than using happenings between local and state governments and state and federal governments as grounds for re-evaluating their positions.
He advocated power sharing between the local and state governments on one hand, and states and federal government on the other for building a stronger Nigeria.
The Director of the Nigeria Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, Professor Femi Ajayi who chaired the event, cited weak governance and absence of credible leadership as factors responsible for Nigeria’s inability to maximize its great potentials.