*El-Rufai: Nigeria won’t break
By Ibrahim Wuyo
President Muhammadu Buhari virtually foreclosed the restructuring of Nigeria, Saturday, when he said there was nothing to restructure.
“And again those who are discussing restructuring, my question is, what are you going to restructure? If you ask many Nigerians what they are going to restructure, you will find out that they have nothing to talk about.
“Some of them have not even studied the 1999 Constitution. The 1999 Constitution is almost 70 to 80 per cent 1979 Constitution,” Buhari said during the launch of Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari, Zaria Peace Foundation which took place at Ahmadu Bello University Hotels, Zaria.
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), comprising Afenifere, Ohanaze Ndigbo and Middle Belt Forum, have been at the forefront of the campaign for the restructuring of the country.
In a communique issued at a meeting they had, last week, they restated their demand for Nigeria’s restructuring.
They opposed the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), demanding a brand new Constitution produced by the people themselves.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, at the Zaria event, the President explained that for peace to reign in any society, people must be involved actively.
“It is okay to demand for restructuring, renewal of Constitution, but what is most important now is how can Nigeria state make local government functional, how can Nigeria states make judiciary independent?
“Rather, we ask Nigerians to focus on putting pressure on National Assembly members to make sure that that autonomy as enshrined in our Constitution is respected and implemented,” he said.
“So if that were to be done, some of these issues like insecurity, you will find a situation where local government chairmen, in collaboration with traditional rulers, will form a chain of communication to figure out what is really happening.
“So these are the things I expect those calling for agitation to do. “And I said also that majority of those calling for restructuring are people that are so afraid to go into partisan politics. And even if they were to go into partisan politics they will not win.
“There is no government in the world that will cede their authority to the people that are not elected. You are telling us to resolve a system and call for an obscure conference to come and discuss how we can move forward as a nation, that can never be done and no country will agree to that.
“So those who are doing that should go back and meet their representatives in the House of Assembly and ask for whatever amendment of Constitution. Due process should be followed.
“The other issue is that those who are calling for restructuring and confrence, on what they call ethnic nationality, if you go to Southern Kaduna, Taraba, who is to represent them?
“We have different combination of ethnicity in many states. Even Kano and Kaduna Igbo have properties. The same goes with Yoruba. There are Fulani in Port Harcourt .
“So those calling for whether separation or restructuring, some of them I will say they are very naive or even mischievously dangerous. Those agitating for restructuring are ignorant of war and its consequences, because Nigeria is a dominant force in West Africa.
“My appeal to each and everyone here is to try and educate their children. We are better as a nation, there is no way we can be separated. Separation of the country would not help matters.”
Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, who was represented at the occasion by the state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Shehu Usman Mohammed, said Nigeria had grown beyond separation.
While urging Nigerians to tolerate to live together,the governor said those calling for separation should come back to their senses because Nigerians are now in every part of the country.
The Guest Lecturer, Professor Mohammed Tukur, spoke on the way out to end crisis among divergent citizens of Nigeria.
“In as much as we want peace to reign amongst us, we must tolerate one another and respect our various norms and values,” he said.
Tukur said mutual understanding and inter tribal marriage would also play significant roles in the promotion of peace amongst citizens, adding that there must be a policy to revamp the economy and review the nation’s security structure.