From Fred Itua, Abuja
Prominent Nigerians, yesterday, bemoaned the current state of affairs in the country and concluded that Nigeria was a failed state. They also agreed that only restructuring could salvage the situation.
Former minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana; former minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili; former Director-General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Prof. Anya O. Anya; former member, House of Representatives, Usman Bugaje, among others, at a summit on restructuring in in Abuja, yesterday, said a way forward for Nigeria must be advanced.
The summit was hosted by Restructure Actualisation Movement, spearheaded by Major Gen. Henry Ayoola (retd) with the team ‘Actualising Restructuring for Manifestly Great Nigeria.’
Gana said: “Judging from the state of the nation today, restructuring has become an expedient, inevitable and critical change which time has come. This will set the stage for Nigeria to develop, harness, hone and harmonise her divine endowment in fulfilling her manifest destiny as the consolation and pride of Africa.”
Ezekwesili called for a dialogue on how to restructure Nigeria, saying: “Every Nigerian must be interested in the issue of restructuring. Nigeria is diverse, but it doesn’t confer any uniqueness on us. Structure has always been a means to an end. It can never be an end to itself. Nigeria has grappled with failures.
“Nigeria has refused to transit from a country to a nation. We have remained a creation of Britain. Nigeria has engaged in a failed practice of democracy, constitutionalism and federalism. All the constitutions we’ve had since 1966 is a product of the military. Nigerians have not participated in the processes that produced our Constitution in over 55 years.
“Every region in this country has showed that we’ve no affinity with Nigeria. Our Fulani brothers have showed that. The political class has failed to show an elites consensus on how to move on. Nigeria needs a conversation. It shows that there’s something structurally wrong with Nigeria.
“These factors make it impossible for Nigeria to be competitive. Nigeria must be renegotiated. The Igbo is the most investor in Nigeria. An Igbo person settles down in every part of Nigeria. The Igbo person has a greater stake in Nigeria than Nigeria itself wants to admit.”
Bugaje said there was lack of elites consensus on how to develop Nigeria. He said the north was not opposed to restructuring, contrary to widely-held views.
“Nigeria is not working. Power and wealth sharing are the fundamental problems. We can sit down and discuss how we can resolve these things. The most difficult problems are ethnicity, religion and other related issues.
“There’s no part of the country that doesn’t want restructuring. The North is yearning for restructuring. The North proposed that the Niger Delta should keep its oil. Any region that wants to go should be allowed to go. The elites have failed to have a consensus on where the country should be headed.
“Regional elites are pulling in their own directions. We don’t need to wait for the government to kick off a national conference. Let’s meet and set an agenda for the politicians. Our conversations should be driven by knowledge and not by emotions. Our politics is our problem. The political parties have no ideas,” he said.
Prof. Anya said it was difficult these days to find anyone above 60 who does not consider this period in the nation’s history the worst period in their living memory.
“This observation cuts across party lines although opinions may differ as to how we got here. When we probe further we find there is an emerging consensus that leadership is the fundamental issue.
“Some believe that decades of misgovernance and mediocre political leadership is responsible for where we have found ourselves. What is more we do not have a strategy which can help us define the kind of leadership appropriate to our current state or circumstances and how to evolve an appropriate selection process. The result is the progressive accumulation of unprepared leaders, often lacking the requisite vision and experience.”
Ayoola, organiser of the programme, said the current state of the country was a far cry from what it ought to be, hence the yearning and clarion call for change.
“Consequently, there has been a groundswell of consensus on the critical and urgent need for a holistic and honest restructuring, if Nigeria must work for all and sundry.
“This quest has reached the tipping point to trigger the change Africa, the black race and indeed the whole creation have been waiting for – the emancipation and emergence of Nigeria as the consolation and pride of Africa and the black race at large. Now is the time and season.
“Incontrovertibly, restructuring is now an expedient, a sine qua non and simply a change whose time has come. This underscored the birth of Restructure Actualisation Movement (RAM), it’s vision is “a new Nigeria that is a progressive modern nation, knowledge- based, technology-driven that provides a conducive environment as well as offers equitable opportunities for all citizens to optimally realise their potentials and contribute maximally towards Nigeria’s greatness.”