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Onwubiko weighs in on Nigeria’s restructuring debate

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IN TRYING to forestall the repeat of our sad history especially at this time when the Nigerian nation is at the brink of total collapse as a result of the refusal of Nigerians to see the handwriting on the wall and to make amends in line with contemporary realities vis-à-vis governmental structures, a new and timely book has been launched.

The book titled: Restructuring Nigerian: Unworkable Federal Structure (Compendium on the Imperative of the Restoration of True Fiscal Federalism In Nigeria) by Polycarp Madubugwu Onwubiko, was launched on Tuesday at National Light Event Centre, Government House, Awka, and was written with the aim of correcting the weird misinterpretation and connotation of restructuring in order to re-invent Nigeria and making it take its place in the comity of civilized and development-oriented countries.

The author, Mr Polycarp Onwubuiko, said  the inspiration to write came from his extensive reading of political events and trajectory in Nigeria and from the discovery that Nigeria has derailed in so many ways.

According to him, the Federal system of government was derailed by the military junta in 1967 due to the political crises orchestrated by the vaulting ambition of a section of the country to impose willy-nilly its ethno-religious value preference which was stoutly resisted by other ethno-religious groups and the book strictly advocates for the country to go back to  where it  derailed and correct the anomaly.

He said “in actual fact, there is nothing like ‘true federal’. It is either Federal or Unitary system of government. Our founding fathers realistically opted for Federalism which was perfectly working but the military bastardized it; thus creating problems which have become intractable. For instance, it will be illusory to expect maximum security of lives and property in Nigeria without decentralized security or what is called region or state police. To correct these errors, and many more, there is need to restructure the country” he said.

He called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, whose political party APC has Restructuring in its election Manifesto to convoke a National Conference  to implement restructuring of governance in Nigeria to stem the frightful trajectory of the country into a failed state.

In his own remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation  (publishers of National Light Group of  newspapers ), Sir Chuka Nnabuife,  commended the author for making out time to write such books despite his age and  also for deeming it fit to launch his book in National Light Event Center, adding that “we represent socialist opinion, we represent the capitalist opinion,  welfarist’s opinions and we also represent those who are neither here nor there. That is what makes a newsroom big, and among these categories, Polycarp is a welfarist that also understands capitalism.  He writes more in the sense of somebody who wants governance to be bottom-up not up down.”

He thanked those present at the event for putting up appearance despite their other engagements.

Chairman on the occasion and former Chairman, Awka North Local Government Area, Nnanna Egwu, in his opening remark, condemned the injustices meted out to other sections of the country by the Northern leaders, past and present, especially the Fulanis..

According to him, the North, especially the Fulanis have been the bane of Nigerian security challenge. From the days of Othmon Danfodio till date, the Fulanis, who are different from the Hausas, contrary to what we were made to believe have  been the brain behind the inequality in Nigeria. They have been working towards conquering every part of Nigeria. That accounts for why from the past till date, Nigeria is governed by Fulanis. This also accounts for why there is inequality in revenue allocation, land mass and so on. It is  amidst these challenges and to solve these problems that this book was written”.

Similarly, the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Charles Esimone, represented by the institution’s PRO, Emmanuel Ojukwu, commended the book, adding that because of its relevance to the present polity, the book would be adopted for use in General Studies, to make people abreast with the issues of the times.

Furthermore, the book reviewer and lecturer, Department of Political Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor  Frank Collins Okafor described the book as a good effort to repositioning the Nigerian nation for a more positive and beneficial role in an ever changing world.

However, Frank-Collins observed that the book content is dominated by other people’s views and quotations on the subject-matter than critical analyses of the Nigerian state by the author.

He said “163 pages of critical discourse on the subject-matter, 150 of them were quotations and expressions of other people’s opinion on the issue of federalism in Nigeria, thus, leaving the author with just 13 pages for critical analysis of the problem and the way forward. To me, 13 of 163 pages are critically inadequate for robust scientific analysis bearing in mind the pedigree of the author.

Second, the author seems to believe that only the executive arm of government can easily restructure the country as emphasis and pressure are mainly on President Buhari at the moment. This is where Nigerians got it wrong and this is the reason restructuring and true federalism cannot be readily realized.”

He decried the exclusion of the other arms of government-Legislature and Judiciary, in the struggle, adding that restructuring cannot come via mere presidential proclamation.

“Restructuring is a constitutional issue realizable through a political process. The other arms of government, Legislature and Judiciary, are relegated to the background in this struggle because restructuring cannot come via mere presidential proclamation. The legislature, housing the direct representatives of the people,  and the body charged with the enactment and amendment of laws in Nigeria should be made to understand its central role in the process. That President Buhari behaves like a conquering emperor today is simply because he knows the pedigree and the incapability of members of the National Assembly; some of them are bunch of mental cripples whose personal interests supersede general interest. This suggests  that against the author’s seeming  appeal posture for restructuring in Nigeria, that clamour for it should be a coordinated persistent political demand which should take different forms, including the strategy of civil disobedience. Those who benefit from the current arrangement cannot give up power on a platter of gold because according to Machiavelli, it’s only a fool that gains power to lose it. Moreover, the packaging of the book would have been better with improved binding.

He said: “Mr. Onwubiko has opened another intellectual supersonic highway for discussions on the practical way forward for the beleaguered nation called Nigeria. There is no doubt that from the way things are currently structured in the country, hope for the nation becomes utopian. His input is therefore, incisive and problem-solving.”

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