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Only restructuring can solve Nigeria’s problems – Ogene

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Ichie Damian Okeke Ogene is one of the founding fathers of the Association of Town Unions. He is currently the Vice President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. In this interview with CHIKAODI CHUKWULETA and BLESSING NNABUIFE, he reacted to President Mohammed Buhari’s stand on the call for restructuring of the country, among others. Excerpts:

PRESIDENT Mohammed Buhari recently picked holes in the calls for the restructuring of the country, what is your take on this?

  Definitely the president knows why he is doing so; we are not expecting something different from what he said because he is running the country like a private business. Restructuring centres more on equity, fairness and justice and you know he is not a democrat and he is not a man who is well equipped on that.  So, why can’t he pick a hole on it? We expected him to do that.

The APC had restructuring in its election campaign manifesto and the party constituted a committee which recommended restructuring. How do you react to this?

  The party cannot discipline him neither can the National Assembly. So, this country is a country where whoever is the head of state becomes all and all. When you talk about dictator, dictator has some elements of listening to some of his friends but this type of dictator is not listening to anybody.

Going by the ever ballooning insecurity in the country, what measures can you suggest as solutions?

  The security situation in the country all centres on this restructuring because keeping everything in the centre – the one Army Command, one Police Command which is supposed to be with civil matters. How can somebody in Abuja know what is happening in Anambra State and the governors are not in the position to give instructions to the Commissioner of Police because of  the way the system operates.

What do you think is the best political system for the restoration of peace in the country?

  If democracy takes its full course, that is the only government of the people, by the people and for the people. We claim that we are operating democratic system but we are not doing that. I say to you that if democracy is well practiced, it  is still the best government.

Do ndi Igbo or Ohaneze Ndigbo have a particular position on restructuring Nigeria?

  They agitate for restructuring. Initially, we were talking about marginalisation. Every other Nigerian saw it as talking about Igbo interest alone but when we changed the pin to restructuring,the Niger Delta queued, Middle Belt queued in. Even the Northern Elders Forum queued in because when they saw what is in restructuring, we now find out that northerners are more marginalised than the Igbo. I think it is only restructuring that is giving some people hope of rising again. Many have been marginalised and buried but with restructuring, they can raise up their heads.

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