Let’s restructure Nigeria now to stop bloodbath-Soyinka, Nwodo, Adebanjo counsel politicians
Lagos, November 20, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Prominent Nigerians have restated calls for restructuring the country with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka insisting the move is unstoppable.
“A methodological way of stopping the bloodbath in the country is to reconfigure the nation. And nobody has the right, either through body language or any other means, to say no,” Soyinka said during the Handshake Across Nigeria summit organised by Nzuko Umunna/Aka Ikenga and Core Federalists in Lagos on Monday.
He noted: “States must be given maximum control over their resources. There are some who prefer to grow rice. There are others who prefer to grow religion and we know where religion has brought us today. If some people prefer to grow rice and others wants to grow Sharia, then both sides should be given the means to develop.”
In his welcome address, Nwachukwu dismissed the concern that some states would get unfair deals in a restructured Nigeria. “There is no state without the basic requirements for economic and human capital development. The fear therefore, that some states would be disadvantaged under this arrangement would be removed because the Federal Government would intervene directly or through loans to the federating units to realise their developmental projects.”
He explained that states would not be able to misappropriate such funds, as people would rise against any attempt to misapply the commonwealth. Consequently, unemployment, agitations from ethnic groups, insurgency, kidnappings, armed robbery and ritual killings would be reduced to the barest, he said.
He further urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be truly independent as the 2019 general elections draw closer. According to him, though government set up the commission, it is responsible only to the people. To make INEC truly independent, he said, there is the need to review the way its members are appointed.
“In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Speaker’s Committee appoints the electoral officers drawn from the political parties. Currently, of the total 10 members, appointed and ex officio, there are four Conservatives, three Labour and one Scottish Nationalist (excluding the Speaker). The body reports to the parliament and not to the Prime Minister, thereby making them truly independent and representative.
“The chairman is not appointed by the Prime Minister but by the Speaker’s Committee, thereby insulating him or her from any direct influence by the Prime Minister and in our case, the president or anyone acting on behalf of the president. Nigeria should do the same.”