… Says Restructuring Advocates Can Form Own Party
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has risen in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the clamour for a restructuring of the polity, declaring that advocates of the agenda could form their own political parties.
The Forum, which spoke through its National Secretary, Anthony Sani, said that the President was right to claim that Nigerians are impatient with the polity.
According to Sani, the President’s speech “sought to inspire hope and confidence among Nigerians who are impatient and wish to live for the moment, considering the trite that the tasks of fighting insurgence, corruption and of diversifying the economy cannot be a day’s job.”
He said that the President in his speech also assessed his administrations delivery of electoral promises thus far.
The ACF scribe said: “All President Buhari said in the speech about restructuring of the country is that the problems of Nigeria lie more on attitudes of Nigerians and the way they do things, and not on the structure of the country nor on the form of government.
“This May be an odd thing to say, when you note that there is nothing like true Federalism, and that is why no two federal systems are clones. But the common mantra in all federal systems is such that the central government is balanced by appropriate state level power.
“You would also note that the presidential system works well in America, the parliamentary system is successful in Britain while a combination of the two systems has worked well in France.”
He also stated that whereas the 1999 Constitution is a clone of the1979 document, those clamouring for restructuring were the archtects of that document.
“As to the constitution, please note that the America’s constitution has just few pages, Britain does not have a written constitution while Nigeria has a book called the constitution that is observed more in the breach.
“It is noteworthy that the 1999 constitution is a clone of that of 1979, and those clamouring for restructuring contributed in siring that of 1979.”
It backed the President on the need to reduce the cost of government, saying that the system adopted in Nigeria allows for a bloated government.
“When you talk about the cost of government, please note America has about 25 ministers, Britain has about 17 ministers while France makes do with 15, but Nigeria has a crowd called government, all with jumbo pay.
America has the VP as Senate President while Nigeria has a senate president with a crowd called aides and the attendant cost.
“It is against the foregoings that the president is not favourably disposed to any restructuring of the country, preferring instead that process and institutions are strengthened. More so that Nigeria has tried parliamentary system in the past and is trying presidential system. Nigeria has also tried military dictatorship with its unitarysystem with strong centre and has tried confederation with weak centre.”
According to the ACF, the current structure in Nigeria which makes the states the federating units is a compromise between the unitary system and the confederate arrangement.
It said that the president may not be wrong when he said that Nigerians are impatient adding however that if the nation must undertake any major reforms of the polity, it should not be based on the report of “a conference,” apparently referring to the 2014 confab, which it stated was made up of unelected delegates.
“It would be morally preposterous and undemocratic to short change the people by pandering to reports by unelected group of elites.
Political parties which wish to structure the country should reflect it in their manifestos and use same to canvass for electoral mandate needed for implementation,” the ACF said.
The Forum said that since multi-party democracy allows plurality of opinions, those clamouring for restructuring could form a party to project their agenda.
“I say this because while there is national consensus on problems of a nation, there is often no such national consensus on methods of solution. Hence the significance of multiparty democracy which allows political parties to represent distinct methods of solution of national problems as contained in their manifestos. That is how democracy works. Those who profess to be jaunty face of democratic values should not be seen as promoting undemocratic practices.”