By Bimbo Akindunbi
More Nigerians have continued to throw their weight behind the recent agitations from some quarters asking that the country should be restructured to forestall any move that will separate the nation.
Failure to address the urgent issue on time, The Hope learnt, might put the country in serious trouble.
An Akure-based Legal practitioner, Barrister Yemi Aladetoyinbo, in a telephone interview with The Hope called on the Federal Government to see it as a matter of urgency, stressing that the time is fully right for Nigeria to restructure.
He pointed out that the economic challenges of the present day Nigeria has called for a review of the existing Federal structure, saying that the present structure is a structure of imbalance.
His words: ”Basically Nigeria is not a one ethnic country. It has over 250 nationalisties with different languages and cultures.
“The current structure is imbalanced, wherein you have over 55 percent of the economy in the hands of the Federal Government, while the 36 states, including the Federal capital territory and the 774 local government councils in Nigeria only have about 40 percent to share. And more so now, most of the states cannot pay salaries. Therefore, these are serious challenges at hand .
“For example, the militant Avengers Group in the Niger Delta, have blown up virtually all the oil pipelines and this has drawn back the petroleum sector. Again, look at the Boko Haram activities in the North/East, which has wreaked havoc over the years and had caused Nigeria billions of naira over the last four to five years”.
Aladetoyinbo stated that the economy of the nation should be restructured, so that the states and the local governments will have about 70 percent of the nation’s resources, while the Federal Government should have 30 percent.
He said this will enable the states and local governments to cater for the welfare of the people at the grassroots level.
“This should be known as fiscal federalism which deals with allocation of resources to the appropriate quarters, so that the issues of infrastructure, salaries and other basic needs would be addressed.
“And this will be the only solution to the agitations from the North to the East or the South/North rivalry. And this will finally take us to political restructuring.
”Moreso, all the governors of the states have supported the fiscal federalism, which means more money to the states and the local governments because the Federal Government has little job to do.
“This will take us away from the heat up in the polity, as all the problems of Nigeria lie with the states and the local governments, because they are closer to the people”
He noted that restructuring of the country will put an end to drums of war being engineered by some ethnic groups in the nation.
He said “for example , the call by Arewa youths that Igbos in the North should vacate latest October 1, this year or that the Hausa / Fulani should vacate the Igbo land as well. Then the hiccups of Biafrans that they want to break away from Nigeria. And maybe Yorubas, eventually planning to stand on their own would be laid to rest.
“I believe restructuring will bury all these agitations, when all Nigerians are enjoying our common resources.
In addition, the legal practitioner pointed out that restructuring in the country should also accommodate rotational presidency, which he said will solve the problems between the North and the South.
“Finally, if Nigeria is not restructured on the basis of resources allocation and political devolution of power from the federal to the state level and local government, and salaries remain unpaid, the country will be in trouble.”