My personal opinion is that Mr. President should with dispatch and alacrity do a holistic review of the report and implement the recommendations in line with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians on the vexed issues. The President is part and parcel of the All Progressives Congress, and restructuring is part of the party’s manifesto. Some of us were wooed by some of the salient issues contained in their manifesto to go with them. Mr. President should hit the ground running on this and do the needful in the area of implementation.
The report should not go the way of several other crucial reports which were swept under the carpet because of its importance to the corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation. We are clamouring for true federalism, financial autonomy for local governments, fiscal decentralisation and devolution of powers to the states among other critical issues that must be addressed by this administration whose tenure will soon expire.
There is no time to play with anymore. Time is really of the essence in governance. I agree that Mr. President in line with his style will consult but I will advise Mr. President, to with all sense of responsibility, start addressing fundamental issues affecting the nation and citizenry with dispatch.
It is axiomatic that procrastination is the thief of time. Let me say unequivocally that all the agitations, bickering and yearnings for balkanisation of this country which has reached a crescendo will become a thing of the past if the issue of restructuring is cleverly addressed and the report implemented. Mr. President needs to carry the National Assembly along as some of the things to be done to ensure acceptable restructuring cannot be achieved without legislation and tinkering with the Constitution. Lobbying is not unusual in the system of government we practise. There must be a cordial relationship between the three arms of government in the interest of Nigerians and especially the downtrodden masses who have not really enjoyed the dividends of democracy.
- Mr. Olayinka Sokoya (Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association, Ilesa Branch)
The challenge with Nigeria over the years is not formulation of policies but implementation of policies when formulated. The APC committee on restructuring appears to have come a bit too late.
There have been repeated calls for restructuring since the inception of the Buhari-led administration but the President unequivocally stated that restructuring was not on his government’s agenda at the time. Restructuring is not just about power devolution, resource control etc, but it’s a process which will undoubtedly take time to happen.
Although one will agree that it will be wrong to throw the baby out with the bath water. I believe the APC is just trying to play to the gallery at this crucial moment bearing in mind the fact that election is around the corner.
This calls to question the ingenuity and seriousness of the APC-led government to harken to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
The President should urgently peruse the content of the report and act in the overriding interest of the nation. I strongly believe that the report of the National Conference has dealt with most of the issues or recommendations of the APC committee and as such, I recommend that the Federal Government should study the report vis a vis the report of the National Conference and take a position that will reposition this country to an enviable position among its peers.
- Senator Femi Okurounmu (A former federal lawmaker)
If the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress finally submits the Mallam El-Rufai- led panel report on restructuring to President Muhammadu Buhari, he should prepare an executive bill immediately.
The executive bill should reflect all areas concerning restructuring as contained in the 2014 National Confab Report, and he should send the bill to the National Assembly, with a view to promulgating it into a new Constitution.
The 2014 National Confab report on the areas of restructuring is quite explicit and will definitely be useful in preparing the executive bill.
This will definitely show whether President Buhari will confirm the notion that he hates restructuring or disprove it.
What I am saying in essence is that, he should not keep the APC panel’s report on restructuring on the shelf when finally presented to him, but he should act on it.
- Olawale Okuniyi (Convener, Nigeria Political Summit Group)
What I think the President should do with the report is to implement it immediately. Although the report is coming very late in the day, especially at a time when people have lost confidence in the ability of this government to restructure this country, however there is a lot that can be salvaged.
This administration should start the implementation of the report without further delay. The Nigerian people are not ready to accept any promise to implement the report after the 2019 elections. Anything short of the implementation of the recommendation of this report beginning from now will further erode the confidence of Nigerians in this government.
I believe this report is implementable because nothing is impossible. If the President decides to carry the National Assembly along in this venture, it is possible, where there’s a will there’s a way.
What should be done is for the President to engage the National Assembly in areas of the panel’s recommendations that require constitutional amendment and work with the various state governors and Houses of Assembly to achieve results. The National Assembly and the President alone cannot do it; they require the help of Nigerians. To make this happen, the National Assembly should enact a law to empower Nigerians to give unto themselves a constitution that they can call their own between now and the election. There is nothing like ‘we will do it after the 2019 elections’ this is something that should be done now. This is not about any political party or a section of Nigeria; it is about the future of this country and generations yet unborn. We all owe this nation this service at this point of our history, this is a rare opportunity we cannot allow to pass without taking advantage of this period to right the wrongs of the past, the way to go is to restructure.
- Mr. Alagoa Morris (Human rights analyst/Public Affairs commentator)
Recognising the fact that true/real leaders must think through and consider issues, instead of just following public opinion or emotions, I am of the view that it requires a courageous and purposeful leader to accept the call for restructuring the country at this point.
The wind of restructuring is blowing across the whole nation and there has never been any phase of our national history as this opportunity which has presented itself for us to build a stronger, purposeful and harmonious and progressive nation.
The civil society groups, the clergy, youth bodies and peoples from all geo-political zones and political parties now consider the nation good enough for restructuring which Nigeria stands to benefit from.
At the South/South Summit on Restructuring, which took place on January 27, 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the slogan everywhere was “Change should begin with restructuring.”
My take is that, since the APC committee’s report on restructuring aligned with what most other groups thought necessary, President Muhammadu Buhari should set up the process of getting a team of patriotic Nigerians to look at the 2014 National Conference recommendations and the APC report, harmonise them and set the stage for a Referendum or get the Constitution amended before the 2019 elections.
That would be fair enough and Buhari would remain a hero in Nigeria if he does that.