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Obasanjo calls for restructuring of Nigeria




Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the restructuring of Nigeria, stressing that the prevalence of ineffective administrative structures is detrimental to any country’s government. 

Obasanjo made the call at the weekend in Enugu during the public launch of Engr. Chris Okoye’s book, ‘In Brotherhood, We Stand: A Roadmap for the Rebirth of a Fragmented Nation’.

The event took place at Immanuel Gardens, Independence Layout in Enugu.

Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, lamented that Nigeria had moved from one bad government to another.

Obasanjo said, “The clarion call in Nigeria today is one for restructuring and a reassessment of the terms of our union as a nation.

“No matter how economically viable a nation is, bad governance and the wrong system of administration can bring it down, as there is a direct correlation between economic and political reforms.

“Our historical experience in constitution-making and political reform shows that we may have some structural defects that require adjustment so as not to continue to constrain the deepening, widening, and consolidation of democratic values and practices.

“Indeed, some of the contradictions and challenges bequeathed by the colonial administration have continued to pose problems for us to this day.

“As things stand, therefore, our constitution-making efforts must go down to the grassroots to deal with the issues of inclusion, popular participation, ownership, and legitimacy.”

Obasanjo, who spoke through a live video link at the occasion, lamented that “Nigeria, in one word, has moved from bad governance to another.

“In the process, we tried to adjust to the weaknesses of the system and equally adapted to do without some of those fundamentals that really ought to drive the political process.

“Some issues that have emerged include, but are not limited to, the challenge of constitutionalism and constitutional reform; the opportunity to bring all stakeholders together to discuss the preferred political path for the nation; the challenge of building new, accountable, responsive, and focused leadership; and how to build, operate, and sustain real political liberties, social justice, rights, and obligations; electoral reforms that ensure credibility and respectability of elections; relations between tiers of government; the performance of government; and how to ensure truly democratic governance for all.

“In all of these, the central challenge is still how to strengthen the social contract between the custodians of state power and the governed.”

While emphasizing the need for unity, integration, and equity, the former president stated that all hands must be on deck to propel Nigeria ahead.

Obasanjo mentioned that “what we want in Nigeria today is unity, cohesion, equity, togetherness, and collective commitment to our progress and the Nigeria project.

“We want to move forward, look forward, think about the past to help the present and the future and work for a stronger and more united Nigeria.

“It is unhelpful to devote time and energy to unrealistic, even unpatriotic, strategies for precipitating crises, conflicts, deadlock, and disintegration. In a democracy, there must be checks and balances, and there must be effective watchdogs.”

Speaking on the book, Obasanjo said: “This book is of great interest to me as a person because it is a direct fallout from the National Political Reform Conference, which my administration organized in 2005.

“And to us as a nation, because the content of the book is a much-needed panacea for many of the ills plaguing our nation today.”

Dignitaries at the event included former presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi; former President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani; and former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim.

Others include Senator Victor Umeh; former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Allison Madueke (retd); former Minister of Information, Frank Nweke; and former Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, among others.