EDITORIAL: Time To Heed Nigeria’s Perennial Clamour for Restructuring

National Conference in plenary
National Conference in plenary

With the agitation around restructuring the federation taking on a renewed urgency in Nigeria today, this is possibly the best time to take on the issues and concerns involved more decisively. Full discussion of the subject matter affords the Buhari Administration the crucial opportunity to put to action its proclaimed mantra of enthroning a dispensation of ‘Change’, beyond its more recent tepid call for values orientation unfairly shifting the burden of change to the citizenry. This is without the concomitant commitment of government to more fundamental change, in terms of its structure and institutions, having more beneficial impact on citizens, particularly in a milieu of widespread disenchantment with governance and the national economy.

Through the years, almost, if not, all the regions, nationalities and groups comprising the state have felt the nature of the Nigerian union has not served them well enough by taking their welfare and need for progress into account, leading to attitudes of alienation from and rebellion against the Nigerian state. The ensuing feeling of marginalisation – which many have equally seen as evolving from the class character of the state – has ensured that calls for a renegotiated union have attained strident dimensions.

PREMIUM TIMES believes the Buhari Administration will do well to give more than a cursory attention to these resurgent demands and agitations traversing the country, from the South-East to the South-South, the North-Central, South-West, etc., and by prominent personalities. The failure of the attempts represented in our numerous national constitutional reform processes, and the more recent abandonment of some of the more progressive features of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, makes this call highly expedient. The government will need real will to rise up to assuaging crosscutting national discontent.

The peculiar volatility of the times, especially with an economy in free-fall and Nigerians bearing more hardship, has seen the resurgence of several groups championing narratives of exclusion from the commonwealth, and the economic and political processes of the state. Instances of these separatist calls have resulted in arms being taken up against the state, in the activities of groups in the South-East and South-South regions.

Characteristically, the Nigerian state has responded to these through police and military actions, the limits of which are clear in the many stalemates that have contributed to the rapid deceleration of the country’s economy through acts of sabotage to the gas and oil infrastructure.

PREMIUM TIMES is convinced that these new conversations demand newer multi-level approaches, the most enduring of which would be a more purposeful and genuine return to the constitutional review table for the long haul.

The calls for the restructuring of Nigeria, up to and including the right of the contributing units to secession, is certainly not a new affair, with groups advocating permanent territorial separation – as done by Biafran agitators through a number of decades and more recently in the Niger Delta – and others simply clamouring for the renegotiation of the basis of our social compact as a country.

In the century since its creation, Nigeria has experienced one form of reconstitution or the other, from the 1938 restructuring of the South into the two regions of West and East, to the demands for a more representative federation beyond a tripartite configuration corresponding to the major nationalities, and the creation of 12 states by the Gowon administration in 1967 to quell the civil war. A further 19 state structure was created in 1976 by the Murtala administration; then 21 and 30 states in 1987 and 1991 by the Babangida regime; and a 36 state federation by General Abacha.

Historically, the fears of the domination of one group over the others, and concerns with managing our diversity and differences – essential aspects of which have been framed as the National Question in Nigeria – have resulted in agitations for restructuring. This had initially made politicians settle for a federal structure of government, but the successive state creation exercises of the military resolved into a ‘quasi-unitary Jacobin state’. The Federal Government became overly strengthened and centralised at the expense of the state and local tiers of government.

The increased pressure on the Nigerian state to restructure draws from the history of how the federal system inherited at independence had operated, with regions allowed the autonomy of raising and retaining their revenues – while paying taxes to the centre, developing at their own paces and engaging in healthy rivalries among themselves.

The erosion of this autonomy and the multiple poles of power by the unitarist instincts and systems of the military, perfected in decades of rule and numerous state creations, witnessed the evolution of tension among numerous groups. This came in tandem with the attendant contest among the groups for exclusive access to power and the resources of state, and took on ethno-regional and religious hues, exacerbated by the absence of mechanisms for peaceful negotiations and compromise making.

The agitations for a restructuring of the federation had made the Babangida regime carry out a decentralisation policy between 1987 and 1991, having the declared aim of increasing autonomy among groups, democratisation, improving the finances and strengthening the political and administrative capacities of local governments. From this, the number of local governments in the country was increased from 301 to 449 in 1989; to 589 in 1991; and 774 in 1996.

While decades of military rule have spawned imbalances that make government in Nigeria very top heavy, there have also been different levels of clawing at the structure, informing certain forms of restructuring in the country, with some occurring rather inversely. For instance, governors have been using the instrument of law to reduce the constitutional three-tier structure of government into two, wherein they can then appoint local council chairmen as and when it suits them, while also commanding the allocations of the councils from the federal purse. Equally, state governments now generally control physical planning, land use, the collection of hotel and hospitality taxes etc., in their domains, whilst engaging in the building and operating of airports, constructing railways and harnessing waterways, and funding the federal police, which were all exclusive functions of the Federal Government until recent.

PREMIUM TIMES considers it pertinent for the Buhari Administration to rise up to the challenge of fulfilling its Change promise to Nigerians by embarking on a process of economic and political restructuring of the federation in the interest of the survival of Nigeria, and its people. There is no doubt that there have been persistent deficiencies and problems with the structure the Nigerian federation has taken since independence.

This is the time for a genuine constitutional reform process to reset the grundnorm of Nigeria’s social compact, in a way that fundamentally renegotiates the relationship between the different nationalities and groups, and determines their preferred structures of coexistence and governance.

Whatever arrangement is subscribed to will have to be one that transfers more power to the people. Certainly, this would necessitate some form of structural realignment and devolution of important powers from the federal to the other levels of government, freeing up the centre, and making it less attractive to the desperation of political capture. The restructuring of Nigeria needs to be one carried out for greater clarity in the powers and functions of the various levels and tiers of government, in a manner that effectively deals with the concerns of various people and groups.

As presently constituted, there is the need to reduce the size of government, serving as one of the greatest drag downs to Nigeria, with government and its structures taking up a greater chunk of yearly budgets which go into financing recurrent spend. While the central administration should hold on to powers including those of taxation, issuance of currency, defence and national security, etc., other levels, including states and local councils should be able to determine their own development needs, and be able to cater for issues pertaining to education, health, wage structure, power generation and distribution, security (police), etc.

The restructuring envisaged would be one that empowers people at different levels to develop according to their human and material resources and at their own pace. This will very likely unleash the energies and creativity of the people in giving expression to requirements for truer diversification of the national economy.

A newer and more holistic sense of restructuring, while mainstreaming issues of residency rights over indigeneity, should equally take up the welfare of Nigerians as the essential purpose of government, as presently enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, which should be made justiciable.

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Man_Enough

    Buhari swore before God and before man to ensure the unity of Nigeria. He should not be the one to set in motion the grounds for disintegration. Every ethnic group have their representatives in the national assembly. Unfortunately it is people who are not mandated by any group that rise up to demand independence. Such demands are at best suspicious. While other african countries were taking to war against the colonial rule, a man with a recognized mandate of Nigerians (Enahoro) got up in the house of representatives and moved a motion for Nigeria’s independence. From there Nigeria got its independence without shedding blood. Let those mandated by these ethnic groups speak for them. Isn’t it curious that these people always keep mum?

  • Ahmed

    “……While the central administration should hold on to powers including those of taxation, issuance of currency, defence and national security, etc., other levels, including states and local councils should be able to determine their own development needs, and be able to cater for issues pertaining to education, health, wage structure, power generation and distribution, security (police), etc…..” This is one of those poor argument for devolution or restructuring. This article offers no fresh ideas to discuss. In the most important quote of the article above, all the issues listed in the last sentence apart from policing are also handled by other tiers of government. States have both primary and tertiary involvement in education and health. There is an national minimum wage but states pay remarkable different salaries based on their abilities. Power generation and distribution has been privatized. So what are the proponents of restructuring really asking for?

  • I dey hear

    An inevitable Restructuring that was deferred……

    Fellow countrymen
    and women, you, the people of Eastern Nigeria: Conscious of the
    supreme authority of Almighty God over all mankind, of your duty to yourselves
    and posterity; Aware that you can no longer be protected in your lives and in
    your property by any Government based outside Eastern Nigeria; Believing that
    you are born free and have certain inalienable rights which can best be
    preserved by yourselves; Unwilling to be unfree partners in any association of
    a political or economical nature;

    Affirming your trust
    and confidence in me; Having mandated me to proclaim on your behalf,
    and in your name, that Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic,
    Now, therefore, I, Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Military
    Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the
    principles, recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and
    region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf
    and territorial waters shall henceforth be an independent sovereign state of
    the name and title of “The Republic of Biafra“.

    ………….(1967)

    • Umar Dendi

      And the lame coward flew away to Abidjan and left your ancestors to starve, so much for inevitability

  • Dazmillion

    I keep telling people that any government that does put forward political restructuring of the nation as its one and only cardinal program, will not succeed at any other reform, be it economic or agricultural.

    To show the seriousness of the issue is, any president that wants to restructure Nigeria politically must be ready to serve only one term in power if he wants to succeed.

    He will be blackmailed and threatened to no end by the elite, both from the north and south. It is both elites that are enjoying the current status quo. Dont be fooled that it is a northern resistance that is the stopping the political reform of Nigeria.

    All the presidents we have had since 1999 know the situation, but because they want to serve 2 terms in power they easily surrender to the elite, forget about any political reforms and start embezzling money to take care of themselves in retirement.

    It is only when their conscience pricks them that they will start talking about constitutional conference. They will gather old and irrelevant people together who they know will fight with each other over everything and who they know will not touch the main issue for which they were gathered together in the first place.

    Then they will draft some documents which the organizer(President with guilty conscience) knows will never see the light of day. As soon as they hand over the document to the president, he puts it in the bottom drawer of his desk and everybody goes back to sleep with his conscience at peace.

    This is the merry go round going on with the destiny of this country. Buhari is continuing the same tradition and will soon be talking about a constitutional reform conference by 2018, whose recommendation he knows he will not lift a finger to implement.

    • thusspokez

      I agree if it is one 7-year term. This will give an incoming administration sufficient time to focus, plan and execute its policies with fewer political shenanigans.

      • Gary

        Seven years is too long to be stuck with an incompetent government. A single five/six year term is enough for a leader to leave his mark in office and allow someone else come in.
        Regionalism with states as the smallest administrative unit is the best way to go in a confederal Nigeria with a single chamber part-time parliament. That way, the people of each region can govern themselves based on laws that reflect their unique culture and aspirations. If you choose to reside in the Arewa region, then be prepared to submit to living under Sharia Law and jurisprudence. The federal government will only concern itself with foreign policy, defence, immigration and national transportation network and ports/airport authorities. Plus federal taxation to be remitted by the states and regions.
        The fear of the unknown should not deter or hinder us from fashioning a workable political arrangement for the country; even if it means going our separate ways as a last resort. The Czechs and Slovaks now live apart and both are happy with that arrangement. I still believe confederation is the way to go for all Nigerians to live happily as one country.

        • Bo Biz

          @Guy,I believe Part -time unicameral parliamentary democracy with 6 regions as federating units and the local government areas as the administrative units will be more be effective and beneficial to the masses.A true fiscal federation,with resource control will allow each federating unit to develop at it’s own pace. The status quo must not be allowed to remain.

        • thusspokez

          Seven years is too long to be stuck with an incompetent government.

          I was even going to recommend 8 years, but 7 years is about right. Sadly, many countries around the world don’t seem to realise yet how the four-year term limit is so inadequate for their countries in a very complex world.

          By way of example, USA since George Washington has adopted a 4-year term limit. Now the population of the USA in George Washington’s time was about 4 million. Obama USA is over 300 million, not to mention the complexity of the modern world.

          If George Washington USA with 4 million people required a 4-year term to implement his policy, it is rational to demand that a modern US president with over 300 million achieve the same result in 4 years too?

        • thusspokez

          Regionalism with states as the smallest administrative unit is the best way to go in a confederal Nigeria with a single chamber part-time parliament.

          With Regionalism, you are just adding yet another layer of bureaucracy to the existing three layers.

          But what makes you think that egotistic Nigerian state governors will take orders from whoever is the head of their region? And didn’t Nigeria experiment with region after independence? It contributed to the Nigerian civil war, didn’t it?

          Talk of regionalism is just nonsense! How is adding another layer of government going to solve any problem?. You are simply creating more politicians to increase the number of thieves.

          No one wants to talk about the more important issue of production, but only means and ways to consume existing resources.

      • Umar Dendi

        See the problem with Nigerians?
        They want one man to concentrate?.
        well, if you want a man to concentrate and not waste time like say spend 8 months without ministers then all u need to do is to give him a single 2 year term not 7!

      • igboham

        Self determination exists, remember? Why do Nigerians always seem to forget that point?

        • thusspokez

          I have no idea what you are writing about

          • igboham

            Exactly cause if you did, you would consider the need for some groups to autonomous.

  • Dele Awogbeoba

    Whilst the argument for reducing the size of government is undoubtedly needed in times of fiscal pressures, one cannot deny the fact that as a multi ethnic country, it is important for as many tribes as possible to feel like they have an impact and say on government at least on the state level even if that cannot always be achieved at the national level.

    A restructuring that collapses states into bigger regions and removes the concept of the indigene in favour of the resident is designed to further alienate the smaller tribes that are likely to have minimal impact and representation at national level and even less representation at the lower levels of state/local government. It would lead to exacerbating ethnic tensions instead of reducing it. Additionally, if residency is to trump the concept of the indigene then the concept of federal character would itself have to be jettisoned. Every state would effectively be a mini Nigeria and there would be no reason for federal character. Such an outcome will be to the advantage of the economically backward and mismanaged states because their indigenes will be more likely to migrate and will operate to the disadvantage of the progressive states as their states will be a magnet for inward migration. The migrants are more likely to vote for parties that they voted for in their home state and would likely lead to the progressive state having the same politically governing party as the regressive state. Implications, the progressive state will regress to the level of the state of origin of the migrant.

    It should be noted that Nigeria’s greatest economic advancement was achieved under the 12 and 36 state arrangement. Nigeria’s highest GDP growth was attained between 1969-1974 and from 2000-2010.

    Thirdly, Nigeria should prepare for the rise of a FG cabinet or a FG infrastructure populated by one or two tribes. That will be the implications of the removal of the rights of indigenes and the promotion of the rights of residents.

  • Rommel

    I expect states to ask those they sent to national assembly to tender such requests on the floor of the house,what exactly do they do for us?

    • FineBoy

      Thank you.
      We have reduced re-structuring to a President’s fiat.
      The Constitution he operates even it flawed is what brought him to power..
      Setting up any re-structuring committee like GEJ confab of 2014 is mere advisory.
      The powers remains with NASS.
      Instead of wrongly heating the polity, hold the NASS members representing you to accountability and when they work, the desired changes in the ‘flawed’ constitution will be adjusted.
      We must always know that restructuring of resource sharing is a minor portion in dealing with federal issues. Community, village, LGA and States Borders must be defined, otherwise the battle for land could be the major boiling pot

      • igboham

        The constitution is also a presidential fiat called decree.

        • FineBoy

          so the President should assume Military powers and jettison the said decree aka constitution and do what you want?

          • igboham

            I gues you see a difference between Buhari and a military dictator that I do not. Why is he telling us that unity is not negotiable and prepared to kill and have killed for it?

          • FineBoy

            I truly wish he has the Military decree/powers to back him up.
            His oath of office is to defend the Unity of the Nation. Anything contrary is the aberration.
            People asking of restructuring should follow the constitutional means and not ask PMB to assume military powers to satisfy their craving.
            2019 isn’t far, you can contest and allow us vote you to then go and do as you want

  • thusspokez

    Restructuring is an orphan solution. So, what are the problem situations; and is restructuring one of many problem solutions or not at all?

  • Arabakpura

    We couldn’t even restructure Local councils away from the states and we want to restructure the country into regions! It is welcome but it may cost blood to accomplish with the current mindset of the various segments!

    • thusspokez

      …restructure the country into regions

      Who is asking for this except historical illiterates. Have people forgotten that Nigeria had regions before the civil-war? And that was abandoned and replaced with states?

      • Arabakpura

        Even if we start, restructuring will never end until we reach the family units where cousins will also want their families restructured to be able to share family trees, farm crops and land!

        • thusspokez

          Yes, it is a quest for ‘chop’. All these people care about is sharing chop. It has led to 36 states. and now they want to create umbrella regions over the state governments. Why don’t Nigerians, for a change, talk about production and not always about consumption or chop and sharing chop?

  • TrueFairGame

    In my opinion, there is no evidence that the current structure of Nigeria is responsible for its stagnation since independence but poor foresight, bad leadership and docile followership.
    Why do we have the National Assembly if not to debate on national issues? I am deeply suspicious of some characters using the word ‘restructuring’ without actually defining its meaning from their perspective, its scope and objective.
    It is very unfortunate that over half a century after independence mundane issues of ethnicity, religion, section still dominate our discuss and even our consciousness.
    The question i always asked is that did we utilize to the fullest what the present structure can offer?.
    The ruling elites that rape the country from independence have unity of purpose. Observe that anytime they loot the common good, you will find all the major ethnic group in connivance. In fact even robbery gang in Nigeria have ‘federal character’ and if you once witnessed a robbery you will notice this from the accent of the characters.
    Now if the looters and other criminals could unite for the purpose of evil, why wont the citizens unite for the purpose of good?
    Same characters that looted, mismanaged and prevented nigeria from reaching its potential will also loot and mismanage and prevent the so called regions or states with full resource control to fully develop.
    ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’
    ‘Shame on the dubious intellectuals that we have in Nigeria’

    • FineBoy

      Well said.

    • UNAFFECTED

      We need to reform our judiciary, policing, tax and elections systems. We don’t need a senate. The federal government is in charge of everything. We need to devolve power. Most of the big cities you hear of weren’t built by federal governments, they are local areas with power to tax, police, conduct elections and oversee the judiciary. We need to restructure and make it impossible for people to congregate into a stealing elite.

  • Umar Dendi

    How Nice, premium times has joined the bandwagon.
    Why are we not surprised, that these southern folk are suggesting another “restructuring”, they’ve been at the forefront of every other restructuring in Nigerian history.

    When ever the going gets tough they recede to ‘restructuring’

    Lets restructure in 54′ in 63′. In 66′ they killed innocent people so they could have a unitary state, when it didn’t go their way they ‘restructured’ a ‘Biafra’ out of Nigeria. Even the present state system was engineered by Awolowo, every one knows it.
    I for one am tired. Nigeria isn’t some game board you can jiggle around when it suits you.
    Go to Benin Republic or Cameroon and do all the restructuring you want

    • Darlington

      One million dollar question: why is North so terrified about restructuring? Isn’t this a confirmation that Northerners are the bane of Nigeria’s development? Does North’s opposition to restructuring vindicates those referring to them as ungrateful parasites? Buhari is so sacred whenever the word Biafra is mentioned. Friendship or relationship is not by compulsion but concert! You can’t hold people down for eternity. Restructuring or total separation; one MUST happen very soon.

      • Jika

        The question should rather be;who abolished the regional structure of Government that was in existence before the 1966 coup?Was it the ‘North’ or the blood thirsty coupists?Ironsi’s first major act in Government was the imposition of unitary system of Government as opposed to the regional system that was in place.Your guys thought that they would lord it over the rest of the country by having Ironsi as the head of Government and making the hitherto regional structures subservient to him as the head of state.It was a grave mistake that he made and,for which he paid with his life.The rest as they say,is history.

        • Eluba Inas

          They want to eat their cake and still have it.

        • igboham

          Impossible to have an honest discussion falsehood as the basis.

          • Jika

            I agree that it is difficult to have an honest discussion.However,I don’t believe it is because the basis of the discussion is falsehood as you suggested.My take is that,there is a feeling of mutual suspicion amongst the various nationalities that make up Nigeria.We should have tried to understand our differences and work on our commonalities.Instead,we decided to forget our differences hence our current position.My personal opinion which I believe is shared by an average Northerner,is to go our separate ways peacefully.I say this with all sense of RESPONSIBLITY and respect for the different ethnic/religious groups that make up the present day Nigeria.I pray that this will happen sooner rather than later.

        • Chukwuka Okoroafor

          But that came out of the counter coup and not the initial coup that you may be suggesting.

          • Jika

            No sir.The unification decree was actually passed by Ironsi.With all due respect,I suggest you verify your facts.The unification decree,the refusal of Ironsi to try the architects of the coup,were amongst the reasons given for the counter coup in which Ironsi and others unfortunately lost their lives.These are verifiable facts of history.

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            I meant that Ironsi was the counter coup that defeated the first coup. I had forgotten that there was another in 1967 so that may have led to confusion.

      • Umar Dendi

        We are Not afraid of restructuring!
        We have restructured Nigeria each time you people have proposed it.
        In fact in 1954 when you people wanted independence Northern Nigeria told you to go ahead while we seceded, you could have had your Biafra and Oduduwa back then, but No, you thought you could dominate the uneducated almajiris up North, you thought you could divide our ranks and conquer us piece by piece, when that didn’t work you started killing people until we had another RESTRUCTURING and then you made us had another and another and another AND NOW YOU STILL WANT ANOTHER!
        Get over yourselves people, NO MORE.
        GO to Abidjan or Cotonou and have your Biafra and Oduduwa.
        Nigeria is no chess board

    • Chukwuka Okoroafor

      Maybe some are doing this for political reasons, but the country does need to be restructured. We have a population boom coming and this centralized distribution system with a highly diverse society cannot endure in the long run. Also remember that the unitary structure came out of a counter coup and the initial coup was a multi-ethnic coup. There were Northerners who were part of it.

      • Umar Dendi

        What!!
        It Was Ironsi that initiated the Unitary state.
        And to state that Northerners were part of the Jan 66′ coup is just revisionism- except if you are one of those that claim that Nzeagwu is a Northerner.
        And just what sort of restructuring do you want? decentralisation like we had in 1966? the same decentralisation that caused a few mad men to take up guns and proclaim a strong central government?
        We have seen this before, we have seen it again and again and again. No more

        • Chukwuka Okoroafor

          It would not be like in 1960 with the regions. I know how that went. What will work is devolving power to existing states and local governments and creating a balance and check on power of the three tiers. But you cannot be serious about keeping the status quo, especially with the upcoming population boom. The current system will not be able to sustain itself in the long term and I believe it is that way at some level by design. The January 1966 coup was done by idealistic Nigerians. Ironsi was not part of the coup but was the counter force that defeated the first coup. That counter force would predominately become a mostly Igbo collection of officers. This is a great misconception and misunderstanding that many in Nigeria, like yourself, have about that part of history.

          • Umar Dendi

            Misconception? I smell revisionism.
            People in the federal executive council of Balewa’s govt have gone on the record to say that Ironsi seized power with the gun!
            How nice is it that amongst all those idealists non is a northerner, and only one non issue – wale ademoyega – is a westerner. May they rot in Hades.
            I suggest you draft this “balance” that can supposedly keep things in check, and publish the document for all of us to see, who knows? you might just convince us.
            Right now all i am seeing is people calling for 36 regions- the same people that called for an end to the regions

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            I see a revisionist in you. Are you an agent for the Sharia agenda? These are the arguments they would encourage just to shut down any debate about the need to restructure, especially with the upcoming population boom. Of course those who are Sharia supporters want restructuring, just 20 years from now when they can blame Southerners for a new economic collapse, just like we are seeing now, and they think much of the population will aimlessly buy it.

          • Umar Dendi

            Hahaha.
            I suppose thats from Radio Biafra, yeah?
            Call me whatever you would, but the crappy restructuring of a thing aint happening.
            Your people had the chance to make their Biafra in 54′ but you thought you could dominate others and hold us ransom.
            Pls Go to Abidjan like the lame dismissed soldier you idolize!

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            No. I was talking about the Sharia agenda before Radio Biafra did and I do not listen to Radio Biafra by the way. There is a real Sharia agenda unfolding and you can even read it in the Failed State 2030 report about Nigeria in the section titled ‘Paths to Failure’. Maybe you seem to think that restructuring is the backdoor to secession. It depends on how it is done of course, but some see it that way. I do not. The fact of the matter is that this structure cannot survive in the future. A population boom in a structure that encourages a vicious tribally and religiously based competition at the top that also promotes corruption cannot be a good omen. But the pro-Sharia forces want it to collapse under another Southern leader so they can pose as the saviours later. They can then have their long list of failures by Southerners in a system that they themselves fought to keep. So, I think you should at least see things from this point of view if you are really a patriot of Nigeria.

          • Umar Dendi

            Do you even hear yourself?
            Go hankering about Shariah.
            For your info the no of Northern Christians probably outstrips the no of people you have in that imaginary thing called Biafra.
            Its been the same Southern propaganda, trying to divide the North along religious lines, it failed 50 years ago and its still failing. Have a new strategy already, haba!

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            Yes, but did you see the laws recently proposed? The Grazing bill that would have allowed the Federal Government to seize land at anytime for the herdsmen? The bill that would have expanded the powers of the Sharia Court of Appeal to hear criminal cases? The new education policy merging IRK and CRK (that the government recently did a u-turn on)? The bills regulating religious practice in Kaduna and Lagos (as reasonable as that may sound)? The killer herdsmen? Yerima in 2000 and Buhari allegedly in 2001 declaring their commitment to the spread of the Sharia revolution throughout Nigeria? The Abuja Declaration of 1989? The emboldened behavior of Islamic fundamentalists? My friend, there may be a Christian majority in the North, but that can always be reversed with government policies and intimidation by empowered fundamentalist groups. Propaganda is unnecessary. These are facts and the North is already divided like the South is. We all need to unite together against those with the agenda and against the agenda.

  • UNAFFECTED

    I think we need to have a discussion on this matter. I support restructuring. Here is why. I am disgusted with how state governors are using local government administration to play a game of ping pong. I am also concerned that Nigerians as a people from whom government derives its legitimacy are not fully involved in the current democratic system. I want to see further involvement in school administration, city planning, policing and most importantly, the primary selection of candidates for elective office. We need to restructure but from my discussions with those I know in government, they appear flummoxed about how to go about it. Even the above editorial did not give suggestions. I have been calling for a constituent assembly since 1999 and won’t stop until it happens. My idea (please feel free to improve on it) is to have primary members elected from every ward in the country. They will meet at local government level to harmonize their LG’s contributions and elect three members from each local government to take these contributions to a state harmonization level where the state’s contribution will be streamlined. Each state will then elect six reps to the constituent assembly that will synthesize states’ ideas and create a constitution. There should be no no go areas. Please comment if your ideas are better than mine.

    • igboham

      State governors control the states and can never be trusted to bring a truely representative reps. I prefer a sovereign conference of indigenous peoples on the platform of the U.N.

  • Son of Abu Qaqa

    RESTRUCTURING: Where we stand – Boko Haram

    “[President Muhamadu] Buhari is saying that he will finish us. Let him
    know that before he said so, other infidels said so before now and they
    couldn’t. So this infidel by the name Buhari saying that he will finish us, he
    should know that by the grace of Allah, he cannot finish us. Rather, he will
    die, he will die, he will die. We are ready and even stronger now. We will go
    to where we never were before now and destroy what we never destroyed before
    now. We shall cut off your heads with our swords and guns.

    Our message to the infidels who are fighting us; especially their
    leader, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, is that he should know that
    we are still in this religion. And like they keep saying that they have
    defeated us; it is indeed not true, because we are in good health and
    succeeding in our cause. We are very strong and doing very well. By the will of
    Allah, under the leadership of our leader (Shekau), we will capture Buhari with
    our hands.”

    ………………..Boko Haram
    (September 12th, 2016)

  • Opekete

    I understand that the lawmakers are the best to champion the cause of restructuring but most of them are frauds. They are not interested in the welfare and future of people who elect them. They are only interested in their own personal interest. Until those asking for our votes to national assembly are made to sign undertakings to do our bidding, they will continue to treat us like idiots. When they realize that if they fail to do our bidding there will be no peace for them and their families, they will have no option than to do what we send them to national assembly to do.

  • Darlington

    One million dollar question: why is North so terrified about restructuring? Isn’t this a confirmation that Northerners are the bane of Nigeria’s development? Does North’s opposition to restructuring vindicates those referring to them as ungrateful parasites? Buhari is so sacred whenever the word Biafra is mentioned. Friendship or relationship is not by compulsion but consent! You can’t hold people down for eternity. Restructuring or total separation; one MUST happen very soon..

    • Eluba Inas

      Nigerians are funny animals. You would never know their sincerity of purpose. Ever since SE and SS lost the election they have been agitating for restructuring. They ran the government 6 years before the last election that was more than enough time to introduce it, if it was a genuine and sincere agitation.

      • Chukwuka Okoroafor

        Did you forget about the CONFAB of 2014 or did that not happen?

  • aversuki

    @opekete:disqus

    I just want to appeal to Premium Times Editors and journalists. They should remove their Hijab so that
    they can see very well how this nonsense President Muhamadu Buhari is destroying Nigeria everyday.

    Instead of Premium Times journalists to come to Central Market here in Jos, Plateau state they are

    there writing Oxford English on RESTRUCTURING. Look, do you know that today a bag of rice is

    23,000 Naira for a bag. Just come here and see it with your eyes. I can’t cook RESTRUCTURING
    and eat it. I cannot serve RESTRUCTURING to my little children as breakfast. So, first thing first.
    You must help us tell international community that Buhari is destroying our family with genocide.
    It is genocide for millions of families that can no longer feed their children because of Buhari.

    • Dominic Agwu

      Where is that Bayo Onanuga?

      Yepa! Just one bag
      of rice is 23,000 Naira today in Jos. Kai. That is like end time for you people in
      Plateau state. See O, only five days ago the Managing Director of News Agency
      of Nigeria (NAN) BAYO ONANUGA told the nation that food is so cheap in that
      same Jos that 700 Naira food can tear somebody’s stomach. What kind of useless
      man is that? Because you now living in Jos, Plareau state, are giving us the
      true picture of famine. Why is Bayo Onanuga such an evil man? He was just
      telling lies to the nation to save his own job while people are begging for
      food and dying in Plateau state!

    • TrueFairGame

      It doesn’t require much wisdom to know why rice seem expensive.
      1. The state is effectively blocking importation of rice
      2. The local factories cannot cover for the demand which causes price to go up.

      The truth is that you have been consuming cheap rice from china, indonasia etc and so long as importation continues, local production will not be profitable and even farming it will be abandoned. The local production can never build capacity to compete.
      In this era of tactical protectionism there is no other way of encouraging local production. Once the local production is profitable, more players will enter from farming to processing and eventually the price will stabilize and the state will no longer be dependent on import to survive.
      Now you have a choice either to endure now or jeopadize the survival of your children in the future. No nation can become wealthy by importing everything they need.

    • Awala

      Apart from destroying the economy and making suicide a weekly occurrence in Nigeria in the last 2 months, Buhari has actually been a killer. He has also been killing indirectly – The shit Muslims of the North (421 were killed and buried in mass graves)…..and Biafra protesters (77 were killed and buried in mass graves)————————–and the Soldiers acted on the orders of their commander in chief – Mohammed Buhari. Again, the man does not care when Fulani herdsmen kill my people in Jos and Benue. In fact, he has never visited the victims. Never. ————-Again he has never visited the Niger Delta but wants their resources. Something is very wrong with Buhari. Wickedness. Pure evil. Imagine, in less than 3 weeks, 3 Nigerians have committed suicide out of hardship….and in each case they left suicide note for Buhari—————-Other papers report it but never Premium Times. They prefer to report on Pilgrimage to mecca.

  • SECESSION and only SECESSION

    We the people of the Delta DEMAND complete SECESSION and ABSOLUTE control of our God given RESOURCES. We are not for restructuring, regionalism or anything in like nature. We demand a complete break away from parasitic Nigeria laden with violent Islamist Sharia loving North and their accomplice from Western Nigeria. Ours is an emphatic resolve to leave Nigeria once and for all.

    We also restate our claim to our land (Bakassi) which was criminally given away to Cameroon under the watch of Obasanjo in order to decimate our wealth in the Delta and by implication our influence in the region. It is ironic that Nigerian Army never paraded any fighter Jets to chase Cameroonians away from our Bakassi but has now deployed fighter Jets against a people it says must be part of Nigeria. It is undiluted criminality and evil of the highest order.

    Whether in peace or otherwise, our resolve to break away from Nigeria is irreversible and the opinion of other regions is not necessary. If we are attacked, we will defend ourselves. Period. We salute the A.vengers for the good work they have been doing thus far.

    • dami

      olodo number 1…when your kinsman was in power why didnt you call him on the phone and tell him you wanted to leave?

  • dami

    Why restructuring?
    because some people are aggrieved that the person they supported in an election lost?
    would they be soliciting for restructuring if PDP won…or they would of continued looting? or are you telling me if they won they would of willfully given up looting to restructure the country?
    C’mon..the wailers will get tired of wailing and move on…also any restructuring will be unpopular cos the majority voted in the present government and the minority are the ones clamoring for restructuring…let the aggrieved / sore losers go and campaign with a better alternative / better candidates and a better plan for Nigeria / better manifesto and they can also win against the incumbent.

    • Chukwuka Okoroafor

      But the clamor has gone on for years. Let us not pretend that this is a new agitation.

      • dami

        And was was unusually low keyed when pdp was in power then they raised their voice once they lost the election.

        Restructuring won’t solve anything – saying it as it is will do us more good esp as this clamour is strongly based on sour grapes and losers being sore losers.

        • Chukwuka Okoroafor

          Was having the 2014 CONFAB being unusually low keyed about restructuring to you? Restructuring will not solve all problems, but it will bring government closer to the people, make groups feel a larger stake in running Nigeria, and will overall increase transparency. The wrong type of restructuring will not help matters (restructuring that keeps excessive power in the hands of the Federal Government). Power should be devolved to states and local governments. A balance and check of power needs to be created between the federal, state, and local governments. This has gone on since the 1990s and it is long overdue.

  • Papa Oghwriodo

    MY CHILDREN,

    Hope the weather is not too cold? It is very cold here in Warri. I have to wear two clothes. But I am hearing something.

    My neighbour was the one who told me this thing. I think that was two days ago. When I entered my internet today I saw
    the same thing there. The Boko Haram boys want to restructure Nigeria in another way. They want to capture President Buhari and take him to Sambisa forest either to beat him up there or to cut his head. Our army officers must be alert.

    For Boko Haram to say this thing out they have planned it very well. Nigerian soldiers must take extra bullets in
    their pockets to follow President Buhari everywhere. Even when the President is going to toilet the soldiers must
    not allow President Buhari to lock the door of the toilet. They must stand in front of him. Boko Haram boys can
    dig a tunnel and come out of toilet bowl to capture President Buhari. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

    • Guest

      Your memory loss is an early sign of dementia, search around Warri marketplace or the nearest police station for your children identity. Do it quickly don’t tarry, u know kidnapping is big business for Warri.

  • emmanuel

    Secession/Break up and not restructuring.

    • Umar Dendi

      sorry pal, your forefathers have ceded your right to secede.
      But you can always migrate to the ivory coast.