Southern leaders forum demand restructuring now, faults Buhari

Buhari 2
President Muhammadu Buhari

A forum of some southern and middle belt Nigerian leaders has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on restructuring expressed in his 2018 New Year address.

The president in his broadcast on Monday said addressing the process of governance rather than restructuring the country was the way out of Nigeria’s crisis.

He said: “In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about ‘Restructuring’. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments.

“We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.

“We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.

“However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better.

“I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability,” the president had stated.

The ruling All Progressives Congress later clarified that the president in his address did not altogether reject restructuring, a subject the party said is part of its agenda.

But apparently not convinced by the party’s clarification of Mr. Buhari’s stance, the southern and middle belt leaders forum insisted that Nigeria is facing crisis because of the dysfunctional structure of the country.

Its position was contained in in a press release signed by Yinka Odumakin, Publicity Secretary of South-west group, Afenifere; Bassey Henshaw from the South-south; C Ogbu from the South-east; and Isuwa Dogo from the Middle Belt.

It said: “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum welcomes Nigerians into the year 2018 after a grueling and harrowing 2017 in which our people went through untold hardship as the crisis of our dysfunctional structure took its worst toll.

“It was a hellish time when suicide became MAN OF THE YEAR as many of our citizens found life unworthy of further living and jumping into available rivers or hanging on the ceilings.”

According to the forum, the massive loss of jobs in 2017 was tied to government’s deviance to restructuring

“The National Bureau of Statistics reported a loss of four million jobs in the year with millions of those employed working without pay for several months,” the forum noted.

“Our citizens who fled abroad because there is no hope for them at home were subjected to all manners of degrading and inhuman treatments as the horror tales from Libya where Nigerians were auctioned for $400, turned to sex slaves and subjected to extreme violence.

“On the home front, life is becoming short, nasty and brutish as death and violence are now common place in the hands of AK 47-wielding herdsmen, armed robbers, kidnappers and enraged spouses.

“It is a time when we should be having national introspection to know where the rain began to beat us, how to dry our clothes and ensure that we are no longer exposed to rainfall.

“Unfortunately, we are not addressing the cause of our affliction and only trying to rationalize our needless failure, passing the buck and running from the solutions to our problem.

“We are in a period where empty platitudes are being offered our people instead of concrete assurances on reasoned prescriptions .

“Social scientists have argued correctly that a problem is not resolved either by running away from it or ascribing it to the wrong source.Unfortunately that is what we are doing as a country by playing down our crisis of “structure”while on a wild goose chase about ‘process’.

“That is akin to a man going to Benin City while driving towards Benin Republic.The faster he runs, the father he is away from his destination.

“The truth of the matter is that our nationhood crisis has peaked and there are no further opportunities to guarantee opportunities for our citizens no matter the good intentions of leaders or even unrealistic promises packaged to offer them false hope.

“In 1983, when the Shehu Shagari administration was overthrown, its budget for a country of 80 million people was $25 billion. 35 years after, the Buhari government has just proposed a $23 billion budget for about 180 million people!

“The above clearly shows that there is no way out of our systemic crisis except we resume productivity which was our hallmark in the years that we practiced federalism as an entity.

“We have exhausted all possibilities of a rentier and sharing economy and all that is left is unemployment, hunger, gnashing of teeth and conflicts among nationalities over shrinking opportunities.

“We cannot become a productive country under a 1999 constitution which keeps 68 items on the exclusive list, including mineral resources which abound all over the country but which the states whose governors are constitutionally vested with authority over land cannot touch.

“We need to give authorities to the federating units over their resources for self-sustenance and paying all necessary dues to the Federation to sustain common services. We must devolve more powers and authorities to them to have effective state administrations.

“The Federal police has shown it lacks the capacity to deal with crimes in a multi-ethnic society like ours, the imperative of state police has never been more urgent than now.

“Restructuring means nothing else than the above .It is a call for return to a Nigeria that worked under federalism as against the failing state we are becoming under a unitary structure.

“Nigerians must organize ,mobilize and work towards building an inclusive and productive country in 2018 using all democratic and peaceful means.It is a year to battle for the soul of the country by forces of federalism and upholders of a suffocating unitary system.

“May victory be on the side of those who seek the progress of Nigeria,” the statement by the forum concluded.


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  • emmanuel

    “Its position was contained in in a press release signed by Yinka Odumakin, Publicity Secretary of South-west group, Afenifere; Bassey Henshaw from the South-south; C Ogbu from the South-east; and Isuwa Dogo from the Middle Belt.”

    God has heard my deep cries and prediction in January 2016. This is the new Nigeria.
    My appeal to everyone from the four regions above who is promise Vice Presidential aspirant by the enemies of Nigeria, so as to use them for divisive activities is that they must be wise.
    That has been the major instruments they have used over the years to ensure the people do not speak with one voice. Now that we all have discovered, we must work hard to reduce their arrogance to naught.
    Every young and old person from these regions must register, vote and protect their votes in 2019.
    To the young social-media freaks, be street wise now and open ya eyes wide, nobody f*ols you again

    • emmanuel

      *promised

    • @Frank Bassey


      This is the problem with Nigeria. How can a Yinka Odumakin be releasing a statement by SOUTHERN leaders group? Nigeria is North, East, South & West. Ideally, Yinka Odumakin is unarguably from the West and should have no business in a Southern Leaders forum. This attempt to lump the West, South and East as all 3 making up the South is the hand work of Northern Nigeria and it is to ensure that their mole (Western Nigeria) will always protect the interest of the North and further its course for the benefit of both )North & West) regions. A similar strategy is also been employed in attempting to categorize Ondo state as a Niger Deltan state and thus attempting to send representatives from Ondo to Niger Delta meetings. We thank God that the Niger Delta people have resisted this as so it must be.

      For purposes of clarity, what we should have is Western, Southern, Eastern & Northern leaders forum and any other contraption is pure deception. Irrelevant!

  • Frank Bassey

    This is the problem with Nigeria. How can a Yinka Odumakin be releasing a statement by SOUTHERN leaders group? Nigeria is North, East, South & West. Ideally, Yinka Odumakin is unarguably from the West and should have no business in a Southern Leaders forum. This attempt to lump the West, South and East as all 3 making up the South is the hand work of Northern Nigeria and it is to ensure that their mole (Western Nigeria) will always protect the interest of the North and further its course for the benefit of both )North & West) regions. A similar strategy is also been employed in attempting to categorize Ondo state as a Niger Deltan state and thus attempting to send representatives from Ondo to Niger Delta meetings. We thank God that the Niger Delta people have resisted this as so it must be.

    For purposes of clarity, what we should have is Western, Southern, Eastern & Northern leaders forum and any other contraption is pure deception. Irrelevant!

    • Opekete

      You have a short sighted view of how political objectives are achieved in a multi ethnic nation like Nigeria.The ability to work across ethnic and religious divide together with of same political view and aspiration is what makes a success of any political agenda. If the south east or south south think they can succeed with their political agenda without working across ethnic divides, good luck to them.

    • Okokondem

      “A similar strategy is also been employed in attempting to categorize Ondo state as a Niger Deltan state and thus attempting to send representatives from Ondo to Niger Delta meetings. We thank God that the Niger Delta people have resisted this as so it must be.”

      Good, you can now relate to the strategy and logic behind the compartmentalization of what wa formerly Eastern Region, first into mushroom states, followed by the so called Geopolitical Zones of South East and South South. The goal was no other than to create disaffection among the ethnic nationalities that comprised the region, a classic Divide & Conquer strategy.

  • PREDICTIONS by Charly Boy

    1. I see Boko Haram laying down their arms and organising a peace concert.

    2. I see Nigerian pastors they are planning to stop collecting tithes they are building schools for their poor congregation

    3. I see Nigerian police stop collecting bribe and brutalising the poor, hooray to them.

    4. Dead people will remain in the land of the dead they will no longer be made ministers.

    5. Old people shall pass away for the young to grow.

    6. This 2018 will be what we make of it, even if we swim or sink no messiah is coming to rescue us, make we all agree say our mumu don reach final bus stop.

  • Anonymous

    And what is that perfection of the process? To keep giv9ng governors Paris fund and bail outs? To continue a budgetary implementation with less than 40% funding and the remaoning 60% unaccounted for? To continue a budhet of duplicarion of contracts snd prpjects? To continue a centrist government? To make and individuals BHARISM Ideology which is entrist and northenr agenda a stae policy instead of progresive ideologies?

  • wode

    Yinka Odumankin is speaking for himself alone. Who are the Southerners or Southwesterners that the headline is talking about. When it comes to election these people claiming to represent Yorubas are on their own. Afterall they did not support Buhari in 2015 and that was of no effect. What needs to be restructured is ourselves and our psyches. Forget the number or type of restructuring they may be talking about. If we don’t restructure our minds and processes nothing is going to change.

    • douglas

      SOME PEOPLE NEED HOSPITAL….WATCH WHAT THEY SAY

    • Otile

      How did Buhari restructure himself after the 1985 débâcle, did he go back to school to improve himself? The dunce remains as crude as he has always been. With him Nigeria has suffered the worst setback any developing country can suffer in this day and age.

  • Dan arewa

    LOL who are these leaders? Buhari didnt win the elections to serve your needs, if you to restructure, form a party, get a candidate, campaign, win an election and restructure otherwise StheF up.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Nigeria will continue to be a sham, mediocre and dysfunctional democracy untill it dumps all the human and governmental relics from the military dictatorship era . That includes the kleptocratic and blood thirsty ex Generals and the fraudulent constitution they doctored and indirectly imposed on her.

  • Major Gideon Okar

    WHY WE STRUCK . . .

    How many more lives have been lost to the Hausa-Fulani butchery since our execution in 1990? Obviously they run into their tens of thousands. We knew this would happen and that was what we wanted to prevent. Because of the possibility of failure we wanted to leave the message which some termed unacceptable and others, premature.

    Nigerians can be forgiven for failure to understand the necessity of excising those states in 1990. But now, how many millions of lives, how much destruction of property, infrastructure and places of worship will it take to convince skeptics that excision is the only way to stop it.

    We, that laid down our lives to save you:
    Major Gideon Orkar, Captain Empere, Captain Dakolo, Capt Nonju, Lt. Akogun, Lt. CN Odey, Lt. Cyril Ozualor, Lt. NEO Deji, 2/Lt AB Umukoro, 2/Lt EJ Ejesuku, SSgt Julius Itua, Sgt Martins Ademokhai, Sgt. Pius Ilegar and over a hundred others.

  • Kenny

    Nice piece! Road map to true federalism! ! Road map for a progressive Nigeria! !!