Obasanjo backs restructuring Nigeria

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo [Photo credit: Ventures Africa]

A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has warned that Nigeria should not turn its back on the clamour for restructuring.

Mr. Obasanjo spoke on Friday at a Convocation Lecture organised by the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.

He said the university has set the pace for the discussion on restructuring.

The former president is among 14,771 students set for graduation from NOUN on Saturday. He recently defended his PhD. thesis on Christian Theology.

Speaking on restructuring, he warned that it is wrong not to give listening ears to the calls for it. He said restructuring will unify the country more as those who are crying will feel a sense of belonging.

“Some people have to lay it open. So, let us lay it open. And I’m happy this forum has laid it open,” Mr. Obasanjo said after the guest lecturer, Eghosa Osaghae, finished delivering his lecture titled: “Restructuring and True Federalism: Nigeria in Perspective.”

Mr. Osaghae, Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, earlier noted that, “Federalism is true when it is appropriate and able to serve purposes for which it is adopted and untrue when it is not able to do so.”

He, however, warned that federalism is “a delicate system whose efficacy or success cannot be guaranteed, as evidenced by the travails and threats that several federations go through and the higher number of them that failed.”

Speaking about restructuring, Mr. Osaghae opined that, “it restructuring can be said to be a catchall term for the continuous process of adjustments that federal systems ungergo. It entails changes in numbers, boundaries and powers of constituent units as well as relations between federal and subnational governments.”

According to the professor, “any federal system that fails to continuously restructure and respond to changing dynamics is not likely to work well or survives.”

Mr. Osaghae, however, agreed that restructuring under the form of separatist agitation, secession movement, ethnic conflicts and civil wars make the headline news and in some cases “may lead to the end of federalism rather than its remediation.”

“It is ironic that allegations of marginalisation, exclusion and injustice allude to poor roads, absence of running water, hospitals and schools, erosion, unemployment and the like-matters which the states and local governments should take responsibility.

“The states were not so lucky in the offshore-onshore case in which the federal government sought a declaration that it had exclusive rights to offshore sources of revenue and that states were only entitled to a share of revenue from onshore sources.”

Declaring the lecture open, Vice Chancellor of the university, Abdalla Adamu, explained that NOUN is proud to have Mr. Obasanjo as its first PhD. graduate.

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