A presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not moved by ‘unpatriotic’ calls for the restructuring of the nation.
Mr Shehu in a statement on Sunday said the president is at the moment concerned with the wellbeing of the nation and its people.
The statement was a reaction to the call by some high profile Nigerians including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Enoch Adeboye, who on Saturday said only an urgent restructuring would save Nigeria from breaking up.
Mr Adeboye echoed the calls of others like the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; and a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili; at the 60th Independence Day Celebration Symposium organised by RCCG and the Nehemiah Leadership Institute.
“Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria? Let me explain. We all know that we must restructure. It is either we restructure or we break up. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that. That is certain – restructure or we break up,” the cleric was quoted by various newspapers.
But in reaction to this, the presidency said the latest calls for restructuring are “recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, ‘the nation will break up.”
He warned against such “unpatriotic outbursts,” saying Mr Buhari’s administration “will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“This administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of a health crisis.
“The President as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the parliamentary processes to finding solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people”, the statement read.
Also contributing to the debate, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, said restructuring will come after due process has been followed.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos on Sunday, the NGF chairman said “concrete steps had been made to make proposals to the National Assembly.”
He stressed that federalism is the answer to most of the challenges Nigeria is facing as a nation.