Afenifere Lectures Osinbajo on ‘Restructuring Nigeria’

Nigeria’s vice-president Yemi Osinbajo has betrayed his ignorance of the true meaning of “restructuring” now widely canvassed across the country. The lot fell on his kinsmen to lecture him: Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, on Monday issued a statement explaining to the vice-president “the whole restructuring package”. Read it below:–

The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the statement credited to the vice-president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), that the call for the restructuring of Nigeria would not make any difference.

The vice-president in the faux pas also argued that if states were given half of the resources of the federal government it would not make any difference and that all we need is to diversify into agriculture.

While we understand that the learned professor, who is from the zone that has been loudest on this call, may have come under pressure to lend his voice to the upholders of the status quo that has brought Nigeria to this sorry pass, we would like to respectfully admonish him to be sure-footed on the subject before he speaks next time.

He misses the entire debate by engaging in the reductionist argument narrowing the whole issue to taking more money from the federal government to the states. Yes, fiscal federalism is part of the argument but the issue goes beyond the monthly Federal Allocation Committee.

The central plank of restructuring is for Nigeria to go back to the true practice of federalism wherein mineral resources that abound in all states would be freed from the exclusive list so that states would move into prosperity and not be reporting at Prof. Osinbajo’s office for bailout from a centre that only corners what belongs to the states. They would also have enough to contribute to sustain the occupiers of Abuja and the functions that are allocated to them.

Beyond resources, the country is reeling under crime today and the single police force we currently maintain has proved incapable of dealing with the situation. When you listen to commissioners of police lamenting at the scenes of crime these days, you will think they are part of passers-by terrified by the horror of crime. It is clear we need multi-level policing to combat crime and have effective policing.

From the federal, down to states and local governments, we are bogged down with over-bloated bureaucracies that consume as much as 90% of available resources and with little or nothing left for development. We must address how long we want to travel with this culture of waste and to see if we can deliver better governance with a manageable architecture.

The question of diversification is a point that advocates of restructuring have canvassed, as it makes no sense for a country as vast in resources as Nigeria to depend on a mono-product economy. It is part of restructuring we are talking about and not an alternative to it.

The restructuring package has a whole wide range of issues that have to do with justice administration, electoral system and its cost implications, conflicts arising from clash of cultures and how to deal with them to ensure peaceful co-existence.
Nigeria is fast falling apart and all genuine patriots have come to a consensus that we must restructure to arrest the drift.

Yes, there is a minority that is insisting that we must continue the way we are just like the minders of some empires that have disappeared from the world map did. The vice-president is free to cast his lot with this group even when silence could have been golden, but he should at least try to acquaint himself with the issues so people are not wondering what we are talking and what he is saying.

We use this development to advise all those who seek high offices to ensure they are not far from issues that shape their political environment and pay due attention to civic education.

Yinka Odumakin
National Publicity Secretary

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