Restructuring: Nigeria’s Unity Must Be Our First Focus, Says Saraki

Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki
Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki

Damilola Oyedele

President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola, on Friday emphasized that the nation’s unity remains a prerequisite for Nigeria’s development, stability and greatness.

Speaking in Calabar, at the retreat held by the Southern Senators’ Forum, Saraki insisted: “We must always put Nigeria first” in the ongoing debate about restructuring of the country and other similar agitations.

“As a nation, unity is a prerequisite for development, stability and greatness. Unity is the first focus. Without unity, we can achieve nothing. And yet we know that, since the end of the Nigerian Civil War, our unity has never been more challenged than at the present time.

“There are agitations across the length and breadth of this country that threaten our unity. And this time around, the threats are multi-faceted, and the vagaries of modern times have made the issues even more challenging than in the early post-independence era.”

He further stated that the founders of Nigeria’s Constitution had envisioned the current agitations, and had put in place guidelines to ensure that the entire country must be on the same page in order to take drastic decisions.

“In seeking to carry out any reform or restructuring, it is worth bearing in mind that the founders of our country, in their wisdom, had laid down some guidelines, making clear that it cannot be done by a simple majority, but rather by a two-thirds majority.

“To this end, we must all be on the same page. We cannot bully or browbeat others into accepting our point of view or positioning. Whatever we do must be by consensus, with the buy-in of all critical stakeholders in the debate,” Saraki said.

He also emphasized that Nigeria was not alone in its current predicament, stating that in Africa and the rest of the world, similar agitations were making governments and those they rule over to question their continued co-existence, amid new and persistent threats to their unity.

Saraki said: “The ripples of Catalonia’s failed referendum bid are still being felt in Spain. In other parts of the Western hemisphere, the rise of right wing populism – amid concerns about immigration and illegal migration – is fueling suspicion and injecting an element of the unpredictable into once stable societies.

“Britain’s shock Brexit vote not only brought about a seismic shift in the political dynamics of that country, it also prefigured the dawning of Trumpian America. Sections of U.S. society are now locked in a fractious debate about what it means to be American. From anthem protests by African American football stars to the debate over Confederate statues to inflamed confrontations in Charlottesville, the United States is roiling with its own agitations. In the Middle East, a location of historical disagreement over borders, religion and statehood, the solutions seem far off.

“In all of this – the ability to dialogue, to listen to one another, to seek to understand the other person and to accept each other’s differences – is important in this issue of unity. Indeed, unity must exist before you can even talk about restructuring or reform. And so, Distinguished Colleagues, one of my messages to you today is this poser: How Do We Stay Together?”

Saraki also stated that it is the responsibility of legislators to find the necessary clarity that will allow substance to override parochial considerations and crude sentiments. He also stated that Nigeria’s democracy is built around compromise, and Senators have a responsibility to reassure their constituents and inculcate in them a sense of belonging that will also make them to always put Nigeria first.

He further challenged the senators from the Southern part of the country to play their own role in boosting the profitability of commercial enterprises in their states, thereby creating an economic boom that will enhance the unity of the nation and provide more opportunities for people.

  • Political Affey

    Senate should stop fooling us saying they want to unite us. How do you unite the people that you have almost used hunger to kill? The people who you have robbed of their future while you were busy cavorting and revelling in your all night love parties?
    It is an insult for the senate president to say they want to unite Nigerians when they are the ones playing divide and rule game just to hold on to power perpetually.

    There is nothing to suggest that the lawmakers want Nigerians to be united. How will they exploit the benefit of the centripetal tendencies from which they have profited since Nigeria was born in 1960? This is the culture passed to people like Saraki which ‘promoted’ him to the senate, which will surely promote his own children too. The question is this, if these people refuse to get serious and work hard to save the country, who will their children govern over? Unity talk is cheap!

  • Chuma Anierobi

    Saraki in his ambition to be senate president created the problem in the PDP knowing very well that he could not displace Mark so long as he is in PDP. For this anything from a selfish bigot must be taken with grain of salt. Mischief maker.

  • Mystic mallam

    So Mr. Saraki has joined the APC ”confusedniks” who equate restructuring with breaking-up Nigeria. The APC ”confusionists” should beware that the mischief they are now sowing in response to the peoples’ genuine desire for resetting the country, is exactly what will precipitate the break-up they claim to fear. When their mischief matures, it will take whatever course it will and none of its creators will be in a position to stop it. In Nigeria of today, restructuring is the voice of commonsense and reason, it preaches the gospel of rationality and hardcore patriotism, it alone has the salve to heal and salvage Nigeria from the mortal wounds that over ambitious soldiers and their civilian acolytes inflicted on her sovereign prospects. Those who oppose restructuring for whatever reasons, have the right to do so under the ethos of democracy, but they should stop insulting us by claiming they do not know what it means. That conspiracy will fail, and with it, the strong, united and prosperous Nigeria that most of us crave. That’s a steep price to pay for the selfish interest, or impaired strategic vision, of the few. The time to listen to the voices, and hearken to the yearnings of the majority is now, time is no longer our friend, never really was.

  • Anthony Odafe Odeghe

    self conceited wishfull thinking to mean as far as I am ok it is well with every other person

  • Bro. Thomas Uzombah

    The priority should rather be putting in place a structure that guarantee equal opportunity to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, not only to participate in socioeconomic activities, but also in the proceeds of such endeavors. And such a structure will only come into existence by restructuring which could create ground for innovations and entrepreneurial, instincts, the purveyor of inclusive growth paradigm that allow majority of the people of the given nation to participate in the national economic development. I want also remind Dr Saraki that justice

  • Godson

    At this your status in the politics of Nigeria, you are still talking unity as your priority. So what have you been doing all this while? You are now satisfied in stealing treasury and you now remembered unity. Shameful leaders. You all will never go unpunished for destroying Nigeria

  • Intrepid

    Talk another thing!

  • Abulegbaa

    I cannot understand the reason why anybody that is clamoring for restructuring is out to destroy the unity of Nigeria. It seems I am the only smart person in the South, who understand the antics of the North as it pertains to restructuring, except FFK and Fayose and recently Ekweremadu. I will also give a free pass to Afenifere scribe.

    The North wants status quo, where they lord it over us and corner all the goodies coming from the South. Restructuring is making the country to be entrepreneurial for quick development and killing laziness among all the zones in the country. North do not want hard work, they don’t even want to develop the potentials buried in their place; all they want is to be the MD of NNPC and heads of all the juicy government agencies in the country.

    Operation Python Dance, Crocodile Smile and Operation Kill Nnamdi Kanu were meant to silence the voices clamoring for restructuring. Unfortunately, they easily find willing tools in the hand of the foolish South like Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Umahi of Ebony State, plus, including Tinubu (Zebrudaya language). Do you again hear the illiterate Arewa Youth any more, no, their bidding have been done by the certificate less Buhari. Can anybody who failed WASC from the South be allowed o rule Nigeria?

    Nnamdi Kanu was the giant hook that wanted to drown and scatter the whole of North. The Igbo politicians, not the Yorubas, Buhari and some South-South rebels helped drove or kill Nnamdi Kanu. For the people of South- South, Ken Saro Wiwa died in the hands of the North, to stop the agitation of fair dealing from the wealth buried in that area, yet these fools never learnt any lesson. The cry of Ogoni 9 and their blood will never for give those betraying them. The North used the military to position themselves to a vintage point, coup after coup and the foolish Southerners were given the minister of information to cover them, just like what Adesina is doing for the cabals now. The Hausa give us the empty drum to beat while the drum full of crude oil is given to Shehu to keep. Foolish Southerners!!!!! Will Nigeria still remain one if a Southern soldier kill 9 Hausa personalities for the mineral buried in Zamfara? Oya, Clark, Ibinabo or Diete answer that question.

    The wealth from the South are being spent to find oil in the arid North, so that they will go their own way, yet the foolish Southerners cannot see beyond their noses.

    • Jon

      Well articulated. I hope every Southerner would read this piece.

    • Pluti

      Child, after fighting Hausa/Fulani like you proffered, what’s next? Cos during this fight, the economy will be as bad as Zimbabwe, crippled and dying and thousands of death though you might prefer millions. Sit down think well, everything nor connect, the real problems are not your highlighted, they are poverty all over Nigeria and underdevelopment. Even the north are so poor that 20 years ago, kwashiorkor was normal there. They’ve never had it good as it south

    • Political Affey

      I wish you will look beyond your Hausa Fulani Yoruba Igbo concourse. It befuddles the truth.