Paul Obi in Abuja
Former Minister of Health, Prof. A.B.C Nwosu yesterday said that without restructuring that the country may soon die naturally.
He maintained that given the naked systemic injustice perpetuated by the current federal structure, Nigeria will soon stop existing if the government fails to restructure the country.
He told journalists on the sidelines of the public presentation of a book entitled: “Dan-Nzelu: The biography of one of Nigeria’s foremost oil Engineers”, written by Jimmy Imo, to commemorate the 10 years anniversary of the death of Dan Nzelu, former Executive Director of Pipeline Products Marketing Company
According to the former minister, a situation where there is too much over-concentration of power at the centre was not the dream of the founding fathers of Nigeria, and has tended to strangulate the economic growth and development of states.
Nwosu said: “This country will either live if restructured or die, if it is not restructured. Let me repeat it, this country will die if it doesn’t restructure; this country will live if it restructures. And restructuring to me is not regionalisation. We can’t go on the way we are going on.
“If there is a problem in the North East, it is the Federal Government, in the Niger Delta, it is the Federal Government, in Anambra State, it is the Federal Government. That is not the country our founding fathers envisaged.
“For those who don’t know, I was in secondary school, class 4 in 1960 when Nigeria got independence. It wasn’t the vision of the Premiers then. Even in church, the Bishop is not in charge of determining for the Parish when weddings take place. Isn’t it so? They have what is called principle of subsidiarity.
“I am a Catholic, but John Cardinal Onaiyekan (Catholic Archbishop of Abuja) doesn’t determine Holy Trinity here; he’s the father of the Catholic Church, let alone the one in Gwagwalada, not to talk of my town, Nnewi.
“Why does the Federal Government want to be in charge of everything? The Federal Government will collect the money for everything, collect the powers for everything and that is why we have wastage.
“You have a Permanent Secretary and he has so many billions of Dollars and millions of Naira. It is not right, if you devolve this money or responsibilities from the centre to the government nearer to the people, they will know where the pothole is and patch them up.”
Nwosu said Nzelu remain “a phenomenally talented Engineer” and one of the best Nigeria has produced, “but who was self-effacing.
He added that the deceased “was so immersed in his works and solving problems but was not interested in being praised for doing his job.”