Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

Ejiofor Alike
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has re-echoed the need to restructure the country, saying a restructured Nigeria is feasible provided it favours “a peaceful, safe, prosperous, virile, united, and indivisible Nigeria that offers every man, woman and child a brighter and better future where each and everyone has a chance to build and share in this great country’s potential.”

In his New Year message, the governor noted that the clamour for the re-structuring of the country’s federal system is in response to the cries of marginalisation by various segments of the country as well as the understanding that the federation, as presently constituted, impedes optimal development and the realisation of the peoples’ aspirations.
He added that by whatever name it is christened, restructuring is not a magic bullet that would resolve all of Nigeria’s challenges or those of any section, region or zone of the country.

The governor, however, stated that this assertion does not detract from the fact that the country is in need of redefinition and conversation to address all the imbalances inherent in the present Nigerian nation.

“I am therefore constrained to draw our attention to the fact that the needs of our dear country is beyond restructuring because we are yet to realise the urgency and depth thereto, rather, exigencies of our time make this roundtable imperative a sine-qua-non.  In addition to the debate on restructuring, on how resources are allocated, power shared or devolved, there is need for Nigerians to renew their commitment to moral renewal, spiritual reawakening and reorientation. Reframing the mindset and attitude of the citizens are a major catalyst in our objective to propel our country to greater height.
Therefore my fear is that the greatest threat to the call for restructuring is our fixated mindset and lack of mutual respect for one another,” he explained.

According to him, the present times therefore call for patriotism, tolerance, strength in our diversity, fair play, self-sacrifice, hard work, selfless service and commitment to public wellbeing.
He argued that it is in the interest of the country that the people build bridges of accommodation, understanding and brotherhood.

“Some integral issues staring us in the face include are Citizens who are fractured, disengaged and poorly mobilised for the needed sacrifice required to trace the pathway to sustainable economic growth and nation building and an unwilling populace reluctant to trust any one, neither proponents nor opponents of the call for re-structuring. This is dangerous because until we see more Igbos moving into Gwoza and Sambisa to build shops and plazas just as we expect the Dantatas and Deribes establish in Enugu, Abakaliki and Ohafia we cannot expect any meaningful change. Taking this into cognisance, the need for a holistic approach to restructuring becomes imperatives,” he added.

He stressed that the political class and leadership must demonstrate exemplary conduct in terms of probity, integrity, transparency, consistency and altruistic commitment in order to mobilise Nigerians to face their common challenges of poverty, ignorance, infrastructural decay and under development.

“Stellar leadership at various levels in our country is also a critical requirement, if we must galvanise our people, provide templates and framework that is capable of supporting a redistribution of opportunities and resources, not necessarily by collecting from one zone and throwing to another, but by empowering the ordinary citizens on terms that he/she can comprehend and grasp for meaningful participation in the Nigerian socio-economic enterprise. The decisive step in our long pathway of restructuring is probably to create a sense of inclusion, participation in our economic and democratic process,” Ikpeazu said.