Nwabueze’s Group Insists on Restructuring Before 2019 Elections

Ben Nwabueze
Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN)

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Eminent Leaders of Thought, a forum of national patriots have resolved to convene a national summit on restructuring before the 2019 general election, observing that the current governance structure in the country is embedded in corruption.

The forum under the chairmanship of Prof. Ben Nwabueze has equally commenced national consultation with leaders of thought in the north, insisting that Nigeria’s governance structure must be restructured for the 2019 elections to be meaningful.

The forum resolved to convene the summit at its last meeting held at the Chief Rotimi Williams’ Chambers, Ilupeju, Lagos, noting that Nigeria should urgently evolve a new governance structure that could bring meaning to the 2019 election.

At its meeting last week, the forum resolved “to convene a national summit on restructuring. The summit will be all-inclusive. It will be convened jointly by Eminent Leaders of Thought in the South and Eminent Leaders of Thought in the North.”

At that level, according to the resolution of the forum, the federal government will be expected to participate. The summit will consider strategies, processes and methodology of constituting a constituent assembly.

The forum, also, resolved that it would have a major interface with the federal government very soon, adding that the leaders of thought would meet governments at all levels – leadership of the House of Representatives, the Senate, Nigerian Governors Forum, Presidency and Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly on the issues.

It observed that it would adopt multilateral approach “to finding a way that will lead to constitutional change. We resolve to include all critical interests, segments and stakeholders in pursuit of restructuring agenda.

“The APC has initiated a process of restructuring. Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el Rufai coordinated the process. Also, the Northern State Governors Forum initiated another process of restructuring under the leadership of Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal.

“The fact that the APC has initiated a process on restructuring gives impetus to pursue the agenda to a logical conclusion. The first thing is to get the commitment of the federal government towards restructuring Nigeria,” the forum resolved at its last meeting.

It resolved that the present structure “cannot enable good governance. It cannot encourage good leadership because the structure itself is embedded in corruption. For the 2019 election to make meaning, we must restructure Nigeria. What we have now cannot produce desired result.”

It, also, observed that whenever people with good intention “were elected into the office of the President, they get trapped and caged by the corrupt system. Even when they are good people, they cannot do much because the institutions are not working. No government or leader can go beyond the direction of the institutions.

“There will be several meeting in the next one month. We are starting national consultation this month. We must start the process now. Even though we cannot complete before the 2019 election, we can complete after the election.

“All we need is to get the buy-in of the federal government. When there is a will, there is a way. We have enough documents to back our claim that Nigeria need to be restructured. We must do something about our structure. Election can be productive and resourceful.

“Election can bring about good result. All elections we had in the past had not produced good leaders. People get to the political office with good intention. But they get entrapped in the system that is based on corruption.”

At the meeting, the forum equally resolved that there was the need for the Eminent Leaders of Thought in the South “to engage the Eminent Leaders of Thought in the North under the auspice of Project Nigeria Movement so that we can quickly harmonise positions and engage the federal government on the need to initiate a process that can restructure Nigeria for the benefit of all.

“To that extent, there will be a major national forum of the Eminent Leaders of Thought in the South and Eminent Leaders of Thought in the North. The meeting resolved that there is need to encourage a new spirit of restructuring. It observed that there was need to encourage the northern leaders, especially those under the leadership of Prof. Ango Abdullahi, to pursue restructuring.”

The members of the forum at the meeting include former Secretary-General of Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Convener of Yoruba Assembly, Gen. Alani Akinrinade; former Governor of Cross Rivers Mr. Donald Duke; former Governor of Akwa-Ibom, Obong Victor Attah and Chairman of National Democratic Coalition, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.

Others are businessman, Chief Harry Akande; political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; Professor International Law, Prof. Akin Oyebode; former President of Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Kimse Okoko; former Managing Director of Daily Times of Nigeria, Chief Tola Adeniyi and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Solomon Asemota, among others.