By Emmanuel Ugwu
Former Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, has urged all political actors opposing the idea of restructuring in Nigeria to come to terms with the fact that it had become inevitable if democracy must be firmly rooted.
He made the call in his 2020 Democracy Day message noting that “Nigeria’s democracy is still under threat” due largely to badly structured polity and weak institutions.
According to him, Nigeria’s democracy is still fledgling after 21 years of the inception of the present Democratic dispensation, adding that some noticeable “dictatorial tendencies and excesses of those in power” were capable of derailing democracy.
While acknowledging that Nigeria had made some progress in the practice of Democratic governance, Ohuabunwa noted that in reality the nation’s version of democracy had remained a far cry from the acceptable standard.
Senator Ohuabunwa, who represented Abia North in the 8th Senate, stated that it was high time Nigeria’s political leaders listened to the resounding clamour for the present political structure to give way for a better one on which democracy would sustainably thrive.
He challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to do the needful and restructure the country, adding that the highest firm of democracy dividend the APC-led administration could bequeath to Nigeria is to restructure the country before 2023.
He warned that true democracy would be in the realm of fantasy in Nigeria unless the country was restructured according to the yearnings and aspirations of the people as initially laid down by the country’s founding fathers.
Ohuabunwa also underscored the need for Nigeria’s federal structure to reflect true federalism in practice, adding that devolution of power to states would end unnecessary friction between states and federal government.
He further pointed out that restructuring and practice of true federalism would save the country from the divisive clamour for self-determination by various groups across the country.
On the absence of weak institutions in the country, Senator Ohuabunwa called for concerted efforts to build stronger institutions which, according to him, “are the pillars that carry democracy, and the fulcrum upon which it rotates.”
“Weak institutions have remained the bane of our current democracy as a nation because the ruling class has always manipulated them to serve their selfish interests at the detriment of the people,” he said.
The former Abia North senator appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to end his opposition to the amended electoral bill, which he had on four occasions refused to sign into law during the tenure of the 8th National Assembly.
He insisted that if signed into law the amended electoral bill “will take care of many electoral anomalies challenging our democracy.”