Adeboye: We Must Restructure Nigeria Now or Risk Break-up

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Tobi Soniyi

In what is certain to put more pressure on the President Muhammadu Buhari government, the highly respected General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, yesterday, said there was an urgent need to restructure Nigeria, warning of a heightened danger of breakup if the country’s leaders fail to reform.

Adeboye, who added his voice to the growing clamour for restructuring of the country, spoke at the 60th Independence Day Celebration Symposium organised by RCCG and the Nehemiah Leadership Institute. The General Overseer spoke on the theme, “Where will Nigeria be in 2060.” He, however, suggested a merger of the British and American systems of government for Nigeria, stressing that the country should develop a system peculiar and unique to it.

The cleric, who had always been reluctant to criticise the president, said the Buhari administration must carry out the restructuring of the country “as soon as possible” to avoid a breakup of the various social and ethnic components.

The 78-year-old stated, “Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria? Let me explain. We all know that we must restructure. It’s either we restructure or we break, you don’t have to be a prophet to know that one. That is certain – restructure or we break up.

“Now, we don’t want to break up, God forbid. In restructuring, why don’t we have a Nigerian kind of democracy? At the federal level, why don’t we have a President and a Prime Minister?
“If we have a President and a Prime Minister and we share responsibilities between these two so that one is not an appendage to the other. For example, if the President controls the Army and the Prime Minister controls the Police. If the President controls resources like oil and mining and the Prime Minister controls finance and inland revenue, taxes, customs etc. You just divide responsibilities between the two.

“At the state level, you have the governor and the premier, and the same way, you distribute responsibilities to these people in such a manner that one cannot really go without the other. Maybe we might begin to tackle the problems.

“If we are going to adopt the model, then we need to urgently restore the House of Chiefs. I have a feeling that one of our major problems is that we have pushed the traditional rulers to the background and I believe that is a grave error.
“Without any doubt, we must restructure and do it as soon as possible. A United States of Nigeria is more likely to survive than our present structure.”

The GO, as Adeboye is fondly called, seemed to echo the sentiment expressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently. Osinbajo had at a recent church service to commemorate Nigeria’s independence anniversary, said, “Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken. But there are obvious cracks that could lead to a break if not properly addressed.”

Before the vice president gave this submission, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had last month declared, “Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.”

Adding his voice to the raging clamour for restructuring, Adeboye insisted that the place of traditional rulers should not be expunged from the leadership of the country.

He said, “Go to any town in Nigeria, everybody in the town knows the paramount ruler in the town and they respect him (but) many of them don’t even know the name of the chairman of their local government.
“The traditional rulers are the actual landlords. They command the respect of their people. Their people will listen to them much more, I am sorry to say, than they will listen to some politicians.”