Nasir El-Rufai

The Nigerian political class has gained proficiency not in providing good governance but in pulling the wool in the eyes of the electorate. They have mastered this act to the extent of making an attempt to call white as black; and calling black as white.

In the heat of the debate for the restructuring of Nigeria in 2017, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) made an attempt to hijack the issue with the inauguration of the El-Rufai restructuring committee on Thursday 10th August, 2017.

At the end of the committee’s sitting, several recommendations were tabled before the leadership of the party in a well-publicized event. Unfortunately, that was where the issue ended. The setting up of the El-Rufai’s committee on restructuring was simply meant to undercut the opposition, pull the wool in the eyes of the electorate and weaken the demand for restructuring.

It is quite unfortunate that Governor El-Rufai lends himself to be used for these horrendous tasks. You can then imagine my surprise to read that Governor El-Rufai has finally woken up again to the restructuring debate. Speaking in Kaduna at the 50th anniversary of the Centre for Historical Documentary and Research, El-Rufai stated that restructuring is inevitable.

Pray, what has become of the report of his committee that was submitted to his party before the last election? I can submit to you that this is another attempt by El-Rufai and his friends to once again hijack the restructuring debate without any meaningful strategy on the way forward. The narrative for restructuring should not be hijacked to protect the status-quo which in itself is not equitable and lopsided.

True federalism and genuine restructuring should never be state-based but rather REGIONAL AND SPECIFICALLY REGIONAL AUTONOMY. The regions can then restructure themselves to determine the appropriate number of states within each region and the economic viability of the proposed state within their regions.

To equate state restructuring with regional restructuring is only self-serving and not in line with the expectations of the demand of the youths or the best equitable interests of Nigeria.

And to Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is now proclaimed as the adopted son of the north, he should note that restructuring only means one thing to the Yoruba nation and the progressives – Regional autonomy, nothing less. Dr. Fayemi and Governor El-Rufai must not change the narrative. The progressive agenda is restructuring through regional autonomy, abolishment of the unitary system and reinstating true federalism.

The federal republic of Nigeria is only on paper – it means nothing because it does not exist. Nigeria has not lived up to its potential. Nigeria was a negotiated secular federation aspiring to be the light of Africa not a feudal state based on nepotism and ruled by the forces of darkness.

If we must take Mallam El- Rufai seriously, he should promote regional restructuring and autonomy rather than state restructuring. The time for true restructuring of Nigeria is now!

Prof. Babs Onabanjo, President/CEO of A.D. King Foundation, USA and President, Nigerian Alliance for Democracy (1993-1999)