By Ugo Aliogo
Businessman and presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has suggested the need for compromise and consensus-building as solutions in the raging debate on restructuring in the overarching interest of unity, peace, security and development of the country.
Olawepo-Hashim, a known voice in the nation’s political and economic discourse, premised his prayers on the fact that while the federal government cannot continue to do nothing about devolution of power especially on clear items, that are practicable and achievable, the voices on the other sides too cannot continue to insist that every item on their shopping list must be disposed off before the next election.
According to him, a compromise and consensus driven by the federal executive, leadership via constitutional amendment bill, on particularly sections dealing with the concurrent, exclusive and residual legislative lists is immediately possible, especially in such areas where there already exists a clear national consensus.
Olawepo-Hashim went further: “It is time for us to agree on things that are agreeable and continue to discuss things that are not clear but may become clearer in the future. Compromise is never a sign of weakness but a noble act that springs from the depth of wisdom, honour and kindness.”
He listed some of the areas where consensus seem to exists amongst warring factions as creation of state and local government police, side by side with the federal police, to make policing more efficient and to bolster national security, and amendment to enable states government to have some control over the development of all mineral resources in the inland basins.
Other areas of consensus are amendment to ensure concurrent jurisdiction of federal and state government over electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and electoral reform clause to include electronic transmission of results from all level of results collations.
These matters, he noted do not require the drama and time-consuming activities of a national conference.
“A simple executive-sponsored constitutional amendment bill narrowed to the above clearly defined items, may get a resounding support, if properly managed with the 36 governors in Nigeria, as well as speakers of the state assemblies. The requirements for 2/3 support from the state assemblies of the federation will be achievable in order to meet the constitutional requirement of a valid amendment”
He argued that the country must move forward together in peace and harmony, as nation building will not be completed in one day.
“There will still be life after 2023 and I am optimistic that Nigeria will survive, and other issues can be looked into after 2023 elections by the grace of God”
Olawepo-Hashim concluded: “Let there be compromise where there exists clear national consensus. Compromise is a mark of confidence not weakness. The only area where I see no compromise is the agitation by extremists’ forces to dismember Nigeria”.