As renewed agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria grows, the Presidency has warned that President Muhammadu Buhari will not “succumb to threats and undue pressure” being mounted by advocates of restructuring of the country.
There has been renewed agitation for restructuring of Nigeria’s political and economic setup in the days leading to the 60th Independence anniversary and after. Ethnic groups, socio-political organisation, activists, former leaders and political office holders are spearheading the call. Some of them are “warning” the government of dire consequence unless “the country is restructured.”
But the Presidency, in a statement, criticised “the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”
The statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, added: “This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“This administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of health crisis. The President as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the Parliamentary processes to finding solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people.”
In another statement, the Presidency said those condemning the organised Labour for reasoning with the government by suspending a planned nationwide strike last week are enemies of the country.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), after rounds of negotiations with the federal government, suspended the industrial action slated to commence on September 28. The decision was criticised by varying groups, with some suggesting that the decision was a betrayal.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, noted that the attack on the Labour unions was borne out of pain for “traducers of the Administration”, having failed to achieve an alleged plan to use the strike to score political and electoral gains.
The statement said: “Since Organized Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.
“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.
“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.
“For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.
“The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections.
“For them, it was all about hanker for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about love of country. They have since then been calling Organized Labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.
“The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend Organized Labour for putting the country first.
“Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends, or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.”