The General Overseer, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday joined other prominent Nigerians to call on the Federal Government, led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to urgently restructure the country to save it from breakup.

The revered cleric, who spoke at a symposium alongside the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Governor of Cross River State and former presidential aspirant, Donald Duke and a former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, warned that it was either the country restructured as soon as possible or it broke up. “You don’t have to be a prophet to know that one,” he added.

Prior to Adeboye’s statement on Saturday, there have been clamours from different individuals and socio-cultural groups that the country needs to be restructured. Some groups in the South-East had also threatened to secede from Nigeria over what they described as the gross marginalisation of their region.

The ruling All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government had prior to the general election in 2015 promised in the first part of its manifesto that it would restructure the country. It went ahead to set up a committee, led by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, to work on the idea, but since the committee submitted its report, the government had maintained silence over the matter.

Meanwhile, at the 60th Independence Day Celebration symposium co-organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Nehemiah Leadership Institute, themed ‘Where will Nigeria be in 2060?’, Adeboye said Nigeria needed to adopt a system of government that was unique to it. He proposed a blend of American and British styles of government.

Adeboye, a former senior lecturer at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Lagos said, “Why can’t we have a system of government that is 100 per cent Nigerian and is unique to us? For example, we started with the British system of government, somewhere along the line, we moved over to the American system of government.

“Can’t we have a combination of both and see whether it could help us solve our problems, because in Mathematics if you want to solve a problem, you try what we call Real Analysis, then if it doesn’t work, then you move on to Complex Analysis and see whether that will help you. If that fails, you move on to Vector Analysis and so on.

“I believe we might want to look at the problems of Nigeria in a slightly different manner. Some people feel that all our problems will be over if Nigeria should break up. I think that is trying to solve the problems of Nigeria as if it is a simple equation. The problems of Nigeria will require quite a bit of simultaneous equation and some of them are not going to be linear either – forgive me I am talking as a mathematician.

“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 is we restructure or we break-up, 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?”

Adeboye explained that if there is a President and a Prime Minister, responsibilities could be shared between them such that one is not an appendage of the other. He said the president could control the Army while the prime minister controls the police, adding that if the president controls resources like oil and mining, the prime minister could control finance, internal revenue, taxes, customs etc.

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

The cleric also noted that the place of traditional rulers must be recognised and restored in governance, noting that people respected and listened to their traditional rulers more than some politicians.

He added, “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 great error particularly for a great country like Nigeria.

“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 control the respect of their people.

“Without any doubt, we must restructure and do it as soon as possible. A United States of Nigeria is likely to survive than our present structure.”

Also, Duke, who was the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, said at the event that Nigeria needed to review its structure so that constituent parts could be economically productive and then contribute to the central.

He added, “The leadership of today is supposed to prepare for the future of the country. What can we do that by 2060, we will be in the committee of great prosperous countries? We are going to have 400 million people within our space and as the population has grown rapidly, the economy should also grow.

“But for all this to happen, we need to look at the structure of our nation. That is why there is clamour that we should restructure the country. It is not to break the country; it is not to frustrate the development of any side or constituent part. It is incumbent so that we don’t restrict our development.

“Between now and 2060, the focus should be that we have a skilled population; a healthy population and the skills must also embrace technology. Then, restructure the leadership so that even if poor leadership is thrown up at the centre, it does not frustrate the constituent parts of the country.”

While calling for the restructuring of the judiciary, he noted that the country needed purposeful and visionary leadership and one that had the will. “We say the right things; we all know the problems. But we do not have the will, not just the political will but the human will. That will is what we need to make it happen,” he added.

Also, the Ooni said every region must be allowed to develop at their respective pace, adding that Nigeria’s diversity is its strength. He pointed out that government must also work towards the diversification of the economy.

He added, “Every region should develop at their respective pace. Let’s use our diversity as our greatest strength. The capacity of wealth is in your state of mind. Emphasis should be on developing and empowering our youths. I want to see a nation where people come out in their 20s to contest elections.

“2060 is around the corner, let’s be intentional about our nation’s growth. The emphasis should be on developing and empowering our youths. Everything in the nation, including the mainstay of the economy, needs diversification. It is very easy for all of us to talk, but to walk the talk is a very herculean task.”

He pointed out that Nigeria used to be one big, happy family, with respect and honour for the different territories as he noted that making the best out of the country should be the focus of every Nigerian.

The Ooni also emphasised that traditional rulers as the closest to the people had important roles to play in nation building but that they had been disregarded constitutionally.

Similarly, a former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, noted that Nigeria needed fixing and that the electorate must be determined to bring an efficient political leadership to power.

Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President of the World Bank, Africa Division, said, “The dominant political culture is the monopolistic service that has retarded and stagnated the country. So, we want to produce a value-based political class that understands ethical policies, competence and how to build systems and procedures that enable the growth of the society.

“We cannot afford to be spectators. We all should therefore arise and fix our nation; we are the Nehemiahs. Politics undermines everything; individuals, family, community and governance. If we don’t fix politics we will be wasting a lot of time. There’s nothing about a bad situation that cannot change, but the people must be ready. Only the electorates have the capacity to fix politics.”

Also, Archbishop Emeritus and former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said though Adeboye was entitled to his own opinion, Nigerians were also calling for the same thing. We must find a way of improving the way Nigeria is run so that everybody may feel at home with it because there is a lot of frustration and I think I am not the only one saying it. I do hope the people in government also know this. The question probably is how do we go about it?

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