The call for the restructuring of Nigeria increased on Thursday as prominent Nigerians, including the immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Chief Audu Ogbeh, supported the notion.
Speaking at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: ‘Restructuring in Nigeria: Why? How? When?’ the prominent Nigerians suggested that restructuring is the only action capable of moving the country forward.
Nwodo said, “We must restructure to revamp our agriculture. When I speak of restructuring, some of my northern Nigerian friends have suggested to me that I do not want the North to partake in the oil revenue of Nigeria.
“Well, I have just outlined the indisputable fact that oil is a fast-drying resource for earning foreign exchange. The truth is that the reliable source of revenue now is agriculture.
“The Netherlands is today the largest exporter of food in the world. Its cross-sectional area is about half the size of Niger State. It is the world’s largest exporter of potatoes. Its revenue from vegetables and dairy contributes more than $100bn annually to its economy. The secret is education, better mechanised farming, growth of green farm technology, drone monitoring systems and land reclamation by building of dams.
“Northern Nigeria is Nigeria’s greatest treasure in agriculture. Northern Nigeria is blessed with diverse livestock production with its capacity for dairy production. It has various tubers of potatoes, yam, cassava and cocoyam.
“Under a restructured Nigeria, Northern Nigeria will earn more from food production than the Netherlands. We must restructure because our current electoral system is dysfunctional and does not elicit confidence.”
Nwodo identified restructuring as a good solution to the high spate of insecurity bedeviling the country.
“We must restructure to reduce insecurity in our country. While I was working on this speech on Monday, 18 January 2021, I paused to read the news for the day. I saw the following headlines: Bandits kill octogenarian, 14 others in Zamfara, Kaduna attacks.
“Cops arrest Police Sergeant for robbery in Port Harcourt; Robbers kill 22-year-old IT prodigy in Lagos; Gunmen hack Catholic priest to death, kidnap brother in Niger State, Bandits abduct 17 persons in Niger State. All these in one day,” he said.
In his contribution, Adebanjo described the constitution as fraudulent, adding that it was not what the founding fathers agreed to.
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Adebanjo said, “This is not the constitution that Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Chief Obafemi Awolowo agreed to. All the problems we are having today is because of the fraudulent constitution that we are operating today.”
ACF Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, agreed with the submissions of Nwodo, stating that “restructuring is absolutely necessary.”
He said, “We are in a country where the only big business is the government. Nwodo made a very important point. The economy of this country is dying so fast. We say the 1960 constitution was very good. If it was so good, why was there a coup on January 15, 1966 with that bloody massacre of leaders both military and civilian and six months later there was a counter-coup and the civil war where two million people, mostly in the South-East, died. What was the cause if the constitution was perfect? The big issue is the economy. In dealing with the problems confronting us, restructuring is absolutely necessary.”