2023: Only restructuring will rescue Nigeria – Nwodo

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The immediate-past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has warned that Nigeria might run into a constitutional crisis if it fails to restructure before the 2023 general election.

He said some sections of the country might boycott the polls as a result of the growing dissatisfaction in the land.

Nwodo who spoke while delivering a pre-convocation lecture marking the 27th/28th convocation of the Abia State University Uturu said only restructuring could guarantee Nigeria’s continued unity.

The former Information Minister and a former Presidential aspirant believed to be still eying the number one job, said: “Nigeria must restructure to give its component units sovereignty over its natural resources provided they pay a royalty or some form of taxation to the federal government to maintain federal responsibilities.”

He also stressed the need to maintain Nigeria’s secular configuration, give attention to agriculture and education with an emphasis on renascent digital orientation.

Hear him: “Domestic security must remain in the hands of the federating units. The secularity of the Nigerian state must be respected. These irreducible minimum conditions are not negotiable.”

Nwodo, who was Aviation Minister in the second republic warned that Nigeria’s disintegration was not unlikely if the above conditions were not met, adding: “If it does not happen, we will have no alternative but to go our separate ways.

“Process to begin our restructuring as a nation must be concluded before the 2023 elections so as to avert a situation where sections of the country may boycott the elections and present the country with a constitutional force majeure.”

He proposed two models of a restructured Nigeria and canvassed the adoption of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference report, saying: “Two basic models have been canvassed for restructuring in Nigeria – A conservative model aimed at maintaining the status quo has been proposed to mean simply a shedding of some of the exclusive powers of the federal government. This model merely scratches the surface of the problem.

“The second model calls for a fundamental devolution of powers to the states as federating units and a lean federal government with exclusive powers for external defence, customs, foreign relations.

“The second approach to the second model proposes the states as the federating units with a region at each of the six geopolitical units whose constitution will be agreed to and adopted by the states in the geopolitical region. The regions will have the powers to merge existing states or create new ones. There will be regional and state legislatures and judiciary dealing with making and interpreting laws.

“This approach proposes a revenue sharing formulae of 15% to the Federal Government, 35% to the Regional Government, and 50% to the State Governments. Regrettably the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, which promised restructuring in its manifesto, after six years and five months in office appointed to define what sort of restructuring it wants for Nigeria but failed to implement its recommendations which were adopted by its National Executive Committee.”

“The National Assembly itself is a reflection of the deep ethnic divisions in the county. Recent revolutions made by it on devolution of powers have not helped to build the confidence of Nigerians in its capacity to resolve our extant problems.

“Our expectation now is that our President will address the situation by constituting a nationwide conversation of all ethnic nationalities to look into 2014: National Conference report, and other trending views so as to come up with a consensus proposal.

“To restructure Nigeria, we need a constitutional Conference of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. The outcome of the constitutional Conference must be subjected to a public plebiscite in which all adult Nigerians shall have the right to vote.”