Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has weighed in on the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria, warning that restructuring alone cannot solve the problem of the country.
He called for the restructuring of Nigerians’ mindset first before that of the country.
Jonathan, who spoke at a summit in Abuja along with a chieftain of the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; a former President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, and Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Audu Ogbeh, said Nigeria must also tackle nepotism, ethnicity and religious bias before restructuring.
The former president, Adebanjo, Nwodo and Ogbeh, spoke at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: “Restructuring: Why? How?”
However, Adebanjo and Nwodo demanded the restructuring of Nigeria before the next general election.
Ogbeh expressed doubt that the country could return to the regional system of government where each region had control of resources at its domain.
Jonathan, who chaired the event, said the country must come up with specific solutions to its problems.
Discussion on restructuring will not help except we restructure our mindset.
Some of the challenges faced at the national level are still there at the state and local government levels and sometimes even in our communities.
Frowning at the conduct of local government elections in various states of the federation, Jonathan noted that Nigerians have mutual suspicions towards one another and this must be addressed to have a better nation.
We cannot restructure without solving issues that polarise us; nepotism, ethnic and religious differences and lack of patriotism.
Jonathan said the regional government in operation before the civil war was restructured to 12 states by Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) to save the country from disintegration after coming out of the civil war.
While making reference to Ghana and Tanzania’s situations, he said that the country must design a solution in line with its peculiar issues, stressing that Tanzania, at a time, had to turn to a one-party system to build unity and put the country back on the path of development.
Jonathan, however, clarified that he was not advocating a unitary system of government in Nigeria, adding that federalism is still the best for the country, urging Nigerian leaders to encourage conversations that will encourage nationalism.
Let’s do our little best in our little corner to make the country great. The leaders and citizens should not lose hope in the nation as the future is bright.
“All nations have their unique history, the amalgamation is not our problem but the divisive politics politicians play has greatly affected our nation’s unity and that was the reason my administration conducted the 2014 national conference for the specific purpose of addressing the people that have been agitating the minds of our people. As a country, we have our peculiar challenges and we should devise means of solving them.