The Convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, has faulted the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the ongoing agitations for restructuring of the country.
Clark described the President’s position, which he expressed during his New Year’s Day’s message as not only wrong, but “very” disappointing.
The Ijaw leader spoke with journalists at his Kiagbodo home town in Burutu Council Area of Delta State after a delegation from the Olu of Warri paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday.
President Buhari had during his New Year Day’s message to Nigerians on Monday declared that “In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the ongoing debate about restructuring. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.”
But reacting to the President’s comment on restructuring, Clark stated that Nigerians were all in unison on the restructuring of the country, asking Buhari not to draw Nigerians backward.
He stated that it was only restructuring that would end the current system whereby some Nigerians were considered and treated as second-class citizens.
Clark said, “Mr. President was not addressing Nigerians. The New Year’s Day speech was supposed to be an address to the people, telling them what he had done or what he was doing. The current discussion in Nigeria today is restructuring.
“The Afenifere, the governors and others are all discussing restructuring. The people of the South-South are the most affected. Eighty seven per cent of the national revenue comes from the South-South. Nigerians believe in restructuring. I was very much disappointed that the President said he did not want restructuring.
“Northerners are talking about restructuring; you have heard the Sultan of Sokoto and Balarabe Musa. All of them are part of the majority of Nigerians talking about restructuring. El-Rufai heads the All Progressives Congress committee on restructuring. Even the northerners have not rejected restructuring.
“The National Assembly has no choice but to follow what the people are saying. If the majority of Nigerians say they want restructuring, the National Assembly has no choice. Nigeria must solve the structural problem in the country whereby only some ethnic groups can be governors in a state; where some regions have more states and local governments than others. If we don’t restructure Nigeria, some people will be treated as second class citizens.”
Clark appealed to President Buhari to change his leadership style and listen to the people.
In a related development, the Primate, Church of the Lord, (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide, Dr. Rufus Ositelu, has prescribed restructuring and fiscal federalism as the solution to the political and economic challenges facing the country.
The cleric, therefore, called on political leaders to take the bold step of restructuring the country into regions for healthy competition among the constituent units.
Ositelu said, “The New Year offers another opportunity for everyone, particularly for the nation to re-examine its life and plot its way for genuine progress, sustainable development and success.
“I hereby urge the political leaders to do the needful by restructuring Nigeria into regions for healthy competition among the regions for better human and economic development. Fiscal Federalism is the answer to most of the woes confronting Nigeria.”