Atiku, Tinubu not sincere about restructuring - Adeleye
The Executive Director of Independent Advocacy Project, IAP, also the chairman of media committee of One Voice Coalition Lagos, Pastor Adedeji Adeleye, in this interview with journalists in Lagos, said restructuring the country is not a panacea to its enormous problems rather socio-economic restructuring of the nation. Ijeoma UKAZU was there for The Abuja Inquirer.
Some political gladiators are clamouring for restructuring of the nation, what's your take on that?
Those who are calling for the restructuring of Nigeria along geo-political lines are self- serving. Somebody like the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at a book launch in Abuja called for restructuring when he said inter alia, that: "our current structure and practices has encouraged a major impediment to the economic and political development of our country. In short, it has not served Nigeria well and at the risk of reproach it has not served my part of the country, the North well. The call for restructuring is even more relevant today in light of the governance and economic challenges facing us. And the rising tide of agitations, some militant and violent, require a reset in our relationship."
For a person like Atiku has realised that President Buhari will have an eight year tenure and so Atiku cannot be the president of Nigeria, and he thought it wise that a regional enclave will be needed where he will be the 'lord' just like what former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is currently doing in Lagos state.
Other people clamouring for restructuring are always there to put pressure for the convocation of a new national conference where they will draw benefits. Also, the governors calling for restructuring, the amount of money given to them from the federation account, what have they done with it? So many of them have looted the money.
If the President accede to their request for restructuring along regional lines, they will still be the same leaders who will have control of such resources and then squander such monies without using it for the benefit of the people.
As a coalition, we are clamouring for the socio-economic empowerment of the Nigerian people whereby everybody will have access to Nigeria’s resources. Once these resources are accessible to Nigerians equally, they will be empowered and hold government accountable. There is so much penury and economic disadvantage in the economy that is why so many people are disillusioned with the whole process.
In the distribution of resources, what easy and efficient step should the government embark that will be beneficial to all?
There are templates for that and they include; government needs to embark on certain programmes that will benefit the people directly like health care delivery. If Nigeria has a free healthcare system at the primary healthcare level, people can go to the centre for light treatment.
Secondly, free education to a certain level for the masses will go a long way in reducing the economic hardship.
Thirdly, socio-development for Nigerians where they can pay for houses built by the government in little amounts. Also, having a good road access, pipe borne water and stable power supply will help curb the high rate of poverty in the country.
Finally, government can form co-operatives where soft loans can be given to Nigerians to start their own businesses and in that way, will generate jobs for unemployed Nigerians. These are populist programs that are obtainable in other climes like Britain.
Are these not part of the intentions of President Buhari's administration...
We should go beyond intentions. Often times, government has said things that they could not fulfil. What we at the coalition are saying is that, we do not believe in government saying these are the palliatives. Nigerians do not have any other country as theirs, there should not be handouts for Nigerians. There should be conscious effort on the part of government in providing services that will benefit Nigerians directly.
The recommendations of the last confab report, are not enough to address the many challenges the country is facing?
There are so many grey areas in the last National Conference report. The report was doctored and so many things contained in that report are not implementable. That is the reason why President Buhari is not looking at that direction.
I believe that the ordinary Nigerians that constitute more than three quarter of the population, that is, if we are talking about 175 million Nigerians, about 131.6 million people were extremely short changed and neglected. That is why you see lack of patriotism on the part of Nigerians because government has never benefited them and that is the reason why the people do not see any government that comes into power as their own.
Do you see Nigeria tilting towards economic restructuring in the nearest future?
Yes! It is possible by virtue of President Buhari taking the bull by the horn in establishing different programmes that will benefit the people directly which I mentioned earlier and I must add that in providing such soft loans to agriculture, it should be at single digit interest. The government should also embark on rural development.