Opposing restructuring in order to champion it later is the favourite political game

Ibrahim Babangida

by Alexander O. Onukwue

The buzz word for the week in Nigeria’s political discourse is: Restructuring.

It is the song and poem on the lips of commentators and politicians, as agitations in every part of the country ramp up the pressure on Government to improve the living conditions in the country. Amongst those who have joined in the chorus for the structure of the Nigerian federation to be revised is former Military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida.

In his remarks marking this year’s Eid-al-Fitr, Babangida called for a change in the portfolios of the Federal Government, calling that its duties be limited to mediatory and overseeing functions, and for negotiating international deals for the states.

“Restructuring has become a national appeal as we speak, whose time has come. I will strongly advocate for devolution of powers to the extent that more responsibilities be given to the states while the federal government is vested with the responsibility to oversee our foreign policy, defense, and economy.

“Even the idea of having federal roads in towns and cities has become outdated and urgently needs revisiting. That means we need to tinker with our constitution to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen our nationality,” he stated, according to Channels TV.

Babangida is one of past Nigerian leaders and administrators who have called for the nation to be restructured, but you wonder if they actually do mean it as they say. Kano State Senator, Shehu Sani, observed there seems to be a penchant for seeing things more clearly and advocating for such lofty matters like restructuring after one had opposed same while in a position of power.

The leaders of the country, while they are in possession of the authority and resources that come to the Federal Government, are always reluctant to consider the demands for the power of the centre to be devolved. Now that they are away from it, it becomes a favourite rallying point to identify with the general mass of people calling for it.

While IBB’s call has much sense in it, the call for restructuring has become a game dearest to the heart of many Nigerian politicians. We only need wait a few years and see the turn-around of those who currently oppose it. May be that’s how you gain the esteemed title of Elder Statesman?

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