Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and some prominent Nigerians, have canvassed for autonomous stronger states, through devolution of powers.
They gave the submissions during the Bisi Akande Colloquium, held at Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall in Ibadan, Oyo State, to commemorate Akande’s 80th birthday ceremony, yesterday.
Akande, interim national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is also a former of governor of Osun State.
The theme of the colloquium was: ‘Nigeria: Achieving National Unity Through Peaceful Restructuring.’
Osinbajo, who was chairman of the event, said every Nigerian knows that restructuring is very important but most differ on how to go about it.
The vice president, who recounted the Lagos State experience on restructuring, during the governor Bola Tinubu administration (1999-2007), advocated adoption of a judicial process; in the quest for restructuring of the country.
He noted that states should contest the need for restructuring in court rather than engaging themselves in mere agitation.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who was the keynote speaker, said the Federal Government needs to devolve more powers to the states, and the states to local governments; in that order.
The governor said devolution of more powers and responsibilities to states would create many options for productive collaboration between states and the government at the centre.
El-Rufai described restructuring as a nation-building opportunity for Nigeria, despite the tendency of certain sections of the nation’s elite to trivialise it with their opportunism.
“Successful restructuring depends on the national resolve to protect the idea of common citizenship. A restructuring of mentality and values are key factors in the success of a restructuring of the governance and political structure.
“With all sense of responsibility, I believe some Nigerians have made a career and livelihood around “restructuring” without deep thought, or a clear plan or implementation strategy,” he said.
Former Senate President and a discussant at the event, Ken Nnamani, believed Nigerians know the importance of restructuring and needed not be tutored about it.
“Restructuring is not disintegration but an avenue for the nation to develop through the federations units. Any party regarding restructuring as its core mandate is not serious. For anyone to now say he will restructure Nigeria in six months, the person is just joking,” he said.
Nnamani added that there are lots of responsibilities that the federal government is over-burdened with that needed to be devolved to states.
Akande, the celebrant, urged youths in the country to value education over ill-gotten wealth.
Earlier, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the host governor, said restructuring is a sine qua non to building a great nation.
The colloquium was graced by dignitaries who included National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), and Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) that presented a keynote address on the occasion. Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode, was represented by his deputy, Oluranti Adebule