2023: Restructure or risk boycott – Nwodo tells FG

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The immediate past President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, has re-echoed his call on the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to immediately initiate the processes for restructuring of the Nigerian federation.

He said that failure to complete the process before the 2023 general election could lead some sections of the country to boycott the elections.

Nwodo spoke on Friday at the 17th Chief Gani Fawehinmi annual lecture themed, “The constitutional history of Nigeria’s dysfunction: Any pathway to indivisibility and common progress?”

The ex-Ohanaeze Ndigbo boss said Nigeria made appreciable progress earlier in its nationhood when it practised regionalism.

He noted that the system allowed each region sovereignty over its resources which aided development in education, agriculture among others.

According to him, the military scuttled the system but the nation must return to it if she must avoid the “coming catastrophe”.

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He explained that when the mainstay of the nation’s economy was agriculture, each region had what they were producing and exporting, bringing them funds needed to develop infrastructure.

“There was only one reason why things worked so well then. We had a regional system of government that allowed regions to enjoy sovereignty over their national resources whilst paying royalties and taxes to the Federal Government. Our domestic security was independent and uncontrolled by the Federal Government.

“Suddenly, the army came to power and abrogated our constitution, turned us into a unitary state and imposed a unitary constitution on us. They seized our natural resources and donated them to the Federal Government to share without adequate respect for derivation,” Nwodo said.

On what the nation must do to prevent the nation from disintegrating, Nwodo stated, “Nigeria must restructure and give its component units sovereignty over its natural resources provided they pay royalty or some form of taxes to the Federal Government to maintain federal responsibilities like external defence, foreign missions, customs and immigration.

“Emphasis must return to agriculture and education. Domestic security must remain in the hands of the federating units because living safe in Nigeria today is by luck. The secularity of the Nigerian state must be respected. These irreducible minimum conditions are not negotiable. If it does not happen, we will have no alternative but to go our separate ways.

“Processes to begin our restructuring as a nation must be concluded before the 2023 elections so as to avert a situation where sections of the country may boycott the elections and present the country with a constitutional force majeure.”

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