A group, Friends of Democracy, has said Nigeria would come out stronger when the 36 states of the federation are reduced to 12 during the restructuring processes.
The group wondered why some elements propagated the notion that the South was for restructuring and the North against the move, saying the northern part of the country had over the years done enough to ensure that there was equity in the Nigerian equation.
The group stated this in a memo, which was signed Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Amb. Fatimah Balla, Mr Sam Nda Isaiah, Alhaji Sule Yahaya Hamma, and Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed.
Others included Malam Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, Malam Bilya Bala, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Mr Hubert Shaiyen and Dr. Kabir Az-Zubair.
According to them, in 1991, a group of politicians, intellectuals, and technocrats from the region held several meetings in Kaduna and Kano to design and propose a new federal structure for Nigeria.
The Friends of Democracy said some members of the group at the time were Alh. Sule Gaya, Alh. Tanko Yakasai, Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, and Dr. Mahmoud Tukur.
“They invited Chief Anthony Enahoro to Kano, held discussions with him and agreed to pursue a ‘Restructuring Agenda’ together, only for the chief to rush to Lagos to hold a unilateral press conference to launch an agenda for restructuring under the Movement for National Reformation.”
The group said instead of returning to tripartite regional system of the First Republic as being canvassed a section of the country, a 12-state-option remained the best for Nigeria.
Among other conditions, the group said, “The states must be economically viable and capable of relying on fiscal resources they generate themselves; must operate in a democratic manner and are run governors that are accountable to the people and legislators that are not subservient to tin gods.”
Leaders of the group said they would engage other citizens and groups in a bid to forge a national consensus on what and how to restructure Nigeria.
Source: Daily Trust