The former President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nnia Nwodo has stated that the processes to begin the restructuring of Nigeria as a nation must be concluded before the 2023 elections.
Nwodo, who was speaking on Friday at the 17th Chief Gani Fawehinmi annual lecture, said that the process of restructuring must be concluded before 2023, so as to avert a situation where sections of the country may boycott the elections and present the country with a constitutional force majeure.
According to Nwodo, there was a time the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy was agriculture, and all the regions had different items they were producing and exporting, which availed them funds to develop their regions.
He thus urged the Federal Government to ensure the completion of the restructuring process before the next dispensation so that the nation avoids the “coming catastrophe”.
Nwodo said; “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.”
On what must be done to avoid the impending catastrophe, Nwodo said; “The coming catastrophe”, he said, “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,” Nwodo added.