Sometime in 2017, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said:

It is not the government that is not clear about what restructuring means, rather it is the people who are asking for restructuring who are not clear about what restructuring means.

“Restructuring” has remained a political device used as a campaign tool or a weapon of opposition. Even the President Buhari’s led administration used it in its “Change” campaign that brought it to power.

The clamour for restructuring is underscored by the general feeling and understanding that “Nigeria is not working”, whether politically, economically, socially or otherwise.

So, there’s a call for REWIRING the entire legal and constitutional framework that currently bind the nation. So when you hear people saying we need restructuring, they’re simply saying we need to “rewire” the country along the following lines:

1. Power devolution

In Nigeria of today, there appears to be too much power in Aso Rock which makes it appear like we’re running a unitary system of Government. The Federal Government needs to relinquish more powers to the States and Local Government.

2. Resource control

The idea here is for States to be allowed more control of their natural resources, while making contributions to the Centre, and other interrelated issues.

3. True federalism

There’s the reasonable belief that Nigeria is not running a true federalism where States are to enjoy reasonable autonomy in running their affairs. The agitation for State police is a ready example.

4. Creation of additional states

As part of the rewiring demand, some are of the view that we need to create more states for better administration.

5. Local Government autonomy

Nigeria currently runs a poor Local Government system across various states and Local Government Areas. In some Local Government Areas, elections are not being conducted. In many others, the Local Government chairmen are tied to their Governors as if with umbilical cord.

Now, every Government in power, especially at the Federal level, enjoys the existing framework and finds it hard to consider restructuring a priority. The concept is only fashionable as an election campaign tool. But like a promise made in anticipation of ejaculation, it’s hard to fulfill.

Beyond that, we must note that restructuring or rewiring Nigeria would involve radical constitutional amendment. There are too many details contained in the Nigerian Constitution that is choking the nation like epilepsy. Even the process of amending the constitution is not an easy one. 

Above all, restructuring Nigeria involves the points enumerated above and more. The idea basically centres around doing everything possible to bring the Government closer to the people for better political stability and economic prosperity.


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Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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