Nigerian’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said the problems in Nigeria are far beyond restructuring alone, and therefore restructuring should not be done in isolation.
He stated this on Thursday at the 18th Dialogue of Daily Trust in Abuja. He stressed that the issues of nepotism, ethnicity, and religious bias should be addressed else restructuring will have no root.
According to him, the restructuring of Nigeria into 12 states by Yakubu Gowon at the outset of the civil war was to protect it from disintegration.
He said as a result of the complexities of the nation as at then, Nigerians had clamored for restructuring. He emphasized that the problem of Nigeria was not associated with
the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorate, but divisive politics, which he stated had greatly affected the nation’s unity.
In his words: “Within these six decades, our political space has assumed many coloration. We had gone from 12 regions to 36 states and 774 local government councils. We moved away from when the different areas had different arrangements to manage the local government level to a unified local government system.
“Yet, all that does not seem to have provided the answer to the questions of the administrative structure of our country and how best it should be governed. As president, I had the privilege of celebrating our nation’s golden jubilee in 2010 and the centenary of our amalgamation in 2014.
“When we were to celebrate these milestones, some Nigerians saw our intention, arguing that the amalgamation was faulty. They insisted there were no reasons to celebrate because they believe the amalgamation has not helped our country’s growth.
“I believe that all nations have their unique history; the amalgamation is not the problem in my belief. Instead, there was too much emphasis on divisive politics, which greatly affected our nation’s unity.
“As a country, we have our peculiar challenges and should devise means of solving them, but we should not continue to tilt our spleen on the amalgamation. My conviction is that discussion on restructuring will not help, except we restructure our minds because some of the national level’s challenging issues still exist at the state and local levels.
“How do we restructure to make sure that those things don’t happen again? This shows restructuring alone may not solve all the anomalies in our system. I believe that restructuring for a better nation is fair, but there are other fundamental issues we should also address.
“We cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges that polarize our nation. These include nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism. The issues of tribe and religion have continued to limit our unity and progress as a nation.” He maintained.