A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has said restructuring is very critical to the 2023 general elections.
Jega spoke yesterday in Keffi, as a guest lecturer at the Fourth Public Lecture Series of Nasarawa State University (NSUK) Keffi with the topic “Restructuring the Nigerian Federation: Challenges and Prospects” organised by the institution.
According to him, both the executive and legislative arms of government need to gather the courage and have the political will to work together and bring critical stakeholders from all strata in order to begin to actualise restructuring before 2023 general elections.
He said perceived injustices in the current federal system in Nigeria have to be addressed as soon as possible to enable Nigeria and Nigerians, get the requisite stability and peaceful coexistence to accelerate development.
The best strategy for success is the pursuit of a systematic, incremental positive changes through constitutional amendments, in phases, commencing with a review and sanitizing of the Federal and Concurrent Legislative lists, giving more powers and resources to the state, complemented by other reform measures to nature and entrench good, democratic governance at all levels, from the federal to state and local governments.
“In spite of the challenges, the prospects of Nigeria are not as hopeless as some would assume them to be. Nigeria needs stability and increased legitimacy for elected officials in governance; needs good governance, better nurtured and deepened democratic development; and needs economic growth and socioeconomic development.”
“For all these, better management of ethno-religious diversity on the basis of rule of law, justice, equity and equality of opportunity, is a necessary precondition. That is what a federal arrangement is meant to ensure, but is not what the current federal structure and practice of federalism in Nigeria provides” he said.
Earlier in his opening address the vice-chancellor of NSUK Keffi, Prof Suleiman Bala Muhammed, described Jega, as an erudite scholar who has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria in various aspects which promoted the university to invite him for the lecture in order to tap from his wealth of experience.
He said the public lecture topic was carefully selected by the institution’s public lecture series committee headed by Prof Mohammed Akaro Mainoma, in order to improve on national issues that need urgent attention and to also portray the academic standard of NSUK to the outside world.