– Tanko Yakasai said those calling for restructuring must have a clear plan on how it would go
– The elder statesman said it would be difficult to put states back together
– He pointed out that people might lose their jobs which will lead to strike
Tanko Yakasai has insisted that he is strongly against the idea of restructuring Nigeria if those calling for it cannot provide a blueprint of how it will work.
There have been numerous calls for the restructuring of the country but the elder statesman said that those championing it have not considered some of its consequences.
Yakasai noted that although he agreed that some states needed not to have been formed, the processes of bringing them together was not going to be easy.
He said: “I do not know why people are asking for restructuring. Till today, those who are asking for restructuring have not given any blueprint on how restructuring should go. We talk about it all the time, but there is no detail or proposal for us to know how it would work, what type of structures we should have or which powers should be devolved from the centre to the states and local governments, how would it look like, and in what way would it affect you and me? How are you going to dissolve the state legislatures and the state governments? Some say that more power should be given to the states and the federal should be weak, but that can only be done when someone proposes a bill either in the state Assembly or at the National Assembly, advocating for more power to be transferred to the states. If it is in the state Assembly, they can pass it and forward it to the National Assembly, and when that is passed, a constitutional amendment would begin.
“If the proponents of restructuring say we should go back to the regions, then how do you dissolve the states? Will the people be willing to give out their states to be merged with other states?
“In my honest opinion, there was no need for the creation of Jigawa State because there is no difference between the people of Jigawa and Kano. There is no justification for the creation of Kebbi and Zamfara states from Sokoto because they are all the same people and have the same culture. There is no justification for the creation of Osun, Ogun and Ekiti because they all speak the same language and they have the same culture. But there are grounds for the creation of Cross Rivers, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta because they have different cultures and speak different languages. How do you now convince the Yoruba in Ogun, Ekiti, Osun to merge?
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“These are the areas where there are difficulties. So, those who are calling for restructuring should be honest enough to tell the people, ‘this is the way we are going to merge Jigawa and Kano states’. Will the people of Jigawa accept it? How will you merge Ekiti and Ondo states or merge Anambra and Enugu? But you should tell people how it would be done. That is why I say that the proponents of restructuring should have a blueprint and tell us how these things would be achieved.
“States are weak because they are too many and that is why they can’t generate enough revenue to take care of their commitment. If they want to reduce the cost, they would have to retrench up to half of their workforce and that would lead to a nationwide strike. When you are calling for restructuring, you have to think about the consequences.”
Meanwhile, Alhaji Abubakar Malami who is the minister of justice came under severe criticism for statement credited to him that Nigeria cannot be restructured now until the constitution is amended.
Among those who lashed out at the minister was Professor Tunde Babawale of the department of Political Science, University of Lagos.
He said: “it will not be right to agree with the position of the AGF.’’
“There is no one in the country that will agree that the current structure is perfect. It has been a harbinger of crisis, of distrust, injustice and equity.”