At Long Last Buhari Backs Call For True Federalism

 By Nwangwu Uba

At long last President Muhammadu Buhari, who had adopted lackluster  attitude towards true Federalism through restructuring of the country had cued into it.   He has become one of the Champions  for  the demand for true  Federalism to achieve a lasting peace in the country.

The President   may have been encourage  to  sing a different  song  with the high level of insecurity in different parts of the country.  From Bayelsa, Delta,  Rivers, Cross River, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara,  Kaduna,  Benue, Nasarawa,  Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe, Borno to Gombe, the story is the story: Insecurity. Take for instance, the north eastern states of  Yobe and Borno, the Islamic Fundamentalists, BokoHaram,  has been desperately fighting in the last 10 years  with government forces   and Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, to create  an Islamic  state in the region  while Bandits have  gradually taken over Zamfara state in the north west geo-political region  and spreading their tentacles to Katsina, the President home state, Kaduna,  and Nasarawa states.

The Katsina state born Nigerian  President   who could not hide his feelings  at an award ceremony  organised  by the  governors of the  All Progressive Congress, APC,  in his honour in Abuja, said   ”true  Federalism  is necessary  at this  juncture of the nation’s political and  democratic revolution”.  He noted that  ”some few privileged  individuals  and groups in the society  are exploiting the  and manipulating  the ethnic  and religious front-lines  for seeking  personal and partisan advantage ”.

This is a remarkable departure  on his stand on the matter  in the past. Recall that last year  he had told Nigerians based in France  that ”there should be  proper definition  of what Nigerians  want before  the  government   can delve into restructuring”.  Recall that  when the pressure  for the restructuring exercise   became pronounced in all  nooks and crannies  of the country between  2016 and 2017, Buhari had set up  a Committee  Chaired by Nasir el-Rufai, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and now governor of Kaduna state  to look into the matter and make its recommendation to government  on how to achieve true Federalism for the country.

 The Committee did not see it  as the government  throwing its weight on the   Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President  and Presidential Candidate of  the People’s Democratic  Party, PDP, in the 2019, Presidential election,  idea,  as it  looked at the matter passionately.  It was said to have recommended  to the government the devolution of power to the states, resource  control,  creation of  state police  and merger of states  which are essential ingredients for true Federalism.

Many had expected the President to implement the recommendations of the Committee  as promised but that was how far he could go. They noted  the President would have saved the country of the increased rise in militia groups in the  different geopolitical regions of the country in the last four years.  This is evident going by the killing spree of Herdsmen in Benue  and Nasara states. The activities of Bandits in the north western state of  Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto  speaks volume.

Edwin Clark: Vindicated on the Restructuring of Nigeria

Edwin Cark , an Ijaw leader, who has been  at the vanguard for the call for true Federalism in the country   over the years  has  repeatedly argued that for  the Buhari  anti-Corruption  war to be taken serious,    the power  presently concentrated  at the centre  will have to give way  which was in line with the Devolution of power recommended by  the El-Rufai Committee on Restructuring of Nigeria  to government last year. Note that  Victor Atta, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state  had lent his voice on how to achieve true Federalism   for the country when he stated the need  for resource control by states in the country , which  was also adopted by the El-Rufai Committee in their report.

 He noted that the government diversification agenda would not achieve the desired impact   if it is still playing hide and sick with the restructuring of the country.  Recall that in  a paper   delivered   to mark Clark 90th birth day in Abuja, titled  ”Restructuring , true Federalism and  resource control: panacea  for enduring peace  and sustainable development in Nigeria, he had stated that in true Federation, a governor of  a state  may want to tap the potential n another state and invest in it to generate income. He noted that it would force the oil producing states to sit up to protect  these  oil resource which may be exhausted one day  with its state police.

political watchers believe that  the country is on the match to achieving true Federalism now that Buhari, who had been against it over the years has thrown his weight behind it. Analysts believe that  the President may have seen that the north  has nothing to lose  if the government should go ahead to implement the  El-Rufai report on the restructuring of Nigeria which is gathering dust in the Presidency. This is because the seven states that make up the north west geo-political region is heaven for other  mineral resources in the country including gold,  which was why Bandits  are  on rampage in the region to protect the illegal miners   who making millions  of dollars annually.

 More so,  oil has been discovered in Bauchi state, which had  remained the pride of the people of the Niger Delta.  With the increased support of the  Buhari Administration, Shell Petroleum Development Companies, SPDC, and other undisclosed oil Companies  have intensified their search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin.

A source  told The Value News that both not for the  Boko Haram Insurgence in the  Borno state in the last ten years as their  Engineers and other support Staff are operating under fear to avoid falling into the awaiting  hands of the criminal elements who have no pity for human live.

 

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