Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega, noted that embarking on a short-term restructuring in Nigeria is a waste of time and resources as it would be short-lived since the compelling factor is just to win election ahead of 2023 by political actors. Jega however, accused both the National Assembly and the Executive of lack of political will in the whole process, saying Nigeria is confronted with numerous deep-rooted challenges that need to be addressed if we must continue as a country.
The former INEC boss made these remarks during the 2021 public lecture organised at Achievers University, Owo, Ondo state on Tuesday, titled, “Towards Stabilising the Nigerian Federation”.
He blamed the National Assembly for chasing shadows by doing constitutional Amendments instead of prioritising restructuring and focussing on addressing key challenges like power-sharing and resource allocation amongst others.
Jega said, “This makes the process time-consuming, overly contentious and controversial, and susceptible to filibuster, and likely derailment of the entire undertaking.
He added, “…Leaving the very important business of restructuring until very close to the next general elections has its own challenges, given that Nigerian politicians tend to shy away from taking tough decisions in the national interest, especially on seemingly controversial issues, too close to general elections.”
The former INEC boss opined that when inflamed passion and antagonistic positions are allowed to fester in the national discourse, then restructuring is reduced to mere wishful thinking.
He explained, “For all these, better management of ethnoreligious 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 it is not if truth is to be told, what the current federal structure and practice of federalism in Nigeria provides,”