MOGHALU LAYS OUT HIS STRATEGY FOR SUCCESSFUL RESTRUCTURING OF NIGERIA
Professor Kingsley Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), has said the best approach for successful political restructuring of Nigeria is through an executive bill that is presented by the President to the National Assembly. He, therefore, promises to introduce such a bill, if elected President in 2019.
Moghalu disclosed this, yesterday, as he unfolded his strategy for returning Nigeria to a true federation, in his keynote address to the 6th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association (Southeast), at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
According to his plan, the introduction of the executive bill would be preceded by a consultation of the National Assembly by the President. This would be followed by the inauguration of a high-level Presidential Commission on Constitutional Restructuring that will review the previous reports and recommendations on constitutional restructuring of the country. Each of the six geopolitical zones will contribute at least one member of the seven-member Commission, which would also be free to make additional recommendations.
A widespread sensitization and consultation by the government with citizens and stakeholders would follow, with the aim to “manufacture consent” that would pave the way for the introduction of the executive bill to the National Assembly.
In all, the entire process will take about 18 months, from 2019 to 2021. This will be followed by a two-year transitional period to enable the new constitution that will underpin the restructuring of the country to take effect from 2023.
Moghalu said the case for constitutional restructuring of Nigeria is four-fold. First, the need for equity and justice; second, reversal of the destabilization of the Nigerian polity; third, provision of a ‘people’s constitution,’ among other “fundamental” requirements; and finally, returning Nigeria to the path of economic transformation.
“Nation-building is hard, but it need not be as difficult as we make it in Nigeria,” said Moghalu, whose 17-year career at the United Nations, included his role in helping to rebuild broken nations. “Nation-building is also intentional. It doesn’t happen by accident.”
Moghalu anchored Nigeria’s nation-building on leadership, unifying actions and stakeholders’ interest. “The real test is in the leadership and the actions that create a real spirit of nationhood, and the willingness of every stakeholder to build a united, stable and cohesive nation,” he said.
Socio-cultural groups like Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo and others, have pledged to support a presidential candidate in the 2019 election who understands and is committed to restructuring.
Apart from his plan that lays a clear path to constitutional restructuring of Nigeria, Moghalu said he has brought conceptual clarity to the subject. He distinguished between “federalism,” “fiscal federalism,” and “devolution of powers,” saying the last two are even practised in some countries practising a unitary system government.
Moghalu said “constitutional restructuring” has become a political imperative in Nigeria, given how far the country has been led in the wrong direction. He listed the core characteristics of a restructured Nigeria, based on his plan. These are: One, the federating units in Nigeria should be the six geopolitical zones and not the present structure of states – as only about six of the states are fiscally viable, whereas all the regions are fiscally viable and will enjoy the economies of scale. Each of the regional governments will be headed by a premier and shall have a regional parliament. Two, each region, not the central government, will control natural resources found therein, but pay 40 per cent of the income from those resources to the central government for the functioning of the federation.
Three, there will be regional police. Four, the balance of powers between the regions and the centre will be deliberately designed to give component regions developmental and policy space, but not to create an overly weak centre. Five, there must be a real separation of religion and the state. Six, a completely new constitution that is truly a people’s constitution.
And, seven, revamping of the exclusive, concurrent and residual legislative lists. In this regard, the central government will have exclusive responsibility for common services such as the central bank and monetary policy, foreign affairs, defence and the armed forces, and immigration. The regional governments will have direct supervision over the provinces (represented by the present 36 states). Local governments would not be a constitutional tier of government in the new constitution. Rather, it should be the responsibility of regional governments to create and administer local governments.
Moghalu warned on the possibility of a dissoluble Nigeria. “We know of other countries, such as the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that broke up into several nations,” he said. Other examples include former UK colonies that have dissolved into two or more countries. These include India, which split into India and Pakistan, with Bangladesh later breaking off from Pakistan; and Sudan, which today is Sudan and South Sudan.
“There is no question in my mind that Nigeria will not survive a rejection of constitutional restructuring to cure its inherent ills,” said Moghalu. “And the most likely scenario is one in which this occurs with violence that may not be successfully repressed by military operations such as ‘Python Dance’, ‘Lafia Dole’, and ‘Crocodile Smile.’”
He said that he has the political will to lead the restructuring of our country in the manner in which it must be done. “I am not just a politician. I am a leader. My vision for restructuring Nigeria is not a promise. It is a plan. And I have a plan to execute that plan,” he concluded.
Official Spokesman for Presidential Candidate, Professor Kingsley Moghalu and his ‘To Build A Nation’ (TBAN) movement.