Mr President, stop the killings now! …Restructure Nigeria

President Buhari.


By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

Last week’s piece on the above topic attracted a variety of comments from readers and the general public. The topic itself was the subject of national discourse. And as if reading my mind, the Senate, for the umpteenth time, asked the President to sack the service chiefs, whilst the House of Representatives invited the President to address it on no specific date. The Speaker was later to be seen in Aso Villa, ostensibly to consolidate on the proposed appearance of the President. I have my reservations on that visit and the declarations made by the Speaker, but that is a topic for another day. In the most surprising manner, the President of the Senate that had indirectly indicted the President on security matters, was later to lead a delegation to Borno State, some days after, frolicking with the same service chiefs that he wants the President to sack. Would it not have been better for the legislators to just maintain their peace, rather than embarking upon half-hearted resolutions which they knew they had no willpower to back for implementation? Or was it all about impressing (or misleading) the people? Let me share with you the views of many Nigerians on the topic.

Adeniyi A. Ajibola:

Very good analysis but what is the legal way to go about getting the required restructuring? The president does not have power. How do we kick start a “we the people” thing legally and peacefully? No one can stop it once the move starts. That is the next write up I am looking forward to sir.

Oduorah Paul Okechukwu:

Buhari, a renowned combatant? This attribute is the greatest lie of the century. It is on record that a known combatant, Idiagbon of his regime, was hoodwinked to travel to Saudi and Buhari was effortlessly overthrown without a single shot fired. That coup was later described as a palace coup. Please, let us stop distorting history. It is ridiculously funny to expect Buhari who cannot settle feud in his immediate family to give Nigerians security. Buhari has no capacity to lead Nigeria and this is evident in the way and manner every facet of governance has been ruined. Our economy has been irredeemably destroyed, national grid collapsed, security damaged, naira painfully destroyed in value, et cetera. There should be a massive protest across the country, asking Buhari to go. He is no better than a mannequin.

Ibrahim Akinpelu:

Restructuring is the only way out to free Nigerians, especially the southerners, from the fraudulent constitution that gives one’s resources to the others that are contributing little and in some cases NOTHING, to the federation.

AK George:

My SAN, we can’t continue on same page everyday, asking this administration to profer the simplest solution to mankind which is security. The whole system was a scam in the beginning, they have no declared agenda for this country. Thank you.

Ikuomola Olubadewa Pedro:

The killings are too much!
While President Buhari is smiling daily on the issues simply because none of his family members have been involved.

Edmund Onoriode:

Oil will never allow them restructure Nigeria! Even though the North have started restructuring with their massive infrastructure investment in Niger i.e rail way construction to open up their land. The day Oil is no longer relevant, the North will agree to Restructure! To the North, means that they will no longer have access to oil money! Period!

Adeleke Teslim:

To restructure Nigeria, is it by Executive order or fiat? What is the role of the National Assembly if I may ask?

Eki Fred Ehizele:

Appeals to the president to stop the killings and restructure Nigeria are ludicrously naive.

Aliyu Suleiman Hayatulah:

Sir, what is the role of National assemblies in restructuring Nigeria?

Although not directly reacting to my piece, the Northern Elders Forum, came out with a scathing demand on the President, to resign and to quit the stage. Let me share their thoughts with you, as reported in the newspapers.

“For the second time in two days, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, saying he has failed to secure Nigerians. NEF spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this last night in a live television programme.
He said it is disappointing that after over five years of being in office, Buhari still hasn’t delivered on the promises he made to Nigerians when he was first elected in 2015.
Baba-Ahmed noted that Buhari had asked his predecessor, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, to resign in 2013 over growing insecurity in the country and so, it is not out of place to demand that he resign over the same security challenge.
He said: “We will continue to ask that he (Buhari) resigns. He is a democratically elected president. We wish he is doing better but he is not. Ordinarily, under a democratic system, a leader is supposed to deliver, he is supposed to do two things – he is supposed to secure citizens and he is supposed to facilitate their economic welfare. He (Buhari) hasn’t done the first and he is not doing the second. So, explain to me on what basis President Buhari should continue to be our president?
“However, it is his right to continue to be the president even if Nigerians are unhappy and unsatisfied with what he is doing, that is his right but we will not keep quiet; we will continue to speak up that he has failed Nigerians, he is failing Nigerians and under a democratic setting, we have to raise our voices and say, ‘Mr. President, you are just not good enough for this country’. That is just the simple truth.
“We have respected the President, we understand the difficulty he is facing and we understand how difficult it is to tell him to resign but we also have the democratic right to tell him, ‘Sorry sir, you cannot run this country, you have been given five, six years to do so and the situation is just getting worse and we believe that you have nothing new to offer and the only way is for you to resign’. We believe we are speaking for millions of Nigerians.”
Earlier, the northern elders said life has lost its value under the Buhari regime while condemning Saturday the killing of at least 43 rice farmers by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.”

Various coalition groups from the North in particular, have been up in arms against the President and his security team, given the carnage going on in that region presently. It is becoming clear by the day no doubt, that the President is somewhat overwhelmed by the daunting challenges posed by insecurity across the land, especially in the wake of the EndSARS protests, all of which have exposed the limitations of the security agencies, including the once dreaded military. In a nation where service chiefs are competing to build universities in their domains rather than engaging in purposeful combat, where it has become fanciful to organize military parades against civilians to stop the exercise of their fundamental rights to protest, one can best imagine the usefulness of any military outfit that they lead. I agree with many Nigerians that the service chiefs should be relieved of their duties to allow fresh ideas in the security architecture of the nation.

Now that all our people have spoken with one voice that the government has failed in respect of security, it is left to be seen if the President will heed our calls to do the needful. Part of the reason why the President’s urgent response is needed is to confirm if he got his mandate to rule, from Nigerians. If it is the votes of the people that produced the President, then he has no choice but to yield to the demands of the voters, to sack the service chiefs and to do all in his power, working with others in his political party, to fulfil the promise of restructuring. All excuses to evade this sacred responsibility are totally unacceptable. When the people are scared to even go to their farm, when it has become a nightmare to travel from one State to the other and it is a matter of war to dwell safely in your own land, then governance has lost its purpose and those claiming to lead the people at such a time, do so on their own terms.

ASUU, Government and the students

When it was announced that the teachers and the government had reached a consensus on their protracted negotiations, the expectation was that the schools would re-open almost immediately, but that has not been the case. Whatever is dragging the wheel of the negotiations, whatever consultations are being undertaken by the teachers, it is time to call off the strike and give meaning to education.

Let the discussions continue, on a long term basis, let the engagements get deeper, to achieve a permanent solution, but let the career of our children experience some progress. ASUU should reciprocate the sympathy and support of Nigerians by ending the strike immediately. In the same vein, the government must come out clean on its promises over the years. The leadership of the National Assembly had made a solemn vow that it will not sign off on the 2021 budget unless a substantial portion of it is devoted to education. We are all waiting, as the time to test that resolve is almost here.

In the meantime, the general feeling of all parents and indeed the masses of our people is that the teachers should end the strike. If ASUU is listening to any other voice to prolong the strike any day further, then it is that of the enemy. It will get to a time when the purpose of the struggle of ASUU may become counter-productive, especially with the reactions of other unions and stakeholders within the university system. Whereas I agree perfectly that the teachers deserve their wages, however, so long as there is a firm commitment by the government to pay, well documented and enforceable, expressed not only to the teachers but also the people of Nigeria, ASUU should reconsider its stand on no resumption without actual payment, if only as a demonstration of the value placed on the sacrifices of others. Let the universities re-open, without further ado. The struggle is continuous.

Adegboruwa is a front line human rights activist and a Lagos-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.