A former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says too much emphasis on divisive politics has greatly affected the unity of the country stating that the West African nation cannot be restructured without the challenges polarising the country being addressed.
Mr Jonathan stated this on Thursday at the ‘Daily Trust 18th Dialogue’ which was centred around restructuring.
He said Nigerians have intensified the calls for restructuring because the federal system of governance handed to the country by the British can no longer accommodate the complexities of the country.
Jonathan said he believes that the divisive politics currently obtainable in Nigeria has greatly affected the nation’s unity and not the amalgamation of the then northern and southern protectorate in 1914.
“Within these six decades, our political space has assumed many colourations. We have gone from the 12 regions to 36 states and 774 local government councils and moved away from when the different regions had different arrangements to manage the local government level to a unified local government system across the country.
“Yet, all that do not seem to have provided the answer to the questions of the administrative structure of our country and how best it should be governed,” Mr Jonathan said while declaring the dialogue open in the nation’s capital Abuja.
He further stated that “as president, I had the privilege of celebrating our nation’s golden jubilee in 2010 and the centenary of our amalgamation in 2014.
“When we were to celebrate these milestones, some Nigerians saw our intention, arguing that the amalgamation was faulty. They insisted there were no reasons to celebrate because they believe the amalgamation has not helped the growth of our country.
“My belief is that all nations have their unique history; the amalgamation is not the problem in my belief, rather, there was too much emphasis on divisive politics and this has greatly affected our nation’s unity.
“As a country, we have our peculiar challenges and should devise means of solving them but we should not continue to tilt our spleen on the amalgamation.
“My conviction is that discussion on restructuring will not help except we restructure our minds because some of the challenging issues at the national level still exist at the state and local levels.
“How do we restructure to make sure that those things don’t happen again? This shows restructuring alone may not solve all the anomalies in our system. I believe that restructuring for a better nation is good but there are other fundamental issues we should also address.
“We cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges that polarise our nation. These include nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism. The issues of tribe and religion have continued to limit our unity and progress as a nation.”
By Abel Ejikeme