The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in the United States of America has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying he should wish to be remembered as the Nigerian president who implemented restructuring and gave the country a true, federal constitution.
NIDO added that several governments have failed to address the lapses and deficiencies in the Nigeria’s current federal structure which are fuelling secessionist agitations and agenda, saying the Buhari-government which made promises to restructure the country must get to it.
NIDO stated these in its letter, dated June 6 and signed by Eromonsele Idahosa, Chairman, and Jane Ekwonye, Vice Chairman, among other executives.
The letter, obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, was copied to Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, Dr Uzoma Emenike, Ambassador and Head of US Mission and Abike Dabiri, the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
The letter to Buhari partly reads, “Restructuring Towards True Federalism; No less a personality than Itse Sagay, the Chairman of your Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACAC), recently called for the re-adoption of Nigeria’s 1963 Republican Constitution, with slight amendments, to devolve more powers to the states. The solution proposed by Professor Sagay is, incidentally, the same as that of the National Democratic Coalition which demanded in 1994 that the nation reverts to its 1963 constitution.
“Following sustained agitations for a Sovereign National Conference which he resisted, President Olusegun Obasanjo convened the National Political Reform Conference in February 2005. Even though N1 billion naira was budgeted for the 3-month exercise, there was no enabling law establishing the NPRC. Its work was essentially advisory in nature.
“Then in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan assembled 492 Nigerian delegates organised into 20 committees to deliberate for five months about the future of the country amid a backdrop of Boko Haram terrorist campaign and the restlessness of the people in the Niger Delta area who insisted on ‘resource control.’
“Under the chairmanship of retired Chief Justice Idris Kutigi, that national conference passed more than 600 resolutions and produced a 10,335-page report, at a princely cost of N7 billion. As was the case with the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference convoked by late head of state, General Sani Abacha, those recommendations have never been implemented.
“Mr. President, your party – the All Progressives Conference (APC) – raised hopes that this cycle would be broken when, in August 2017, it set up a 23-person committee headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to review the 2014 Confab report and articulate the party’s position on true federalism.
“APC, in 2015 promised ‘to initiate action to amend the Nigerian constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true federalism and the federal spirit.’ Moreover, Section 7 (2) of the APC constitution had provides for restructuring and fiscal federalism.
“The Nasir El-Rufai Committee recommended state police and devolution of powers to the component units. The Committee recommended that states control natural resources within their respective regions and then, pay taxes and royalties to the Federal Government.
“The committee also recommended that the 1999 Constitution should be amended to transfer some items such as food and drugs, fingerprint identification of criminals, registration of business names, labour matters, mines and minerals, the Police, prisons, public holiday, and stamp duties should from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List to enable both states and the federal government to legislate on them.
“Let this be your legacy so that future generations of Nigerians will remember you as the president who reinvented Nigeria at its time of greatest vulnerabilities.”