By Miracle Enuji
The South South Reawakening Group (SSRG) has dismissed the concept of restructuring as a mere mantra and the height of deception only meant to garner political goodwill.
Speaking at a Press Conference in Warri, Delta State, the convener of the South South Reawakening Group, Comrade Joseph Ambakederimo harped on the need to entrench good governance borne out of attitudinal change by leaders and Nigerians.
In his words, “the main issue before us today is the call to restructure Nigeria which has been reverberating across the length and breadth of our dear country. I am taking on this primarily because the issue of restructuring of Nigeria will take a center stage and will dominate the discourse in 2017 going forward. For those who are making this call either for political gains or merely playing to the gallery, no one has come out to tell us unequivocally what shape or style the restructuring would take.
“Do we discard the presidential system of government for a ministerial system? Will it be total Balkanization of the country with every state going its way? Or is it going to be regionalism? Does it just apply to the revenue sharing formula with fiscal federalism the main objective? With so much cacophony going on with no clear cut position of what we actually want we seem to be continuing with what the same noise as it were that has always been in our body polity.
We have come this low that everybody is talking at the same time and nobody is listening. The situation is likened to a marketplace where there is always a rancorous noise, but even at that, the buyer and seller hear themselves and always conclude their transaction in a typical market place scenario.
“But in the Nigerian context, it is saddening and regrettable. We need to redirect this discourse to identify the cause of the present agitation, the true state of the country.
Ambakederimo also decried the silence of the media and the generality of Nigerians to the issue. According to him, “It is even more troubling and shameful that the media that should shape the discourse has joined in the fray to muddle up the waters. We must redirect this narrative of restructuring that we have been presented with as the only pathway to our Eldorado as a country.
“We all seem to be a confused bunch of people in an organized chaos. Successive Heads of Governments have said that they will not be the ones to preside over the Balkanization of Nigeria and that the unity of Nigeria remains indivisible. So, who will bell the cat? For us in the SSRG, it is nothing but a wishful thinking and l want to assure Nigerians that in no distant time we shall hear of another lexicon that shall envelop us just as we have been drowned with the lexicon of RESTRUCTURING.
“Again, in the SSRG, we ask, will this restructuring stop the cancerous corruption that has pervaded the entire Nigerian landscape? Is it the restructuring that will bring internal democratic norms into our political parties? Is it restructuring that will stop people burying money in septic tanks, farm lands, in overhead tanks, and in cemeteries?
Probing on the imperative which he described as an empty political sloganeering, the SSRG raised the following posers, “Is it restructuring that will stop budget padding? Is it restructuring that will stop our teachers from becoming traders and turning classrooms into a marketplace? Is it restructuring that will stop the legislative arm from appropriating to themselves jumbo emoluments they do not deserve? We can go on and on without end.
“Our position is at variance with the clamor for the call to restructure the country. We see nothing wrong with the structure of Nigeria as it is today and in future, the problem with Nigeria is good governance and nothing more. Corruption has made us not to see ourselves as one people. Corruption has made us see ourselves as ‘I am a Moslem you are a Christian,’ ‘I am a Christian, and you are a Moslem.’
“It is only corruption that has somewhat bound us together because when they want to steal and appropriate to themselves our common patrimony there doesn’t seem to be Christian or Muslim dichotomy anymore. Therefore our position is we have to restructure ourselves, our minds first before we talk of restructuring of the country. We have to do an introspection on how we live our lives, how we conduct ourselves, how we manage our affairs, how do we see Nigeria and where we want Nigeria to be. Anything short of that will certainly lead us nowhere no matter how we try.
“It is a truism that our problems are man-made. We have become a nation that relies on luck to make things work for us. We have become a nation that believes that only prayers can make things work for us and bring the much-needed development. Our belief is that God has given us everything we need to power forward in this country, but unfortunately we have all allowed ourselves to be so engrossed in our religious beliefs to make Nigeria work and put food on our table rather than hard work.
“Take for instance our elections, why would anyone threaten to kill or kill people just to serve the people. Today we have politicians talking about forming a mega party away from the dominant two parties we have just because of disaffection within the rank and file of the political parties.
“If we may ask who are those going about this mega party? Are they angels from heaven? Are they not the same persons who have held positions one time or the other in the existing parties? Will it not be the same attitude they have displayed in their old parties that they will still bring into the new party. The same old wine in an old skin. So what difference do we expect to get from these persons and the parties they form.
“The excessive greed and intolerance in us drive some of us to the extreme, where service to the people has become a do or die affair.
“Ladies and Gentlemen our position in the SSRG: if we do not restructure our minds and our character whatever voyage of restructuring we embark upon nothing will change, therefore good governance is the thing that we need to make Nigeria great.”