Human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, (SAN), on Wednesday, allayed fears expressed by some Nigerians that the clamour for restructuring was an indirect call for the break up of the country.
Rather, he said, the issue of restructuring, if it succeeded, will only help in righting the wrongs in critical areas, instead of creating disunity in the country.
Falana spoke at the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, where he delivered a lecture titled: ‘Restructuring and The Liberation of Nigeria’, as part of activities marking the institution’s 24th convocation ceremony.
He also chided some past leaders of the country, who have now joined the league of those agitating for restructuring after leaving office, wondering why they failed to execute the restructuring project while they were in power.
He advised that the agitations for restructuring by Nigerians should be for equitable distribution of wealth between the federal and state governments.
”Restructuring, without equitable distribution of wealth, will not bring the needed change and development that will build the foundation of our economy and make it gain global reckoning and work for the citizens.
“But I am warning that power devolution to the states without democratising such powers is dangerous to our system”, Falana said.
According to him, agitations for restructuring should not be seen from the prism of primordial sentiments like secession, call for civil war and division, that would further disunite the country, stressing, ” Restructuring is not about break up of Nigeria”.
Falana urged proponents to pursue their agitations peacefully towards pressuring the present leadership to set the machinery in motion, as well as push the governors to deepen federalism using legal instrumentality, for equitable distribution of wealth and radical development of the nation.
The activist stated that there was the need to really remove the confusion in the restructuring advocacy because it had sowed confusion between advocates of a more united Nigerian federation and secessionists and separatists.
He also raised alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, which, he claimed, currently stands at $85.9 bn, describing it as a death trap that might spell doom for the nation if it was not reversed.
Falana said the payment of $12.4 bn to the London/Paris club notwithstanding, Nigerians were worried about the spate of large scale borrowings by states and the Federal Government
The Chairman of the occasion and Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, appealed to Nigerian leaders not to allow religious and ethnic barriers to divide the nation.