How to restructure Nigeria – AGF
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday added his voice to the ongoing debate on the need to restructure the country.
He said although the alteration of the nation’s structure was inevitable in view of emerging challenges, such restructuring must be effected methodically.
The AGF spoke in Abuja at the opening session of a Think-Tank Conference organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos.
The theme of the event was: “Federalism and the challenges of dynamic equilibrium in Nigeria: Towards a national strategy.”
Malami argued that the choice of federalism as a system of government was not imposed on the country, but adopted in 1954 because of existing diversities that needed to be accommodated.
He contended that though it was normal to reform and modify existing institutional arrangements, systems and processes in any federation, such alterations should not be effected at once as being advocated in Nigeria.
The AGF said, “There were federalising tendencies that were as ancient as the Olumo Rock and which facilitated its adoption in 1954 as a compromise between what Lord James Bryce referred to as centrifugal and centripetal forces.
“It is true that Nigeria’s federal system has been experiencing challenges and there have been agitations and prescriptions to reform and modify it.
“As things stands, restructuring requires amending the constitution to accommodate referendum or, in the alternative, a constitutional amendment to the 1999 Constitution which, in this case, must be supported by majority of legislators in 24 states of the federation as enshrined in Section 9 of the constitution.
“One thing that is certain is the inevitable implication that abolishing states through restructuring process will certainly translate to the eventual multiplier effect of abolishing the State Houses of Assembly and perhaps downsizing the National Assembly.
“This, indeed, is a tall order that cannot be achieved through advocacy, emotional outburst or provocative rhetorics and demonstration.”