Jega calls for restructuring before 2023 general elections
Cyril Mbah, Abuja
Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega has made a strong case for the urgent restructuring of the political system before the 2023 general election to correct the glaring “imbalances and inequalities” in the country.
Professor Jega warned that “the necessity of remedying the imbalances and inequalities embedded in the current federal system has been ignored for too long and any further neglect will irreparably imperil the efficacy and viability of the Nigerian federation.”
The professor of political science, who made these remarks as the guest lecturer at the 4th Lecture Series of Nasarawa State University, Keffi also called for concerted efforts at all levels to generate the capacity to build national consensus on restructuring especially as it affects the redistribution of power and resources from the federal to state governments.
He argued that the perceived imbalances, inequalities and injustices in the current federal system operating in the country must now be re-engineered so that Nigeria and Nigerians can have peace and work together for the development of the nation.
Jega reminded the ruling elite that the nation can never have meaningful socioeconomic development without peace or the requisite stability that engenders peaceful co-existence.
“The best strategy for success is the pursuit of systematic, incremental, positive changes through constitutional amendments in phases commencing with the review and sanitizing of the Federal Concurrent Legislative lists, giving more powers and resources to the states.
“It should also be complimented by other reform measures to nurture and entrench good, democratic governance at all levels, from the federal to states and local governments.
“Elected officials in both the executive and legislative branches of government need to gather the courage and the political will to work together, bringing along critical stakeholders from the civil society, to begin to actualise restructuring as advocated in this presentation before 2023,” he suggested.
He argued that despite the challenges facing the country, the prospects are not as hopeless as some critics of government want people to believe adding “Nigeria needs stability and increased legitimacy for elected officials in governance. Nigeria needs good governance, better nurtured and deepened democratic development; economic growth and socio-economic development.
“For all these to become possible, there should be better management of ethno-religious diversity, on the basis of rule of law, justice, equity and equality of opportunities as a necessary precondition.
“These are what a federal arrangement is meant to ensure but is not what the present federal structure in Nigeria provides. Rather, it has maintained an asymmetrical and unequal distribution of power and allocation of resources between the national government and the sub-national units, the states,” Jega said.
He concluded by stating emphatically that “some form of restructuring before the next general elections in 2023 is necessary to reverse the current lopsided trend and reposition Nigeria on the path of development as a viable and effective federation.”