A foremost African historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye and the National Coordinator of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams, yesterday urged Nigerians leaders to reconsider regionalism as the best arrangement for the country.
Their admonition followed increasing calls for restructuring anchored on true federalism.In separate interviews with The Guardian, they said states should control their resources rather than the existing arrangement whereby the Federal Government allocates resources to the three tiers of government on a monthly basis.
Specifically, Akintoye noted that the federating units should be made to protect the country’s integrity and culture, which has been in existence before Nigeria came into being.
His words: “There are two steps to restructure the country. The first is to decide what type of federating units we want and that is not difficult. “The best way and the only way it is done all over the world is to make the large nation a federating unit so that each large nationality is made a federating units or regions.
“The smaller nationality will then be grouped together to form viable states. That is what India did that stopped it from breaking up. If we do that in Nigeria, we are likely to arrive at the six geo- political zones we have now.
“The second step in restructuring is to take a lot of power away from the Federal Government and give them to the regional government, which will then become the centre of socio- economic development in the country,” he said.
Speaking, Adams maintained that devolving powers to states would further worsen the situation of the country.“If power is devolved to the states, we will have a slight difference from what we have now because it will bring disunity among the Yoruba. What I see about devolving power to the state will sharply divide the homogenous tribe and ethnic groups in the country. It will divide the Igbo, Yoruba, and the North West but the Niger Delta may not have anything to loose.
“Before independence, we had been existing as a country. Even before the amalgamation of Nigeria, when we wanted to have self-determination in 1954, we were operating regionalism.
“What I see as a solution to the problem is that the country should be restructured into regions the way it was before we got independent or we should go back to 1963 constitution. We don’t need to stress ourselves, we only need to amend few things in the 1963 constitution,” he stated.