A twist has been added to the agitation for restructuring of Nigeria, as an elder statesman, Ahmed Joda, on Friday advocated that the country’s 109 senatorial districts be converted to its federating units to contain the agitation.
Mr. Joda headed the transition committee put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress in 2015 prior to the handing over to Mr. Buhari by the then outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan.
He gave his advice on restructuring in Yola at the All Progressives Congress zonal meeting of Adamawa and Taraba states on true federalism.
“My choice is that we break this country into 109 federating units because this number is large enough to make viable administrative units,” said Mr. Joda who was a federal permanent secretary in the 1970s and the first chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“It can reduce the present intolerable level of the cost of governance in this country; it will wipe out the protocols and all the other encumbrances that we now have to bear and which have now bankrupted us.”
Mr. Joda said regionalism and geopolitical zones are not realistic as only few places like the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa states share common cultural beliefs or interests, while the rest of Nigeria have various tribes that do not share common interests.
The elder statesman, who called for a united Nigeria, lauded Nigerians for always coming out stronger after various crises such as the 1966 coup, civil war and annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
He said Nigeria has attracted recognition and respect in the world as the largest black nation.
“I remain a Nigerian and wish to die a Nigerian. I wish the same for all of us here and around this country. I think it will be a tragedy if this country were to disintegrate and explode,” Mr. Joda said.
In its position paper presented at the event, Adamawa State Government represented by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Bala Sanga, said the state supports independent candidacy and review of revenue allocation in favour of states.
Declaring the meeting open, Governor Muhammadu Bindow said the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and urged for positive contributions by stakeholders that would make the country stronger and more united.
Various groups, including religious bodies, non-governmental organisations, women and youth groups, presented memoranda at the meeting chaired by a former governor of Edo State, Oserheimen Osunbor.