The Nigerian electorate must henceforth hold their political representatives, at all levels, responsible for the task of restructuring the country.
They must also make very strong statements with the 2019 general elections by electing those who show very strong commitments to the restructuring of Nigeria.
These were the submissions of Dr. Obiora Okonkwo in a lecture he delivered at the Faculty of Social sciences of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Tuesday.
Speaking at the lecture which earned him a standing ovation from students and staff of the university, Okonkwo said that for Nigeria to take full advantage of its diversity for development, it must restructure.
In the lecture titled, ‘The Value of Diversity: Restructuring to Save Nigeria’, Okonkwo, who is the Chairman of The Dome Entertainment and Hospitality Centre, Abuja said “making Nigeria work in this regard includes also restructuring our mindsets and respect for the diverse ethnicities
in the federation; and appreciation of their religious and cultural differences. In making such appreciations, we find the need to unbundle and free ourselves to achieve greatness.”
According to him, Nigeria’s diversity is its greatest asset which must be harnessed for the development of the country.
He argued however that for the country’s diversity to be of benefit to its people, the country must restructure such that each component unit would pursue development using resources available to it.
He traced the history of restructuring of Nigeria beginning with the 1914 amalgamation and concluded that time has come for the constitution to be thoroughly reviewed so as to unbundle the federation and tap into the diverse potentials of its people for development.
He said Nigerians must therefore pay serious attention to restructuring by holding politicians to task during the forthcoming campaigns.
He said only those who make restructuring the central focus of their campaign should be considered for election to represent the people beginning from the ward levels.
“In this regard, our advance toward the next general elections must take into cognizance the need to restructure our polity and make it work effectively for the people. This is where the people, me and you, who desire to live as members of this State should begin to demand from their political leaders, strong commitment towards restructuring.
“This should now be the battle the people must undertake to create the sort of society that they desire. We must now demand that from our politicians as condition for being voted”, he said.
Okonkwo however called on the electorate to moderate their demands for financial rewards from elected officials, arguing that such demands make it possible for such officials to shy away from pursuing serious causes.
According to him, how well an elected official did in sharing money to the electorate should never form the basis for assessment of their contribution to the quest to restructure the country.
“On the part of the electorate, they must also understand that though the politician holds office in trust for them, such trust does not translate to paying schools fees for children of voters, or paying hospital bills or sharing money among voters. In other words, the electorate should appreciate that the work of a legislator is to make laws for good governance while the executive
implements same. If voters do not moderate their monetary expectations from the elected, they will remain victims of bad governance as those who share money to the electorate, must work to recoup. Therefore, whatever an individual gets from an elected representative need not be the
yardstick for assessment”, he stated.