The clamour for restructuring has never been louder at any other time than this moment in our history.
Some sectional groups which used to stand firmly against it have joined the call to remodel the political and administrative architecture of the country.
In recent years, the South and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, SMBLF, consisting of four of our six geopolitical zones had been at the forefront of this agitation.
But of late, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, which speaks for the interests of the North East and North West, has joined the crusade.
The only group that continues to ask questions about the true intentions behind the clamour is the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF.
With majority of the geopolitical stakeholders now on the same page, it can confidently be asserted that a national consensus has been formed on the need to, at least, explore this issue towards reaching another national consensus on its form, purpose, modalities and expected benefits.
President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which promised restructuring in 2015.
The party even set up the Governor Nasir el Rufai committee in August 2017 which came out with 12 recommendations for restructuring. The president himself appears far from being enamoured with the idea.
In his most recent response, the president saw the agitation as a “threat” which his administration would not “succumb” to. He asked the agitators to channel their grievances to the National Assembly.
We find this attitude rather unfortunate and insensitive. The president was elected by the generality of the Nigerian populace. He has a duty to listen to the yearnings of the people rather than talkdown on their heartfelt needs or aspirations.
The truth is that Nigeria is sick systemically. The centralised federal structure used to govern the country during the oil boom epoch by the military and bequeathed to our democracy has become a big burden which Nigeria can no longer carry.
The system generates poverty rather than wealth. It produces dissonance rather than consensus. It spawns violence, corruption, inequality, nepotism and criminality.
It has become unproductive, and it only benefits a very minuscule quota of the population. If we do nothing now, the nation will continue to dysfunction. We need a new system that works for every Nigerian; a system that is acceptable to all Nigerians and once again command the loyalties of its citizens.
President Buhari should set up an exploratory committee made up of stakeholders from the six geopolitical zones to produce a working document towards a National Conference on Nigeria Restructuring.
If we start now, we can resume the journey to greatness as early as 2023. Buhari should take the reins and be the agent of change he promised in 2015.