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Nigeria’s politics and restructuring debate

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Nigeria’s politics and restructuring debate

Book title: Nigeria: The Restructuring Controversy

Author: Sir Mike Mbama Okiro

Publisher:

Year of publication: 2017

Number of pages: 352

Reviewer: Sonnie Nwosu

 

Through this 352 page book divided into nine chapters, Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, a retired Inspector General of Police and current Chairman of Police Service Commission, buttresses the differences in views and feelings of Nigeria’s federating units, that have hindered the emergence of Nigeria, widely acclaimed as world’s largest black nation, as truly great in all ramifications, and as a country with the capacity to lead Africa out her challenges that centre on poverty and underdevelopment.

The book, presented to the public at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time than now that what is resonating nationwide is the clamour for restructuring.

The erudite author painstakingly puts the book together with the hope that it will assist the national government, especially in reining-in the centrifugal forces that have for long been threatening the peaceful co-existence, development and progress of Nigeria as a united, strong and virile nation.

He traced the cause to the bitter contest of power, mutually shared ethnic and religious intolerance and suspicion, claims of marginalization and sundry injustices, as well as violent conflicts that have hindered the country’s exploitation to the maximum of its ethno-linguistic, cultural and religious diversity potentials, which invariably led to an unfortunate and avoidable civil war.

Okiro posits that the “quit notice” ultimatum given by some Northern youths to Igbo people living up North and counter threats against Northerners by some youth segments from the South indicates a crack in the wall of the nation’s unity, which ought to be neatly and strongly nipped in the bud and in good time, in the interest of national peace and progress.

He believes that Nigeria’s problems are not solely ethnic or religious, but embedded on elite conspiracy and subterranean maneuvers for sectoral supremacy.

He averred that our elites fan the embers of ethnic and religious disharmony to achieve their group or personal interests at the expense of our national ethos.

The book attempts to expose every contender to other people’s views also, so they can perceive that their reasons and views are not sacrosanct and should accommodate and evaluate the opinions of others.

The book also captures the general overview of prominent views and feelings, though by no means exhaustive, on the restructuring controversy across all sides.

Besides, highlighted in the book are government’s efforts to address cries of marginalisation, domination and oppression, as well as the outcome of some past conferences convened to address the challenge.

He observed that the impact of all such efforts appears feeble as cries of marginalisation, huge appetite for secession and strident calls for restructuring persist and hold down the country like a docile giant in deep slumber.

The author made recommendation based on studies and solutions that worked in other countries that at one time or the other faced similar nationhood threats Nigeria is now experiencing.

He regards the book as his own little but meaningful contribution to the progress, development and unity of Nigeria. Especially, the recommendation and conclusion, which he strongly believes the nation’s current democratic leadership can use as a guide when handling the sensitive matter.

He concludes by asserting that from a close examination of the positions of virtually all the federating units, Nigerians desire a truly great, prosperous, strong, peaceful and united country, where justice, equity and fair play reign.

“The dream is no wishful utopia. It is achievable if pains are taken by the leadership to narrow the views and feelings that make the various federating units view the country as a union of strange bedfellows.                      

“With the right premium placed on justice, equity and fair play in the management of Nigeria’s large size and diversity, human and natural resources, among other attributes, I am convinced that a stable polity, peaceful and united nation will emerge in no distant time and her prosperity will be guaranteed”, he prophesied.

General (Dr) Yakubu Gowon GCFR, in the foreword, recommended the book as a compendium of knowledge on Nigeria’s politics and current restructuring debate, an asset to all Nigerians committed to the building of a stronger and prosperous nation.

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