Prospective presidential candidates in the 2023 general elections must commit to the restructuring of Nigeria’s governance system, said former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Elieza Anyaoku, who also urged the electorate not to vote for any candidate that does not do so.
Anyaoku spoke on Thursday in Lagos at the presentation and launch of the book, “The Road Never Forgets,” written by a former managing director of the Daily Times of Nigeria, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi.
“As the country is now gearing up for the 2023 general elections, I urge all the prospective candidates to commit themselves to prioritise the reformation of the country’s present governance system.
“And more importantly I urge the electorate, our people, not to vote for any candidate who fails to do that.”
He likened his persistent call for the restructuring of Nigeria to the commitment of the Roman statesman, Cato, who, during the Punic Wars, always ended his speeches at the Senate with the words “Carthage must be destroyed.”
On how to tackle challenges in Nigeria ,Anyaoku said he would like, with the consistency of Cato, to repeat the essence of what he had said on many other occasions about how Nigeria could make a start if it wants to tackle effectively the myriad challenges facing the country.
“Informed by my long association with governance in the 54 Commonwealth countries, some of which are as pluralistic as Nigeria, my view remains that we cannot begin to successfully deal with our current severe challenges with the governance system we operate at present.
“With our current federal structure, the country will only continue to limp along and underperform with the growing threat of a national disaster.
“To achieve political stability and unleash the country’s inherent development capabilities, we need a governance system that is a true federation with devolution of power from the centre to more viable federating units. It could be six, as against the central current non-viable 36 units available.
“The facts, I believe, are there to show any objective observer that Nigeria, notwithstanding the years the military was at the centre of affairs, began its drift and decline to its present indisputable dangerous state when it abandoned the truer constitution. The truer federal constitution, based on which our founding fathers negotiated our independence.
“We should return to a governance system based on the lines of our independence constitution, if, among other challenges, we are to arrest the daily killings of innocent people.
“The latest example being the reported killing, four days ago, of 80 people with the abduction of further 70 and the burning of several houses in Plateau State.”
Adding his voice to the issue, former Governor Cross River State, Donald Duke, said that judicial reform was also imperative to the needs of Nigerians at present.
“I believe judicial reform may even be more urgent because you cannot have peace without justice. We, the elite, are all gathered here—to handle the shortcomings of our nation.
“The way we have brought up our children lately has left much to be desired,” Duke stated.