Prof. Yemi Osinbajo: Restructuring

For years, the former Attorney General of Lagos State has always been an advocate of a restructured Nigeria. The Vice Resident, Yemi Osinbajo shows concern on the issues of restructuring. Directing his concern to the Supreme court, he states that fiscal restructuring could serve as the bedrock for a restructured Nigeria. In the Vice President’s words:

 “It is clear that our centralized model of policing, which was entrenched when the country was less populous and less complex is not capable of addressing the challenges of 21st-century society in the throes of fast-paced changes.

You cannot police a country of this size, with a police command that functions out of Abuja. It is just impossible, we must have state police, community police. The reason why it is so obvious is that policing is always a local function. Anyone who is a policeman must be able to speak and understand the local language. If a policeman and doesn’t understand the local language, he stands at a major disadvantage. This is why State or local policing is important as part of our security architecture.

How do we achieve a situation where we are more productive, whether we have oil resources, or not, we can make the kind of money that benefits our people and they can be taxed and can develop roads and infrastructure and we can assure a future for our population? Is it by restructuring?

It is my thesis that the most important structural change we can make in Nigeria is to speedily eradicate poverty and this is best achieved by creating stronger States, and by States, I mean, the legislature which is the center of the State including the executive and the judiciary.

What does the concept of a strong state mean? It means two things. The first is what states must do for themselves. By that, I mean the three arms of government especially the executive and the legislature working proactively.

What we need is the restructuring that gives us stronger states. Stronger states within a Federation can, with the mass of resources they aggregate, solve the problems related to population growth, climate change, terrorism, and mass poverty.

But the process of creating stronger sub-nationals is possible even without making any major constitutional changes. We have said that we need to do two things; one is to ensure autonomous strong States, also we have said that we must devolve power to those States and also ensure, that at the State level, the States themselves must be productive, and generate income.” – Vice President Osinbajo

Osinbajo, a strong advocate, working towards having a restructured Nigeria, on this day Thursday, 25th of March, 2021 shared with the public the outcome of the proceedings at the supreme court. He suggests that the restructuring should begin with the fiscal policy. He explains that beginning a restructuring in the area of the country’s fiscal policy would aid “more of resource control”. He gives suggestions as to how a restructured Nigeria can be made. He explains that having a police command operating out of Abuja is not so good a decision and this is because of the present large country’s population. He goes further to say that the reason we are having ‘obvious” security issues is that policing, which is a ‘local function” is operating in a reversed manner. He suggests that each state should have autonomous control of the security of the state. Establishing that if autonomous control is given to each state in terms of security, that there will be a positive change in the state of security in the country; and this because, each police officer functioning at the community level, understands the local language of their community and that would make it easier to ensure strong security right from the community level because the language of the people of that local is well understood.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo also raises the concern of how we, Nigerians can be productive regardless of the availability or unavailability of oil resources. He seeks to find ways to which the present poor economy of the country can be corrected. He seeks for ways in which there can be an escape from the continuous rise of recession, suggesting that if solutions can be made to change the present economic state of the country where the people would benefit from, it is then the people can be taxed and good roads and infrastructure can be made available. He, therefore, poses the question that for this kind of economic life to be achieved, “is it restructuring?”

The vice president goes ahead to answer his earlier question. He states that the country needs restructuring, proposing that the highly necessary restructuring that can be made now in Nigeria is for there to be a fast eradication of the existence of poverty. He proposes ways to achieving this. He suggests that making “stronger states” in terms of the State’s legislature, executive, and judiciary arms would help in the quick eradication of poverty. He suggests a more proactive method of working on the three arms of government – legislature, executive, and the judiciary, emphasizing the legislative and executive arm of government.

He however claims that the making of stronger states can be achieved “even without making any major constitutional changes.” Reiterating his earlier propositions, he emphasizes the creation of autonomous states fully vested with power. Also emphasizing the productivity of these States, he asserts that there should be a mandatory gear to ensuring productivity and the generation of income at the State’s level.

Regarding the Vice President’s stance on the situation of the country, what do you have to say? Would the devolving of power to the State level help eradicate poverty and ensure better security for the people? Should restructuring start with the eradication of poverty? Do you think the Vice President’s thesis on the restructuring and for a better Nigeria would suffice?

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March 26, 2021

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