Ask Nigerians to mention the most topical issue in the polity and chances are that a majority will point to “restructuring”. Political parties are talking about it, sectional groups are talking about it, Wole Soyinka is talkingabout it, the news media is talking about it, and on and on it goes.
But there isn’t a consensus on what a restructuring will entail or what areas are up for discussion.
Recently, the Northern Governors Forum and the Northern Traditional Rulers Council formed a committee chaired by the Governor of Sokoto State to aggregate the views of Northerners on the restructuring debate. Following its inaugural meeting in Kaduna, the committee resolved to hold public hearings and extensive consultations with stakeholders and leaders of thought in the 19 states in the region to come up with an acceptable position that will reflect the view of the entire North.
According to Gov. Tambuwal, their resolutions are as follows:
A commitment to ensuring Nigeria remains a strong, united country. “We have also decided to present the case of the North as a single entity desirous of a prosperous country,” he said.
Hold the aforementioned town hall meetings in all the 19 states “to hear the views of our people on the restructuring debate currently going on in the country.”
Have no area off limit. “We will discuss on federalism, fiscal federalism, state police, revenue structure and any other issue of interest.”
Analyse previous documents and position papers that proffered viable options to Northern development. “A technical committee will study these documents, talk to the authors and present the report to us at our next meeting on October 24 here in Kaduna.”
Key into the opportunity provided by the ongoing amendment of the 1999 constitution by the National assembly to see how to reflect the position of the North “in the larger scheme of things.”
Attendees at the inaugural meeting of the committee included: the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, Governor of Nassarawa, Umar Tanko Al-Makura, Governor of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai; deputy governors of Gombe and Plateau states, Charles Iliya and Soni Tyoden respectively.
Others in attendance were Sanusi, Etsu Nupe Yahaya Abubakar, Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang, Emir of Fika, Muhammadu Abali and Emir of Gummi, retired Justice Lawal Gummi.