President Muhammadu Buhari is not averse to restructuring and has asked people to channel their position to the National Assembly which has powers to review the country’s Constitution.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the President has been taking steps within the limit of his powers to effect some changes in the polity.
“It is a matter of fact that President Buhari issued Executive Order No.10 (EO 10) which merely affirmed the financial autonomy which State legislatures and judiciaries already have by virtue of Constitutional provisions in order to make them truly independent of State Governors.
“Although its implementation has been put on hold, we see it as a bold move by the Buhari administration to ensure proper autonomy, at State level, as envisaged by the crafters of the Constitution.
“A similar creative step was taken to affirm local government autonomy through the NFIU but just like EO 10, there is stiff opposition by State Governors to what are clear Constitutional provisions.
“And by the way, the President was privy to the decision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to set up a 23-man committee on devolution of powers and true federalism headed by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai in 2017.
“The report was submitted to the party leadership before the 2019 elections and it is common knowledge that the committee made 12 key recommendations, but what many people have failed to acknowledge is that they still have to be subjected to parliamentary processes”, the group said.
BMO added that President Buhari has no power to implement the el-Rufai committee report or any other suggestions by any individual or group on restructuring
“We are surprised that people who should ordinarily know the workings of government in a democracy expect the President to exercise powers he does not have.
“There is no way President Buhari could provide solutions to any structural impediment by fiat, and this we expect any student of government to know, especially as there is a properly constituted National Assembly in place, representing Nigerians across all six geopolitical zones.
“Anything to the contrary would amount to usurping the powers of the Legislature to amend the country’s laws and this should not be encouraged by those who consider themselves pro-democratic elements.
“Coincidentally, the 9th National Assembly is on the verge of commencing a parliamentary process of reviewing the Constitution and we see it as a good opportunity for groups who pride themselves as advocates of restructuring to literally put their money where their mouth is.
“Anyone who has a true and honest view on the nation’s political structure should be prepared to subject it to a constitutionally backed process, including public hearings and which is also expected to be considered in all 36 State houses of assembly
“So this is a time for lobbying the National Assembly, not issuing threats to the President whose job begins when that of lawmakers, at Federal and State levels, end”.
BMO noted that any group with strong views on restructuring but is not prepared to send memoranda to the joint Constitution Review Committee of the National Assembly could best be described as anarchists, not democrats.