Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and human
rights activist, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has told President Muhammadu
Buhari to divide the country into eight regional structures.
Agbakoba, noted that there are so many unclear issues in Nigeria about
how people of the country want to organise themselves and how they
want to live together.
The senior lawyer told reporters at the weekend that insecurity and
other serious issues facing the country “can’t be fully arrested,” if
the central government remains so strong as it is now.
He added that, “This is because community policing or state policing
is a tactical tool to deal with the problem, but the strategic tool is
the bigger question of the national question.
“There are so many unclear issues in Nigeria about how we want to
organize ourselves, how we want to live together, this is what some
people have called the restructuring question, some call it the
national question, but I call it devolution of powers question.
“Whatever it’s called that is the central issue that needs resolution
so that even if you use tactical tools like community policing, but
the bigger issue remains then I don’t know if we can resolve it.
“What Nigeria needs is space, there are diverse ethnicities and they
are living in such close proximity that one ethnic community is in the
face of the other with counter-cultures, counter-religious beliefs and
that is not healthy. Even in America in spite of all their advanced
democracy, they take care of diversities.
“So, I think if I were to advise the president, for instance, the
first thing to do is create space…,identify the ethnic regionalities,
create eight big blocs, even though we have 6 to make it 8.
“And then I will give them the power to do things at their own local
level, it’s called the principle of subsidiarity; let them work at
their own local level. Subsidiarity is where people engage themselves
at the local level such that you find in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and
England.
“Part of the challenge they had when they were living closely was to
create an act of settlement of 1705, that was when peace began to come
and each of the regions recognized themselves.
“They all had their own prime ministers and they call them first
ministers, so the prime minister of the UK is the one we see
internationally, but on local matters like school, refuse collection,
education, agriculture, employment, health issues, it’s local.”