Balarabe Musa counters Gowon, says restructuring Nigeria possible

Balarabe Musa

Former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has thumbed down a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, over his assertion that restructuring Nigeria is impossible, insisting that it is.

Gowon had reasoned that restructuring Nigeria was impossible because according to him the country is made up of over 500 ethnic groups with ethnic dialects and languages, which would not allow each group to yield to another in terms of concession of certain benefits.

The former military head of state, who spoke at an event in Minna, Niger State, argued that Nigeria is best united, noting that restructuring could mean different things to various ethnic groups, thereby posing some difficulties.

But, reacting to the statement, Musa maintained that restructuring the country into regional basis is possible and desirable, stressing; “Gowon himself laid the basis for Nigerian ethnic groups to reconcile themselves and be united.”

The former governor blamed the current challenges facing the country on failure to continue with the 3Rs- Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation- instituted by Gowon after the civil war in 1967, saying that “if  Nigeria had maintained the 3R policy introduced, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“So our own idea of restructuring, is first to reconcile Nigerians so that they can commit themselves to one united nation.  The second thing we have in mind is political reconstruction in which we will return to the regional arrangements, by having three viable regions as federating unit, as opposed to the present thirty-six states of the country, because they not viable.”

Musa recalled that the regional governments of 1963 were able to take care of themselves without depending on the central government, compared to all 36 states of the unitary government that rely on the federal government.

His words: “In regional arrangement where we have 6 states for instance, with rich regional government, having their own constitution and federating unit, whereby they manage their own affairs they have the resources at their disposal, they will not have to be depending on the federal government.

“The other restructuring we required is economic restructuring, the government at every level should play it role in the economy, in order to ensure stability, peace and equality for the development of the whole country. This is our idea of restructuring.

“And that is why we don’t need 36 states, we want to return to the 1963 constitution, whereby our regional government with their constitution will constitute the federating unit, were eastern, western and northern region was viable enough and even the middle east that came later was viable, as compared with the federal 36 states.

If any region wants, they can create more states and local government, if they want, provided they create them without depending on the center.

“So am not in support of what Gowon said, restructuring is possible and is even desirable, but the problem is that what he and others after him started have been abandoned, and that is why we found ourselves in the situation we are.”

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Balarabe MusaYakubu Gowon


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