By Chinelo Obogo

Former national vice chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, has said Nigeria is facing an existential crisis due to failed leadership and a flawed federal system.

Addressing a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, the former Ondo state military administrator, said the country has almost reached its elastic limit and blamed the problems on the previous administration while insisting on the need to restructure the government to allow more regional control and economic development.

“Because successive leaders have failed to successfully grapple with the problems of nation building, Nigeria is currently facing an existential crisis. This crisis became complicated between 2015 and 2023 during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The Nigerian state almost collapsed because many Nigerians will agree that that eight-year era was probably the worst in Nigerian history since 1960 when we got our independence. It was as if nobody was in charge of the country.

“Everything promised before the 2015 general election was observed in the breach by the Buhari administration. Despite that calamity, it is a pity some Nigerians have come out to defend that administration, which ruled Nigeria for eight years. They are now blaming the President Bola Tinubu administration which has spent about one year in office. Administration of government is not a hundred-meter dash race. We will advise and condemn so that in a year’s time, we can assess the methodology and performance of the government.

“Tinubu should also come out and tell Nigerians the true position of things in the country. This is not the time to play party or regional politics. Nigerians have suffered enough and they want fast results. This is the time for Tinubu to rejig his economic team. There are many Nigerians – from the North to the South – who can offer him economic advice that can turn this country around.”

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George said Nigeria’s current federal system is broken and calls for a true federalism with more power for individual states, which he said would allow for fairer development, address regional issues, and reduce tensions. He said he believes this reform is crucial for national security and economic growth, while criticising the current system as being too centralised and undemocratic.

“Nigerians are also saying it loud and clear that the skewed structure of political power constitutes a very huge hindrance to national development. The excessive centrality of political power holds everyone down to an unhealthy indolence, strips the states of individual growth and development, disallows free-willing local initiatives, strangles fairness and equity in the larger Nigerian union, inflames tension and fissiparous tendencies.

“This is the time to listen to the voice of reason because real progress lies in true federalism and good governance. We must speak out against all abuses of power and against all injustices. We must raise our voices against all agents of destabilisation and discord. We must speak the truth to the transient wielders of political power.

“There is no other way. Today, some criminals have created a parallel government in Nigeria. Every corner of the country is challenged by variegated insecurities ranging from banditry, urban outlaws, destructive fissiparous forces, the murderous Boko Haram terrorists and sundry insidious elements. Through intelligence gathering mechanisms, all enemies of state must be dealt with immediately. This is what is called true statesmanship. This is what is called discerning, progressive leadership.

“We also need to urgently do something about our so-called federalism which can be described as a ‘unitary or despotic federalism’. Obviously, the Nigerian Federation is skewed, distorted and should be restructured for equity and fairness to prevail. When are we going to have state police? When is the Federal Government going to devolve power to federating units? What are we doing about electricity? Electrical power is the very lifeblood of all industrial revolutions. It is the fuel of all economic development,” he said.

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