From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

Cardinal John Onaiyekan has endorsed the call for restructuring of Nigeria, saying that a constitutional amendment is not enough to resolve the country’s raging problems.

The renowned cleric made the call on Friday at a policy dialogue on new governance structure for Nigeria, organised by the Abuja School Social and Political Thought, in Abuja.

He said that the present constitution has consistently failed to provide a clear framework for governance and religious affairs resulting in confusion and inefficiency within the political system.

The priest underlined the importance of decentralising power and strengthening state autonomy to enable more efficient local governance and decision-making.

He said: “If we take the present constitution, whether as amended or not amended it is riddled with inconsistencies or contradictions, and problems when it comes to seriously talking about how religion relates to the nation, which is why it is obvious we must look at it again. So, maybe it is good that we give it a look at changing to a parliamentary system. Perhaps we need to find out to ask those soldiers who threw away the parliamentary system and introduced the presidential system. What reasons did they have?”

Also speaking, a representative of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation,  Dr. Akin Fapohunda, said that it was embarrassing that the western region of the country is depending on crude oil revenue from the Niger Delta region for its survival.

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Fapohunda, who emphasized on the need for restructuring said that the nation should revert to parliamentary rule, in which each state, region, and nation must have its own constitution.

He said that with restructuring, each state and region would be pushed to look for ways to generate resources independently and drive its own development.

His words: “The bottom line is that we have no process. We are seeing the good but we have not defined the process, milestones and timelines those are the things missing. We agree that the house is rotten and it needs to be pulled down and we designed an alternative model, which you are now selling. The political class, their teeth are dug into the one million barrels of crude that they are sharing every time. So, we have to confront them.

“What we are talking about is parliamentary and presidential governance-state, regional constitution. Every region must have its own constitution, not one unitary one that we are all battling and the third thing is to rework the list of functions.

“If Akwa Ibom wants to be a region, let it be. Why not? Let it be if they can sustain themselves. Western region is not a threat to the Akwa Ibom region.

“We have already settled on not being afraid of western region, the Yoruba being very big, the Igbo being big. Anyone that can sustain itself without sharing should be allowed to do so.

“In fact, I made a point to the governor of Osun State in the last three weeks. It is embarrassing for Yoruba to be coming to Abuja to share money from the Niger Delta. It is shameful. If we do not get money from Abuja now, we are bankrupt in Yoruba land. Why must the Yoruba be coming to Abuja to share money belonging to the Niger Delta? We are castrated. We should wake up. Whatever we consume, we should produce it.”