Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President Monday Ubani yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari must have misunderstood Nigerians’ demand for restructuring.
The lawyer said an aspect of the restructuring Nigerians seek is the devolution of power from the Federal Government to the states.
According to him, the President appeared to understand restructuring to strictly mean a return to the Parliamentary system of government.
The President said: “We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.”
Ubani said: “Maybe he misunderstood what restructuring really means. The restructuring we’re talking about is removing most of the things being handled by the Federal Government. Let them be decentralised.
“States should share some of these duties in order to ensure good governance, proper structure and a well-run federation.”
Ubani said the President’s New Year speech was otherwise inspiring, and urged him to match words with action.
“Every other thing he said is very inspiring and I’m very happy that the government is making some level of progress, such as in agriculture and stabilising the naira.
“A lot of things he said really inspires hope, especially in the development of basic infrastructure. He mentioned the railways, electricity, and other key infrastructure suffering some level of deficiency.
“Those are important in restarting the economy, especially power. So I urge him to match his words with action.”
Lagos lawyer and University of Lagos (UNILAG), Mr Wahab Shittu, described the speech as balanced.
He said: “President Buhari’s address is the last opportunity to deliver change to Nigerians by affirmative actions.
“The speech is both an acknowledgment of concerns being raised by the citizenry as well as commitments to deliver on railways, roads, power projects, employment, security, enterprise, fair elections and the political challenges of the country.
“Addressing huge infrastructural deficits is the central theme with marginal issues being political stability and other issues including cost of governance and appreciation to Nigerians for concerns raised during the period of his health challenges.
“The speech set specific targets and objectives in the context of economic recovery and growth plan strategy of the administration.
“Overall the speech reflected the concerns of Nigerians as well as firm commitments to address them mainly through the power, works and housing ministry, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), etc, utilising diversification into agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, enterprise and job creation tools as driving force for the realisation of set objectives.
“lt is a balanced address which also recognised the challenges of energy crisis, power outage, security threats, derelict infrastructure and citizen disenchantment arising mainly from poverty and lingering fuel crisis which marred the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Nigeria will hold the president on his word to fish out those responsible for the blackmail resulting in the artificial fuel scarcity inspite of efforts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in making products available.”
Former member Ogun State Judicial Service Commission, Mr Abayomi Omoyinmi, said the speech was hope-inspiring.
“My general impression of the President’s broadcast is that the speech has given hope to the people of the country in that there is continuity in the process of development of infrastructure by his government that will turn around the economy.
“The infrastructure that has for a long time been neglected my previous administration. The fact that he recognises the problems staring the people of Nigeria in the face and consistently gives assurances of better things to come rather than pretending that those problems do not exist portends hope rather than hopelessness.
“The broadcast is a reaffirmation of the Buhari government’s commitment to rebuilding the country for a better tomorrow,” Omoyinmi said.