Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III said yesterday that there is the need to sit down and discuss how to make Nigeria better while speaking on restructuring at the colloquium organised Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The Sultan said while groups from all over the country were agitating for one thing or the other, nobody had the right to ask others to leave any part of the country despite the glaring realities.
He said: “When people talk about restructuring, if they mean we should disintegrate the country, I will not support it. But if it means making things and lives better and much conducive and convenient for Nigerians, then lets sit down and discuss about it.
“I know that many of these groups from the North, West, South-South and South East agitating for this or that have their positions. But despite the realities at present, no group has the right to tell anybody you must leave this place or that place if we still live in this country called Nigeria.
“And I support the President’s position 100 per cent, I believe what he said is right.
“And I say, instead of talking about devolution of power, let’s talk about devolution of economy.
“It is good to sit down and dialogue, but there must be respect. I must respect you and you must respect me. And the greatest thing we can do for this country is to always reflect on our history. We didn’t fall from the sky, but came from somewhere.
“We became Nigeria in 1914 through amalgamation. People are shouting that our coming together as a country in 1914 was a mistake, but God doesn’t make mistakes. If God doesn’t want such a thing as Nigeria to happen, nobody could ever have made it happen.
“So we claim to be very religious, but we challenge God, you don’t come out in the open and say you are challenging God, but by actions and utterances, many people are virtually challenging God. There is no wrong in you saying I want to be better than I am.
“But when you sit down and discuss issues, you find out that you are a much better person. It is important for us to use this forum to bring out issues that are really gemming, very important at this time in the history of our country.
“I expected the organised labour to have been at the forefront of some of the issues affecting this country long before now. Not through strike, even though strike would be the last option, but there are things we need to take much more seriously and make our lives much better.
“And I also know that at the 2014 National Conference, some things were discussed though some people now said that conference was politically motivated and whatever. But whatever happens or anyone may say, Nigerians came together and discussed.”
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Ayuba Wabba said since the debate on restructuring started, many people had referred to it in different ways saying “For some, it means resource control component of fiscal federalism. Yet other groups see restructuring as increased access to political and economic resources and institutions of governance.
“The discourse among the political elite in our country in the last few months has been so heated that suddenly many involved in this debate have thrown caution, decency and decorum to the winds, and threats and counter threats, all having grave consequences for our cooporate existence as a nation, have become the order of the day.
“Since the outset of this latest stage of our political discourse, both the proponents and the opponents appear to be gravitating towards ‘‘restructuring’’. For some it means resource control component of fiscal federalism. Yet other groups see restructuring as increased access to political and economic resources and institutions of governance.
“Our inability to ensure that the rich resources this nation has been blessed with is administered in a way to benefit the vast majority of Nigerians has been at the centre of our crisis. In this respect, any effort to seek to be sustainable in addressing our recurring problems must address the failure of governance.
“Many of the prominent figures in the forefront of the current agitation for restructuring of our country have had opportunities to play important roles in the governance of our country in the past, and are still part of the governing structure in various ways.
“While we welcome the debate on how best to make our union work, we will continue to underscore the need for good governance in our country as a basis for any realistic development and eventual emancipation of our people.
“If the resources available to us as a nation were well managed and not stolen by both the public and private sector operators, from all parts of the country without exception, the escalating problems of unemployment, decaying infrastructure, non-funding of education, health care and other social services, would be adequately addressed.”