Prominent Nigerians, including the immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday said there was an urgent need to restructure Nigeria for it to attain its full potential.
They made the call at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: ‘Restructuring in Nigeria: Why? How? When?’
The prominent Nigerians suggested that the country should be restructured to make Nigeria work for all citizens.
But in an interview with The PUNCH, the President’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said it was only the National Assembly that was empowered to restructure the country.
He, therefore, advised proponents of restructuring to approach the legislature.
Shehu said those agitating for restructuring of the country should approach the National Assembly for a change in constitution.
He said only the parliament was empowered to effect a change in the nation’s structure or constitution.
Shehu urged those clamouring for restructuring to take advantage of the ongoing constitutional amendment in the National Assembly.
He said, “Our position on the call for restructuring has not changed.
“People are calling it restructuring, the ruling party, APC, and the government call it devolution.
“Whichever name you call it, the government is not opposed to it. What we are saying is that the parliament is the body empowered by law to effect any change in the nation’s structure.
“The process of constitution review is ongoing in the National Assembly now. We advise proponents of restructuring to approach the parliament and take advantage of the opportunity that ongoing process offers.”
On his part, the Spokesman for the Senate, Ajibola Basiru, described restructuring as a slogan.
He called on advocates of restructuring, who had submitted memoranda to the Senate Committee on Constitution Review to meet their senators with a view to educating them better on the type of restructuring they were advocating.