By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – Dr Pedro Obaseki, the President of Midwest Movement, says the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, should not use restructuring as a political gimmick to get votes.
Obaseki, a cousin to Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that only a restructured Nigeria would engender peace, progress and prosperity for the country.
According to him, the country needs a presidential candidate that strongly believes in and committed to restructuring of the nation for Nigeria to join the comity of developed nations of the world.
He spoke against the backdrop of Abubakar’s promise to commence the processes of Nigeria’s restructuring within six months of his administration if he emerges the winner of the Feb. 16 Presidential Election.
NAN reports that Abubakar gave the pledge at the PDP rally in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday.
Obaseki said: “We will take any presidential candidate who promises restructuring to court if he or she reneges.
“Once you openly commit to restructuring, we will hold you in court if you don’t prosecute it having made an open commitment; an open commitment is a contract whether verbal or written.
“Atiku has come with “let’s keep Nigeria working again’’ as slogan, if Atiku is doing it as a gimmick to get campaign votes, he will regret it because we are going to hold them accountable to their promises unlike in the past,” he said.
Obaseki, who was the gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party in Edo in 2016, said the only major drawback for Nigeria as a federal unit was the poor federal system in practice.
According to him, if Nigeria is properly restructured and properly “federalised”, the country will turn back to the progressive Nigeria of the 1960s.
He said that fear of the unknown of some people and sections in the country had inhibited the restructuring of the nation, saying Nigeria could not move forward except it was restructured.
“All the hallmarks of development that we see today are hallmarks that were planted in the 1960s based on the vision of those men who sat on the table and negotiated the interaction among the federating units.
“Nigeria is the only federation in the world where there is a unitary operation of the federal structure and every state goes to Abuja to collect what they produce ab-initio.
“There is the need for a re-negotiation of issues on the exclusive and the concurrent lists. Federal Government has no business in many of the burdens it bears.
” So many issues on the exclusive list cannot make the country grow,” Obaseki, a veteran movie director and broadcaster, added.
He said that restructuring would lead to the creation of state police to improve the security situation, saying “It will be a much more difficult job for a man who is not from an environment to police an environment.”
Obaseki, an academic, who said he helped in the writing the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the party equally promised to restructure the country.
“I helped write in the APC manifesto, I feel pained because I know that in the preamble to the manifesto it is stated that “we shall restructure Nigeria right in the first page,” he said.
Speaking on the forthcoming “Midwest Summit,” Obaseki said that issues of restructuring and security would play a key role in determining the direction for the Midwestern region in 2019.
He said that the Midwest Summit, convened by Midwestern Movement, would hold on Dec. 12 in Asaba, the home town of the first Premier of the region, Chief Dennis Osadebe.
According to Obaseki, prominent politicians including presidential candidates of some political parties in the 2019 elections, will participate in the summit.