The National Coordinator, Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, Chief John Nwodo has advised the Nigerian government to restructure the country and allow states to manage their natural resources.
He said the nation will realise its huge capacities if it is restructured, according to Vanguard.
The elder statesman said this while delivering a paper titled ‘Re-evaluation of African Values and Culture in the face of the crises of the 21st Century’ at the 4th Chinua Achebe International Conference at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, recently.
Nwodo, the immediate former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said, “Allow states to determine their educational, social welfare policies and security exclusively as well as ownership of their natural resources whilst paying royalties to the federal government for common services.
“All the major industrialised countries of the world thrive on merit. Merit promotes competition, rewards hard work and drives development. The idea that you can get admission to a federal secondary school, a polytechnic, a university or the civil service without excelling in a competitive examination destroys incentive for hard work and discovery of talents.
“This is the only country in the world where videos of electoral polling booths are showed by television stations yet, courts hold that the test of proving without reasonable doubt has not been met.
“This is the only country in the world where the defeated will find it difficult to concede because there is usually no compelling reason to do so. This is the only country in the world where it can take up to six months or more to conclude an election petition through the judicial process.”
Speaking about the country’s position in utilising youths and women, he said, “As long as our young people take the back seat in politics and prefer to receive handouts from politicians and do their bidding, so long shall our politics be bereft of renascent ideas of the youth.
“Our youth are supposed to be the uncontaminated segment of our society, our tabula rasa. It is from them that we can distil new and uncontaminated ideas of where society should be headed.”
He continued, “It was the young men of 30s that fought for the independence of Nigeria. When Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart, he propelled a revolution using his courage, his pen and his youthful zeal for change. So did Cyprian Ekwensi when he authored Jagua Nana etc. Politics without ideas is like a car without a break.”
Nwodo also took a swipe at discrimination against women particularly in the North, noting that by so doing “Nigeria is denying herself of a very productive gender in our generation.”
“As at 29th November, 2019, 75 countries have appointed or elected women as Head of State and Head of Government since 1950. These countries include Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Ceylon, Argentina, Srilanka, Iceland, Peru, South Korea, and India.”
He also spoke about the open grazing of cattle largely practised in the North, saying “there is no justification whatsoever to allow cattle grazing that entails herdsmen trekking with numerous cows by foot from Northern Nigeria to very distant parts of the South in search of grasses to feed their cows.
“Netherlands has taught us that we can grow grasses anywhere digitally. The present system is archaic, dangerous to the cows and the herdsmen and inimical to the maintenance of public security. No reasonable government will allow it to continue.”