By Benson Ezugwu
Former Governor of Abia, Dr Orji Kalu, has expressed opposition with Nigerians agitating for the division of the country.
He called for restructuring as panacea to solving the problems facing the country.
Kalu made the remark on Friday in a paper he presented at a Public Lecture organised by the Department of Social Sciences, University of Calabar.
In his paper, entitled: “Devolution of Powers and the Future of Nigeria,’’Kalu insisted that the only acceptable solution for Nigeria’s problems remained restructuring.
He said: “I believe fully in the unity of Nigeria. I am against those who call for the division of the country. There is no such provision as division in our Constitution.
“If you look at all political or constitutional conferences we have had in this country since after independence, you will find that devolution of powers featured prominently but under different guise.
“Therefore, like the Igbo people will say, where a child is crying and pointing at, if his father is not there, his mother must surely be there.
“So, I think there is need for us to fully review the call for devolution of powers within the context of our current realities and as permissible by our constitution.
“Whether we call it resource control, Sovereign National Conference, Restructuring or by any other name, we are saying the same thing.
“That we want power to devolve so that our states and local governments can have constitutional powers to do much more than they are doing today.
“It is what the nation needs at the moment, to move forward. ‘’
Kalu described genuine agitations as part of viable democratic process.
“The agitation for devolution of power, restructuring or referendum, are all legitimate democratic demands.
“They form part of the conversation that must take place to strengthen democracy and make it a real system of government of the people, by the people and for the people, ‘’ Kalu said.
The former governor maintained that the call for devolution of powers started since the time of late Isaac Boro, adding that this was the time for its realisation.
He said that the call for devolution of powers to the three tiers of governments had become necessary since there was too much power concentrated at the centre.
He attributed the present agitations and criminalities across the country by youths, to lack of even distribution of resources, adding that it had brought unemployment and poverty among the youths.
Orji called for restructuring in the areas of Land Use Act; handing over of roads the states; licensing of minerals, among others.
He described as unconstitutional the continued appointment of Caretaker Committees to run Local Government Administrations by some state governors.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Chris Agara said that, the call for restructuring was long overdue.