Dear President Tinubu, A Restructured Nigeria Is The Only Way For You To Succeed

By Prof Babs Onabanjo

Dear President Bola Tinubu,
When you took the oath on May 29, 2023, becoming the 16th President of Nigeria, the hopes of many citizens soared, inspired by your enduring commitment to democracy and true federalism over the years. In the wake of your inauguration, I wrote a piece titled "Tinubu’s Inauguration: A New Dawn?" expressing optimism for positive change through a significant overhaul of the constitutional structure to foster regional autonomy and achieve true federalism.

During the NADECO days, we were all clamoring for true federalism and away from this regressive, bankrupt, inept and corrupt unitary structure of today. The elephant in the room is the fraudulent constitution and the beneficiaries are bent on sustaining it, only for their own selfish interest. Undoubtedly the country bleeds to death but we may stop the bleeding if only leaders rise to the occasion for prosperity’s sake, for the sake of future generation and for the love of our nations. I pray that people of good conscience will rise to save Nigeria from total collapse.

Your initial months in office have witnessed bold steps, such as the removal of the fuel subsidy and unifying the exchange rate. However, it is evident that these initiatives, and future ones, will face limitations without embracing true federalism and the devolution of power. The pressing security and economic challenges confronting Nigeria demand a more nuanced approach beyond the centralization of power.

A crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked is the need for a comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria's political framework. The current structure has inherent flaws that impede development and foster an environment conducive to mediocrity and corruption. Regardless of your well-intentioned efforts, the system, as it stands, is programmed to fail. Bring President Obama, Trump, Biden, and Clinton to govern Nigeria with the current constitution and military imposed unitary system, they will all fail miserably. Every successive government in Nigeria has been worse than before since Obasanjo’s presidency, and the trend continues because of a bad structural bankrupt unitary system. There is no hope in the current Nigerian system, unless we are in perpetual denial, the urgency to change it for the common good is now.

Through this piece, I am calling on you to address the systemic issues that plague our nation. The sustainability of an unrestructured Nigeria which is questionable, and the urgent call for change is resonating across the country. A stitch in time saves nine, please save your presidency before it is too late.

Dear President Tinubu, I implore you to reflect on your pre-presidential speeches and advocacies, especially when you were in the trenches as a pro-democracy activist and as the Governor of Lagos State, during which you championed the cause of true federalism. It is clear that attempting to govern Nigeria within the existing structure may lead to little or no success. Our nation requires a fundamental shift towards a more sustainable and equitable system.

The call for restructuring is not just a plea for change; it is a necessity to ensure the future prosperity of our great nation. The current trajectory is unsustainable, and the echoes of underdevelopment are becoming increasingly pronounced, especially when compared to our African counterparts.

Nigeria must not be left behind in the progress that other nations of the world are achieving. It is time to break free from the cyclical challenges and embrace a path that allows each geopolitical zone to develop at its own pace.

The choice is clear: You can go down in history as the man who took the bull by the horns and led Nigeria towards a restructured future or risk being bound by the limitations of an outdated system.

Dear Mr. President, I leave you with these two quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "The time is always right to do what is right," and "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Prof. Babs Onabanjo
President/CEO of A.D. King Foundation, USA
President, Nigerian Alliance for Democracy (1993-1999)