How Nigeria Can Achieve Restructuring-Tunde Bakare

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6.00PM / Proshare WebTV 

At the recent 2018 State of the Nation broadcast at the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare a former Vice-Presidential candidate in 2011 shared his perspective on how Nigeria can achieve restructuring. 

Here are excerpts of his intervention; 

Fellow Nigerians, this is why I stand on the God-inspired pathway to the New Nigeria which I call the Pragmatic Steps to Restructuring Nigeria. I stand on this because it is a return to the winning formula, albeit improved upon and better suited. 

With this plan, Nigeria can leapfrog, within ten years, the phases of industrialization to become a global industrial powerhouse comprised of six geo-economic zones. 

North Central
The North Central can optimize its mechanized agricultural potential and harness the Niger and the Benue not just for irrigation but also for hydroponic farming; it can become a centre of world class cattle ranching that will not just quell the menace of herdsmen attacks, but also incubate allied opportunities such as meat, milk and leather processing and a range of fast moving consumer goods industries, powered by renewable energy. 

The zone can then transit to heavy industries, including steel manufacturing and auto manufacturing, while also harnessing the rivers as inland waterways and tourist attractions.
 

North West 
Meanwhile, the North West can harness its vast arable land by deploying land-enhancing technologies for mechanized agriculture and cattle ranching, while also becoming Africa’s defence manufacturing hub. 

With this arrangement, the zone will then be provided sufficient competitive impetus to revive its historical potential as a central hub in Africa’s textile industry.
 

North East
The North East will have the opportunity to redefine its identity from being a hotbed of Boko Haram to becoming a hub for cattle ranching as well as pharmaceutical and construction  industries, harnessing its unique concentration of mineral resources such as clay, limestone and gypsum. With its new-found liberty to develop at its own pace, 

South West
For the South West region, it can revive the vision of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The zone will not just resuscitate its vast industrial and agro-allied manufacturing potential; it can become a global centre for warehousing and distribution with its world-class sea and airports. Its intellectually aware cosmopolitan social class can become the catalysts of an African cultural renaissance that will facilitate the rise of new genres of creative and cultural industries. Meanwhile, within the zone, Lagos State can consolidate its position as the African hub of global finance. 

South South
with its vast oil and gas resources, currently sustains the nation’s expenditure. Nigeria owes this region the urgent activation of the pragmatic approach to restructuring.

This approach will see the zone progressively obtaining autonomy over these resources such that it can house a cluster of refineries and petrochemical industries. In addition, it can recover from its history of environmental degradation to harness its agro-allied industrial potential. It can also incubate a renewable energy cluster and become an African shipping hub. 
 

South East
The South East is home to a large population of vibrant entrepreneurs. In addition to potentially hosting a globally competitive agro-allied and energy industrial hub, it can, once again, break records in commerce and industry, and export to the world, innovation, enterprise, and an energetic human resource ready to convert opportunity anywhere in the world in the interests of our nation and continent. With this approach, within ten years, from a near unitary structure comprising thirty-six states, these geo-economic zones can then evolve into six strong federating geopolitical zones and a Federal Capital Territory, roughly mirroring the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Fellow Nigerians, another important season is upon us as a nation, as a people, and as custodians and protectors of our collective national heritage. 

Way forward for Nigeria
A nation should indeed be more than just a mere geographical expression: it should be the sum total of all its peoples, joined together by shared history, values, culture and aspiration, fused into a national ethic and an ingrained sense of identity. Failure to embrace this wise option, brilliantly articulated with patriotic fervour in 1947 by the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, Path to Nigerian Freedom, is at the root of the unfortunate challenges we face today as a people. Indeed, there is nothing anyone, however cerebral or highly placed, can do against the truth, but for the truth. 

Our founding fathers embraced the challenge of nationhood in their season by securing independence from the so-called colonial masters. Our military has played their role, good and bad, in shaping national direction for a considerable portion of our nationhood. The current political class has done its part by facilitating our return to civil rule.

Now, it is the turn of Nigerians: professionals, artisans, students, soldiers, policemen, para-military, academics, market women, drivers, youth, both the employed and the unemployed, as well as every Nigerian who is not an active beneficiary of the present disorder. It is time for a DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION.
 

The season for complaints and complacency is over. We must seize this opportune moment to translate our collective national disappointment into a uniquely Nigerian REBIRTH. The current political class constitute far less than one percent of Nigeria’s voting population.
 

To avoid engagement with the powers that have hijacked our collective patrimony is to surrender our national 27 destiny without a fight. And as Cardinal John Onaiyekan said: “Every citizen must be involved in politics…Only people who are irresponsible will say they are not interested; even if you are not interested in politics, politics will be interested in you.”
 

Our fight to reclaim and renew Nigeria begins now. Registering and obtaining a valid voter’s card must now be a national priority. If the 2015 elections were critical to our national survival, the 2019 polls are pivotal to our country's future development. If power truly belongs to the people, it is time for the silent majority to instigate REAL AND GENUINE CHANGE.
 

Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation
As I have declared on previous occasions, what is required to kick-start this process is the creation of a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring45. This commission is to be headed by a biblical Joseph-type national figure appointed to provide visionary leadership for the process with the support of six Zonal Commissioners. 

The visionary leadership will co-ordinate the implementation of master plans for each of the six geo-economic zones. It will evolve for the nation a strong anti-corruption-based national value system and stir up uncommon patriotic zeal among Nigerians. It will also attract various domestic and foreign investment packages and 28 float a social impact bond to fund development.
 

The requisite human capacity for the economic miracle will be provided not only by skilled Nigerians at home but also by many others based abroad through Diaspora for Development agreements guaranteed by goodwill and fuelled by uncommon patriotism. To facilitate the process, the National Assembly will provide the requisite constitutional amendments within the ten years in addition to serving as a monitoring and evaluation clearing house.
 

By the tenth year at the latest, the systems, values and structural underlay of the geo-economic transformation will be codified in a new constitutional arrangement whose preamble is the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration adopted by the 2014 National Conference.
 

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The new constitution will be adopted by the Nigerian people through a referendum, such that it can genuinely lay claim to the prefix, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”
 

Conclusion
As a nation, we have an opportunity to rewrite our history and choose a more prosperous future. We can choose to continue to play the ostrich or we can decide to take up the gauntlet and face our national challenges squarely. 

Just as Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV): “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before your life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…”
 

Let it be known, however, that the New Nigeria is like a moving train that cannot be stopped, like a stone that will cause the wicked to stumble, and like a rock that will make them fall; and whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder, and this nation will fulfill her destiny.
 

I have said my piece. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear: Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime. 


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