Muhammadu Buhari
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (Courtesy of the U.S. State Department)

Olisa Agbakoba, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association and human rights activist, has told President Muhammadu Buhari to divide the country into eight regional structures.

Agbakoba, one of the greatest heroes of democracy in Nigeria, noted that there are so many unclear issues in the country about how its citizens want to organize themselves and how they want to live together, the Lagos-based Daily Post reported.

The senior lawyer told reporters that insecurity and other serious issues facing the country can’t be “fully arrested” if the central government remains as strong as it is now.

“This is because community policing or state policing is a tactical tool to deal with the problem, but the strategic tool is the bigger question of the national question,” he said. “There are so many unclear issues in Nigeria about how we want to organize ourselves, how we want to live together, this is what some people have called the restructuring question, some call it the national question, but I call it devolution of powers question.”

Agbakoba noted that whatever “it’s called that is the central issue that needs resolution so that even if you use tactical tools like community policing, but the bigger issue remains then I don’t know if we can resolve it.”

“What Nigeria needs is space, there are diverse ethnicities and they are living in such close proximity that one ethnic community is in the face of the other with counter-cultures, counter-religious beliefs and that is not healthy. Even in America in spite of all their advanced democracy, they take care of diversities,” he said. “So, I think if I were to advise the president, for instance, the first thing to do is create space, … identify the ethnic regionalities, create eight big blocs, even though we have six to make it eight.

“And then I will give them the power to do things at their own local level,” he said. “It’s called the principle of subsidiarity; let them work at their own local level. Subsidiarity is where people engage themselves at the local level such that you find in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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