I am the only presidential candidate today that has laid out a very clear vision of constitutional restructuring. I will give you my lecture at the Nigerian Political Science Association Annual Conference in the South East zone which I gave sometime in October at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. There I laid out a very clear vision of restructuring, going beyond people just using the term to seek votes. I am not using restructuring as just a phrase to catch votes.
I believe that Nigeria cannot survive if we are not constitutionally restructured. By that I mean Nigeria must be re-federalized. We must be brought back to becoming a proper federation. To be very clear about what I mean, restructuring is not just devolution of powers, state police. That in itself is not restructuring. It is a part of restructuring, but in and on itself, is not restructuring.
So, there is a 419 version of restructuring and there is the real restructuring of Nigeria. Any restructuring that is not accompanied by a fundamentally new constitution, that recreates a proper federation for Nigeria, as was done in 1963 constitution, will not address the problem.
The problem, as we said, is structural. As president, I will lead this process of restructuring Nigeria, working closely with the National Assembly and the state assemblies.
So, my vision of restructuring is one in which Nigeria is returned to being a federation, that’s number 1. Number 2, in which that federation is structured on the basis of the central government and sub-national government that are the geopolitical zones, which will become economic zones, not on the basis of states I want to be very clear. I believe that the federating unit should be zones or regions.
Please, speaking seriously, I believe Nigeria should have a merit-based presidency so that we can actually make progress. We should stop rotating inside poverty. We are rotating inside poverty. Do you like that?
Don’t worry about money. It does not matter. If money were everything, there are some candidates in this race who would have been president some 25 years ago. They have been at it since then. They have not. But, they have always had a lot of money.
Let us be careful about the worship of money. Money is necessary to run an election in terms of logistics and messaging. But, I want you to know that in this country, what we have is a political industrial complex in which politics have become the biggest business in town.
social intervention projects, giving traders money is vote buying. Let me give you a quotation from the Christian Holy book. “Some trust in their chariots, others trust in horses; But, we will call upon the name of our God.”
I want you to understand something that we are in a historical moment in Nigeria. People are tired of the recycled old politicians. Our people want something new. You are under-estimating the strength of that feeling. But because I have gone across the whole country talking to ordinary Nigerians, I know far more accurately how people feel. So, there is nothing impossible about defeating an incumbent. Mr. Buhari defeated an incumbent, right? And that person ceded power.