Nigeria may cease to exist, heading in wrong direction, Edwin Clark warns Tinubu

Chief Edwin Clark

• Renews call for restructuring on ‘Inside Sources’ with Laolu Akande

Nigeria is going the wrong direction and it can’t go the right way unless the country is restructured from the top to bottom, against the unity government foisted on all by the military who truncated the plan to operate the country as a federation since 1966.

This was the position of a foremost elder statesman, from Nigeria’s South-South, Pa Edwin Clark, featuring on the third edition of Channels TV’s “Inside Sources” anchored by foremost journalist and a former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, on Friday, January 5, 2024.

Chief Clark, warned the Federal Government headed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who he also described as an advocate of restructuring to ensure the proper restructuring of the country lest Nigeia will cease to exist, as he said, “Unless we go back there, there will be no Nigeria.”

The 96-year-old former member of an advisory committee to the military governor of the Mid-Western Region province, David Ejoor, who later appointed him a Federal Commissioner of Information in 1975, however, blamed the current state of the country on the military who hijacked powers from the constituted political authorities in 1966.

Pa Clark, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) convener, said, the head of the then military junta, General Aguiyi Ironsi only foisted the unity government on the country with Decree 34, instead of running a federal system of government.

According to him, the Military came in 1966 in a government headed by General Aguiyi Ironsi, whom he said with Decree 34, united the whole country, and turned the Nigeria into a unity form of government instead of a federation.

He said the military who hijacked power only managed the coerced regions from the federation of Nigeria and the resources at their disposal with the federal government receiving part of it, without recognising the country’s existence as a federation.

Chief Clark laying emphasis on the topic of “restructuring,” a subject of much national debate, argued that the country cannot move forward except restructuring takes place from the top to bottom.

He emphasized the urgent need to restructure the country, advocating for a true federal system that grants more autonomy to the states and regions to manage thier natural resources as they deem fit.

“We are not going in the right direction. Nigeria cannot go the right direction, unless you restructure this country from the top to the down,” Chief Clerk stated.

When asked what he meant by “restructuring,” Chief Clark responded, “Restructuring is this, the military came in 1966. Ironsi by decree Number 34 united the whole country, turned the country into a unity form of government instead of federation where you have Western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria, Northern Nigeria and Mid West region,” Chief Clark said.

Continuing, he said, “These regions from the federation of Nigeria and they managed the resources at their disposal, in their region and the federal government received part of it.”

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“For instance, 1963 to 1966 Constitution, Section 402 says that the region where the resources are produced shall receive 50 per cent of such resources to develop themselves at their own level, 20 per cent will be given to the federal government to manage the federal services like customs, police and so on. The remaining 30 per cent will go to the pool where it will be shared again among the four regions and the federal government.”

“That was the situation that existed in 1966 and the whole federal service. Part of the constitution of 1960, the independence constitution and the republican constitution of 1963 were made by all Nigerians.

“We should go back to the 1963 constitution with some adjustments and amendments Unless we go back there, there will be no Nigeria. Because the British, having gone, they are now replacing their fellow Nigerians as their boss whereas some people are now claiming first-class citizens due to the population otherwise. The very people who said that they don’t want independence for Nigeria because they haven’t reached that standard.”

“Now some of them now claiming that we are anti-restructuring. Restructuring means that we should return to the federal system of government as it was in 1960 to 1963 where you have four regions with their own flags, their own constitutions. Nigeria has a representative in London called the Nigeria High Commissioner. Each of these regions had their own Agent-General in London,” Chief Clark concluded.