Former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), on Tuesday described recent calls for restructuring as a bait being used by political elites in the country to gain power in the 2019 general election.
Consequently, Agbakoba warned that it would be in the interest of Nigerians not to listen to the conspiracy of the political elites whom he accused of constantly pulling a wool over their faces.
Agbakoba, who is also former president of Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO), gave this position at a news briefing with journalists in his Lagos home at Ilabere, while speaking on theme, “The future of Nigeria, restructuring issues, self-determination and how to go.”
“It is not in the interest of Nigerians to listen to the conspiracy of the elites who are constantly pulling a wool over their faces,” he warned.
Agbakoba said more than anything, the personalities of those calling for restructuring had made it look as another political bait being used to attain power in the 2019 election, adding that the political elites were regrouping ahead of 2019 election and using restructuring.
“The political elites are regrouping ahead of 2019 election and they are using restructuring. They may come up with any arrangement which may be in the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or any other platform as the election approaches.”
“And because Nigerians are easy to fool, we will still go out and vote for them and after the election, they get what they want and carry on by still inflicting the same pain they campaign against to get power. So it becomes a vicious circle that must be broken.”
“Again, if you ask the ordinary Nigerians on the streets, the buzzword, ‘restructure’ what does it mean? They don’t know. They don’t understand. So, I’m asking Nigerians to be weary of politicians,” Agbakoba further warned.
The former CLO president, who is a maritime lawyer, contrary to expectations in some quarters, ruled out the possibility of the 2014 National Conference report solving the country’s problems.
According to him, the challenges confronting Nigerians are deeper, saying that the cleavages to be exploited by political elites cut across religious and ethnic divides.
He contended that religions, ethinicities as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were alkanised, saying that the only institution that remained intact in Nigeria was the political institution of the elite as they (elite) all spoke one language of power, which he noted they all understood irrespective of political cleavages.
“Religions are balkanised. Ethinicities are balkanised. The Civil Society Organisations are balkanised. The only institution that remains intact in Nigeria is the political institution of the elites because they all speak one language and that is: power. It is a language they all understand whether in APC, PDP or whatever grouping,” he said.
Agbakoba argued that for Nigeria to get it right, there must be a discussion as to whether all the people wanted to live together or not, which he said must then be followed with the establishment of a true Federalism.
The senior lawyer, however, submitted that it was only President Muhammadu Buhari that kick-started the process by virtue of Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution.