Violent Restructuring: Presidency Tackles General Ogomudia ,Says Democracy is Self-Correcting
*What Ogomudia Said
The Nigerian presidency has disputed assertion of General Alexander Ogomudia that Nigeria may be heading towards violent restructuring,noting democracy will delivered a restructured Nigeria in due course.
The statement signed by presidential spokesman,Garba Shehu reads as follows :
“We react to the statement credited to a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd) who submitted that, ‘Nigeria may be restructured violently.’
This vituperation, coming from a former military Chief speaks volumes about the mindset of groups of citizens who have yet to accept democracy as a form of government.
It is very important to stress that we as a nation, are a constitutional democracy and changes to the country in structure, its systems, policy and politics must abide by the norms of democracy, otherwise they would be extrajudicial and therefore unconstitutional.
This system has subsisted, uninterrupted, for upward of 20 years and still going, and the country’s law courts, with its armed forces are primed at all times to defend it using all means that are lawful.
The biggest challenge to the country today is not necessarily from perceived regional or state imbalances or conflicts between the government at the centre and states but from the mindsets and entities rooted in the idea of violence as a means to change.
Such individuals, groups and entities peddling ideologies of violence and hate are closed to the notion of healthy dialogue through popular platforms including elected parliaments, hence only open to violence and destruction as their means.
This administration under President Muhammadu Buhari is strongly of the view that democracy that is self-correcting under the laws as we have is the answer to growing calls for violence and a means to change in the structure, form and content of the union that binds us as one country.
Equally important is to deny the General’s assertion that nothing had been done on the unfortunate gruesome murder of Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, a former Chief of Defence Staff. Truth is, the investigation instituted by General Olonisakin, the current Chief of Defence Staff, has led to the arrest of 14 suspects based on their alleged involvement in a report that has been sent to the police and the Nigeria Air Force for further action.
What Ogomudia Said
The former Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd.) had expressed views about recent negative developments in the country, saying they were indications that the country was overdue for restructuring and in urgent need of a new way of governance.
Ogomudia said he feared for the future of the country and the present security situation in the country, saying “a country where a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, was killed in the streets like an urchin, and nothing happened, is a sign that the nation is not moving in the right direction”.
The former Chief of Defence Staff who delivered the keynote address at the Good Governance Lecture organised by the Catholic Church of Warri’s Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) warned that the continued suppression of the agitations for the restructuring of the country could lead to a violent break up of the country.
He urged those opposed to restructuring to borrow a leaf from the break up of Yugoslavia and Sudan saying that even in Spain the Catalonians want to break away and that in Britain, Scotland seeks autonomy.
He said restructuring was a global trend which every right-thinking government should embrace for national integration and development especially in a country like Nigeria, where he said we practice “a fake federal system”.
The Guardian had reported that Ogomudia equally criticised the death penalty for the hate speech bill. He created a mild drama in the hall when paused to ask anyone who can define hate speech to come forward.
When no one came out, Ogomudia said “something that no one can truly define, they want to impose death penalty for? Where is this country headed?”
He described the type of politics practised in Nigeria today as toxic and detrimental to national development, saying “we have a fractured politics and everyone is doing things that will hurt the country.”
He said Nigeria needed true federalism to advance like other nations saying that Nigeria is the only country where states share money coming from only one source monthly.
He argued that Nigeria was overdue for change saying that restructuring the country would guarantee, ethnic harmony, accountability, freedom of speech, Independence of the judiciary and a fair electoral process.