Layi Babatunde, S.A.N

More lawyers, including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Layi Babatunde, have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to explain to Nigerians his understanding of the term ‘ restructuring ‘.

Aside from Babatunde, the other lawyers who are reacting to last week’s nationwide broadcast by President Buhari on same issue include Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Sagamu branch, Prince Debo Oduguwa and his Ikorodu counterpart, Mr Levi Adikwaone.

They said this has become necessary so that Nigerians can better appreciate what the president meant by describing restructuring as a matter of ‘process ‘and ‘cost of governance ‘ .

President Buhari, in his nationwide broadcast had said the problem with the country was not the structure, but the process of doing things. He said the country had tried many political models in the past and had to dump them because they did not work, emphasising that if things were done properly by all citizens, the country would perform better.

But Babatunde said: “Since the issue of restructuring has become akin to the story of the elephant and the blind, it would have been helpful for the president to let us into his understanding of the term ‘ restructuring ‘ so we can better appreciate how the president arrived at his solution of merely a matter of ‘process ‘and ‘cost of governance ‘ .

“For instance, is there a nexus between our kind of federalism, the process said to be the problem and cost of governance? Could the former possibly be causative agent of the latter ? Are we talking of political or economic restructuring or simply restructuring of government structures and apparatus or assigned functions of various tiers of government or forms of government? Did the president put all into one basket? There appears to be more work needed in this area,” he emphasised.

Babatunde, however, observed that the President focused his new year speech mainly on informing Nigerians on efforts being made to address our obvious infrastructural deficit.

He also noted that the speech again gives hope of expectation of improvement in that regard.

He remarked that Nigerians have never been short of being hopeful over the years “only for such hope to be dashed for lack of faithful implementation. Faithful implementation is what will help ameliorate our claimed impatience as Nigerians”.

The learned silk remarked that the president‘s call for a change of attitude deserves support ”if we are to build the kind of country we all desire, while the president‘s candor in acknowledging and recommending the southwest model of accommodation to the country is commendable . On the whole, the speech gives both hope and concern”.

Prince Oduguwa, in his reaction to the broadcast noted that the president appreciated the country‘s known problems and the hardship Nigerians faced and promised to address them, particularly in the areas of transportation, social infrastructure, electricity, railway, economy and fuel supply.

Oduguwa, however, expressed regret that the president failed to unravel the concrete plans and realistic strategy to humble these challenges, thus leaving discerning minds with one conclusion that these are the usual government promises that can never see the light of the day.

“Our problems are beyond the capacity of this administration and this is to be expected from a government that is rejuvenating old, weak, corrupt and insensitive politicians as its main functionaries,”he lamented.

Adikwaone on his part, blamed the Federal Government for the fuel scarcity experienced by Nigerians during the yuletide.

He said the government should have taken steps to avert fuel scarcity, which has become a recurring issue during Christmas period.

He said in part: “I am unable to agree with our President on the matter of the fuel scarcity during the Yuletide. When you are peeling groundnuts for the blind man, you are to blow whistle with your mouth to avoid the suspicion of stealing the same groundnuts.

“The Presidency, nay, the government cannot demonstratively absolve itself of blame. For example, when people called the help lines supplied by its agency, there was no response.

“My position is that the government should be more proactive and serious.”

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