Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has warned that the restructuring of Nigeria cannot be effected through provocative comment, demonstration or blackmail.
In a constitutional democracy, Malami said restructuring is not carried out by either advocacy or agitation, but through constitutional accommodation or constitutional amendment.
The Justice Minister spoke on the growing agitation for restructuring in Abuja at a think-tank conference on federalism and challenges of dynamic equilibrium organized by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.
To the minister, reforms and modification of institutional arrangement, systems and process in a federal system cannot be effected at once, as being advocated in Nigeria, but through democratic means.
Malami said, “There were federalising tendencies that were as ancient as the Olumo Rock and which facilitated adoption in 1954 as a compromise between what Lord James Bryce referred to as centrifugal and centripetal forces. It is true that Nigeria’s federal system has been experiencing challenges and there have been agitations and prescriptions to reform and modify it.
“As things stands, restructuring requires amending the constitution to accommodate referendum or, in the alternative, a constitutional amendment to the 1999 Constitution which, in this case, must be supported by a majority of legislators in 24 states of the federation as enshrined in section 9 of the constitution.
“One thing that is certain is the inevitable implication that abolishing states through restructuring process will certainly translate to the eventual multiplier effect of abolishing the state Houses of Assembly and perhaps downsizing the National Assembly. This, indeed, is a tall order that cannot be achieved through advocacy, emotional outburst or provocative rhetoric and demonstration.”