Human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over his latest position on restructuring.
Naija News earlier reported that President Buhari, on Saturday, at the launch of the Kudirat Abiola peace foundation in Kaduna, had said those calling for restructuring are ignorant of war.
The President represented by the Executive Secretary of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mohammed Shehu, added that those calling for restructuring are naive and mischievously dangerous.
He had said, “Those who are discussing restructuring; my question is, what are you going to restructure?
“If you ask many Nigerians what they are going to restructure, you will find out that they have nothing to talk about. Some of them have not even studies the 1999 Constitution. The 1999 Constitution is almost 70 to 80 per cent 1979 Constitution.
“Those calling for whether separation or restructuring; some of them I will say they are very naive or even mischievously dangerous. Those agitating for restructuring are ignorant of war and its consequences.”
But in a statement on Sunday, Ozekhome said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is distant from the people and ignorant of the people’s yearnings on restructuring.
“He is distant too and disconnected from his people. He does not care; does not listen to their cries, woes, pains, pangs, tears, sorrow and blood.
He cares not about their genuine yearnings and desires,” he said.
Ozekhome added that he was not surprised by the President’s comments, which he described as erroneous.
He added: “I was not (shocked) because as a close monitor and commentator on national and international affairs, I didn’t expect anything more from him. My thesis is simple, not rocket science: a leopard can not change its spots. Buhari said he did not understand what the restructure proponents want, or what is to be restructured.”
“Buhari erroneously believes that the problem of Nigeria is how to make Local Governments functional and the Judiciary independent. As important as these are, President Buhari has merely seen the smaller picture, rather than the larger picture, as President of a haemorrhaging country yearning for urgent rescue. So, for those Nigerians who had heaved a little sigh of relief last week on the little tokenism conceded by Buhari,I sympathise with you.”
The senior lawyer said how the President, who appeared to understand Nigerians’ pains, agony and genuine yearning for restructuring in his democracy day speech would make such provocative statements in Zaria.
“President Buhari ‘s summersault in just one week has therefore shocked most Nigerians.”
“Suddenly, in Zaria, he beat the drums of war, in a speech that is as provocative as it is unpresidential and unstatemanly. He berated those who are ‘calling for restructuring and conference or what they call ethnic nationality”.
Ozekhome emphasised the essence of a democratic setting, noting that a leader does not dictate to his people what they want.
He said: “Buhari erroneously believes he knows what the 211 million Nigerian populace wants. He is making a grave mistake. No ruler in history has ever perpetually dictated to or held down his people with the sheer jackboot. Mussolini woefully failed, just like Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Stalin and Lenin. Ask the bones of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pinochet, Genghis Khan, Pol Pot and Kim Jong.”
“They will tell Buhari how and why they failed miserably to dictate to their citizens forever.”