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Presidency tackles former military chief over ‘violent restructuring’ comment

Ogomudia had warned that the continued suppression of the agitations for the restructuring of the country could lead to a violent breakup of the country.


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President Muhammadu Buhari

It does appear that Nigeria can never wish restructuring away. Just when one thinks it’s over and done with, it surfaces from unexpected quarters.

Long after the term appeared to have been buried by the aftermath of the 2019 elections, a former military chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia has resurrected it after he said restructuring was inevitable.

The former military chief was quoted to have said that “Nigeria may be restructured violently”.

In a keynote address at the Good Governance Lecture organised by the Catholic Church of Warri’s Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ogomudia had warned that the continued suppression of the agitations for the restructuring of the country could lead to a violent breakup of the country.

This comment, however, did not sit well with the Presidency, who is now tackling him, saying that democracy, not violence, was the known constitutional means of bringing any type of change in the polity.

The Presidency’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by Presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu.

He stated: “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.”

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The Presidency’s statement added: “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 strong 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.

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