While speaking during an interactive session with Nigerians living in France, as he attends the Peace Forum in Paris, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, gave conditions to be fulfilled before the government can go into restructuring of the country.
The President who pointed out that there should be proper definition of what Nigerians want before the government can delve into restructuring the country, also noted that many Nigerians who have been calling for restructuring have been doing so without defining what the restructuring should be.
The Nigerian community, which was made up of Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO), All Progressives Congress (APC) members in France, students and friends of Nigeria, asked the President questions ranging from restructuring, security, anti-corruption, education and opportunity for Nigerians in diaspora to vote in 2019 general elections.
The President said; “There are too many people talking lazily about restructuring in Nigeria. Unfortunately, people are not asking them individually what do they mean by restructuring? What form do they want restructuring to take?
“Do they want us to have something like the three regions we used to have? And now we have 36 states and the FCT. What form do they want? They are just talking loosely about restructuring.
“Let them define it and then we see how we can peacefully do it in the interest of Nigerians. They are just saying they want Nigeria restructured and they don’t have the clue of what the form the restructuring should be.
“So, anybody who talks to you about restructuring in Nigeria, ask him what he means and the form he wants it to take,” he stated.
President Buhari also gave reasons why Nigerians in diaspora might not vote in the 2019 general elections, saying that it will be very difficult for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put in place structures to accommodate them with just about three months to the 2019 elections.
While noting that the increasing Nigeria population in the diaspora supports the calls for their participation in electing Nigeria leaders, Buhari said that it might not happen in the 2019 general elections as INEC had been more focused on strengthening and consolidating on its achievements to conduct credible elections within the country.
But he said that Nigerians in diaspora would definitely participate in future elections. “We want to secure the Nigeria votes first before we go foreign. We are going to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be more independent and viable so that they can recruit more committed and educated Nigerians to be in charge and use technologies to get the votes from all the constituencies.
“So, with the way the economy is now, I think with the elections in three months’ time, it will be very difficult for INEC and the government to organize quality survey of those that are outside,” he said.
Responding to the question on education in Nigeria, the President said that his administration is doing its best to invest more in infrastructures, education and other sectors. The Nigerian elites, he said, disappointed Nigeria and the Nigerian masses under the sixteen years administrations of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, so much waste has gone down the drain from the huge resources earned in during the PDP administrations in the country between 1999 and 2015, adding that there was nothing to show for the earnings including the $16 billion said to have been spent on power.
He urged Nigerian elites, both at home and diaspora, to do more in contributing to the educational sector of the country, expressing surprise that the elites tolerated the fall in standards and structures of educational institutions despite the huge oil earnings.
He said; “So, really I have seen it all and I was disappointed in the Nigerian elites. What have they done in these sixteen years?”
“What do we have with our oil production down to half a million and the price per barrel went down to about $30, what could we have done with the infrastructure?
“You should find out the damage done by the main opposition now to the economy and the integrity of the country. So, we are now trying to improve infrastructures and do more in education and other areas.
“We are currently reviewing investments in the entire infrastructure of the country like road, rail and power, including investing more in education. We will certainly need to do more in education,’’ he said.
He added “I am doing my best now to utilize our resources to develop the country. We are already getting results on road, rail and power. My frustration is that some people still have plenty stolen money stashed in Europe, U S and other countries.’’