The elder statesman, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, has joined the ranks of those calling for an interim government as a way out of what he described as uncertain elections next month.
Braithwaite stated this yesterday in Abuja at a press conference organised by Mr. Toni Iwobi, an Italian Nigerian and leading member of Legal North Party, which seeks for strong change of attitudes towards immigration issues.
The erudite lawyer, who was represented by Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, warned Nigerians to think carefully about the change they seek, which he sees as superficial rather than structural.
“Let me just add a few words of support and caution especially in the context of our electioneering season in Nigeria when the incumbent at the federal level and his main challenger appear to be running their campaigns on the theme “transformation” and “change,” he said.
According to him, to conduct a campaign that ignores these fundamental changes and talk about change or transformation merely on the basis of change of personnel is a disservice to Nigerians and bodes grave consequences if the elections are otherwise properly conducted.
“It is for this reason that I have advocated for an interim government rather than these uncertain elections, which those with deep thinking already see as a failure in the making despite assurances from INEC”, he said.
Braithwaite advised that merely angling for a change to Buhari or any other person will not change the fundamental problem of the country, adding that “our economic projects and policies will continue to underperform unless there is structural change in our fiscal federalism.”
He insisted that a lasting change can only come through structural changes in the system and not mere change in the occupant of leadership.
He said: “Essentially it is structural change that Nigeria needs today not a superficial change.
“The fight against corruption will continue to fail unless there is structural change in Nigeria. It is not about the zeal of one man ensconced in the embrace of doubtful ‘progressives.’
“The system will soon douse any enthusiasm he may still have and things will settle down to business as usual even if there is a change in the helmsman, unless there is a drive for structural change.
“Nigeria needs to revisit its federation and change the current unitary structure in areas such as resource control, internal security and crime prevention, education and other areas already highlighted in the report of the recent Constitutional Conference.”
Speaking further, Braithwaite made a positive remark about the efforts of the current administration to introduce some of those structural changes through the transformation agenda.
“The incumbent has premised his intervention on the catchphrase ‘transformation agenda’ whilst his main challenger is asking Nigerians to see him as representing ‘change.’ I submit that on the surface transformation means change even as change means transformation,” he noted.
It is in this context, he added, that Nigerians ought to look carefully at the kind and content of change being advocated by the protagonists in the Nigerian political landscape today.
“When people talk about change are they talking about structural change or superficial change. Are they talking of positive change or a return to the past,” he asked.
He said the current administration has demonstrated its ideas of transformation in certain sectors like in the power, where it did carry out the unbundling and privatisation of the bulk of old electricity that kept Nigerians in darkness for so long.
He, however, noted that even though the transformation is still ongoing, it must be recognised that it is pointing in the right direction for that sector of the Nigerian economy.
“The incumbent federal administration has also demonstrated its transformation agenda by the inauguration of the National Constitutional Conference the report of which unfortunately hasn’t been treated with the same zeal for transformation,” he said.