Nigerian Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has expressed fears that Nigeria may experience the Brexit experience.
Fashola said Brexit’s experience is inevitable unless youths in the country are given political education to make them understand the issue of restructuring. He aired his opinion while speaking as a guest speaker at the 76th anniversary of the Island Club in Lagos at the weekend.
Brexit refers to the decision by some people in Britain for the country to leave the European Union (EU), a choice that has thrown the country into confusion.
Fashola argued that the quest for better life had resulted in relentless agitations by some Nigerian groups pushing diverse ideologies in their demands for restructuring.
He said that Britain was currently grappling with the problem of whether to stay in the EU or not because the youth segment of the population did not fully understand the implications of the referendum they participated in.
He stressed the need for adequate education of the younger segment of the Nigerian population to ensure those right choices were made in repositioning the nation’s diversity to avoid the Brexit experience.
Speaking on “Restructuring: Lessons from Brexit,” Fashola gave a detailed history of the evolution of the United Kingdom, which he said, was similar to Nigeria’s 1914 amalgamation that merged the Northern and Southern Protectorates.
“One of the items on restructuring is that we want quality education.
“The default argument for poor quality education is government but I say, it is true to the extent that government is the regulator.
“It licenses. It approves, sets and enforces standards but today the records indicate that there are about 165 universities in Nigeria.
Forty-three belong to the Federal Government, 47 belong to State Governments and 75 are private.”
He explained that the insatiable quest for better life was the root of the clamor for restructuring in Nigeria, noting that measures to create new identities had compounded problems throughout human history.
“Let us decompose that word and let everybody be specific. There is so much confusion. Don’t hide restructuring under one word. Bring it out, so that we know what to choose. Some people are calling for parliamentary system of government.
The new generation must be told that it was the parliamentary system that caused crisis which was difficult to resolve and which led us into civil war. Where people are diverse, a federation is better. There is a great deal of work to be done by the protagonists.’’
Fashola listed countries that broke up without being able to resolve the issues of separation to include Yugoslavia, Sudan, the Soviet Union, North and South Korea, warning against agitations to split Nigeria.
The minister said there were currently 86 unresolved boundary disputes as a result of state creations in the country, explaining that the Federal Government was still building secretariats for some new states.
He said better life does not necessarily exist in a new document without a right political education; a change of attitude and an inflexible commitment to the public rule.’’
Fashola, supported calls for state police but stated that Nigeria missed the opportunity to have it because people did not follow up with it at various levels of government.
Also speaking, a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, said that experience had shown that “where you have injustice, humans will resist and opt for their independence”.
He called for equal opportunities to remove increasing inequalities and endless agitations for session in the country.
The Chairman of the Island Club, Mr Philip Abumere, lauded Fashola for his commitment to nation-building, citing the minister’s strides when he was governor of Lagos State.