The Presidency has frowned on the idea of President Muhammadu Buhari forcing restructuring on the country.
“The President has no power to impose restructuring on the country by military diktat,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The National Assembly members are the elected representatives of the people who can handle agitations for restructuring and other constitutional changes.”
This comes a day after President Buhari said in a national broadcast that the unity of the country is not negotiable.
His broadcast had led to angry reactions from those calling for the restructuring of the country.
Mr Shehu, however, said the President is constitutionally bound to work with the National Assembly to deal with such complex issues.
He insisted that President Buhari would not exercise arbitrary powers or bypass the legislature in taking such fundamental decisions.
“Changes don’t happen on a whim in a democracy; the ‘immediate effect’ military mentality cannot work under a democratic order.
“Since the President has sworn to defend the Constitution, he would remain faithful to that oath by working with the legislature in taking major decisions on the future of Nigeria’s federal system,” he said.
The presidential aide, however, said while Nigerians are free to express themselves, they should exercise such liberty with restraint and a sense of responsibility.
He said calling President Buhari “an enemy of Nigeria” was extremely in a bad taste, stating that nothing in the President’s service record would justify such “scurrilous language”.
“The country’s parliament is ready and willing to discuss all issues but the pundits are more interested in TV and newspaper headlines, threats don’t work in a democracy.
“Democracy requires planning and proper process. Issues are resolved through established processes, not by abuses, insults or irresponsible statements,” Shehu said.