• Affirms Love For A Stable, United Federation
• Wants Youth To Embrace Entrepreneurship
Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday said the 2014 National Conference recommendations, is not the final answer to the restructuring that Nigeria needs.
Speaking during the Nigerian Commemoration of the United Nations International Youth Day 2016, organised by Rise Networks in Lagos, the elder statesman instead encouraged Nigerian youths to mobilise themselves and channel some of their youthful enthusiasm and activism into clamouring for a “restructuring of the country’s governance architecture in order to realise a truer federalism that will give it greater political stability and faster socio-economic development.”
Faulting the present governance arrangement, Anyaoku noted that it is not possible for Nigeria to attain political stability and its deserved level of national socio-economic development, unless it restructures its existing governance architecture.
Although, he concurred with some elements of the 2014 conference recommendations, such as those pertaining to state police and fiscal arrangements, which he described as a step in the right direction, he however disagreed with the proposal to create 54 States.
In a speech titled: ‘The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption’, the elder statesman said the proposed 54 states completely negates the idea of a vibrant federalism for a country with its peculiar history and is as ethnically and religiously diverse as Nigeria.
According to him, “In politics, from my close experience over 10 years of governance in over 50 countries, I remain strongly of the view, which I began to express in 2005 that Nigeria cannot attain political stability and its deserved level of national socio-economic development unless it restructures its existing governance architecture.
“There is no way the country can mitigate its current ethnically and religiously destabilising competition for control of the all-powerful Federal Government if we retain the existing unitarist federal structure of 36 largely economically and financially non-viable federating units.”
To him to enable the country move away from “do-or-die” politics and to unlock its socio-economic development potential, we should restructure the polity by devolving more powers to a less number of federating units. Such federating units would provide more viable basis for economic planning and development with each federating unit developing at its own pace.
On how the country could be truly restructured such that its unity would not be threaten, he said, “In my lecture of 31 January 2016 at the Ibadan School of Public Policy and Government, I spoke about how the now recognised six geo-political zones should be adopted as the federating units, how powers should be devolved to them from the center, and about how the federally generated revenue should be allocated to the Federal Government and the federating units.
“The restructuring that I am advocating should pose no threat to Nigeria’s unity; on the contrary, it is the continuation of the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country, which are encouraged by the present governance structure that will most probably lead to the undoing of the country’s unity.”
The former Commonwealth Secretary-General said in actualising the global aspiration of eradicating poverty by 2030, Nigerian youths must play active roles in three areas: in politics including governance, in social change including societal values and ethics, and in economic activities, including, especially entrepreneurship.
Lamenting the damages corruption has done to the country, Anyaoku said throughout his stay as Commonwealth Secretary-General abroad, “I never witnessed bureaucratic corruption like I have seen in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian society in its present state is in great need for social change. Corruption pervades all levels of the society starting from examination malpractice in our schools and educational institutions, through bribery and seeking of gratification before performance of one’s obligatory duties, to outright embezzlement and stealing of public and private funds. All this happens primarily because the Nigerian society now worships wealth and has put its possession over and above the possession of good character. Hard work is no longer recognised as the only path to success in every human endeavor.”
He therefore urged the youth, whom he described as powerful agents of positive change to be in the vanguard of a campaign for the restoration of the societal values and ethics that guided people’s behavior in the days of my parents and of the growing up of young men and women of my age.”
He said to effectively address the challenge of youth unemployment and indeed to progress towards poverty eradication now and by 2030, our youth must embrace entrepreneurship. The Guardian