Fidelis Soriwei, Eniola Akinkuotu and Ted Odogwu
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and a former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo, have said Nigeria cannot progress under the current political system which operates like a military unitary system.
The former governor of Lagos State said this at the 91st anniversary of Daily Times newspaper and the Times Heroes awards in Abuja on Tuesday, while Bozimo stated this while speaking with journalists during the 90th birthday celebration of a former Federal Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark.
.Tinubu, who was represented by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, said Nigeria was only a federation in name but was a unitary state in practice.
He said, “Let us streamline governance; federalism in word and deed. Our constitution declares Nigeria a federation of 36 states however we still grapple with the vestiges of our past under the military rule. In any case, we still function like a unitary state despite the constitution. More power and resources need to devolve to the states.
“The Federal Government is taking on too much. We cannot flourish with over-concentration of powers at the centre. Some of the 68 items on the exclusive federal list should be transferred to the residual list as it was in most federal constitutions.
“In the 1963 Constitution, there were extensive powers granted to regions which allowed them to carry out their immense responsibility as they then saw fit.”
Tinubu said Nigeria’s unitary political system only offered a deceptive and fake economic prosperity which was exposed when the oil price slumped.
He said even if the current recession end, the prosperity that would follow would be short-lived except structural changes were made.
He added, “The fall in oil prices exposed this economic model for the life that it was. Now, we must fashion a new political economy. In due course, the current recession will end. This should come as a relief. In itself however, it is not a cause for celebration, far from it. The end of recession does not mean the beginning of prosperity.”
The APC chieftain said some items which ordinarily should be state matters like police, prisons, stamp duty, taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains, registration of businesses, incorporation of companies, traffic on Federal Government roads passing through states, trade, commerce among others were transferred from the concurrent to the exclusive list.
He said this was at variance with the true spirit of federalism, describing the current unitary system as a ‘monster.’
Tinubu added, “Regarding electrical power we must move beyond limiting states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to areas not covered by the national grid. Our problem is lack of power yet we preclude states from helping to resolve the chronic problem that stands at the very heart of economic development.
“It is not right to say states can generate power but cannot sell it where they want. Without yielding any contravening benefits, these policies suppresses the generation of needed power.”
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Daily Times, Mr. Fidelis Anosike, said the ceremony was put together to reward and encourage excellence in Nigeria.
He said the newspaper would re-establish itself as a profitable media conglomerate with the potential of contributing to Nigeria’s GDP.
Some notable Nigerians who received awards include President Muhammadu Buhari; former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Chairman of United Bank of Africa, Tony Elumelu; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, his Anambra State counterpart, Governor Willie Obiano; and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Others include Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock; the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika and actor, Pete Edochie.
Bozimo, who is the Chairman of the Clark’s 90th birthday committee said that the committee would organise a national discourse with the theme ‘Restructuring, True Federalism, and Resource Control: Panacea for Enduring Peace and Sustainable Development in Nigeria’ on May 25, 2017.
He said that it was important that Clark’s 90 birthday celebration was marked with a crucial discussion on restructuring and resource control which he devoted a greater part of his life to.
He said, “It is obvious. It is the subject matter that is relevant and prevalent in Nigeria today. It is virtually crucial. You know, the chief has been on the vanguard of that struggle virtually all his life.
“Therefore, I think it is befitting and appropriate that when you celebrate his 90 years on earth, that subject will feature and it will be for me the spirit that will move this celebration.” (Punchng.com)