.. .Says military rule destroyed essence of Nigeria’s federalism
By Olatunde Abatan and Charles Okogene
Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams, has canvassed a return to 1963 Nigeria’s Republican constitution as the first step towards evolving a lasting Democratic governance based on the tenets of true federalism.
In an interview with Newdawnngr,the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) leader observed that the genesis of Nigeria’s disunity started the moment the military intervened in 1966 and set aside the Republican Constitution which was the article of faith that Nigeria’s federalism was erected butw was setaside by the military leading to civil war and the series of political instability, which has kept the nation divided till today.
“Since the military took over in 1966,we have destroyed Nigeria as they they’ve truncated democracy by adopting unitary system which is the source of our problems today.it has killed the spirit of federalism which our founding fathers erected our independence on and this is the source of our various problems today”,he declared.
As for him,what is required now is a return to that system which guarantees relative autonomy to the regions such that each of them will contribute 25% of their earnings to maintain the federal structure and have some revenue to develop the regions at their own pace.
Said he,”What needed to be done is create two additional regions and geo political zones as was done during the 1994 Abacha constitutional conference and allow them to have their own Supreme court at regional,state and local level.
Only issues between the regions should go to the federal supreme court as is dine in other civilised democracies “.
On the structure of government he wondered what the federal government is doing with 67 items on the exclusive list and only 33 in the concurrent and 11 on the residual list.
He also contended that local government should be allowed to generate revenue in their areas instead of state governments sitting on their monthly allocation adding,” when you give N150 million to states for local governments and states pocket N130 million out of it and give only N20million to them ,what do you expect the chairman to do than use N15million to pay salaries and pocket the remains N5 million as running cost of his office “.
This system he argued can not allow for any development at the grassroot level and the attendant rate of poverty in the country.
On policing,he wondered how the unitary police system we have now could be expected to guarantee security at all levels adding,” when you bring a man from sokoto to Lagos,how could he police the state effectively but if you recruit or post an indigene, he knows the terrain better and could olive effectively “.
As regards the cost of running the police at all levels,he said effective local,state and regional police guarantees security and encourage investment when investors are sure of safety of their investments.
” I have been to 56 countries and I can tell you none if them have the kind of unitary system and policing we have with our 200 million population.every crime is local and only local police can adequately police a community,state of federal” adding that suspicion of one another has ruined the basis of Nigeria’s unity and progress as all the major and minority tribes suspect one another because of the unitary system we are operating.