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‘The federal structure needs to be made to work’

By Charles Ogugbuaja
17 June 2016   |   2:09 am
The experience of most Nigerians in the first year of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is that of an increase in suffering.
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The experience of most Nigerians in the first year of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is that of an increase in suffering.

People are suffering. Most state governments have been unable to pay salaries. About 70 per cent of Nigerian workers have not received their salaries regularly in the last one year, at any level, government or private sector. Was it caused by the previous administration? Or is it a consequence of the change factor? The arguments can go on and on, but the reality is that we are witnessing the impact of the policies of the incumbent Federal Government.

This government came up with the policy of intervention fund to some states. How did the states use the funds?

This government has mindset, which is that the immediate past administration was bad, so let’s demonize it. But that’s not what Nigerians expect. They want improved social facilities and a standard of living. But Nigerians have been cheated. Where is the change they were promised? Despite all the promises made a year ago, all we have seen are the reversals, especially with what is happening in the petroleum industry. We see people talking from the two sides of their mouths.

Most of the campaign promises can no longer be defended. Singing the 2016 budget in May is a big minus. That means there is no economic team.

No matter what is happening, federalism is the best system of government that can suit Nigeria, but painfully, they are not practicing true federalism; they are practising unitary system of government. At every turn, we have always said, this country should be a country of six zones or six regions. When we use the six zones as the federation structure or units, we will see that everything will start working. But most people think that the best way to go is to deceive ourselves. This thing cannot work.

At Independence, we practised regionalism and each region was doing well. There was no unemployment or hunger, people were working and happy and the Federal Government was also doing well. Unfortunately, we had the military and since then the civilian governments that succeeded have continued to run the unitary system of government. What do you expect? Why should a state government be waiting for an allocation from Federal Government every month? It is wrong.

We should go back to six regions, make the regions stronger by having the government at the Centre shed some of its responsibilities. And then this country can be great again.

● Sir Oliver Enwerenem, a social crusader, public affairs analyst, commentator, represented Ezinihitte Mbaise in the Imo House of Assembly (1999 – 2007).