Federal structure nearing implosion, Ndoma-Egba warns
A former Senate Leader and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Victor Ndoma-Egba, has warned that the nation’s federal structure is no longer workable as “we are at the point of structural implosion”.
Ndoma-Egba, who was the national secretary of the 2018 APC national convention, gave his support for the immediate restructuring of the country. According to him, Nigerians must agree that the current structure has taken the country nowhere.
In a telephone interview with some newsmen, yesterday, he said: “Our situation, now, can be likened to a car which engine has knocked and the owner is trying to fix brand new tires on the car to get it to work.
“The so-called federal structure we have is no longer workable. The centre is overburdened. It has become so unwieldy that more than 70 per cent of federal spending goes to recurrent expenditure while less than 30 per cent is left for capital. Paradoxically, it is the capital budget that delivers development.
“With 68 items on the exclusive list and 29 in the concurrent list, we have a more justifiable claim to being a unitary state than a federal one. The states, as federating units, have become absolutely dependent on federal allocations than their own internally generated revenues – what my friend and brother, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, refers to as ‘feeding bottle federalism’.
“The local government system across the country has completely collapsed, leading to increased migration from rural communities to state capitals, overstretching infrastructure and facilities beyond limits. The structure is no longer working.”
He said further: “We are at the point of structural implosion, more so, as the economy has lost its productive capacity. Manufacturing is grounded and the economy’s absorptive capabilities are zero, and unemployment soars by the day.
“Social infrastructure has collapsed, social indices are unimpressive. And all these are reflective in the security situation and the value of the naira. Things will only get worse if we insist on retaining the current structure. We have to go back to the drawing board. We must restructure, one way or the other.”
Given the current situation, he said: “There must be a national conversation or consensus around where we should go as a nation. Whatever restructuring means to anyone, one thing is common; you cannot achieve it without constitutional amendment. Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution provides not only for amendment of the Constitution but the mechanics for the same.
“In summary, you require two-thirds of each of the Houses of the National Assembly – the Senate and House of Representatives – before any amendment can pass.”