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Oloja calls for reformation of Nigeria’s system to aid development

By Kehinde Olatunji
23 September 2022   |   4:02 am
The Guardian Managing Director, Martins Oloja, yesterday called for the reformation of the nation’s system to accommodate true federalism, noting that this would bring about healthy competition among states of the federation.

[FILES] Martins Oloja

The Guardian Managing Director, Martins Oloja, yesterday called for the reformation of the nation’s system to accommodate true federalism, noting that this would bring about healthy competition among states of the federation.

Speaking as a guest, yesterday, at the Nigeria Leadership Series, tagged: ‘Restructuring through federalism,’ organised by the Africa Leadership Group, Oloja said the idea of focusing on the Federal Government alone is one of the problems Nigeria is facing.

He said it was time governors partnered with the central government to deliver development in their regions by pulling funds to address life-threatening problems confronting the people.

Oloja criticised the popular notion that FG was the reason for the country’s woes, saying that if one third of the states of the federation were doing well, there would be competitive federalism.

He said: “This unitary system is not helping the country. We are used to saying that the person who is the head of government (presidency) is the problem of the country, but it is not just the Federal Government that is the problem. If we have one third of the states of the federation doing well, there will be competitive federalism. There will be competition for each state to do better than the other.

“So many medical doctors have risen to be governors and political leaders. If some of them have combined resources to establish good hospitals in their states, everybody will go there to get treatment instead of going abroad. I believe that our focus on the Federal Government and leaving the sub-national settings is a problem.

“Let’s not just concentrate on the FG for everything. Look at the poor road networks in so many states. Some of the governors can combine resources between Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo to fix federal roads that are not passable and constitute danger to the people. Some of these governors can combine efforts and resources to do some of these roads and later seek reimbursement from the Federal Government.”

Oloja added that the federalism that is being practiced in the United States creates room for the states to determine the mode of election in their respective states, which is determined by the secretary of state with the attorney general to determine the mode of presidential elections in their states.

“This is part of the restructuring that we are talking about. When they restructure the federation, we will not have one big Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) using one method and one provision of the law to conduct elections all over the federation.

“We are looking for federalism and people are calling for the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) instead of asking for the system to work, we are saying we should return the election of local governments to federal level, that’s not right. I believe that we should just reform the system, not to be asking for more work for the inefficient federal government that we have at the moment. We should decentralise so many operations. That is the type of federal system that we are talking about.”