Only true federalism will rescue Nigeria, says Ambode
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, has stressed the need for Nigeria to implement true federalism as originally conceived by its founding fathers, saying it would deliver the country from the many challenges undermining its growth and development.
He stated this while delivering a convocation lecture and investiture of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the 12th Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
He said it was common knowledge that the Federal Government was tasked beyond its best competencies to the detriment of the federating units, especially the states.
In his paper titled: Inclusion: Path To A New Nation, Ambode noted that the country’s present political structure was seriously affecting the efficiency of states and local governments.
He argued that for states to serve their people optimally, the principle of inclusion as being practiced in Lagos where residents, irrespective of state of origin could rise to the pinnacle of their chosen careers, should be applied to the division of power between the federal and state governments.
“There has been clamour for devolution of power and true federalism in recent times. While much of this talk has good intentions, I believe it misses the crucial point. The linchpin of good governance is not found in the system but in the quality of its administration.
“We must implement a true federal system as it was originally intended. Therefore, too much power has resided in the central government. This has been to the detriment of the authority and efficiency of the states and local governments.
Governor Ambode said structural reforms might be distorted to serve the interests of those who favour concentration of power, adding that the clamour for total change in the political architecture would be time consuming and expensive.
He argued that the nation should first attempt a more equitable level of fiscal federalism before drastically altering the federal structure that may likely plunge the country into further uncertainties.
“Additionally, such attempts at drastic and rapid political changes could cause huge economic uncertainties and dislocations. Given our tenuous relationship to prosperity, Nigeria cannot afford this self-affliction.
“There is widespread consensus that too much power resides in the center. We can correct this imbalance by reallocating power and responsibilities between the states and Federal Government by amending the exclusive and concurrent lists, powers and duties of levels of governments to reflect current realities in the country,” he stated.
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