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2024 Democracy Day: Return To True Federalism Just As You’ve Returned To Old National Anthem, Ajayi Tells Tinubu

LAGOS – As the Nigerian government celebrates 2024 June 12, now known as Democracy Day, the Secretary of the Afenifere group in the United Kingdom and Europe, Engr. Anthony Ajayi, has urged President Bola Tinubu to reinstate Nigeria to 1963 Constitution where true federalism worked just as he has reinstated the old National Anthem...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶▶▶

Ajayi, who spoke in his personal capacity from London, stated that President Tinubu should leverage on this rare opportunity in his hands to deliver true federalism to the people of Nigeria, adding that in the 1960s, the concept of good governance in Nigeria was taken up from a more normative perspective, with emphasis on development which sought to guide against failures of governance structures.

He said under true federalism, states and local government are given autonomy to operate and develop, stressing that in developed countries around the world, their leaders adopt political arrangements that best suit their nature, context and composition. “This arrangement facilitates a substantial amount of co-operation among the various segments and institutions all in a bid to achieve the desired end of the good life for the citizens. Why should Nigeria be different?”, Ajayi questioned.

He stated further that despite the huge potentials of Nigeria in terms of human, material and natural resources, Nigeria remained politically and economically backward, noting that Nigerians have no reason to go hungry.

“The economy of Nigeria is bad and cost of food are high because we are looking for what to consume rather than what to produce. We cannot do efficient production with the current structure because the current structure does not support autonomy. Now that the Federal Government is pushing for Local Government autonomy, they should also push for states autonomy. States should function on their own, control their resources and develop. This is what will make Governors effective and efficient”, Ajayi said.

He stated further that the reality on ground is bigger than the federal government. The federal allocation formula should give way for states to be productive. Most states are doing nothing than wait for federal allocation every month to function even internally. Those are the states responsible for high increase of urbanisation in the country.

“The Federal Government is doing too much hence true federalism is yet to be achieved in Nigeria. What we have is a scenario where the federating units are agents of the central government who depend on it for survival. The implication is that instead of operating as co-equals, the Federal Government is being run as a unitary state against the tenets of federalism. This has led to series of political logjam, constitutional crises and litigations which has threatened the political and economic stability of the country”, he said.

Ajayi pointed out that what the South-Western leaders have been saying over the years regarding restructuring was well articulated by Chief Olu Falae, who revealed that the restructuring they are clamouring for means going back to the Independence Constitution which our leaders negotiated with the British between 1957 and 1959. He added that it was on that basis that the three regions agreed to go to independence as one united country.

He quoted Chief Falae as saying, “So, it was a negotiated constitution. This is because, if the three regions were not able to agree, there would not have been one united independent Nigeria. But because the three regions at that time negotiated and agreed to package a constitution, that is why they agreed to go to Independence together. When the military came in 1966 and threw away the constitution, they threw away the negotiated agreement among the three regions, which was the foundation of a united Nigeria.

“So, the military did not only throw away the constitution but a political consensus negotiated and agreed by our leaders of the three regions in those days. When we say restructuring now, we are saying let us go back substantially to that constitution which gave considerable autonomy to the regions. For example, each region at that time collected its revenue and contributed the agreed proportion to the centre. But when the military came, they turned it round and took everything to the centre. The military threw it away and gave us this over-centralised unitary constitution. So, we are saying this is not acceptable any more; we must go back to the negotiated constitution which gave considerable autonomy to the regions, so that every region can compete in a healthy manner.”

Speaking on high cost of food and hardship in the country, Ajayi said, ” Nigeria has no reason to lack food because the land is there. I’ll urge President Tinubu to make fund available to farmers and strengthen security to enable them return to farms. The government don’t need to allow import of farm produce into Nigeria, our farmers can make food sufficient for all. They need government encouragement to do it because they can do it.

“To achieve food security, state police is sacrosanct. The states knows their terrain better. The people at local communities knows themselves. It will be easier to police a state through the state than far Abuja. The state police is the only instrument that can address the security challenges in Nigeria. Let our leaders keep political sentiment aside and face reality on ground. State police is key Nigeria’s survival.

“As for Labour Congress, they should derived another means of negotiations with the the government rather than going on strike all the time. Strike will further worsen the current hardship and it is the masses that will suffer the most.”

Ajayi also said if President Tinubu cannot return Nigeria to true federalism, he should restructure the political system with emphasis on the need for a review of the present governance and political structure to allow for practice of true federalism.

“There is need to enthrone visionary and transformational leadership that will sincerely tackle and implement true federalism for the good of all. I therefore recommend for balanced and sustainable federalism possibly by true restructuring”, Ajayi stated.…Continue The Full Reading.>’. 

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