State Of the Nation: Babangida Reiterates True Federalism Is The Answer-Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida(RTD) has reiterated his call for the dissolution power at the Federal level advocating for a true federalism where more responsibilities are transferred to the states and local governments.
He was speaking last weekend when the members of the Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Commission paid him a working visit in Minna, his home town in Niger State.
According to the former Head of state, concentration of more power at the center has culminated in much more responsibilities on the shoulders of the federal government and at the detriment of good governance.
It was his second clarion call for power shift from the centre in three years, after he delivered a speech in 2010, just before the kick off of electioneering campaign and eventual election holding in 2011.
Making specific reference to the issue of revenue allocation formula in the country which he described as lopsided, he declared that the federal government should shed it federal power weight and hand over more responsibility to both the states and local governments.
He claimed that the such decision was imperative because both the local and State governments are closer to the people and can work better for their benefits.
Also speaking during the visit, the Chairman Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Elias Mbam explained that a review of the revenue allocation formula of the country is long overdue and the commission is on the verge of changing it.
Same call made in October 2010
The call however was a sweet reminder of Babangida’s speech during the 3rd annual United Nations International Peace Day Lecture series held in October 2010.
Th ex-President then advocated for the the abolition of Federal system of government in the country, claiming it was putting much burden on the central government.
According to Babangida, the federal system puts much more power and responsibility on the Federal Government.
The 2010 3rd annual United Nations International Peace Day Lecture series was then organised by the General Abdulsalam Abubakar Institute of Peace and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Niger State Government of Nigeria.
Claimed to have held the tag of a political ‘born-again’, the former leader held that after his observation of Nigeria’s political climate especially from outside the political stage, and as an independent observer of the act of governance, and periscoping curent issues as they affect the country’s corporate existence, he was of the opinion that the Federal government should be concentrating more on defence, foreign policy and internal security.
According to him, issues concerning primary and secondary education should be left for state government and private individuals to handle.
The former leader also called for the establishment of state police to take the burden of state policing off the federal government political menu.
According to him, internal security was a very crucial and a vital tool for peace and development in any society.
He therefore suggested the introduction of state police that will be under the supervision of the federal police for proper maintenance of law and order in the country.
The ‘born again’ political actor and former commander in chief of the federal republic of Nigeria reiterated his support for capitalism, describing it as the best economic system for Nigeria.
According t o him, ‘capitalism should be retained in Nigeria as it was the best economic system for the country’.
The system, he argued, gives opportunity to people to excel in their chosen business and talents.
He said that the country is full of people with talents and they should be given the opportunity to showcase their God-given gift.
Babangida speaking further identified federal character as one of the banes of our national development, advising the then Constitutional Review Committee of the National Assembly should consider the review of the Federal character clause in the constitution of the country .
he warned that not only was the removal of the clause necessary urgently, it needed to be expunged with immediate effect.
He said more emphasis should now be placed on merit rather than quota system in all the nation’s dealings, as this was the only way that the country can move forward.
However, in his earlier address at the lecture, Niger State governor,Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, said that there was no basis for the review of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution claiming there was nothing wrong with the law book.
According to him, the problem with the document lay solely on the operators of the law.
The host governor stressed that for the country to succeed as a nation, it must internalise high sense of discipline and integrity and respect for the rule of law, adding that the country could attain political and economic stability if the citizenry support programme and policies of government at all levels.
Also speaking, the Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Ike Ekweremadu, expressed the determination of the Senate to carry out the constitution amendment to the best of its ability for the benefit of the country.
According to him, “We must ensure that the review process is participatory and inclusive so as to produce a constitution that will address the concerns of the people of this country.”
The panacea for peace and stable polity, he argued, was good governance and responsible God-fearing servant leadership which must exemplify discipline and respect for law and order at all time.
Speaking, the Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Ike Ekweremadu, expressed the determination of the Senate to carry out the constitution amendment to the best of its ability for the benefit of the country.