- Malaysian High Commissioner says insecurity stalling tourism in Nigeria
BY Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Afe Babalola has canvassed for the return to regional government for Nigeria to fully recover from its economic woes and myriad of challenges confronting it.
Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), said having a central government with a president directing the affairs of a large and multi-ethnic and religious nation like Nigeria is the reason the country has failed to develop.
The senior lawyer said this in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend during a programme tagged: ‘Diplomatic Dialogue’ organised by the Department of International Relations, where the Malaysian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Lim Juay Jin, was the guest speaker.
Babalola said: “I have attended three conferences in Nigeria and the return to regional government has always been my position. Nigeria consists of over 300 ethnic groups and with different religious bias, so what we need is confederation or loose federalism where each region will be allowed to grow at its own pace and contribute to the centre.
“This has been the practice in United States, Australia and Canada. But in Nigeria, we have a central government, where only one person determines what happens everywhere. In the past, we had regional governments where each of them was allowed to develop and Nigeria was better off then .
“Nigeria has six geopolitical zones and these can be allowed to function as component parts and Nigeria will be good for it. During the regional government, Nigeria was growing faster. Malaysia is a very small country with a population of about 30 million and this makes it easy to govern.
“If Nigeria has been operating the regional government, we would have developed even better than Malaysia. Our fore fathers considered the population, land and resources as very large, that was why they introduced regional government. It has always been the smaller, the better.”
Delivering his lecture, Jin, who described ABUAD as a new face of Nigeria education, insisted that Nigeria should have made very good exploit in economy and medical tourism, but for pervasive insecurity in the system.
He promised that Malaysia would strengthen its business relations with Nigeria because of the integrity of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and its hostile disposition to corruption.
“ABUAD is a place where you can study under a peaceful atmosphere. It has a good environment and a complementary state-of-the-art infrastructure where student can learn and deliver. I know the graduates will be change agents in the system because of learning and character that is in practice here.
“One thing that has been of tremendous advantage to both Nigeria and Malaysia is that they are highly educated workforce. I believe that if Nigeria can deploy this effectively, greatness will be achieved because hope of success has not been lost,” he said.