Buhari’s Adviser, Falana Canvass Political, Economic Restructuring

  •  List defence, currencies, others as FG’s core responsibilities

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itsey Sagay and a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, on Monday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate the process that would culminate in the political and economic restructuring of Nigeria.

The duo, who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), demanded that the federal government’s areas of core responsibilities should be pruned down to defence, foreign affairs, immigration, currencies, banks, customs, telecommunications and its own police, among others.

They made the demands at a parliamentary session the Lagos State House of Assembly organised to mark the first anniversary of the 8th Assembly and 23rd anniversary of June 12 presidential election, which was annulled by the military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

The session was attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, serving senators, former deputy governors, former clerks of the assembly and members of the State Executive Council among others.

Sagay rejected the country’s present federal arrangement which, he said, should be described as “a decentralised unitary system and not federalism. In a true federalism, each government enjoys autonomy which does not exclude interdependence of federating units.”

Citing diverse challenges the country is currently battling with, Sagay came to a conclusion that a true federal structure – and not decentralised unitary system – was the only way forward from present challenges undermining the country’s internal political and economic stability.

He strongly advised that the federal government should revert “to what it used to be in the First Republic. It should only concentrate on common services like defence, foreign affairs, immigration, currencies, banks, customs, telecommunications and its own police and so on.”

He suggested that the states and zones should retain the bulk of the proceeds of all resources, proposing 50 per cent for federating units, 20 per cent contribution for the running cost of the federal government and 30 per cent for all states based on predetermined criteria.

He noted that true federalism “is now urgently required. It is the only way forward. States should have control of their funds. It is therefore crucial that we as a country must be ready to be loosed from the shackles of suffocating unitary federalism and revert to true political and fiscal federalism.

“We need to restructure Nigeria into regions or zones for a long term secured, harmonious and prosperous future. Restructuring will compel governors to be productive, live on their own resources while contributing towards the running of the federal government.

“The restructuring will lead to healthy competitions among federating units for the development, peace, justice and welfare of the country. Present federalism had strengthened the culture of greed and laziness.”