By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Former Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday joined the clamour for the restructuring of the country in order to address the increasing spate of agitations from differently parts of Nigeria.
Uduaghan who spoke to journalists shortly after declaring open 1st Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Annual Asthma Conference and launch of the foundation which took place at Roban Hotels, Enugu however insisted that no matter the level of restructuring, the unity of the country must remain sacrosanct.
â€œNigeria is a sweet country, we must advocate unity of the country no matter the level of agitation. I believe firmly in the unity of the country,â€ he noted.
He said while the government thinkers with the restructuring plans, such critical areas including establishment of state police, downsizing the federal government and review of the Revenue sharing formula must be accorded priority status.
â€œThe issue of downsizing the federal government has become critical if we must restructure properly. The federal government is carrying too many loads. They have no business with primary schools, General Hospitals, agriculture and water resources. Those are things states and local governments should handle.
â€œThey should concentrate on security and other policies to guide the states,â€ he said.
On state police, the former governor said the only way such issues as kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes would be effectively tackled would be for the country to immediately consider establishment of state police.
â€œSome people are saying governors will use it to terrorise political opponents, but I donâ€™t agree with that. When you send a policeman from Sokoto to Delta, he will not be as committed as when a Delta man who understands the terrain is doing the job. It is critical to have state police or even community police, these are the things that should be restructured.
The former governor who also advocated for the review of revenue sharing formula in the restructuring plans noted that the present arrangement where the federal government takes 52 per cent of the nationâ€™s revenue should be reviewed.
â€œOnce, youâ€™ve restructured properly, you must also thinker with the sharing formula because if you give more jobs to the states and councils, you must also increase their funding,â€ he said.
Earlier before declaring the conference open, the former governor had called on the government to partner the NGOs to set up Asthma Awareness Centre, noting that lots of people had lost their lives to Asthma attacks because of ignorance.
â€œWe must improve on the primary health centres, improve on the primary healthcare advocacy programmes, equip our hospitals properly to be able to deal with serious cases of asthma,â€ he said.
The Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Mr. Chiwuike Uba, said the gesture was in memory of his wife who died of asthma attack in 2016.
He said the conference was designed to brainstorm and share information on the diagnosis and management of asthma and propose ideas to promote the improvement in facilities and human resources in Nigerian hospitals.