Masari Drum up Support for Devolution of Powers to States

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Paul Obi and Marvellous Okeke in Abuja

Katsina State Governor and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari thursday joined proponents of restructuring, calling for devolution of powers to the states.

Masari spoke yesterday as a guest lecturer to participants of Course 10, Institute of Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja, stating that time has come to reduce items in the exclusive list of the constitution.

He argued that the federal government has become too bogus and over bearing in the administration of governance, a situation, he said, the federal government now construct boreholes for communities.

Masari who presented a paper with the theme ‘Executive-Legislature Relations and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation and Development in Katsina State’ contended that the present economic crises and prevailing circumstances has now made devolution of powers to the states imminent.

The governor said: “Well, way back since 1999 to 1995 during the constitutional conference organised by late Gen Sani Abacha, you know there was a committee on devolution and we made beautiful contributions as delegates for Katsina State that time.

“And we strongly believe that devolution is necessary because there are some areas which the federal government has monopolised, which I think is not right, that didn’t promote for balanced federation.”

Masari held that there was need to dwell more on devolution of power to the states, as opposed to resorting to restructuring, given that restructuring has a tendency to create confusion.

He said: “We are making our position very clear from the northern governor’s forum. We believe in devolution. I don’t know about restructuring but I know about devolution.

“Give me reasons why the federal government should be constructing boreholes. Borehole is the responsibility of the local government not even the state.

“The federal government has no business building primary and secondary schools; the reality is that primary and secondary education is foundation education.

“People talk about solid minerals, you give licence here in Abuja, but you don’t have the land, if you give licence, I will go and drive you.

“The way our constitution came about was unlike the United States, where the states came together and surrendered to the centre, but the military railroad us to a presidential system, that created bogus federal government,” Masari stated.

On local government autonomy, the governor added: “I didn’t discuss with all the state governors but I know of myself and I have known problem. We support the independence of local government if it means independence rarely.

“In terms of relationship I am advocating that local government should be independent because I believe with that we can remove the joint account system.

“The principle in terms of the relationship between the executive and legislature is the same but incorporation is different,” Masari submitted.