Federal Character Hampers National Devt, Says el-Rufai


Ademola Babalola in Ibadan

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, saturday in Ibadan said Federal Character in the nation’s body politic, is hampering national development.

El-Rufai spoke at the 2017 Founder’s Day Celebration in memory of Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade, which was organised by the Development Policy Centre (DPC).

According to the Governor, “How can we promote a national subscription to meritocracy? How can we ensure that the imperative of reflecting federal character does not become the enemy of merit and quality of appointments? Today, we don’t plan. We don’t have national plan and if we don’t plan, we are planning to fail.”

The governor said because Nigeria got ‘easy money’ from oil, the nation had lost its thinking initiative on how to develop other sources of revenue and diversify the economy.

“Having suffered brain drain, how do we attract back our Diaspora and the brain-gain associated with it like the Chinese and Indians have witnessed? These are the questions a distributive mentality around easy oil revenues is dodging. The earlier the oil dries up the better for our national ability to think, be innovative and respect intellect and academic achievement.

“We get easy money, we do not collect taxes and our taxes are six per cent of Gross Domestic Product; that is an average of 21 per cent. We stop respecting the intellectuals that we have in our universities because we get easy money.”

He also lamented that Nigeria was not adequately policed, just as he raised concern over the nation’s central policing policy.

The governor said Nigeria lacked sustainable national planning policy capable of helping its development, adding that it was important to ensure that federal character policy did not become an enemy of merit in Nigeria.
He said, “It is obvious that Nigeria is severely under-policed, and will require more personnel, intelligence assets, better training, technology and equipment for its security agencies for the country to be a credible guarantor of security.

“Even if these were to be available, it is also debatable whether a single centralised policing system, structure and staffing for 200 million citizens is viable in a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.

“To complement the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, we must have discourse around the imperative of a project dedicated to enabling equal opportunity so that the circumstances of a citizen’s birth don’t prescribe his or her ceiling in life.”