Former military governor of Anambra State, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (rtd), wednesday called for a policy structure that would ensure that states are given responsibility and adequate funding to carry out projects.
Speaking at a pubic presentation of his autobiography titled: “Riding the Storms, With God in My Sails” in Lagos, Madueke expressed concern over the fact that states of federation seemed to have been excluded from the affairs of governance. He said the problem would continue until the country is restructured.
According to him, “Restructuring is not a physical thing, it is a policy restructure. The exclusive list of what the state cannot participate in lends too much weight on the federal government to the exclusion of the state. With the way we are running as a unitary government, the problem linked with the previous administration will continue until we restructure this country.”
He recalled his days as a military administrator, saying he was unable to repair some roads because he was told that they were federal roads. He noted that states should have a lot of resources to be able to repair bad roads in the country, while expressing concern that the quality of construction of roads in the country is abysmally low.
“It is difficult to stay in Abuja and know the roads that have gone bad or the ones that should be done in Nigeria. When I was governor in Anambra State, I could not do some roads because I was told they were federal roads.
“Roads are built in other countries for 30 or 40 years without anybody touching them. As long as you have the resources to build roads, there is no reason why you cannot build roads that will last 20 or 30 years. Nigerians roads don’t last more than five raining seasons and they are all bad. Why? It is because of how the roads have been designed. Have they been designed to carry small weight? Have they being designed to carry trailers and oil tankers?
“There are state roads where tankers should not be using, state roads are just for inter-community movement, but here in Nigeria every road is a road. The major roads are built to specifics. What tonnage can it bear? You don’t put asphalt on the roads and run trailers on it. For the roads I built in Anambra State, they were built to last many years. When you talk about quality, it depends on your resources. How much money do you devote to road building? If you have the resources, you should make them all seasoned roads such that even after the raining season, it will not collapse,” he said.
Madueke added that funding should be appropriated to the states so that they could effectively utilise such resources for the development purposes. “The states know where their headaches are. They are more likely to appropriate the funding effectively more than people sitting in Abuja. I had a case when I was a military governor. We were working on a road that traversed the state. In the process, the contractor was stopped. The reason was that it was a federal road, and that I had no right to reconstruct a federal road. These were the issues and they are still issues even till date. Because of the hazard it constituted, I wanted to reconstruct the road, but the Federal Ministry of Works said I couldn’t,” he added.
Speaking on his autobiography, he said: “The book is a story about me and of me. But the book also takes a look at the entire country as a constituency in governance and the need for every part of the country to feel a sense of belonging when you are in administration.”
In his remarks, the book reviewer, Professor Paul Egbuna Modum, described Madueke as a visionary leader, noting that the book emphasised on a centralised structure in Nigeria, but charged the federal government not to keep all the resources to itself.