Agbakoba Writes Buhari, Proposes Cooperative Federalism

Olisa Agbakoba

Seeks suspension of restructuring of federation

Martins Ifijeh

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend restructuring drive and adopt cooperative federalism and economic transformation.

In a letter sent to Buhari yesterday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said while he understood the importance of restructuring, political restructuring was dividing the country and impeding development.

He said: “Now that we have come to the end of elections by the decision of the Supreme Court, political federalism or by its more popular name ‘restructuring’ may be the way to go, but it has not been understood and generally accepted.

“I understand it but many ask, what is restructuring? I have to admit that the only way restructuring can work is if it is nationally accepted.

“It would appear to me that political restructuring, even though important, is dividing us and impeding development. I suggest that it may be time to talk about another model of development whilst the restructuring debate continues. I think what might unite us all in the quest for development is Cooperative Federalism and Economic Transformation.”

He described cooperative federalism as a system whereby government at different levels can work together for economic development, adding that infrastructure and power readily come to mind.

He said based on the principle of subsidiarity in federalism, which is incorporating the government closest to the people, infrastructure could be commonly developed, adding that the East-West Highway that has been uncompleted because responsibility excludes relevant state governments but under the principle of subsidiarity, including state governments improves implementation and also ownership.

The former NBA boss said he had no doubt that cooperative federalism and economic transformation, if well executed, would be accepted by all Nigerians who simply want a good life, good health care, jobs, among others.