James Sowole in Akure
Human rights activist and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, Thursday berated the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government for failing to fulfill its campaign manifesto of returning Nigeria to true federalism.
Falana stated this in Akure, Ondo State capital, while delivering a lecture organised by the Ondo State Government as part of activities to celebrate the third year of Oluwaroyimi Akeredolu as the governor of the state.
The lecture entitled: ‘The Nigerian Federalism Imbroglio: A Paradigm Approach’, was held at the Ondo State International Event Centre, and was graced by dignitaries from all walks of lives, including traditional rulers, political leaders and people from the corporate world.
Specifically, Falana said: “APC declared in its manifesto that it would return Nigeria to true federalism if elected, but five years later, we are still waiting for that to happen.”
The human rights activist, who highlighted some developments that took place in three former regions when federalism was practiced, said developments cannot take place in the country until it returns to true federalism.
He berated the current situation where state governments go to Abuja every month to collect money, which is not even enough to embark on developmental projects.
The lecturer challenged governors to be creative and create impact in their people.
According to the SAN, “You are not creating wealth. What the governors do in Abuja is to share crumbs from the master’s table, and what you share to us is poverty.
“You governors fail to demand what is due to your states from Federation Account. Power of state and local governments had been abdicated to the federal government.”
Falana said governors must, therefore, demand new revenue formula to take care of responsibilities of federal government in their states.
He said this became imperative in view of the declaration of the federal government that it would no longer reimburse states for repair or constructing federal roads.
The lecturer lamented that the federal government had been usurping duties of states and local governments, which should not happen under federalism guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
“The federal government award contracts for building of toilets. It has no business building toilets. State government should demand that the federal government should release the money to states to build such toilets.
“The federal government has nothing to do with agriculture and natural resources.
“Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) should therefore prepare to fight the battle as it has nothing to do with party affiliation,” Falana said.