Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has identified some flaws in the federal structure being run in the country as the main cause of the various challenges facing the country, adding that there is a general sense of inadequacy and powerlessness among the federating units in the critical areas of socio-economic development.
He stressed that the defective federalist ideals enshrined in the Nigeria’s Constitution had continuously limited the power of the states to pursue individual development programmes at their own pace, stressing that Nigeria must fully address the issue of federalism if the political class was serious about lifting the country out of the current challenging situation.
He described the existence of a unitary policing system in a defined federal structure as an aberration, which has handicapped the state governments in the quest to effectively and efficiently tackle the issue of insecurity, which has defied all federal tactics in the states.
The Ekiti State governor, however, assured Nigerians that the various challenges currently bedeviling the country are not insurmountable.
Fayemi said the problems are generally symptomatic of the developing nations, adding that most of the challenges the country faces in its developmental journey are part of the necessary developmental hurdles it must cross in order to get to the desired destination.
Fayemi stated these at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State, while delivering a paper titled “Re-thinking Nigeria for Future Development” to mark the university’s combined 8th Distinguished Guest Lecture and 5th Founder’s Day.
The governor restated that Nigeria is currently faced with security challenges that include terrorism, banditry, armed robbery, ethno-religious issues and other low level criminality, saying that the country’s security architecture remained ineffective because it suffers what one might called “structural obesity”.
According to the governor “Our political structure is something to cast a big look into; many commentators have identified the kind of federal structure we run as one of the reasons for our numerous challenges. There is a general sense of inadequacy and powerlessness among the federating units in the critical areas of socio-economic development.
“For example, many have asked questions as to why the state cannot develop its own rail system and it has to be on the exclusive list; it’s also argued that the idea of national grid is the recipe for energy crisis that we now have.
“It is just elementary that if all of our energy sources are on the single grid, the grid is bound to suffer constant and consistent collapses and infractions.
“Why do we have to have a national driver’s licence and vehicle licensing system when motor licences are obviously a municipal responsibility of vehicle inspectorate department of the state ministries of transport?
“Why do we have a unitary policing system in a federal structure? Does it not fly against reasoning that a state would have a state legislature to make its laws, the state judiciary to interpret them, but would not have a state police to enforce the law.
“I have always maintained along with my colleagues in the southwest governors’ forum that if we could trust the state judiciary to discharge justice, which sometimes they stand against those in authority, why can’t we trust same state with the police to bring suspects before the courts?”
Fayemi lamented the high level of poverty ravaging the people of the country due to high incidence of unemployment, citing current World Bank data that put unemployment rate at 2.7 per cent of the population. The World Bank data also positioned Nigeria as 162nd of 167 nations measured on Human Development Index.
Fayemi, who is Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’ Forum listed the problem of nationhood and slow economic development as the two major problems facing the country, saying Nigeria has remained a deeply divided country along mainly ethnic and religious boundaries.
The governor added that every economic thoughts and interventions introduced to jumpstart the nation’s economy to self-reliance and a prosperous one has always met with brick wall by those who believe that it was not the idea of the founding fathers.