By Kemi Olaitan
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-west, including governor and the National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, yesterday advocated a new revenue sharing formula in the country that would give more funds to the states.
They equally called for restructuring of the country to allow for state police.
The APC leaders spoke during the third Annual Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable and 71st post-humous birthday of the late Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
The event, which was held at the UI International Conference Centre in Ibadan with the theme: “States and the Burden of National Development in Nigeria,” the leaders said part of the things that would move the country are when more powers are given to the states and the police decentralised.
The event which also had lawmakers, traditional rulers and political associates in attendance, was chaired by Tinubu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.
Tinubu said the federal government was too centralised with too much powers and money, to detriment of states.
He said: “Our system remains too centralised with too much power and money remaining within the federal might. This imbalance leads to relative state weakness.
“We need to overhaul how revenues are allocated between the states and the federal government. This concept is one that has directed the fiscal policies of other nations for several decades.If we are to catch these other nations in development, we need to match them in the efficiency of governmental fiscal roles and operations regarding the national government and our subnational political units,” Tinubu said.
On his part, the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, sought a review of the revenue sharing formula.
He said 42 per cent should go to the states, 35 per cent to the Federal Government and 23 per cent to the local government.
According to him, democratic rule in Nigeria has become more unitary due to additional powers given to the centre.
He called for reallocation of power and resources to the federating units.
The guest speaker, Emeritus Professor John Ayoade, noted that Nigerian federalism was confusing and without any fundamental philosophy.
He said: “The drafters of the constitution were not thinking of Nigeria then, but about how to make money. Our federalism was a mere political arrangement.
“The states should have freedom. The aim of the federation is not unity. We must accept our differences. All politics is local. The subsidiary principle is that what states can handle should be treated at the state level.
“The Nigerian constitution violates the sub-division principle. We are operating a semi-unitary system. Those that can challenge the excesses don’t do so. People at the state level should challenges issues.
“Our constitution needs replacement, not an amendment. It has no guiding principle. We need a new constitution that identifies the differences in Nigeria.
“We need to increase funding to the states, not the feeding-bottle practice. We need to separate constitution-making from politics.”
President, Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation, Dr Florence Ajimobi, said the roundtable was initiated as an annual intellectual platform.
A multi-purpose resource facility, including a 450 seater Abiola Ajimobi Auditorium, was donated to the Institute.
Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje, former Osun State Governor Chief Bisi Akande and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi were also at the event.