Latest Headlines

Fayemi: Only Restructuring Can End Insecurity, Fiscal Crisis

Fayemi: Only Restructuring Can End Insecurity, Fiscal Crisis

      Reveals how FG paid states over N1tn for road rehabilitation   

      Says FG’s policy frustrated Akure-Ado-Ekiti road reconstruction

Gboyega Akinsanmi

With the sense of accomplishment and fulfilment, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi yesterday completed his constitutional term limits yesterday with a strong note that only dispassionate restructuring of the country’s governance structure could guarantee national security and fiscal stability.

Fayemi, also the immediate past Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), lamented the deplorable condition of federal roads connecting Ekiti State to all its neighbouring states, though revealed how the federal government paid states over N1 trillion for federal roads they rehabilitated between 1999 and 2015.

He made the remarks at a session with journalists in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital during the weeklong valedictory activities organised to celebrate the successful completion of his constitutional term limit as the governor of the state.

The activities include a two-day international valedictory conference titled, “JKF: A Journey in Leadership” and attended by the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Senator Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum and former National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, among others.

At the session with journalists, Fayemi noted that restructuring “is an idea whose time has come,” noting that the country would not be able to run away from it.

He said: “It will be a major issue in the 2023 electoral campaign. It is already becoming an issue. I have seen the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar loudly talking about restructuring.

“I have seen the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi saying he wants to dialogue with all the agitators. Of course, as you said, it has always been on the agenda of All Progressives Congress (APC).”

He also explained how the APC submitted the report of Nasir el Rufai Committee on True Federalism to the National Assembly for consideration as an institution statutorily empowered to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Besides, Fayemi revealed that the APC had also engaged the principal officers of the National Assembly when the Nasir el Rufai Committee submitted it.

He said: “I have also seen the alteration in my capacity then as the Chairman of NGF. After the National Assembly has done its own part, it had been sent to the Houses of Assembly. The NGF sat with 36 governors and speakers to decide what we are going to support and what we are not going to back.

“If 24 out of 36 states do not approve it, it is dead in the water because it will not go forward again. We completed that exercise three weeks ago. But we then insisted on the inclusion of state policing in the proposal because we got all governors to be on the same side on state policing.

Even though some were reluctant, they had convened the meeting of Emirs and governors to sign off on state policing. We then sent it back to the National Assembly. The process is on, though not as fast as the people will like. It may take time to happen. We cannot be averse to restructuring.”

Fayemi explained that restructuring “is imperative because the revenue allocation formula is lopsided in favour of the federal government. At the NGF, our position is that you cannot give me responsibility and not give me the resources to discharge the responsibility you give me.

“That will amount to the tyranny of an unfunded mandate. We have argued that there has to be a re-arrangement of the revenue allocation formula in favour of state and local governments. We have proposed that the federal government retains a lower share while state and local governments have a higher share,” the former governor said in retrospect.

On the deplorable condition of federal roads in Ekiti State, Fayemi explained how his administration secured funds from AfDB to fix the Akure-Ado-Ekiti road and dualise it.

He observed: “We got over $100 million for the reconstruction of the road. But the owner of the road blatantly rejected our plan to take it over. It is not verbal. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing wrote to me to leave the roads. If you reconstruct it, you cannot toll it and we will not refund you.”

He, however, explained the rationale behind the decision of the federal government to reject the plan of his administration to reconstruct the Akure-Ado-Ekiti road.

He said: “I happened to know that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) took a position that no state should henceforth reconstruct or rehabilitate federal roads within its territory.

“That was after the federal government paid almost N1 trillion for the federal roads that the state governments either reconstructed or rehabilitated. The FEC insisted on undertaking the construction of federal roads, and it would not have to pay refunds to any government.

“In fairness, it was only President Buhari that paid refunds for federal roads reconstructed or rehabilitated since 1999. He was across the board. He was not selective. He was not partisan about it.

“The governor, who took the highest share of the refunds, is Governor Wike. He collected N78 billion for the refunds of federal roads that previous administrations fixed in Rivers State. You can understand why the FEC took that position.”

Related Articles