Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Wednesday faulted the sharing formula currently being used for federal allocation by the Federal Government.
He said the federal should receive less than the 52 per cent it currently receives to enable states have increased allocation.
He said this in Ibadan while delivering the keynote speech at the 80th Birthday colloquium of former Osun State governor, Chief Bisi Akande.
The event was held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi hall opposite UCH, Ibadan.
Speaking on the topic, Nigeria: achieving national unity through peaceful restructuring, El-Rufai posited that the Federal Government should shed its weight in healthcare delivery, police, infrastructures and commerce, among others, stressing that it can not do well in them like states and local governments.
He said that devolution of powers and responsibilities to states would create many options for productive collaboration between states and Federal Government.
El-Rufai said that restructuring was a nation-building opportunity for Nigeria, despite the tendency of certain sections of the nation’s elite to trivialise it.
“Successful restructuring depended on the national resolve to protect the idea of a common citizenship.
“A restructuring of mentality and values are key factors in the success of a restructuring of the governance and political structure.
“With all sense of responsibility, I believe some Nigerians have made a career and livelihood around “restructuring” without deep thought, or a clear plan or implementation strategy,” he said.
Former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani, who was a discussant at the event, said Nigerians knew the importance of restructuring and needed not to be tutored about it.
“Restructuring is not disintegration, but an avenue for the nation to develop through the federations units. Any party regarding restructuring as its core mandate is not serious
“For anyone to now say, he will restructure Nigeria in six months, the person is just joking,” he said.
Another discussant, Sen. Olubunmi Adetumbi, who is the secretary of the All progressives Congress council on restructuring said states should be supported with power to fulfill their mandate as the economic base of the country.
He said there were lots of responsibilities that the Federal Government was over-burdened with that needed to be devolved to states.
“Economy of the states makes the economy of the country. States are the owners of the economy, they are the future of Nigeria. They should be supported with power.”
He noted that restructuring should be seen as a the road to true federalism rather than a political tool.
Also speaking, the third discussant, Prof. Adigun Agbaje said restructuring is a tool for developing states. He said we should encourage the elites to restructure the federal system and address the issue of national unity.
Earlier in his welcome address, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said
the choice of the theme underscores the fact that Chief Akande remains one of the most authentic apostles of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, alive, today.
His words: “Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, you will agree with me that the path to nationhood rests on what I will call the essence of governance, which is creating opportunities for the citizenry to thrive, to realize their potential in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has unleashed the great potential of this country. But we can still do more, we can create a country that will work for us and ensure continued progress as experienced in the last three and a half years.
“Therefore, I want to place it on record that the path to a continuing prosperity for this great nation to achieve true nationhood lies in forging an acceptable Constitution that will recognize the strength in each of its constituent blocs. Such Constitution will ensure a stable polity. Critically important is realizing that governance is not an end but a means to an end. The end, of course, in material term, equals to “good life” for our people.
Coincidentally, Chief Awolowo in his book; “Thoughts on Nigerian Constitution” in 1966 wrote and I quote: “It must be generally agreed that the making of a constitution is not an end itself. It is a means to the welfare and happiness of the people, the fountain of which in a material sense, is economic prosperity”. Economic prosperity leads to the greatness of a nation and its people. Restructuring is therefore sine qua non to making Nigeria a great nation.
“The celebrator, Chief Akande, best captures the essence of restructuring in one of his addresses entitled: ‘Devolution of Powers and National Restructuring’, which he delivered at the APC-USA Second Annual Convention held in Washington DC, in October, last year. He cautioned that mere sloganeering on restructuring without any clear definition, peaceful and workable strategy is an invitation to chaos. However, he noted further that making appropriate amendments to the 1999 Constitution for equitable re-arrangement and redistribution of existing local government areas and states must precede restructuring.
“In other words, Chief Akande was reminding those that have turned the clamour for the geo-political restructuring of Nigeria into a mere political slogan to consider the basic prerequisites for undertaking such a fundamental expedition before setting the country on a journey with no clearly defined destination. Restructuring goes beyond sloganeering. It should be rooted in conviction and clearly stated path to achieving the objective.”