By Lucky Isibor
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay (SAN) has advocated true federalism and restructuring of the country for the the enthronement of good governance in the nation’s development.
The learned professor gave his views Friday, 4 August, while speaking at the 20th Wole Soyinka annual lecture with the theme: “Nigerian State in the aftermath of the Centenary: Prospects for its indivisibility” held in Benin City, Edo State.
The presidential aid said it is pertinent at this time in the history of the country to embark on restructuring as it promotes good governance in all its federating units.
Sagay said true federalism will foster development in the federating units of the state rather than centering the entire wealth of the nation at the centre.
He said as it is in the current state of the nation, the federating units have been made to suffer and live at the mercy of the federal government.
He said federal system of government being practiced has made some part of the states in the country to abandon cotton and ground nut productions for crude oil.
He said with true federalism, states would be able to determine their own salary structure without waiting for the federal government to do that for them.
He however suggested that the country should return to the 1963 constitution.
However, immediate past Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole differed calling for changes in the characters of Nigerians and the adequate applications of the nation’s natural wealth for the benefit of all states in the federation.
Oshiomhole said Nigeria having survived 103 years of its existence as a nation should not talk of restructuring and division but should think of how to do things right as its problem is centered on leadership.
“To me, Nigeria is likened to a man who has got married to his wife 103 years ago. He cannot say he is tired of his wife because of a little misunderstanding and therefore he is calling for a divorce. It will not work. What he will do is to look for a solution to the problem and make the marriage work.
“This should be the state of the nation. What we should be talking about is how to make the country work rather calling for division and restructuring”, he said.
He said Nigerians need the country more than the country needs them and that all they need to do is to make the project calls Nigeria work because there is no nation in the world that does not have its own challenges.
He said Nigerians should learn from their past mistakes and plan for a better future for the country.
On the part of Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra State, he said Nigeria as a country is at the verge of extinction and that all hands must be on deck to salvage it.
He agreed with Professor Sagay that true federatism and restructuring is the only solution to the nation’s challenges.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said the state believes in the unity of Nigeria adding that that is the reason his government is bent on deepening democracy and providing good governance for the people of the state.
The Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tam Brisibe said Nigerians should preach peace rather than division, noting that should there be any conflicts, it should be resolved through dialogue as the unity of the country should be held sacrosanct by all Nigerians.