By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Prof Kabiru Mato, Commissioner, Kaduna State Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has said there is need for devolution of power to trim the over concentration of power from the centre to the federating units
He said that the state and local government areas deserve more fund, more responsibilities; and more power because they are closer to the people.
Mato stated this in a lead paper he presented at a conference in Kaduna, with the theme, “Restructuring and Federalism in Nigeria”, organised by Department of History, Kaduna State University, on Monday, August 13, 2018.
Mato, a Professor of Political Science with University of Abuja, said that Nigeria’s problem would only be solved if Nigerians change their attitude towards one another for the good of the nation.
He also said that no amount of constitutional change would guaranteed the needed peace in the country except Nigerians embrace peace and accept one another as equal member of the union.
According to him, good attitude toward one another is the foundation for the needed nationalism in the journey toward building a strong united nation.
“But due to bad attitude, the country is bedevilled by corruption, religious and ethnic sentiment, and all forms of social ills which open the roof for numerous challenges,” he said.
Also speaking, Gov Nasir El-Rufai, represented by His Deputy Barnabas Bala-Bantex, said that Nigeria would thrive as a federation only when more power is given to the states.
El-Rufai argued that the current pressure for reform was because what Nigerians anticipated from the federal structure was unattainable.
He advised that the revenue sharing formula should be adjusted with more funds going to the states and local government areas to fast tract development at grassroots.
Earlier, the Head of History, Dr Terhemba Wuam, pointed out that since 1960, various Nigerian Administrations have embarked on several restructuring reforms.
Wuam said that the reforms were on political and administrative, fiscal and economic, education and socio-ethical, and security system of the country.
According to him, the reforms or restructuring were often made in response to the vociferous cries of marginalisation by various segment of the country.
“It however appears that these attempt have not succeeded in neither resolving all the nation’s challenges nor those of any ethic group hence the renewed call for restructuring.
“The conference is therefore, organised for participants to look at the issue and guide Nigerians and those in authority on the best way forward.”
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Muhammad Tanko, commended the department of history for organising the conference to interrogate the issues that pollute the political landscape.
Tanko, who was represented by Prof Abdullahi Ashafa, Vice Chancellor Academic, pointed out that partisan and interest groups were using the issues of restructuring and true federalism to create unnecessary tension as 2019 general election approaches.
He said that the coming together of academicians as patriotic segment of non-partisan experts to discuss this tropical issues would provide a fruitful direction for the country.
According to him, restructuring and devolution of power as many would blindly advocate for would certainly not provide all answers to our national development challenges.
“What we need is to restructure our mindset to reflect being true Nigerians in line with President Muhamadu Buhari’s call that change must begin with us.
“I am in support of the idea of restricting, but only if it would make the federating units self-sustaining to be able to develop critical infrastructure and amenities.
“If the federating units can undertakes development projects with minimal or no interference from the federal government.”