The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr Alfred Adewale Martins has reiterated that proper restructuring of the country remains one of the surest means of ensuring sustainable peace and development.
In a Press Release to mark his 35th anniversary of his priestly ordination on Tuesday, 18th September 2018, the Prelate says he sees no genuine reason why some of the country’s leadership, both in the executive and the legislature appear averse to the concept of restructuring.
According to him, all credible parameters for gauging the country’s growth are all pointing to the need to embrace a better alternative than the one we run now. He wondered why anyone should be afraid of restructuring especially since what it means in practical terms is devolution of power to the states in areas that are critical to the development of the country as a whole. Afterall, the country is nothing but the sum total of its constituent parts and the growth of each constituent part sum up to the growth of the country. That is the concept of true federalism that we are supposed to be practicing.
The system of governance, allocation of human and natural resources, as presently practiced concentrates too much power at the centre and is not suitable for a country as richly blessed and as diverse as Nigeria. It leaves many of the States unable to harness their human and natural resources to maximum benefit. “I have said it severally, and will continue to affirm that the present structure that we practice as a nation is counter-productive and unable to guarantee the development that we desire. Many of the states are far from solvent; workers’ salaries are not being paid on time, there are no viable industries to create employment or opportunities for small and medium scale industries to thrive in many of these states. A good number of our graduates are either hawking pure water on the streets or driving Keke Napep to eke out a livelihood. No wonder there is so much youth restiveness! It is sad that in this age and time, we allow ourselves to be blinded by tribal, ethnic and religious sentiments instead of seeking the common good for the benefit of all. We must stop retarding our own progress but begin to provide an enabling environment for the various States of the country to harness the natural and human resources at their disposal and grow wealth. I therefore wish to call on our leadership to summon the political will to break away from the present lopsided arrangement that have only succeeded in enriching a few, while enslaving and perpetually impoverishing our people. Let us give fiscal federalism as practiced by our founding fathers a chance. I believe sincerely that it remains one of the surest ways of getting our country out of the woods,” he said.
The Prelate, while noting that the process of restructuring should be an on-going exercise which cannot be totally implement in one fell swoop, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to show his unalloyed resolve to move the nation forward by quickly revisiting the recommendations of the Committee on Restructuring set up by the APC Party led by Governor El-Rufai last year.
“Having set up and received the Committee’s report, I believe it is only proper for the President and his Team to take the bold step of initiating the implementation of some of the recommendations even before next year’s General Elections. Even before the El-Rufai Committee report, we have had the recommendations of the National Conference set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan that need to be considered for the common good as well. By initiating the implementation of the recommendations, our President would have shown Nigerians that he is truly committed to fulfilling the electoral promises of his party.” Archbishop Martins concluded.