Former Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba has said Nigeria’s federalism is not working. He, therefore, called for a review of the federal system of government to ensure better delivery of development by component units.
Senator Ndoma-Egba spoke yesterday at the Justice Moradeyo Adesiyun ninth biennial memorial lecture in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. He spoke on “Democracy, Law and Change: Imperatives for Nigeria.”
Ndoma-Egba stressed that Nigeria should engage in consistent dialogue on the way forward.
His words: “There’s no end to discussion; the alternative to talking is fighting. So, we need to continue talking on issues that bind us together.
“The message is that we need to reform, restructure, reinvent; every society must respond to changing times. Every society is dynamic and if you don’t change to the dynamics, you are doomed.
“Our current federalism is not working; it has become a drag. Governance is about development, and you can only develop through the system of government that you have. What we have now is not working.
“Hypothetically, we are waiting for the messiah. We can wait but there are steps we need to take. The step is mobilisation, especially, through conversation on topical issues that relate to the structure of our federalism, to public values, morals, etc. In that effort, all of us must be mobilisers, especially in a situation where we don’t have a common national experience to share.”
The former Senator, who lamented the level of infrastructural development in the states, compared current governors to their predecessors in the 60s and concluded that they are jokers.
“I traced our evolution from 1960, when we had three regions, till date. Is there any governor today we can compare to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Michael Okpara, or Dennis Osadebey in all honesty?
“Then, we had 12 states, are there any governors we can compare to the governors of the 12 states? Clearly, you can see a progressive retrogression in governance; it’s empirical. I’m not the one manufacturing it. So, why do we have this retrogression in government? Is it that the people are less capable? I say no.
“Subsequent governors had been older than the ones before them but how come their performance does not match that of their predecessors? There must be something structurally and fundamentally wrong; and that’s the conversation I want us to begin to have. Let’s interrogate our history, our progression, and see where we have stalled. As far as I am concerned, we have stalled,” he said.
On the removal of fuel subsidy, Ndoma-Egba said: “I’ve been against subsidy since the 80s. It’s the biggest infrastructure for fraud and corruption in this country. If you must address corruption, you must dismantle the biggest infrastructure that promotes it.
“For me, it’s subsidy that promotes corruption. Yes, it will come with immediate hardship, but it’s for a short while. What hardship have we not experienced? Is it now that we started seeing fuel queues? It’s been since the 80s and they’ve always talked about addressing subsidy. The subsidies have no end, are they open ended?”