Nigeria is sick, says Tinubu

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Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Saturday examined events in the polity and issued a damning verdict: Nigeria is sick!
The astute politician, who has not commented on national issues for sometime, made a scathing assessment of the state of the nation and concluded that the sick nature of Nigeria requires an urgent and comprehensive surgery to enable it to get well.
Tinubu, who was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Founder’s Day dinner of King’s College Old BoysTinubu Buhari Association in Lagos, said the signs were ominous and required bold steps by the leadership of the nation to avert a major catastrophe.
Represented at the event by a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Tinubu said the nation must be restructured and a number of items moved from the control of the Federal Government to the states.
The paper was titled; ‘A New Nigeria or A Better One: the Fitting Tools of a Great Repair.’
In what amounts to a clear deviation from the position of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria’s unity is “settled and non-negotiable,” Tinubu declared: “We are like the bewildered couple who got their marriage licence after a lavish wedding; yet neither of them really understands the meaning of marriage or their roles as husband and wife in it.
“Legally, they are married but functionally, their union is a crippled one. This couple will be at loggerheads until somehow they forge an agreement on what type of home they want and what are their respective duties in making that home come into existence.”
Tinubu called for total restructuring of Nigeria and a return to the 1963 Constitution on order to cure the defects in the system.
He hinged his call for a return to the 1963 Constitution on the grounds that it guaranteed true federalism, regional autonomy, regional constitutions and other elements encouraging healthy competition among the component parts of the nation.
“Many of the 68 items on the Exclusive Legislative List should be transferred to the Residual Legislative List.
“This would be in harmony with the 1963 Constitution, again an instance of reaching back to revive something old yet more likely to give us a better Nigeria. That prior constitution granted vast powers to the regions, enabling them to carry out their immense responsibilities as they saw fit.”
Tinubu also failed the Federal Government’s constant resort to force in solving issues.
He also said it was wrong for the Federal Government to withhold Paris Club refunds constitutionally due to states.
The former governor of Lagos State called for a return to the ideals of the 1963 Constitution, which he said guaranteed fiscal federalism, regional autonomy, regional constitutions, and progressive competition among the federating units.
Tinubu said, “Many of the 68 items on the Exclusive Legislative List should be transferred to the Residual Legislative List.
“This would be in harmony with the 1963 Constitution, again an instance of reaching back to revive something old yet more likely to give us a better Nigeria. That prior constitution granted vast powers to the regions, enabling them to carry out their immense responsibilities as they saw fit.”
Listing the symptoms of the sickness, the firmer governor continued; “We cannot become a better Nigeria with an undue concentration of power at the federal level. Competition for federal office will be too intense, akin to a winner-take-all duel. Those who lose will bristle at the lack of power in the periphery they occupy.
“They will scheme to pester and undermine the strong executive because that is where they want to be. The executive will become so engaged in deflecting their antics that it will not devote its great powers to the issues of progressive governance for which such powers were bestowed.”
He warned that unless the situation is redressed, Nigeria “will be in a constant state of disequilibrium and irritation. Such a situation augurs toward the maintenance of an unsatisfactory status quo in the political economy. It augurs against reform.”
Explaining his preference for the 1963 Connstitution, he stated; “We must return to this ideal. Some items which should be left for the states to handle, such as police, prisons, stamp duties, regulation of tourist traffic, registration of business names, incorporation of companies, traffic on federal truck roads passing through states, trade, commerce and census, are now on the Exclusive List for the federal government.
“Regarding the all-important electrical power, while the federal government takes the lead, there is no logical reason to limit federating units to generate, transmit and distribute electricity only to areas not covered by the national grid.
“The states should be allowed to augment power generation so long as they do not undermine federal operations. For instance, a state may wish to develop an industrial park or housing estate either of which will require a boost in power generation.
“However, if the national government does not agree, the state will be foreclosed from projects that provide jobs and better living conditions to its people. This is not in keeping with the spirit of federalism. It is consonant with an undemocratic tradition that keeps us from approaching a better Nigeria.”
Tinubu called for a review of the revenue allocation formula and urged the Federal Government to stop treating states and LG funds as its own.
“The fear of possible misuse of funds is no reason to violate the constitution. Provide the funds to the states as legally required. Committed and fine governors will use the funds wisely. And the people will be better off. As to those who squander the money, there are appropriate ways to expose and sanction them.
“To withhold the funds, no matter how well intended, is to undermine federalism and the rule of law. It will have adverse long-time consequences; as such, it is too high a price to pay.”
Tinubu lamented that the world had rntered into “a dark period the world has entered, where the lesson is the powerful do as they will and the weak suffer as they must,”.-e said, adding that the trend “holds nothing good for Nigeria. We must adhere to the values and policies that suggest tomorrow can be made a better place than today. I refuse to believe we have become such an untoward lot that the longer we live together, the more estranged we become.”
Turming the audiemce, he said; “Just as we have gathered here today, we must gather about the national table to repair our political discourse. In this way, we begin the process leading to policies that bring civic kindness, generosity of spirit, sustainable growth, equality, and peace to every Nigerian who seeks these good things.
“These are the pillars of a better Nigeria. By the grace and mercy of our common Creator, we shall build such pillars so that we and succeeding generations may come to build even greater things upon them.”

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