Friday, 22 September 2017

Restructuring; Nigeria As federating unit Needs Balancing-El-Rufai

Image result for elrufai in chatham house
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El-rufai has admitted that indeed, Nigeria as federating unit needs balancing. The Governor made this disclosure at Chatham House in London where he delivered a paper on restructuring. Hear him; ‘’Nigeria federation as it is currently remained unbalanced, majority of Nigerians believed the country was better off as a united entity’’

He said his committee is billed to submit its report on restructuring to the National chairman of his party’s All Progressive Party, John Oyegun. Recall the ruling party had promised Nigerians restructuring the country, the party, in putting its own restructuring into proper perspective, commission Gov el-rufai to articulate the party’s  position about its  own perspectives of the kind of restructuring its promised Nigerians.  

 He said:  “As I have argued since 2012, there is no doubt that the Nigerian federation is unbalanced and in dire need of structural rebalancing. This, I think we all agree as Nigerians, but the devil is in the details. Northern Elders forum members ‘’While some advocate wholesale abandonment of the existing political structure is probably unrealistic in their expectations, I believe most Nigerians appreciate and cherish our unity in diversity but seek the enthronement of a fairer, meritocratic system that puts social justice above everything else. It is not very hard to achieve this. “The preponderance of opinion is that the Federal Government needs to shed weight, and return powers and resources to the states where most government functions can be more efficiently undertaken.

 “For states to take on these powers, they need to access a greater share of the nation’s resources. And we need to sort out the notion of citizenship so that every Nigerian can enjoy the protection of the Constitution wherever they choose to reside. ‘’In many communities, people still use the notion of ‘indigeneship’ to consign compatriots to a position of ‘settler’ and, by implication, perpetual exclusion from enjoying the full political, social and economic opportunities guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen.” He said after preliminary research and a careful review of history, literature and reports, the committee has reduced the debate on restructuring into twelve ‘contentious issues’.

‘’These are creation or merger of states and the framework and guidelines for achieving that; derivation principle; devolution of powers; federating units: Should Nigeria be based on regions or zones or retain the 36-state structure? And fiscal federalism and revenue allocation. ‘’Others are form of government – (parliamentary or presidential?); Independent candidacy; Land tenure system; Local government autonomy; Power sharing and rotation of political offices; Resource control; and Type of legislature – part-time or full-time, unicameral or bicameral?’’ The governor said. Governor El Rufai noted that even “without any legislation, national conference or constitutional amendment” the APC government was already restructuring the country through “convention and pragmatic devolution”. He said further:  “For instance, my colleagues and I in Kaduna State Executive Council requested that the Federal Government should re-designate two major roads in Kaduna, our state capital, as state roads.

 ‘’The Federal Executive Council granted our wishes, restoring the two roads to our control and saving us the inconvenience of seeking permission from a federal bureaucrat before we can install street lights on a major road in our state capital. “I also cited the fact that the Federal Government no longer just issues mining titles in Abuja; rather it now works with state governments that control the titles to land, unlike in our recent non-collaborative past.

‘’In Kaduna State, we are trying to devolve control of forests, management of fire services and other ‘state-level’ functions to our 23 local governments, in addition to many others.

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