Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday explicitly rejected the country’s current federal structure, insisting that it is not the best and may not guarantee the desired future of the people. The Governor therefore asked the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari “to take the required steps to activate the process for the restructuring of the present system with a view to adopting a proactive system that will guarantee the future the people desire.”
The resilient Governor made these declarations, which counter the opinions of Northern Governors at a parade the Lagos State Government organised at the Police College, Ikeja, yesterday to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day celebrations. It would be recalled that Governor Ambode had at the 57th annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) lamented aberrations in the 1999 Constitution, and said the legal framework would continue to stunt the country’s economic growth and inhibit capacity of federating units to harness their potential.
The governor had, argued then that the Nigerian federalism was military in nature and skewed to the detriment of federating units, thereby inhibiting the socio-economic progress of the federating units and canvassed the need to institutionalise the principles of true federalism, the kind that would allow each federating unit to contribute agreed percentage of its revenues to the national government as stipulated in the 1963 Constitution.
In what appeared to be a more definite follow-up to his earlier stance on the issue, the governor canvassed the imperative of restructuring her present governance structure to meet the people’s aspirations. He also harped the need to uphold the unity of Nigeria. He stressed, “It is becoming clearer by the day that the present system is not the best and may not guarantee the future the people desire. The federal government must take necessary steps to activate the process for the restructuring of the present system with a view to adopting a proactive system. There is need for the government to put in place a system, which would empower the component units of the federation to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people for better living conditions.”
Ambode therefore said he wants the federal government and the people “to take a critical and objective assessment of the current situation in the country and resolve to do the right thing.” He said even though Nigeria is currently undergoing a moment of socio-political turbulence, he re-echoed that fact that it was not the time to call for division, but rather, a time to uphold what has united the people in peace and love. Again he said, “It is a time for each and every one of us to rise against the ills that have for long not only undermined our progress but also our ability to harness our potential as a people to live decent life.”
In 2016, he explained, Nigeria was faced with the challenge of economic recession. However, the country is now on the path of economic recovery. What is now required of every citizen at this time is to remain united, confident and hopeful. He said: “In spite of all the challenges we faced and still continue to face as an independent country, we have remained resolute to keep alive the dreams of our founding fathers.”
The Independence parade was attended by Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I; the state Commissioner of police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal; commanders of all military formations in the state and members of the state executive council among others.