Confab a monumental failure if…— Anyaoku
Future’s bright —Anya
BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
IN SPITE of the myriad of socio-economic, political and security challenges the country is currently facing, Nigeria can be great if our leaders and people did the needful, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Professor Anya O. Anya, have said.
According to Anyaoku, elder statesman and former Commonwealth Secretary General, the needful entails restructuring Nigeria into true fiscal federation with powers devolved to the federating units as was practised in the First Republic.
He said: “We are facing serious crises now. Nigeria cannot achieve peace, stability and development without a far-reaching change to the existing order.”
To Anya, leader of Ndigbo Lagos and former chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, Nigeria will emerge from the prevailing challenges a better and more prosperous nation with ‘responsible politicking’ by our political class.
They both spoke weekend in Lagos at the meritorious awards and reception organised by Ndigbo Lagos for eight Igbo sons and a daughter, who recently left public service.
Anyaoku, who chaired the event, said to ensure peace and harmony, it is important that every ethnic group appreciates the sensitivity of other ethnic groups.
He noted that the country is facing serious challenges and feared that “our political leaders, especially those at the National Assembly, are living in denial” of what the challenges portend for the country.
Anyaoku linked the raging violence and insecurity, especially in the North-East, the challenge of fast-tracking development to provide employment for youths and other adverse social vices to “inappropriate governance.”
He said: “Inappropriate governance, since the military intervened in 1966, is the cause of the problems because it ended true federalism under which the country was making faster development in our early years of independence.
“The challenge of the National Conference is to produce a consensus for restructuring the present architecture of the country. The conference will be a monumental failure if it fails to reach a consensus on restructuring Nigeria into a true federalism.
“Nigeria should ideally be restructured into a federation of six regions based on the six geo-political zones with most of the powers devolved to the zones to enable each region develop at its own pace.”
Anyaoku’s allocation formula
He said in considering allocation of revenue, there is need to look at man-made resources and God-given resources like minerals and petroleum.
He said: “For equity, God-given resources should be allocated in the following manner: Federal Government, 20-23 percent; mineral-producing areas, 15-17 percent, and six regions, 60 percent.
“Under this structure, the states should remain as developing areas in the regions. The benefits of the restructuring include a massive reduction in recurrent revenue, which is currently 70 percent and more funds will be available for capital development;
“The do-or-die political competition for the centre, which fans the embers of religious and ethnic sentiments, will end; there will be faster socio-economic development, greater accountability and reduction of corruption.
“There will be healthier competition and emulation among the regions as obtained in the early days of our independence.”
Also speaking, Anya, who hosted the event, in a speech entitled Of contemplation, Circumspection and Reflection, said they gathered “to celebrate excellence, integrity and the dogged human spirit to achieve despite the odds.
“The men and woman we have all come to honour have each left an indelible and measurable mark on some aspects of Nigeria’s life. They have been our true ambassadors as a people.
“If truth be told, the future for Nigeria has never looked as bright as it can be now if more creative leadership were deployed. Despite our failings and failures the world can see what we Nigerians cannot see—an emerging economy and the foundations of a global medium power.
“Why is the global rush by the major players to Nigeria so frenetic despite Boko Haram? The darkest part of the night, they say, is the period before dawn.
“Yet no country in the world do those regarded as the leadership speak of their country as negatively and disparagingly as Nigerian ‘leaders’ do, especially the political class. Can we have more responsible politicking? Hardly, with the bunch we have presently.”
Those honoured at the event were Mr. Peter Obi, immediate past governor of Anambra State; General Azubuike Ihejirika, former Chief of Army Staff; Admiral Dele Ezeoba, former Chief of Naval Staff; Professor Barth Nnaji, former Minister of Power; Princess Stella Oduah, former Minister of Aviation.
Others are Mr. Reginald Chika Stanley, former Executive Secretary of PPPRA; Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, former Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank; Mr. Chima Ibeneche, former NLNG Managing Director, and Mr. Ken Igbokwe, former Price Water House, West Africa Managing Partner.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; the governors of Abia, Anambra and Delta states, who sent representatives; Chief Funso Kupolokun, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Chief Guy Ikokwu, Admiral Allison Madueke; Dr Kalu Idika Kalu; Professor George Obiozor; Mr. Paschal Dozie; Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd); Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju; Professor Green Nwankwo; Ambassador Jerry Igbokwe and Chief Raymond Obieri, among others.