BY GBENGA OLARINOYE
OSOGBO-Former Lagos State Governor and Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has called on the newly elected members of the seventh National Assembly to ensure speedy review of the 1999 constitution towards reflecting true fiscal federalism.
He also asked the Federal Government to give grants-in-aid to all the states of the federation as an interim measure for the state and local governments to be able to pay the new minimum wage of N18,000.
Senator Tinubu in his paper titled “The case for True Federalism in Nigeria” at a two day programme for elected National Assembly members on the platform of the ACN yesterday stated that members of the party in the National Assembly should ensure that no stone was left unturned until true federalism is achieved.
According to him: “The present constitution was written by the military and so it needs to be reviewed. The constitution is not the best for a democratic society like Nigeria. It is important for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to call a constitutional conference for the review of the constitution.”
On the new minimum wage, Tinubu noted that the increase of the minimum wage would automatically cause a recalculation in the allocation ratio between federal and the state governments, adding that in the overall there are more state employees than federal ones.
He called for drastic reduction in the federal allocation to the Federal Government while that of the state should be proportionally increased to take care of the new minimum wage.
His words: “However, this might not take place quickly enough. As a stop gap measure, state governments and the public should bring great pressure to bear on the Federal Government basically to put its money where its mouth is.
“Legislation should be forwarded calling on the Federal Government to give grants-in-aid to the states to cover all or the vast majority of the wage increase for state civil servants. Grants-in-aid are authorized under the section 164 of the constitution but are only sparsely utilized. For instance, there have been some grants made in furtherance of MDG goals,” he added.
Earlier the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande in his key note address told the members- elect that the party was supreme, saying that no member of the party no matter his position could claim superiority over the party.