By Clifford Ndujihe
LAGOS — Past and serving Senators from the South-West geo-political zone, yesterday, took a critical look at the state of affairs in the country and returned a damning verdict: things are in dire straits and there is need for total overhaul of the polity.
Specifically, the lawmakers urged operation of true federalism as opposed to the prevailing unitary system of government, convening of a sovereign national conference to give the country another constitution, tackling of unemployment, which they said was the main reason for the prevailing wave of insecurity, boosting of power supply and provision of social amenities like roads and water. They also urged reduction in the number of political appointees, which they contended was upping the cost of governance and hampering socio-economic development.
The senators spoke after an inaugural meeting at Lagos Airport Hotel, yesterday. At the event were senators Gbenga Kaka, Iyabo Anisulowo, Olabiyi Durojaiye, Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Seye Ogunlewe, Lawrence Ayo, Titus Olupitan, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Muniru Muse and Ayo Otegbola.
Others were Omololu Meroyi (chairman), Bode Olowoporoku, Peter Adeyemo, Ayo Adeoni, Sunday Fajinmi Victor Oyofo and Salisu Matori. Oyofo and Matori came from the national office of the senators’ forum.
The Senators said what the country was referring to as federalism today was actually a unitary system of government. The senators expressed concern over ineffectiveness of the 1999 constitution and called for a new grundnorm.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting and read by its Publicity, Senator Sunday Fajinmi, the forum said there were noticeable lapses in the 1999 constitution which required urgent attention, most especially on the issue of Federalism.
On youth restiveness and violence wrought through bomb blasts by Boko Haram, the Forum attributed them to increasing poverty rate adding that if the situation remained unchecked similar groups might emerge in other geo-political zones. lso, it carpeted the present administration in the country over its alleged disposition to projects that would not be of benefit to the people, noting that larger percentage of the nation’s annual budget was expended on recurrent expenditure, thereby making capital project development impossible.
The growing list of political appointees at all the tiers of government is becoming worrisome, the group noted and advised the leadership of the country to trim down their numbers and channel the resources to developmental projects.
As panacea to prevailing economic situation, the Forum advised the government to invest on Agriculture, describing it as means to generate employment for the youths.
The Forum added that if the teeming youths in the Country were gainfully employed, cases of restiveness would be at the lowest ebb.
It called for the involvement of the members of the Forum in policy making, adding that the role of the National Assembly was pertinent to development of democracy. They said their contribution would assist in resolving the insecurity in the Country.