By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS — Former Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Bola Tinubu, yesterday, blamed former military Heads of State, Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the country’s current constitutional crisis through over-centralisation.
He spoke on a day Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, and Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, also faulted the present federal revenue allocation formula, which they described as unjust and inequitable.
Tinubu, who made the remarks at the first consultative roundtable and policy retreat organised by the State House of Assembly for elected officials of the state and local governments, said every successive government in the past was dictatorial and steered Nigeria’s federal arrangement towards a unitary system.
He said of past military leaders: “They were all dictatorial and their decisions brought Nigeria to constitutional dilemma which is more unitary than federal in nature.”
New revenue allocation formula
Tinubu canvassed a new revenue allocation formula which, according to him, would promote development and growth at the grassroots.
He said: “We need a new revenue allocation formula that is equitable and fair. We need to dismantle this unitary system we call federalism. We need to get rid of unfounded regime at the centre.”
He accused the Federal Government of undue interference in the affairs of local governments, stressing that it was responsible for local government crises in the country.
Fashola on federal arrangement
Speaking at the retreat, Gov. Fashola said as long as the current arrangement subsisted, the cycle of development crisis would persist in the country, especially at the grassroots.
He said it was an effort in futility for the Federal Government to think it could reach all local governments in every part of country, noting that there was a risk of failure in this kind of arrangement.
Fashola said: “Whenever the Federal Government fails to implement its budget fully, the country will record 52 percent failure. We must say no to this federal arrangement. The earlier we reject the arrangement, the faster we release Nigeria from the bondage of development crisis.
Ikuforiji, in his address, described the grassroots as the most harassed in the country as it received next to nothing.
Ikuforiji on reform of LG administration
“This is a response to the yearnings of our people for better performance. From 1999, Lagos has occupied the position of role model of good governance in Nigeria.
“All over Lagos, there are signs of good governance but our development at the state level is not at par with that of local government. This is why we need to forge the way forward.
“If the real service delivery and dividends of democracy must get to the grassroots, local government administration must be reformed in the country,” the speaker said.
In his goodwill message, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, tasked elected officials at the grassroots to be more proactive and effective, saying they were not doing enough, though the nation inherited sound administration from British colonial government.
He said: “You need to do more. We suffered so much in the hand of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo withheld our money.
“If not for the prayers of pastors and Imams, Obasanjo would have ruined us. All that belong to Lagos State should be released to us. We are not fighting any person.”