By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Henry Umoru
Nigeria’s deformed federalism is akin to a master-servant relationship and is the reason for the poor development of the country and its institutions, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy President of the Senate has said.
Ekweremadu, in a lecture at the weekend, equally called for a collapse of the 36 state structure into six geopolitical zones just as he canvassed the establishment of State police as an effective mechanism to check crime.
Delivering the Sixth Annual Oputa Lecture at the Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in Toronto, Canada, at the weekend, Ekweremadu regretted that the states have over the period, lost most of their powers in the concurrent list to the Federal Government.
Ekweremadu spoke on the topic, Nigerian Federalism: A Case for a Review, to an audience that included members of the Osgoode Hall Law School faculty, the York University community, including the lecture Convener, Professor Obiora Okafor and members of the Nigerian Canadian Association led by its President, Mr. Fabian Nwaoha.
Noting that the period between 1954 and January 1966 represented the golden era of Nigerian federalism, Senator Ekweremadu said the socio-economic prosperity recorded in the First Republic was possible because the Regions were neither subservient to nor dependent on the centre.
He regretted that “the brand of fiscal federalism in place today looks every inch that of master and servant relationship and is therefore killing industry, initiative, and creativity, while promoting indolence and bad governance.”
Senator Ekweremadu said the resurgence of debate on Nigeria’s fiscal federalism underlines the fact that the nation needed to “move away from the current military-imposed ‘feeding bottle’ federalism to enthrone one predicated on self-reliance, hard work, enterprise, resourcefulness, and ingenuity to catalyse development.”