By Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri
A former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku has called for the restructuring of the country into a true federalism with the existing six geo-political zones becoming the federating units
Anyaoku made the call yesterday in Owerri, during a reception for the National Assembly principal officers and Federal Executive Council members from the South-East and South-South. He criticised the present structure of federalism “where virtually all the component states are not self-sustaining, are dependent on hand-outs from the Federal Government and are unable to pay the salaries of their civil servants and the agreed minimum wage of N18,000”.
The retired diplomat, therefore, said that achieving cooperation in planning and pursuit of economic development in the South-East and South-South will lead to the zones’ economic viability and self-sustenance, thus becoming less dependent on the Federal Government.
“It is dependence on the Federal Government and the fierce struggle between it’s diverse groups to capture power at the centre in order to control the national resources, that have been responsible for tis country’s present instability and the emergence of centrifugal forces within it”, Anyaoku said.
He explained that if, with the help of South-East, South-South Professionals of Nigeria, SESSPN, the two zones succeed through pursuing cooperation in planning and development to achieve less dependence on the Federal Government, they will set an example that will motivate the other four geo-political zones to follow suit.
“I believe that our country cannot wait much longer to reclaim the halcyon days of the First Republic, when it witnessed faster national development trough a substantial viability and self-sustaining economic activities in the existing four regions at the time”, the former Commonwealth scribe said.
In his welcome address earlier, the SESSPN President, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, explained that the event was “not only to reacquaint ourselves with this development agenda but to also appreciate the value of cooperation, mutual understanding and common goblin delivering values to our people”. Ugwu-Oju went on: “We may have arrived at our various positions in government through the route of different political affiliations but it is very clear that the purpose of the positions held is to deliver values to the people on whose behalf we hold this trust”.