By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Former vice president and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Atiku Abubakar has again backed calls for the establishment of state police, but said to guarantee that, Nigeria has to critically examine its current structure with a view to practising real fiscal federalism.
Abubakar who also warned against inter-agency rivalry, made the submissions on Sunday in a paper, ‘Good Governance and Development: Notes on Nigeria’ which he delivered at the 2nd Annual Convention of the Abia State Medical Association Alumni Association in London.
“To improve good governance in Nigeria we also need to restructure the country’s federal system. This include fiscal federalism, devolution of powers to federating units and the restoration of state police to states that so desire”, he said.
According to him, “good governance requires proper coordination of the organs of government. You cannot have different agencies of the same government working at cross-purposes or contradicting each other on very important policy issues, and personnel selection”.
Speaking further, the former vice president said in contemporary Nigeria, good governance would involve addressing the country’s economic stagnation and crisis, including transitioning the economy to a post-oil/commodities trajectory, ensuring security, fighting corruption and restructuring the polity, including the structure of the federation and government institutions.
“In a democracy, a vibrant and constructive opposition, including opposition political parties and independent news media, are critical in ensuring good governance because they help to inform and mobilize the citizens and hold the government to account. And above all, perhaps, good governance requires a vigilant and demanding electorate.
“We also have to improve security, including anti-terrorism, anti-kidnapping and anti-armed robbery, and efforts to end the herdsmen-farmers clashes. Fortunately, progress has been made in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency by the Buhari administration, but we need to also make progress on the others. All these security issues are broadly linked to economic challenges, and improvements in the latter will help in that regard.
“We might consider using the current geo-political zones as federating units since they are large enough to be more viable or we may consider a means-test for viability of states such that existing states that are unable to generate a specified percentage of their revenues from internal sources will be collapsed into other states. This will encourage the federating units to once more engage in productive activities and healthy rivalries”, Abubakar submitted.
Dignitaries present at the event included representative of the governor of Abia state and Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gozie John Ahukanna, Chief Medical Director of Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Prof Chuks Kamanu, Pioneer Provost, Abia State University College of Medicine (who represented the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University), Prof Francis Akpuaka Prof Uche Ikonne, Dr. Ibrahim Imam, Consultant Neurologist, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, Dr. Thaddeus Iheanacho, President ABSU Medical Alumni USA/Canada, and the event organizer, Dr. Chile Ogugua.