- Says 1999 Constitution defective
- Wieldy FG must shelve some responsibilities
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has challenged the incoming Bola Tinubu administration to be courageous to confront the problems hindering the development of Nigeria into a true and balanced federation where the states are not treated as mere appendages of the central government.
He recommended the adoption by the coming government of the 1963 Republican Constitution as a veritable guide for the desired development of the country.
Delivering the 59th Founders’ Day Anniversary Lecture at the Award, and Endowment of Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo, the governor recalled that the independence era witnessed phenomenal development in all of Nigeria’s then composite three Regions.
According to him, great achievements were achievable because the policies and programmes of the Governments were owned by the people.
He noted that: “The in-coming Administration has its job clearly defined. It is inheriting not only a heavy backlog of disaffection and complaints from the citizenry from all parts of the country, but it has also sold its campaign on the promise of Renewed Hope.”
Akeredolu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr. Dare Aragbaiye, identified the law regulating interactions among component units and agencies of the state as the major reason for backwardness in the country.
Challenging the incoming Tinubu administration, he said: “This clearly points to its readiness to address existential issues which bedevil the country at the moment. The expectations are high but the obstacles which have been erected to militate against progress are enormous.
“The tasks are going to be arduous but not insurmountable. The President and his team, as well as the Governors in the States, must be courageous to confront the problems headlong.
“The Federal Government must divest itself of the overwhelming but self-imposed duties for the country to breathe.
“The States must be encouraged to explore their domains and be creative.
“The Federal Government must ban the importation of all items which the country is capable of producing. The taxation on luxury goods must be heavy.
“The States must be allowed to operate fully without hindrance as is the case for federal agencies which encroach steadily on their spheres of influence.
“The States should control their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government. Proceeds from sales tax, Value Added Tax, must be distributed according to contributions.
“Any State which feels incapable of proceeding as a socio-economic cum political entity may seek to join others. The States must be allowed to assume their full identities. They are no junior partners to the Federal Government. They enjoy coordinate powers.
“The development of Nigeria will continue to be an imagined possibility unless these measures are considered, all efforts geared towards development will amount to reinforcing failure.”
Also, he lamented that the current socio-political structure in the country is hostile to development, asserting that there would be no end to the misery of the people unless the basic law is tinkered with to reposition the country to prepare for the production of goods and services.
He said that the component units of the federation must be able to chart the course of development in their localities.
Stressing that every state should be free to explore its areas of strength for the benefit of the indigenes and inhabitants, he said that states should not be reduced to pathetic beggars in a Federation as the situation is at the moment.
In his words: “A defective law cannot engender peace and progress. It is, more often than not, the source of the seemingly intractable crises.
“There can be no development in a place where the law and its application are skewed, heavily, against the majority of the people. When the law becomes an instrument of repression, the society is imperiled.
“A codification which alienates the people from its intendment is not only repressive but also fraudulent.
“There can be no meaningful achievement from the existence of a set of regulations whose purpose is to sustain the privileges enjoyed by a parasitic few at the detriment of the majority.“
On the 1999 Constitution, he said that the existence of that Constitution, as amended, represents an experiment in audacious mendacity.
According to the governor, the subversion of the people’s will cannot engender progress in any society if the essence of development is the amelioration of the challenges faced by them.
He said any law which imposes the whims and caprices of a select but partisan few on the majority of the people, cannot be used to advance the cause of the society.
Akeredolu said: “The current civilian dispensation commenced after the departure of the military on the 29th May 1999. The 1999 Constitution, as amended, was promulgated to law by the regime of General Abdulsalam Abubakar, GCFR, in the same year.
“If there is any document whose existence represents an experiment in audacious mendacity, it is this so-called Constitution of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Constitution tells manifest lies against itself. It purports to represent the wishes of the Nigerian people but nothing can be farther from this obvious lie.”
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