…Say it’s long overdue
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and other concerned Nigerians drawn from the academia and organised labour yesterday said issues bothering on devolution of power and review of revenue sharing fomular in favour of state government was long overdue.
The stakeholders stated this at a Colloquium in Abuja organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress with the theme: ‘The Labour movement and the future of a united Nigeria: What role for restructuring?’
The concerned Nigerians were unanimous on the need for harmonious co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of religion, ethnic, race and political affiliations in order to improve the living conditions of Nigerians across the country.
While condemning the roles played by the political elites in disintegrating the country, they also underscored the need to address various concerns raised by different groups by political office holders at all levels including social justice and equity.
One of the issues the stakeholders agreed on was the need for immediate review of the 68 items on the Exclusive Legislative List by putting them on Concurrent Legislative List to enable states make legislation on those items.
Making his presentation, the former governor of Edo State and former president of NLC, Mr Oshiomhole stressed the need to tackle corruption, ensure accountability of resources and quality leadership.
He noted that only 10 states out of the 36 states of the federation generate larger percentage of the revenue accrued to the Federation Account while others seem to be non-viable.
The former NLC President specifically blamed the National Assembly for failing to activate various sections of the 1999 Constitution which provides for review of revenue sharing formular every five years and streamline the powers of the Federal Government. He called for active followership that could you engage the political class.
He blamed those who lost out of the 2015 general elections for fuelling the agitation for ‘restructuring’, stressing most of the wealth worked for by the working class had been annexed by the few political elites.
But this his position caused uproar in the venue as voices of those who disagreed with him were higher.
He called for attitudinal change and values, noting that the current federal system in terms of structure and revenue sharing formular would not lead to even development.”
He said states should have the constitutional backing to define their tax based strictly on the peculiarity of each state and remove bureaucracy in the power sector in the bid to make Nigeria more productive.
Oshiomhole specifically noted that the money accrued to each of the states within the South-South region over the past 10 years were more than what accrued to five states in other geopolitical regions of Nigeria, but argued that the political leaders who failed to properly utilize the resources for the well-being of the people only aggravate the wealth for personal purposes.
He said there was no need for federal roads, construction of health centers through the zonal
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