The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has stated that Nigeria is currently operating a political system similar to a military unitary system.
The former governor of Lagos State said this at the 91st anniversary of Daily Times newspaper and the Times Heroes awards in Abuja on Tuesday.
Tinubu, who was represented by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, said Nigeria was only a federation in name but was a unitary state in practice.
He said, “Let us streamline governance; federalism in word and deed. Our constitution declares Nigeria a federation of 36 states however we still grapple with the vestiges of our past under the military rule. In any case, we still function like a unitary state despite the constitution. More power and resources need to devolve to the states.
“The Federal Government is taking on too much. We cannot flourish with over-concentration of powers at the centre. Some of the 68 items on the exclusive federal list should be transferred to the residual list as it was in most federal constitutions.
“In the 1963 Constitution, there were extensive powers granted to regions which allowed them to carry out their immense responsibility as they then saw fit.”
Tinubu said Nigeria’s unitary political system only offered a deceptive and fake economic prosperity which was exposed when the oil price slumped.
He said even if the current recession end, the prosperity that would follow would be short-lived except structural changes were made.
He added, “The fall in oil prices exposed this economic model for the life that it was. Now, we must fashion a new political economy. In due course, the current recession will end. This should come as a relief. In itself however, it is not a cause for celebration, far from it. The end of recession does not mean the beginning of prosperity.”
The APC chieftain said some items which ordinarily should be state matters like police, prisons, stamp duty, taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains, registration of businesses, incorporation of companies, traffic on Federal Government roads passing through states, trade, commerce among others were transferred from the concurrent to the exclusive list.
He said this was at variance with the true spirit of federalism, describing the current unitary system as a ‘monster.’
Tinubu added, “Regarding electrical power we must move beyond limiting states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to areas not covered by the national grid. Our problem is lack of power yet we preclude states from helping to resolve the chronic problem that stands at the very heart of economic development.