SENATE president Senator Ahmad Lawan has objected to the recent call by the Southern Governors Forum for a restructuring of the Nigerian federation saying that they should implement such measures in their states first.
Earlier week, the Southern Governors Forum met in Asaba and at the end of their meeting they issued a communique urging the federal government to urgently convoke a national dialogue to address the widespread agitations growing across the nation. They also called for restructuring of the country, the creation of state police forces to combat insecurity and the enforcement of a ban on open grazing across southern Nigeria.
Their stance has been praised by the Southern Senators’ Forum who said the unanimous agreement on open grazing would check those hiding under livestock husbandry to unleash terror including kidnapping and the killing of innocent people. Lauding the governors, the Southern Senators’ Forum asked them to swiftly follow up their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working together.
However, Senator Lawan, has sounded a note of caution, saying that although he was not against those calling for restructuring, elected officials must not be among those advocating such. He added that state governors must ensure that they restructured their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.
Senator Lawan said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person. However, I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have, it is a genuine call.
“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well. This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.”
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government work for the people and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance. We should avoid partisanship and we should avoid regionalism.
“We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solution must come from us regardless of what level of government we are, whether at the federal, state or even at the local government level.”
In addition, Senator Lawan frowned at the way local government was relegated to the background in the country, noting that for the nation to address its security challenges the local government system must be functional and efficient. He added that when Nigeria had native authorities, the system was very effective, and very efficient.