Senate President Ahmad Lawan, has chided 17 southern Governors for their position on the country’s restructuring, saying that they should not be the ones agitating for it. He also admonished them that they must do in their states first what they are requesting the federal government to do.
Lawan, who spoke to reporters after joining President Muhammadu Buhari to observe the Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the presidential villa, Abuja said that leaders must however come up with a holistic idea of how to make the system to work.
Recall that arising from their meeting in Asaba a few days ago, the Southern Governors Forum issued a 12-point communique outlining the way forward doe the country.
“The progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian federation to berth evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions, which legitimately advance commitment to and practice of true federalism,” the governors had posited.
But fielding questions, Lawan said: “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected into office should 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.”
“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 levels work for the people. We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance,” he stated.
While urging elected leaders to shun regionalism, Lawan added: “The president is reaching out to all the stakeholders. And I believe that as leaders, particularly those of us who were elected at all levels of government, we should avoid partisanship. We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are. Whether at the federal, state or local government level. I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger.”
He further advised Nigerians to support efforts at ensuring the desired autonomy for local governments in the country. Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for a national spirit of oneness, saying that “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what’s happening today.”
He added: “Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”