The Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Professor Eghosa Osaghae, has accused the Nigeria’s National Assembly of obstructing restructuring of the country, stating that the members have failed to act as true representatives of the people.
He made the statement, on Monday, while speaking on the topic “Restructuring is Federalism and Federalism is Restructuring” at The Platform, a program organized by Covenant Christian Centre.
The professor of political science also said those calling for restructuring lack the legal locus to make such demands.
“The guys who are calling for restructuring are people who have no locus; no legal locos to drive this process because these are self-appointed leaders of groups. So, it is difficult to tell who the authentic voices are,” he said.
He went further to say those who ought to direct the agitation for restructuring are members of the national assembly because they are the peoples’ representatives who were voted to represent the interest of the people.
Prof. Osaghae said the failure of the state governments to have adequately utilized the resources given to them by the federal government led to the current call for restructuring, adding that had they been effective, many of the demands of the people would have been solved.
He argued that the state governments have very little to show for the funds received from the central government. He said the federal government, though with its challenges, is more accountable than many state governments. Every country where federalism is working, it is because the state government are upholding the principles of true federalism, he said.
“The state governments need to be a part of the restructuring, not just the debate. They must do things that reduce their dysfunctionalities. There is little governance in many of our states. There is very little transparency and accountability” said Prof. Osaghae.
Addressing the aggravation of many sympathizers of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) that easterners are marginalized; he asked; “who marginalized you?” He added that the lack of infrastructure in the east is a manifestation of the failure of the state governors who have refused to use funds from the Federal government judiciously.
He added that political parties must have Federal structures because the direction a Federal system will go is determined by the political parties.
“Our political parties have unitary structures and unitary structures cannot but contradict Federalism structures,” he said.
He explained that units regarded as constituent units in Nigeria today were either imposed by the colonial administrators or a creation of the central government.
“The units that we regard as our constituent units in Nigeria today, have no organic existence, have not organic identities, they were imposed and that is what we are dealing with. So, when people call themselves northerners in Nigeria, they are really not saying anything. They are living up to a category that was defined for them by outsiders. When people call themselves easterners or westerners and southerners, we are products of artificial creations. Some of the ethnic groups are artificial."
"All the states, local governments were created by the central government and you then turn up to say to the central government ‘we want your power’. It is a difficult bargain. Remember in 1996, many of the states that were created were given 30 million naira to take off by the federal government.”
Similarly, speaking at the same event, Patrick Utomi, professor of political economy and management expert, opined that restructuring would not give good governance, arguing that Nigeria’s problem is leadership inefficiency.