A federal lawmaker representing the Lagos Central Senatorial District at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has called for an amendment of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to make Nigeria a true federal state.
She said that while the nation’s laws and constitution expressly declare that Nigeria is a federal state, the practical application of most of the laws effectively makes Nigeria more or less a unitary state.
Speaking on a theme titled: “ Governance and National Development: Issues and Implications” at the University of Lagos 12th Annual Research Conference and Fair on Tuesday in Lagos, Senator Tinubu defended the current clamour for true federalism in some quarters.
She said the different ethnic tribes were independent and relatively politically-sophisticated before the advent of the colonialists.
She lamented that the incursion of the military into politics in 1966 upended the near-perfect fiscal arrangements agreed to by the founding fathers at independence in 1960 and that subsequent constitutions have tended to perpetuate this anomaly.
She said, “For a country as diverse and large as Nigeria, only the practice of true and fiscal federalism can engender equitable development of the constituent units and make effective governance easy.”
The Senator also recommended that the power over some of the items listed in the Concurrent Legislative List in Part II of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution like prisons, antiquities and monuments, archives and public records, university and technology as well as some of the items in the Exclusive List should be exclusively vested in the states of the federation.
According to her, the development will bring development closer to the people and ensure that policies formulated for the execution of these functions are those that are informed by the local conditions of the people.
Tinubu also urged governments at all levels to endeavour to work in the interest of the people, saying that all government’s policies must ultimately be judged by whether they deliver on the promise of the government to the people under the ‘Social Contract’.
In attendance at the conference were the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello, the Registrar of the university, Dr. (Mrs) Taiwo Folashade Ipaye, and Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, among others.