A professor at the University of Ibadan, Olutayo Adesina and media icon Yemi Farounbi have jointly expressed their concern that the country is currently entangled in a state of confusion, necessitating comprehensive reform.
The observations came during a discussion at the monthly BOILING POINT ARENA forum, the 10th edition of a series focusing on governance and nation-building, organized by Ayo Arowojolu.
Delving into the country’s history since gaining independence in 1960, Adesina and Farounbi concurred that Nigeria’s foundational structure is flawed, raising the risk of potential collapse.
Their deliberations took place during a global audience-engaging interview, which was broadcast live on Sweet 107.1FM, an Abeokuta-based radio station, as well as via Google Meet, spanning two hours.
The Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Saka Matemilola, who chaired the event also delivered a keynote address.
Leading the discourse, Adesina pointed out that the introduction of military involvement into Nigeria’s political landscape in 1966 by Aguiyi Ironsi placed the nation in an enduring state of constraints. This, he argued, has led to the present amalgamation of unitarianism and federalism, resulting in complex challenges.
Adesina stated, “The complexities of difference brought about the adoption of federalism in Nigeria through the MacPherson Constitution of 1951. However, since the military’s intervention via Decree 34, our practice has leaned more towards unitarianism.”
“Our nation, referred to as a federal government, continues to operate a form of unitary system. This has led to a perplexing state for the country. We are navigating a confusing path.”
Adesina highlighted the need for Nigeria to transition back to true federalism, granting greater autonomy to individual states and fostering positive competition for economic growth. He asserted, “We must critically evaluate this situation to establish a nation that benefits everyone and empowers the federating components to grow collectively.”
Echoing Adesina’s sentiments, Farounbi accentuated the importance of an equitable distribution of power and resources within a federal structure. He critiqued the current system, where a significant portion of revenue remains centralized, hindering development at the grassroots level.
Farounbi emphasized, “We are grappling with an overloaded federal government that attempts to govern from the center. This approach is unsustainable for a nation with diverse local needs.”
In his concluding remarks, Farounbi advocated for a comprehensive constitutional rewrite and restructuring. He stressed, “Incremental amendments to our laws are inadequate, and disjointed incrementalism will lead us nowhere. Furthermore, recognition must be granted to those regions producing key resources, such as crude oil, in determining the allocation of revenue.”
Adesina and Farounbi’s joint assessment underscores a growing sentiment among experts and scholars, shedding light on the complexities and challenges Nigeria faces in navigating its path forward.
(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; firstname.lastname@example.org; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)