Let’s Halt Nigeria’s Drift Towards Anarchy, Says Okowa
By Omon-Julius Onabu
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has appealed to Nigerians and members of the National Assembly to “douse the raging storms” and save the country from its present drift towards anarchy.
He stated that devolution of power would save the situation where the federal government is overburdened with responsibilities.
Okowa, while declaring open the Asaba Centre of the South-south Zonal Public Hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution, organised by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Constitution Review, said there was so much discontent in the country, adding that some of these culminated in general insecurity.
Earlier, when the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, led by Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Ahmed Wase, paid him a courtesy call, the governor harped on the need for devolution of powers to states and local governments so as to stop overburdening the federal government with too many responsibilities.
Okowa stated that the federal government is overburdened with many responsibilities, making it encumbered and inefficient.
According to him, states and local governments are closer to the people and required more funds to execute life-changing projects that would benefit the people.
He said: “There’s a need for devolution of power. We believe that the exclusive list is too burdensome for the federal government to handle.
“It’s not about this administration; it’s about all the administrations at the national level. When you take too much to yourself, you find it difficult to be as efficient as you would have been ordinarily.
“The sub-national governments are closer to their people and in the best position to reach out to the needs of the people. So, we think that there’s a need to look at the exclusive list and to make adjustments, which will devolve more powers to the state.
“This will also follow a re-allocation of resources in order to make the sub-national government to be more impactful than they are at the moment. When we concentrate too much power at the national level, it creates a lot of challenges; there’s no doubt about that.”
Okowa also called for the amendment of Section 162 on public revenue, fiscal federalism and revenue allocations.
“In the past several years, that include all administrations from 1999 to date, we have not had a review of the revenue allocation formula. It ought not to be so, because that is not what the law provides for”, Okowa said.
Edo State, represented by the state House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Marcus Onobun, joined Delta and Bayelsa to demand devolution of power, state police and fiscal federalism as well as gender balance in matters of appointments, elective position and inheritance.
However, while Delta is asking for at least 50 per cent resource control, Bayelsa State demanded 100 per cent as well as the creation of six additional local government areas.