From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
The Bauchi state government has observed that devolving more powers to the states especially in the areas of agriculture and educational sectors will give them some measure of autonomy and ensure the true federalism which is being yearned for by some Nigerians.
According to the state government, if there should be restructuring, it should be on the basis of national consensus so that the yearning and aspirations of the generality of Nigerians can be met.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar was speaking while giving this position at a zonal public hearing comprising four North Eastern states of Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno on ‘True Federalism’ held on Monday in Bauchi.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Nuhu Gidado, the governor advised that whatever position may be taken on the issue, it should be in tandem with the wishes and aspirations of the people as encapsulated in the manifestoes of the APC and in line with the change agenda which the party came along with.
He told the public hearing organized by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that generality of Nigerians did not ascribe for the break-up of the country, as they believe that Nigeria can fare better if it remain as one indivisible country.
“There is the belief in some quarters that there is a constitution in place in the country which has been the working document of government, it only need interpretation in areas that appears grey to some people and some adjustments within the ambit of the law”, he said.
Abubakar stressed the need for those that are dissatisfied with the system to freely channel their grievances through legitimate means, including those who argued that more power is concentrated in the federal government which makes it difficult to execute some projects effectively.
He advocated for more powers to states especially in areas education and agriculture with the federal government formulating enabling policies on these sectors, and helping in research, saying states are on the land, and can organize schools based on their peculiarities.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) that organized the public hearing stressed the need for addressing memoranda on creation/merger of states, derivation principle, devolution of powers, and federating units as to whether or not Nigerian federation be based on regions or zones as units or maintain the current 36 state structure.
It also enumerated other issues to be addressed such as fiscal federalism & revenue allocation, form of government whether presidential or parliamentary, as well as local government autonomy, power sharing & rotation and resource control, among others.
The issues enumerated were forwarded to the public hearing by the APC committee on true federalism, being chaired by former governor of Edo state, Senator O. A Osunbor who also did not foreclose other issues the forum believed deserves the attention of the party.