By Egena Sunday Ode
President of Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamola Thursday said governors and other elected leaders should not lead the advocacy for restructuring because none of them have consciously done anything at their various levels of leadership to advance that cause.
They stated this in separate interviews with State House correspondents at the forecourt of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja after the Eid-Mubarak prayers.
Recall that the governors of southern states had in a communique after their meeting in Asaba on Tuesday called for restructuring of the federation.
Lawan said, “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected into office should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing.
“Because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well.
“What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people.
“We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance.”
Urging elected leaders to shun regionalism, Lawan added that “The President is reaching out to all the stakeholders. And I believe that as leaders, particularly those of us who were elected at all levels of government, we should avoid partisanship.
“We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together.
“The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are.
“Whether at the federal, state or the local government level.
“I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger.”
Lawan further advised Nigerians to support efforts at ensuring the desired autonomy for local governments in the country,saying that absence of functional local government system is partly responsible for the current worsening security situation on the country.
According to him, while the nation’s leaders seek solutions to the security crisis confronting the nation, the Local Government system should not be neglected.
He explained further that the lack of autonomy potentially inhibits solutions as well as efforts by the federal and state governments towards addressing the nation’s security challenge.
“We are all leaders and we are in this together, the solutions must come from us regardless of what levels of leadership we are – whether at the Federal Level, State Level, or even at the Local Government level.
“I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a functional local government system.
“I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the Local Government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional,” Lawan said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also called for a national spirit of oneness, saying that “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what’s happening today.
On the call for restructuring., He maintained that there might be genuine agitations but explicitly stated that elected leaders and state governors should particularly not champion the movement for restructuring without first replicating the idea at the state level.
“Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing.
“We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”