Akinpelu Dada and Friday Olokor
A former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo, have declared that the current political arrangements in Nigeria will not kick-start the desired development of the country.
Anyaoku, who spoke in Abuja on Saturday, argued that only the restructuring of the federation would ensure the rapid growth of the country.
The elder statesman spoke in an interview with journalists during the public presentation of a book, ‘Nigeria: The Forsaken Road to Nationhood and Development’, written by a retired diplomat and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Dr. Humphrey Orjiako.
Soludo said the present structure of the country was outdated and would not enhance its development, describing the Federal Government as a major constraint to the states.
Soludo, who spoke to some Nigerian journalists on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, United States of America, said the present structure had outlived its usefulness.
The ex-CBN governor added, “The Federal Government in Nigeria is a major constraint to the states and that is why some of us believe that the current structure that we have is for a time we no longer live in.
“The current structure was designed to share and consume the oil rent, and I have argued that the structure that is designed for consumption cannot be efficient for production. So, we know that it will have its own ripple effects.”
The book presentation, where Anyaoku spoke, also featured a colloquium organised by an international research and advocacy organisation on peace-building process in Nigeria and Africa, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development.
The SCDDD, founded by Nigeria’s former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, according to its promoters, is committed to policy analysis in the areas of conflict prevention, management, democratisation and sustainable development in Africa.
While observing that Nigeria had underperformed due to its current 36-states structure, where all the states were dependent on the central government for survival, Anyaoku believed it was time the country reverted to regional governments.
He stated, “I think the Nigeria we have, of 36 federating units now, is not working. The country continues to underperform because of the 36 states we have now. About 27 of the states cannot pay the salaries of their workers.”