By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
Restructuring still remains the only way out of secessionists’ agitations and insecurity Nigeria is currently facing, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Kwara State has said.
The APC chieftain; Comrade Rauf Bello, made this assertion while delivering a paper titled “Vision, Mission and Ethics In Democracy: The Nigeria Experience” at a weekly ‘Political Dialogue’ programme organised by the Nation’s Leadership Institute, NLI, in Ilorin.
President of the institute, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, had last month designed the political dialogue in the NLI for emerging political leaders in Kwara.
Bello, who is an Emeritus Lecturer of Political Science at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in his paper strongly made a case for the much debated restructuring that had dominated public discourse pointing out that it would be the only to address various problems bedeviling the country.
Specifically, the Comrade lecturer said the 45 items on the Exclusive list in the 1999 Constitution should be reviewed to give about 41 to states while the federal government should only concern itself with four items.
He added that more power should be devolved to the state governments to manage resources in their states and pay royalties to the federal government.
His words: “I am not talking about dividing or balkanizing the country, no; that is not what I mean. What I mean is that states should be giving more powers and cede most of the items on the exclusive list to them so that this would enable them to manage their respective affairs from within.
“The exclusive legislative list should be reviewed to give less power to the central authority. In more than 45 items on the exclusive list; the central government should have about four items such as defense, monetary regulation, foreign affairs. and the states are allowed to control their resources.”
Bello also said the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended should be further amended to give Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) power to disqualify candidates if fresh evidences are found the candidate even after such names have been cleared.
The development, he said, would curb unruly behaviour of candidates and political parties from doing what they like especially during elections.
Also, the APC chieftain added that the present political parties in the country lacked political ideologies and manifesto as was the case in the first and second republics.
“The compass of any group or political organisation is ideology, because ideology is the vision and mission of the party – what the political party stands for, what it wanted to do and how it will do it,” he said.
“In the first and second Republic in Nigeria, we know that the major political parties were ideologically based on ideological spectrum.
“If you are progressives you know the party to join, if you are a radical you know the party to join, if you are conservative you know the party to join. There’s no political prostitution where there is ideology.
“Unfortunately under the current political dispensation, ideology has taken flight from the Nigerian space, from the Nigeria political space,” Bello also said adding that “in the first and second republic, political parties were ideologically based”.
According to him, the Action Group, AG led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo leaned towards democratic socialism; NPC, led by Sir Ahmadu Bello was inclined to
conservatism while NCNC, led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was associated with welfarism.
Also, Bello added that NEPU, led by Mallam Aminu Kano aligned with Radicalism which was a little far to the left of the ideological spectrum.
“I don’t see any of the political parties as ideologically oriented; I can’t see much difference between the major political parties in Nigeria,” concluded.
Fifty people were selected from each of the 16 Local Government Areas of the state for the political dialogue/training that would to span four months.