Akojede Olanrewaju and Bolaji Buhari
A former Foreign Affairs Minister, Maj.-Gen Ike Nwachukwu(Rtd), on Saturday faulted the over-concentration of power at the centre, calling for more powers for states and local governments in the country.
Nwachukwu made the call while speaking at the “Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards” in Lagos.
He said there was the need for power to properly devolve from the centre to the other federating units to reflect true federalism.
“We need to devolve the over-concentration of power at the centre, whilst allowing the federating units more autonomy.
“And just as we are seeking devolution of more powers to the state governments as federating units from the centre, so should the states guarantee the autonomy of the local governments under them,” he said.
Nwachukwu said the creation of local governments should not be the responsibility of the federal government but that of the states.
He said the sustenance of local governments should consequently be the responsibility of the states.
On the clamour for restructuring, the former minister said that was the way to go for the country, for unity and sustainable development.
He said that it behoved Nigerians and the country’s leaders to deliver on the restructuring of the country in order to have a true federation where no one is oppressed.
“I believe that it is only when we achieve this that our country can be stable, it’s security guaranteed and its economy for the betterment of all, ” he said.
Nwachukwu said democracy is a misnomer in the absence of freedom of speech and thoughts.
He said it was important to protect the freedom of press and rule of law.
“The People of our country should, henceforth be prepared to defend that freedom as indeed we must the Rule of Law with all our might if it is our desire that democracy should thrive,” he said.
The former minister urged the media not to abdicate its responsibility as the voice of the voiceless for development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President’s wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, were among personalities honoured at the awards.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and Gov. Umar Ganduje of Kano were among the governors honoured.
Prominent businessman, Chief Oba Otudeko and foremost musician, King Sunny Ade were also honoured among other personalities.