With the present structure of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari would not be able to achieve much in terms of national development, the anti-corruption war or addressing the challenge of insecurity, even if he means well.
This is the verdict of Emeritus Judge, Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi, who, in answer to the question of how well Buhari has performed in office thus far, said that there is urgent need to restructure the country and devolve considerable powers to the regions, states and local governments for the nation to move forward.
He told Global Patriot Newspapers, GPNews, that only such restructuring, devolution of powers, responsibilities and funds, could pave way for real transparency in the management of resources for effective governance, arguing that unless this is done, even an angel in the presidential office would not be able to achieve much.
The former National Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said that concentrating power and resources at the center (in Abuja) is the reason for much of the corruption and maladministration in the country, stressing that there are in-built difficulties arising from trying to govern a nation of over 300 ethnic groups from one power center
He pointed out, however, that once more power and resources are devolved to the regions, local governments and states, which are closer to the grassroots, there would be better monitoring of the use of disbursed funds, better monitoring of the implementation, and protection, of projects and facilities and less embezzlement of public funds.
According to the one time Chairman of the Lagos NBA, at the grassroots level, there are more prying eyes and the money available is far less that would be available if all money was concentrated in the center.
He stated that already, the battle for 2023 has started, but that unfortunately, much of the noise being made are not out of abundance of patriotism to Nigeria but are merely in aid of positioning themselves for the cut throat contest for acquisition of power and the key to the nation’s treasury.
Justice Olateru-Olagbegi pointed out that because the center is seen as a booty to be captured at all costs, politics becomes a fierce battle where the winner takes all, stressing that devolution would address the gigantic problems bedeviling the country such as corruption, insecurity, poor infrastructure, unemployment, shortage of houses, insufficiency of food, illiteracy etc.