The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has expressed disappointment with the federal system of government presently being operated in the country.
He said the federal system of government in the country was like unitary system.
Delivering the keynote address titled: ‘Building the Future by Respecting the Past,’ at the Daily Times 91st Award Night in Abuja on Tuesday, Tinubu, who was represented by Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, said Nigeria cannot flourish under the present structure which confers too much power to the federal government, insisting on the need for the devolution of more resources and power to the 36 states.
Tinubu, who governed Lagos State from 1999 to 2007, and challenged several of federal government’s decisions in court, notably the creation of 37 additional local government areas, said he was opposed to “federalism operated as a unitary monster.’’
According to him, “The federal government is taking on too much. We can’t flourish with the over concentration of power in the centre. Some of the 68 items on the exclusive federal list should be transferred to a residual federal list as it was in most of our several constitutions.’’
He premised his argument on the 1963 Constitution that conceded extensive powers to the regions because of their closeness to the people, a development that enabled them to carry out immense responsibility as they deemed.
In a no-holds-barred remarks, the APC chief insisted that items such the police, prisons, stamp duties, taxation of incomes, regulation of tourist traffic, registration of businesses, incorporation of business and companies, censors and traffic on federal trunk road passing through state, among others, that are transferred from the concurrent to the exclusive list, should be treated as state matters.
He similarly noted that the chronic problem of nationwide lack of electricity would be resolved if the states are allowed to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to areas not covered by the national grid, in addition to authority to issue certificate of occupancy for electricity power lines.
“It is not right to say states can generate power but can’t sell it where they want. Without yielding any contravening benefits, this policy suppresses the regeneration of needed power, instead of enhancing it.’’
He also criticised government’s monetary policy of seeking fiscal stimulus to energise the economy.
According to him, the efforts in that regard are too modest and should have taken additional steps to increase the fiscal space available to public and private sectors, given the situation that confronts the nation.
Tinubu said he endorsed the analysis of the governors that the current interest rate level would create pseudo growth by making by borrowing for long-term investments too costly.
“The monetary authorities appear to be more concerned with battling inflation than in ensuring growth. However, the nature of our inflation is mainly cost driven, beyond purvey of interest rate policy to contain. Instead of surrendering growth to curb inflation, current policy sacrifices both.
“Also, the varying exchange rates distort the economy and monetary signal. The fast rate differentials prepare grounds for currency arbiter and speculator, meaning two much money will chase rental opportunity in the financial market, instead of being ploughed into the vital investments to create jobs and provide equipment for the production of actual job,’’ Tinubu said.
He called for the withdrawal from self-imposed polarisation of the fiscal space and running the economy under an implicit dollar standard that was abandoned globally 40 years ago, saying that instead of the out model mechanism, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should base Nigeria’s budgetary calculation on the quantity of naira required to foster the highest growth possible.
He also warned government that imminent exit from recession is not a call for celebration as the end of recession does not imply the beginning of prosperity, adding that the country must redefine or forfeit forever or the right of way to a better future as it is deceitful to assume that oil prices will rebound to all high boom of over $100 per barrel.
Tinubu offered suggestions on how to revive the nation’s political economy in a way that will respond to the need of long neglected Nigerians made to suffer the ‘’excruciating dividends of mercenary system.’’
He proffered for agricultural reforms that will increase farm productivity, provision of power and infrastructure in addition to a national industrial policy that will allow the urban population attain prosperity.