The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has said Nigeria’s democratic experience would never be an ideal model without entrenching fiscal federalism, noting that a true federal system “is the only path to nationhood”.
As a federating unit, Ambode noted that the government of Lagos State “stands for a restructuring process that will lead to fiscal federalism and devolution of power”.
He stated this position at a public lecture the state government organised Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the June 12 presidential election held at the Lagos TV complex, Agidingbi.
After the public lecture attended by a number of pro-democracy activists, Ambode unveiled a 37-feet statue of the presumed winner of the June 12 election, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola at Alapere, Lagos.
At the lecture titled “Restructuring: Antidote for Ineffective and Ineffective Politics”, the governor noted that the country’s democratic experience might still be far from ideal without entrenching fiscal federalism.
He added that fiscal federalism “is the only way to achieve true nationhood. We are absolutely convinced that it is the right way to go for us to realise the optimum potential and prosperity of the federating states and the nation”.
He said since the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, the struggle for its actualisation had continued until President Muhammadu Buhari pronounced the day as Democracy Day and conferring posthumous award on Abiola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and others.
By this singular act of the president, Ambode said the president “has written his name in gold in the political history of Nigeria. This formal recognition is a crown of victory to the struggle that had taken the lives of so many nationalists and patriots”.
He commended the leaders of the June 12 struggle including Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and Hon. Olawale Oshun among others.
Also at the public lecture, the Special Adviser to the governor on Civic Engagement, Hon. Benjamin Olabinjo, said June 12 stood as a universal pact for all Nigerians.
He added that Lagos State had never lost sight of the importance of identifying with the struggle and the defence of democracy and the universal right of all individuals to actualise their maximum potentials.
The guest lecturer, Dr. Dele Ashiru, called for special status for Lagos being the commercial nerve centre of the nation and also called for the restructuring of the nation.
Ashiru, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said a situation where a behemoth sat at the centre and distributed resources to others was an anathema to federalism.
Abiola’s son, Mr. Abdulmuminu Abiola, lamented that for 16 years, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to honour his father, while commending the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the honour accorded his father.
He thanked Ambode and the government for building a bigger statue in honour of his father.