• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Agbakoba calls for cooperative federalism to end Nigeria’s woes


Olisa Agbakoba, human rights lawyer and activist, has urged Nigerians to adopt cooperative federalism rather than political restructuring to solve the nation’s numerous challenges.

In recent years, agitation for a political restructuring of Nigeria has been rife among political leaders, mostly from the Southern part of the country. The proponents blamed the current political system for the nation’s woes, while seeking restructuring and constitutional reforms which they believe would return the country to a parliamentary system of government which was operated in the First Republic.

However, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and some leaders in the North have kicked against such plan. Buhari had recently said that the problem of the country was not about the structure of the country but the way of doing things.

But speaking in a media chat in his office in Ikoyi, Wednesday, Agbakoba said the country should rather focus on initiating strong trade policies which would encourage strong internal trade, and create jobs for the citizenry, boost small and medium scale enterprise rather than focus on restructuring which had become divisive.

Agbakoba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), therefore cast doubt on the realisation of political restructuring in Nigeria because of the opposition of President Buhari and the Northern region to the idea, stressing that the country needs to adopt new macro-economic policies and strong business and legal regulations to ensure development of the country.

According to him, “Political restructuring is a divisive issue; rather, the question of restructuring has brought us back. We need to suspend it; the President does not believe in it, so there would be a clash of the heads of actors.

“Let look for a new economic method of developing the country, the new economic advisory panel set up would put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.”

“Restructuring is causing us problems between the North and the South; let us adopt cooperative federalism, which would replace agitations for restructuring for now, until we are mature enough to understand what restructuring is all about,” Agbakoba further said.

He also supported the border closure, saying that the nation had become a dumping ground for inferior products from China and other nations which had affected local industries negatively, while equally seeking a new comprehensive institutional development design to transform the country.

“It is crucial to design a comprehensive institutional development design which is like an architectural plan to transform Nigeria. It is important that the design takes into account development law as it is a vital element of any successful model.

We can’t grow the economy until political leaders speak with one voice. I support border closure, but may be, it should have been called border enforcement. We need to check ECOWAS countries bringing in goods without obeying rules,” he added.