Igbo Leaders Advocate Creation Of 6 Regional StructuresLatest News, News From The State Friday, October 31st, 2014
IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
The professor Ben Nwabueze led Igbo leaders of Thought (ILT) has advocated restructuring of the present federal system in Nigeria with a view to devolution of greater powers to regional structures, saying the over concentration of powers at central government has done more harm than good to the nation.
They believe that the creation of zonal structures will go a long way in enthroning a more united, strong and prosperous Nigeria where the states through the zones will be allowed to develop in their own pace and time.
Addressing newsmen Thursday in Enugu shortly after the 9th plenary meeting of ILT, Professor Ben Nwabueze who is the convener of the meeting said to “create a better, new and united Nigeria, the federation must be restructured in a way that up to 50 percent of the federal powers will be given to zones who are better equipped to handle such additional powers.
The Octogenarian constitutional Lawyer, however, faulted the recommendation of the recently concluded National Conference with regard to the creation of more states, saying that the recommendation did not capture the real essence of the concept of restructuring the federation because there is no guarantee that the existing states have the requisite capability to handle the devolved powers taken away from the federal government .
His word: “To create a better, new and united Nigeria, the federation should be restructured in a way that at least 50 percent of the central powers will be handled by larger political units to allow these individual units to develop at their own pace and way without interference”
“Restructuring, we mean the merging of the existing 36 states into zones not necessarily the dissolution of the states.
”So when you take away about 50 percent of the powers of the central government and give them not to existing 36 states not even to talk about the 54 states, but to zones which are larger political units better equipped to handle such additional powers. This is the whole essence of what we are saying.”
He added that the benefits of such restructured system which will lead to the creation of 4 or 6 zones include good leadership, quality democracy, enjoyment of social and economic rights by the people, accountability and adequate security.
He added that the zones will be able to efficiently handle the powers and conduct their affairs to develop in their own ways without any form of interference from others nations or from the central government.
According to him, the concept of restructuring does not entail scraping the already existing states.
“The zones can do this without doing away with the states because it took a lot of effort to create these states. This is part of the decision we have taken resulting from the decisions of the delegates at the National Conference.”
The ILT leader said the current nature of the federation has affected the growth of the South-east, but with a restructured federation, the South-east zone stands a better chance to harness its resources to witness a new phase of progress.
”We in the South-east, we the Igbo people want to be able to develop. We don’t want anybody to hold us back; that is the advantage, that is the immense benefit of restructuring the federation to create larger units to be called zones or regional governments,” he said.
The meeting, which also discussed the need to safeguard the interest of Igbo people in Nigeria, including their security of life and property.
Present at the meeting were former president- General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, ex- Minister of education, Dr. Aja Nwachukwu, Dr. Offiah Nwali, Chief (Mrs) Maria Okwor, Eldest son of Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief Debe Odimegwu Ojukwu President of Igbo Youth Movement IYM, Evangelist Elliot Uko, who is also Assistant Secretary General of the association, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi, amongst others.
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