Afe Babalola

The founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has insisted that Nigeria will not experience the much-desired development until the country is restructured.

He asked politicians jostling for the nation’s Presidency to ensure that restructuring was one of their major campaign points.

Babalola, in his New Year message to Nigerians on Monday, said the country must be restructured in order to achieve the dreams of its founding fathers.

He argued that the huge cost of running the present political structure was not sustainable.

Babalola said, “I have questioned whether we can afford the current set up of 36 states, the majority of which rely only on allocation from the federal purse to survive? Why do we appear so comfortable with a system in which the executive and legislative set-up at the federal level is replicated across all the 36 states with a retinue of commissioners, special assistants, assistant special assistants, aides etc?

“I have questioned whether we need two tiers of the National Assembly, when a huge percentage of the annual budget goes to the maintenance of the national legislature thereby depriving other crucial areas such as education, health and transportation of much needed funding.

“Can we not borrow a leaf from Senegal which recognised the wastage inherent in the two-tier legislative system and abolished it? Is it not possible to have legislators serve on part-time basis rather than full time? These and many more are issues which call for urgent attention and which must be addressed by means of a National Conference with a mandate to explore means of restructuring the country.

“Our so-called federal constitution which, de facto, is military constitution is the greatest problem of Nigeria which is a country of nations. The operation of the constitution is too expensive with its attendant over-concentration of power at the centre, thereby rendering the states and the local governments totally impotent unlike what obtained under the parliamentary constitutions of 1960 and 1963.

“What Nigeria needs is a change that will make politics less attractive, make each state to develop at its own pace and do away with all shades and shapes of criminality.

“It is that change that would enable the component parts of the country to develop their resources, provide employment, eradicate poverty and all shades of criminal activities and make individuals to become true Nigerians.

“It is that change that would enable each state to control its population, set internationally acceptable standard for admission to tertiary institutions and bring back the glory of quality education from our universities.

“That change is the restructuring of the country. It is that change that would curb over concentration of power in the centre and reduce corruption, promote harmony and unity and make the country metamorphose into a nation.

“Those who are campaigning for votes in the February 2019 election should make restructuring of the country the pith and core of their campaign. Seek the immediate restructuring of the country first and other things will fall in place.”

Congratulating Nigerians for their resilience in spite of the challenges they faced in 2018, Babalola urged them to keep the hope alive for a better 2019.

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