Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 20 July 2016 | 2,132 times
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said the Nigerian nation must be restructured to enable meaningful progress and sustainable development to be established, adding that unless this is done, the country will continue in a state of “economic quandary”.
While speaking on Tuesday at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Young Parliamentarians Forum, which had its theme as “Political/Economic Inclusion & Participation of Young People in Nigeria” organised at the National Assembly, Abuja, he admitted that “unless and until the country was restructured, with a view to stopping the states from running on free money, in the name of Federal Allocation on monthly basis, it would be difficult to tame corruption.”
According to him, “Youth political and economic inclusion should not be a privilege, but a majority right and an inescapable imperative.”
He was however, quick to add that to achieve youths inclusion without restructuring would be difficult, stressing further that youth unemployment is a “ticking time bomb.”
He said: "I disagree with those who say that Nigeria does not necessarily need restructuring, but good governance that will eliminate corruption. The truth is that it is difficult to tame corruption where the federating units virtually run on free Federal Allocations that some people see as national cake, not their own sweat.
“Conversely, the people will be more vigilant and ready to hold their leaders accountable when the federating units begin to live largely on internally generated revenues and their sweats.
“However, restructuring should be on incremental basis to ease the country into a more prosperous future.”
He added further: “We need to reinvigorate the youth arm of our political parties as in the days of the First Republic and pre-independence era when vibrant youth movements and arms of the political parties thrived and served as platforms for political apprenticeship for aspiring political leaders.
“Unfortunately, there is little we can do about meaningful youth economic inclusion and employment until we restructure our behemoth federalism. I still hold the view that this feeding bottle federalism, this act of robbing Peter to pay Paul, which we have gradually enthroned as state policy since the fall of the First Republic, remains the cause of our economic quandary.
“Nigerian economy, rated the biggest in Africa, waddles under the weight of heavy youth unemployment rate because our sources of growth, are mainly in the primary commodity export sector, which do not necessarily create new jobs. This gives rise to the urgent need for economic diversification, focusing on and boosting other sources of growth and job creation, such as manufacturing and adding value to our agricultural produce.
“We must cut our coat according to our cloth. As I argued in my book, Who Will Love My Country: Ideas for Building a Nigeria of our Choice and my various public lectures, Nigeria should not run on more than six-state federal structure based on the current geopolitical zones, with adequate fiscal federalism, and sound devolution of powers to return to the path of successful federalism as witnessed in the First Republic. That is the sure way of opening the doors of opportunities to our youth and posterity.”
•Photo shows Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
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