By Adeola Oladele-Fayehun
The National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday in Chicago, USA, blamed the current spate of insecurity in the country on the reluctance of the Federal Government to share security responsibility with the nation’s constituent parts.
This monopolisation of security control, he said in a paper entitled ‘Nigerian and the Search for True Federalism,’ has turned Nigeria into “one of the most dangerous places on earth.”
Citing the Boko Haram menace, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “Because it wants to acquire power and not lose any, the national government has adamantly opposed any decentralisation of internal security. The result has been that Nigeria is becoming one of the most dangerous places on earth. Not only do we have Boko Haram, there is growing insecurity and blatant unchecked criminality in other parts of the nation.
“The roots of these security challenges have mostly local origins. A centralised structure, however, tends to deploy security officials and units with insufficient knowledge and understanding of local issues.
“ Instead of helping, the security personnel often worsen the situation because of their lack of knowledge. Community policing has proven effective in many different social conditions around the world. It is an idea whose time has come for Nigeria. However, it cannot be applied purposefully under the current security structure. Thus, our security apparatus remains big but uninformed.”
He said while Nigeria is supposed to be practising democracy the PDP-led Federal Government still exhibits military authoritarianism, hence “this slack adherence to good governance.”
“Nigeria has been unable to progress toward economic development or consolidation of democracy. Our dreams of a great and robust nation remain in the realm of sleep. The nation has been placed on indefinite hold. We are like the ambivalent person, standing half in the light, half in the shadows. Everyday, we hope her great potential will dawn in its fullness. What transpires is the opposite. Those entrusted with her governance connive to pull her back into the night.
“Nigeria has been run like a closely held private corporation with a revolving ownership. While the leaders have changed, one theme remains constant. Those who run the corporation do so for their sole benefit. We must replace this selfish dynamic with one of greater public purpose.”
He cited the creation by the Federal Government of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), saying “ the federal government has taken the money belonging to states without the express or tacit consent of the states. The legislation passed by the National Assembly is a nullity and an ineffective cover for a blatant violation of the constitution.
“ In other words, it is a fiscal brigandage, a daylight robbery. I have no qualms with the Federal Government using its money to establish an SWF. I have no qualms with states volunteering to participate in such a venture like it obtains here in the United States. That is their prerogative. I sharply oppose federal seizure of funds from unwilling states for the seizure amounts to nothing more than an illegal taking. I fear this is a bitter foretaste of fiscal transgressions to come. Should this be allowed to stand, what prevents the Federal government from concocting other schemes to siphon more monies from states and local governments?” He also alleged moves by the federal authorities to undermine the states by proposing “ a proposed constitutional amendment severing the fiscal relationship between state and local government. The amendment would transfer the passage of funds to local governments from the states to the national government in Abuja. As such, the amendment would make local government dependent on Abuja causing them to turn their backs on their state capitals. Making local governments susceptible to Abuja’s financial control, the federal government increases its power at the expense of the states.”
At an earlier town meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, Asiwaju Tinubu described the Federal Government as a giant bureaucracy suffering from elephantiasis.
“If you decentralise the power of the Federal Government, things will be better in Nigeria,” he said.
“I suggested to the president to subsidise farming, especially in the North so that Boko Haram will stop recruiting those unemployed that are begging on the streets. If they have jobs, they won’t be going about killing people, and it will improve their nutrition value. Concerning Jos, all the Federal Government needs to do is create another local government for the people.
“You can’t fight corruption because the government itself is corrupt. Majority of the perpetrators made financial contributions to ensure the president wins the election, so he cannot prosecute them. Nigerians are not stupid, they want a change. People no longer believe in the government. Enough of PDP in our lives, they have been tagged as Poverty Development Party.”
Meanwhile, the book, Financialism: Water from an empty well, jointly written by Asiwaju Tinubu and Mr. Brian Browne, will be launched today in the USA.
The book details how the financial system drains the economy with emphasis on the recurrent crises, which show that something is profoundly wrong with the global financial system.
The authors say developed and emergent nations have committed the similar sin of turning what should be productive economies into factories of financial speculation that generate more financial paper than they do material products that real people can use to improve their living conditions.
They are also of the view that the underlying problem is that many who call themselves capitalists have lost their way.