Oct 4, 2011 – The Senator representing Anambra Central District, Dr Chris Ngige, has attributed the persistent violence in the nation to over concentration of power at the federal level.
He said many ethnic and religious groups are taking to armed struggles to grab more power and resources from the centre.
Ngige warned that Nigeria will remain volatile and underdeveloped until there is a restructuring.
He said only true federalism would restore the nation to the path of peace and development.
The former Anambra State Governor spoke in Lagos at the 12th annual lecture of the Catholic Young Men’s Association of Nigeria (CYMA).
He spoke on Resolving conflicts in a multi-ethnic and secular society-The Religious Perspective.”
The Senator said: ‘’All the conflicts you see in Nigeria are fuelled by the fear of loss of political and economic power. They are all about struggles for the resources of the nation.
“Most of the agitations you see for more states and rotation are for more resources to come down to the people because they have been marginalised.”
He predicted that there would be more of such violent reactions with greater consequences if the nation is not restructured.
“The only way to solve these crises is to put a political structure that guarantees freedom of association, justice and equity. Once that structure is there, there will be peace and development in the country.”
He noted that Nigeria’s glorious years were recorded when true federalism was practised in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
‘’We had a glorious past in Nigeria when each region was permitted to grow at its own pace. The East was the fastest growing economy in the whole of Africa then.
“In the West, late Awolowo used only resources from cocoa to build infrastructure, schools, good roads and other edifices. Life was better then,” he contended.
Ngige called for devolution of power from the centre to save the nation from unhealthy scrambling.
He lamented that “everybody is going to the centre to get oil money. This oil, I don’t know why God has not made it dry up, has become a curse to us. We must go back to the basics.”
Nigeria, he advised, should return to regional autonomy whereby 50 per cent of proceeds from resources from each state are retained and the remaining taken to the centre.
This, he said, would create a healthy competition among states and force them to develop their resources for greater things.
He also called for rotational presidency among the six geo-political zones with two vice-presidents, one of which must come from the region of the incumbent.
This, he argued, will enable the ruling region retains the seat in case of death, impeachment or incapacitation.
Such structure, he advised, should also be replicated in states to give everyone a sense of belonging.(The Nation)