Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has again lent his voice to the argument on restructuring of the country, insisting that the country can be restructured administratively pending constitutional amendment.
Speaking at a briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, the National Intervention Movement (NIM) Co-chairman, explained that while restructuring is basically power transfer “from exclusive Federal list to concurrent state list” that will involve constitutional alteration, the Federal Government can administratively devolve powers to states by Executive Order,” as a temporary measure before constitutional restructuring, The Nation reports.
“The Constitution requires that two-thirds of the 36 states, the Federal Government and the National Assembly participate in restructuring. That may take a bit of time. There are things that can be done immediately through administrative restructuring. The Federal Government can make statutory transfers to the states.
For example, the President can receive money for a Federal road in Anambra and transfer the money to the state government to execute,” he said.
“There are so many things the Federal Government is doing. You see Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi and his power, works and housing counterpart Babatunde Fashola (SAN) everywhere, up and down. But there are commissioners of works.
“The Federal Government can prepare the budgets, because under the Constitution, the Federal Government does roads. But if they budget for a particular road and it is touching two states – Lagos and Oyo for instance, you can call the governors and give them the money.
“That way, you begin to free yourself from the challenges of a big federation. If we do this, we’ll see substantial change,” Agbakoba added.
Speaking further on the issue, the People’s Trust Party (PTP) Chairman, said that while restructuring should be top on the list of political agenda, strengthening institutions was next to political devolution, noting that “strong institution is a critical big issue for good governance” and the Federal Government is weak because it is made up of weak institutions.
He therefore suggested the adoption of Chapter 9 of the South African Constitution, so that institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Police, anti-graft agencies, Judiciary, Accountant General, among others, are assured to work free of interference, which he believes will limit impunity and improve independent action.
Agbakoba who also made a case for a national order, which he described as a stable arrangement of systems, as opposed to social chaos as seen in existing structures, stressing that without resolving issues around a stable national order, Nigeria will continue to be disunited.
“It is crucial to stabilise our national disunity. This is why restructure is vital. Examples of national order include: the treaty of Westphalia, the treaty of Vienna, the League of Nations, and Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) etc. In Nigeria, there is none. This is a big issue,” he said.
He suggested the adoption of Chapter 9 of the South African Constitution, so that institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Police, anti-graft agencies, Judiciary, Accountant General, among others, are assured to work free of interference.