Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said Nigeria needs a restructured federation that would allow for a greater degree of decentralisation of power in order to have a country that works for its citizens and is beneficial to Africa and the rest of the world.
Fayemi made this statement Thursday in Lagos, when he presented the NIIA @ 60 Distinguished Lecture titled: “Fixing Nigeria for a Better World,” to mark the 60thanniversary of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), where he affirmed that Nigeria should “embrace political restructuring through a national dialogue before it is too late.”
Also, while playing host to 84/85 alumni of the University of Lagos, who paid him a visit at his office in Ado Ekiti, Fayemi, said the country stood a good chance of getting a new Nigeria, where truth, honesty and honour could thrive if the citizens could be more united and patriotic.
Speaking at the NIIA lecture, he said, “Partial, incoherent, piecemeal, and scattered efforts at reform built on a foundation of injustice and inequity may buy time but they will not provide the durable solutions we need as to be able to say to ourselves and to the world in full confidence that we are back as one united, indivisible and strong nation.”
He, however, said Nigeria required a purposeful domestic policy that would work for its citizens in order to be able to project strong foreign policy in spite of its weak economy as it did, when it intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leonne, in spite of the harsh structural adjustment economic policy.
“Some of the most immediate tasks that we need urgently to address collectively include the restructuring of the national politico-administrative system to allow for a greater degree of decentralised and devolved powers that can make for a more updated federal arrangement.
“Connected to this is the equally urgent task of updating the rules, policies, and institutions for the effective and equitable management of our diversity.
“Furthermore, our country is in need of a fully revamped social compact between state and society that can serve as the bedrock for the exercise and enjoyment of citizenship on a pan-Nigeria basis.”
The Director-General of NIIA, Professor Eghosa E. Osaghae, in his welcome address, said the theme of the 60th anniversary was informed by the opinion that no nation could achieve its foreign policy objectives effectively without fixing its domestic environment.
Chairman of the anniversary lecture, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, a former Minister of External Affairs and director-general of the NIIA, said he would refrain from summarising and commenting on the lecture delivered by Fayemi.
He, however, supported the governor’s call that the time has come for the NIIA to relocate to Abuja to enable it to attract the right kind of audience to its functions.
Meanwhile, while playing host to 84/85 alumni of the University of Lagos, Fayemi insisted that, “There is need for all patriots and like-minds to come together with a view to getting a better future for Nigeria and the time to do that is now.
“Getting a new Nigeria is possible. We can design a new Nigeria, where all of us can be equal, live peacefully with one another if we are patriotic and united.”
Fayemi was excited to reunite with a group of friends, who were his compatriots in students’ unionism, during his days as an undergraduate, at the University of Lagos.
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos