Comparatively, apart from democracy conversations, there is no other political topic that has enjoyed more media attention than the debate on the urgency to have the federal system of government restructured to reflect true fiscal federalism.
While some Nigerians argue that the federal system of government has become a problem not just in Nigeria but the world over. Hence, has become a discourse that we cannot disturb ourselves with-adding that even in the United State of America, it is still viewed as work in progress. To the vast majority, the need for restructuring of this nation should be compared with, and likened to, the indispensability and inseparability of the blood from the body. As the nation is currently structured and standing in an inverted pyramid shape with more power concentrated at the top and the base not formidable enough making collapse inevitable if urgent and fundamental steps are not taken.
Whichever way, as a responsible and responsive media organization voluntarily charged with the responsibility of informing the people, there are very crucial arguments that need to be underlined when it comes to discussing either restructuring or state policy in the country.
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First, the truth is that no matter how long we live in denial as a nation, the need for THE restructuring of the country which many hope will come with the creation of the state police has come to stay. Even Mr. President, personally but unknowingly underlined this position while speaking on the need for effective policing in the country recently.
While he played host to the traditional rulers from the Northern part of the country led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mr. President going by reports stated that; the ongoing reform of the Police would include recruitment of more hands, cultivation of stronger local intelligence and networking with communities, traditional rulers and adequate training. This in specific terms, he added, will include recruiting more police officers from their local government areas, where they would then be stationed in the best traditions of policing worldwide. Working with the state governments; we intend to improve the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate their work.
In our views, if objective analysis can replace emotionally discussion regarding state police/restructuring, one thing will definitely stand out; Nigeria has a choice, to restructure by plan or by default. As has been argued at different times and places, a planned restructuring will be collaborative, systematic, and redesign Nigeria, yet keep it whole while a default restructuring will on its parts happen, certainly not by choice, but definitely like an uncontrolled experiment with attendant risks and indefinite outcome.
To further arrive at the answer, there is no federal police or state police models, but there are fundamental differences between the two. While cultural and geographical homogeneity which are strong factors and advantages of state policing are lost in federal policing, state police depend on these factors and more such as historical and friendship to keep the society orderly and without anarchy. This values no doubt makes a productive policing without the disorder. And it is our belief that state governments have the capacity to fulfill this obligation.
The next question is; with this development, should we conclude that restructuring has started or are we still begging the challenge? If it has not, having seen the usefulness of recruiting and allowing officer’s work in their familiar environments, what alternative is opened to the nation?
In the views of the Ika Weekly Editorial Board, there is no alternative to having the country restructured.
The reasons are not far-fetched.
Aside from the fact that President Buhari in his campaign in 2015, promised to “Initiate actions to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit.”, notable Nigerians, groups have at different times and places called on the Federal Government to steps that will have the nation restructured.
Similarly, if providing adequate security for the masses is the government’s priority, it should be the collective responsibility of the country’s citizens to contribute to the success of the process. And this could be achieved only if the citizens feel they are part of the ongoing development process and has a stake in its success. This should be done with one goal in mind; that of serving the people and enhancing the status of the country.
What we are saying is that the over blotted exclusive list has made Abuja suffer ‘political obesity’ and need to shed some weight via power devolution
Items such as; Police and some government security services, mines and minerals; including oil fields, oil mining geological surveys, control of parks, stamp duties, public holidays, taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains, and insurance among others to my mind should find their ways back to the states and the local councils.