A former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, on Thursday insisted that devolution of more powers to states remained the only panacea for the rising insecurity, poverty and secession threats afflicting Nigeria.
Akande said Nigeria could only be returned to the path of good governance if sub-nationals were given more powers to operate as done in United States, a system of governance which Nigeria copied.
In a speech titled, “Fasanmi, a Nigerian patriot,” Akande spoke in Ado-Ekiti during the presentation of a book titled, “Serving with Integrity: Ideology and Praxis of Senator Ayo Fasanmi in Nigeria’s Politics,” which was reviewed by former Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Prof. Kayode Soremekun.
The former Osun State governor, represented by a former deputy governor of the state, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, said, “The purpose of devolution generally is to bring the government closer to the people so that problems of security, poverty, and agitation for self-actualisation can be reduced or better handled. The logic is very simple.”
Clarifying his call for devolution, the APC leader added, “Federating units or subsidiary units are usually the theatre of action. That is where you have the land, the forests, the farms, the schools, the hospitals, the manufacturing industries, and even the roads and the citizens, together with daily economic and social activities.
“Take education, for example. What business has the Federal Government engaged in primary and secondary education? These schools are located in the states and their local governments.
“The truth is that subsidiary units perform better in Nigeria when they are in control of their resources, security outfits in the cities and the forests, and in all other activities within their space. That was why the different regional governments were able to achieve a lot between 1954 and 1966, just within a space of 12 years! “
Akande’s daughter, Dr Olufunmilayo Fasehun, who co-authored the book with her husband, Dr Orobola Fasehun, said it was conceptualised to preach good governance in Nigeria, which was the most pressing priority for the late Fasanmi, a First Republic senator.
Soremekun, who said poor research in universities and incessant strikes by workers were twin evils destroying the country’s ivory towers, said, “The closure of our universities doesn’t speak well for us as a country.”
Soremekun said that Fasanmi embraced selfless service as a public servant because he had a second address as a pharmacist, saying, “Politicians not having second addresses is also very dangerous to governance.”
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Administration, Mr. James Owolabi, described the late elder statesman as a strong and unrepentant democrat, who valued “integrity, honesty, selflessness, and good leadership.”
The dignitaries at the event included the Minister of Industry, Niyi Adebayo; former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Iyiola Oladokun; the Oniye of Iye Ekiti, Oba Jonathan Adeleye; the Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Bayo Aina; former Deputy Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Akintunde Adegboye; and the son of the late Fasanmi, Justice Obafemi Fasanmi.