Prominent political leaders in Nigeria, including the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, yesterday, canvassed restructuring and devolution of more powers to the state.
They also appraised the security situation in the country and sought state police as a major solution to the insecurity in the country.
The APC leaders spoke at the third yearly Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable and 71st post-humous birthday organised by Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation (SAAF) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan.
The programme, which was held at the International Conference Centre, UI, had the theme: “States and the Burden of National Development in Nigeria.”
Tinubu, who was the chairman of the event, represented by Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the constituent units that make federation must be given more revenue and more responsibilities, adding that state police was overdue.
Tinubu said: “Despite the fiscal and budgetary constraints, Governor Ajimobi performed adroitly, bringing an unprecedented level of civic pride and public works to Oyo. But the truth that he himself recognised was that he could have done more if our political system was truly built on the fiscal federalism we progressives have long espoused.
“Our system remains too centralised with too much power and money remaining within the federal might. This imbalance leads to relative state weakness. We need to overhaul how revenues are allocated between the states and the Federal Government.”
On his part, Fayemi, who spoke virtually, said: “One area that has become a big burden in the cause of our national development is the security of lives and property in the states. Theoretically, the governors are considered as the chief security officers of their states and are expected to be in charge. Accordingly, everybody looks up to the governors to provide security, especially during threats. In practice, however, the governors really have limited control over the security architecture of the states.
While one of the loyalists of Ajimobi, Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, said the revenue sharing formula should be reviewed in favour of local councils and states, President of Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation, Dr. (Mrs.) Florence Ajimobi, in her welcome address, said the late Ajimobi had extended the frontiers of knowledge on good governance.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Adebola Ekanola, who lauded the contributions of Ajimobi, expressed the readiness of the university to strengthen its relationship with the Foundation.