African literary icon and Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on governors of the 36 states of Nigeria, to stop being timid, before President Buhari and push further the envelope of restructuring for the good of the country.
Professor Soyinka who has been an advocate of true federalism, said there is a consensus that Nigeria is not working on the present structure.
“There is a consensus that this country whether in terms of governance, economic relations, security, educational policy, cultural policy, etc, that the country requires restructuring. Even the word restructuring has been restructured in many directions, in cogent expression which will mean the same thing for everybody.
“For me, for instance, I emphasized decentralization, reconfiguration…We all know what we have now is not working, it’s obvious and we can’t continue along the same line and say that it will work, it is sign of madness.”
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He said governors, must know that they have a big duty to their respective states, which necessitates, why they cannot continue to be timid and shy away from the call for decentralization of power in the country for effective development.
“I want to make a plea to all governors, stop being so timid. Push this federal envelope as far as it can go, even while we undertake the technical aspect of restructuring whether in terms of dialogue, evolving the constitution or whatever, something has to go on, after all, we’ve had so many of these confabs.
“My plea is to governors to start with: You are charged with the immediate responsibility of the welfare of your own people in whatever term and if you study the constitution carefully, I have done this with lawyers, and it seems that a lot can be done at this moment”.
Prof Soyinka reminded the governors that they are duty bound to provide effective leadership in their respective states. This he said, they can only achieve through autonomy and true federalism.
“You need a season of greater autonomy for your own states and that is what I mean by pushing the federal envelope as far as it can go even with this impossible document that we have to cease what power, what authority you can derive from the constitution.”
The Noble laureate made the call, while contributing at the 2021 Obafemi Awolowo Lecture, held virtual, because of Covid-19 protocols on Saturday.
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