By Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Governor Barr Simon B. Lalong of Plateau State has said that, Nigeria is not suffering from a deficit of good governance ideas; neither is it suffering from a deficit of technocrats and bureaucrats to drive these ideas.
He lamented over the situation, which has thus pre-disposed itself as to the argument that, ‘the problem is with the operation of our institutions and the governance process that drives implementation of policies.’
The governor was speaking, while declaring open the 2017 Law Week/20th Hon. Justice Azaki Memorial Lectures with a theme: “Restructuring – A Panacea for Nigeria’s Development and Cohesion,” in Jos on Monday.
Governor Lalong highlighted that, by the process of change, “we must target with the restructuring and must be systematic and progressively intended to strengthen the institutions that would compel service delivery that will improve the lot of Nigerians.”
He urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that “all hands must be on deck to check the cankerworms, which had become a ‘transitional pathogen’ in the bloodstream of our country, from one government to another.”
According to him, “the one or two hiccups being experienced with the human resistance and structural challenge being faced with the war (against corruption), we can say – with a bi-partisan sense of nationalism – that modest success has been made with the fight against corruption, and this includes the milestones recorded in the Judiciary.”
The governor further stated that, the theme for this year’s Law Week, which is “Restructuring – A Panacea for Nigeria’s Development and Cohesion,” is another topical issue in National Discourse,” adding that, “this theme is timely and appropriate, because of the level to which it has dominated the political landscape.
“Both political and non-political State Actors have joined the debate on the issue of restructuring from their different perspectives and concepts of restructuring.”
He observed that a misunderstanding of the concept of restructuring among the younger generation has also undoubtedly given rise, in some quarters, to the provocative and inciting calls for secession and the dissolution of the Nigerian State.
According to him, this unfortunate scenario has played out in the many agitations that have been characterized by hate speeches and genocidal stereotyping that have led to pockets of attacks on citizens in some States of the Federation.
The governor noted that, government cannot afford to turn a deaf ear to the call for a Restructured Federation that would positively restore Nigeria to the path of developmental progress and functionality as a Nation State, without the internal and external threats to its corporate existence.
He explained further that, in the course of his involvement in the Restructuring debate in the South-West, under the All Progressives Congress Restructuring Committee led by Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, he observed “the various mistaken perception of calls for regionalism as a call for dismembering of the Nigeria State was properly situated,” and assured that “Nigerians are in agreement on the unity in diversity of our country.
“The question, however, begging for answer is: whether the present clogs to our progress as a Nation is a structural or a functional problem,” he said.
“We must seek to adequately address this as we seek to harmonize the various submissions, in our bid to get to a workable template on how to restructure the country,” he stated.
Governor Lalong pointed out that, “Our Pre- and Post-Independence Constitutional evolution has had various constituents: National Assembly and Constitutional Reform Committee inputs, which we therefore must set out to deliberately implement, within the workable framework that we seek to develop; but this should not nullify the foundation of our current existence as a Nation.
“So, whether the position is for devolution of powers, restoration of true federalism with financial autonomy and the independence of federating units, or even the issue of the operation of a bi-cameral National Assembly, let the debate be such that it favours the unity of the Nigeria State and will enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of the Nigerian Citizen,” he stated.
Barr Lalong has urged them to come out with advancing suggestions on the various adjustments that would be made to the operational and structural framework of the Nigerian State, which will promote National Development and Cohesion.
The governor asserted that, as the NBA avails government the resolutions that would come out of this Law Week, he promised them that he will make it a point of duty to ensure they receive the consideration of the committee set by government, to harmonize the various submissions coming out of the restructuring discourse.
Conscience Triumph reports that awards were presented to governors Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal, CFR (Sokoto State), Barr Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar (Bauchi State), and Simon Lalong of Plateau State.