Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on Wednesday said that Nigeria would fare better if it reverted to a regional system of government.
Anyaoku made the declaration at the fourth Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Lagos.
NAN reports that the colloquium was part of activities marking the 60th birthday of Tinubu, erstwhile Governor of Lagos State and the National Leader of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria.
In h?s opening remarks, Anyaoku, who chaired the event, said that Nigeria needed six federating units.
"We need six units instead of our current 36 states which compel the nat?on to spend 74 per cent of its revenue on administrat?on.
"If the states must be retained, they could become development zones," Anyaoku said.
He said that there was a need for Nigeria to return to true federalism because it would guarantee peace and stability in the nation.
“Nigeria was making more progress in national development in the early days of independence when it practised regionalism and true federalism.
“In those days, we had significant export of groundnuts from the North, cocoa from the West, rubber from the Mid-West and palm produce from the East,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria needs a major restructuring of its current architecture of governance.
Anyaoku said that the challenges of heightened insecurity, ageing debate on revenue derivation and allocation, as well as the decline in public service delivery justified the need for a national conference.
"We need to convene a conference of appropriately chosen representatives of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria to dialogue how to change the challenges.
"We must also reach a consensus on the constitution because Nigeria cannot effectively tackle its challenges on the basis of the existing 1999 constitution.
``Without far reaching changes to the 1999 Constitution and the present government structure, the peace and stability of the nation will remain elusive," he said.
He, however, clarified that his support for a national conference was without the epitaph "sovereign’’ and should not discuss the nation’s disintegration.
Anyaoku also said that the outcome of the conference must be submitted to a referendum.
He described Tinubu as a true champion of democracy and governance in Nigeria.
"Tinubu was an effective advocate for the return of democracy and restitution to the late Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election," he said.
According to him, Tinubu's advocacy for true federalism was one the reasons why he agreed to chair the colloquium.
NAN reports that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, as well as Govenors Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Ib?kunle Amosun of Ogun, were at the event.
Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo and Babangida Aliyu of Niger, a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Mohammed Uwais, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and ACN Presidential candidate in the April 2011 general elections, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, were also in attendance.
The roll call also included senators, members of the House of Representatives, leaders of civil society groups and party chieftains.