BY ADEBAYO WAHEED, Ibadan
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reiterated call for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force to tackle the problem of insecurity rocking the country.
The APC leader while speaking at the 3rd annual Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable in Ibadan on Wednesday said the police and the people need such reform so that the police might help better answer the security challenges we now face.
While noting that Abiola had been a proponent for state police for many years, he said the time for state police has come.
“In fact, it is overdue. This important change requires more funds in state hands, less in federal”, he said.
The former governor noted that despite the fiscal and budgetary constraints, Ajimobi performed “adroitly, bringing an unprecedented level of civic pride and public works to Oyo.
“But the truth that he himself recognized 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 centralized 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. Here I must state what for many of us may seem a novel idea. But this concept is one that has directed the fiscal policies of other nations for several decades.
“If we are to catch these other nations in development, it is prerequisite that we match them in the efficiency of governmental fiscal roles and operations regarding the national government and our subnational political units”, he said.
He argued that given its unique currency-issuing power, the federal government could never be starved of the naira required to fulfill its core functions, adding that due to this currency power, the federal government did not necessarily need naira revenue to survive.
“The federal government can never be short of naira unless it creates myopic laws and regulations to so hamstring the federal government.
“We have been taught that such confining measures are necessary to contain inflation. However, they have not been successful in containing inflation and in the long term probably add to inflation. What they have been is terribly efficient at is reducing growth, jobs and development and bringing recurrent recession.
“Because the federal government is not revenue constrained, it is just that the federal government does not retain so much naira revenue to the detriment of the states. States on the other hand are naira constrained. They can only spend what they take in as revenue. Thus, it is imperative that states are given more revenue that they can do more things”, he added.
While Tinubu did not advocate a blank check for states, he said the more revenue they get, the more they must do and the more they assume the responsibility to use that revenue wisely because the very fate of their people is at stake.
He said other items such as stamp duties for financial transactions, tourism and the incorporation of businesses should also occur at the state level and be removed from the federal charge.
“Perhaps the single most important factor in economic development is power generation. States currently are shut out from this vital sector even though the nation suffers a paucity of power.
“States must be allowed to engage in power generation as long as their efforts are consistent with and do not undermine federal labours in this sector.
“If we begin these fundamental changes, then our states will become stronger, more able catalysts of economic development. By instituting true federalism, we open the door not only to prosperity but to greater democracy and openness throughout Nigeria. This will help bring peace and tranquility where there is now tension and uncertainty about the pathway our nation is on”, Tinubu said.
He added that as call for more funds and power to devolve to the states, “we must demand that state governments function appropriately. State government must meet the greater tasks given it.
“For the state government to do so, requires that the political party in control is united in vision and disciplined in conduct. This call is beyond the ability of a certain other political party to fulfill. Thus, it is up to us.
“The APC was founded to fill a void in Nigerian politics and governance. It was founded as a progressive party devoted to the welfare of the people and to the establishment of democratic good governance throughout the land.
“Thus, the APC was based on the ideal that the collective good is more important than the individual ambition. The party was to be a platform for delivery of peace, progress and prosperity to the people not as a wrestling mat for individual personalities to clash over whose ambitions would be realized and whose would be rejected.
“As such, the party was constructed in a manner that every member should be given due voice and that our internal processes must be transparent, politically just and accord with the rule of law as outlined by the party’s constitution.’’
“I ask that you, the members of the APC in this state, not be distracted or discouraged but remain faithful to the progressive ways upon which this party was built.”