By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja.
A University Professor at the Northwestern University in the United States of America, Prof. Richard Anthony Joseph, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the report of the 2014 National Conference as a way of addressing the agitation for a true federalism.
Joseph stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at an interactive session organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) in collaboration US embassy, said the report of that conference offered Nigeria the most effective solution to the calls for restructuring.
Presenting a paper titled “Affirming Democracy Amid Insecurity and Uncertainty”, Joseph said: “There was a great opportunity in 2014 when the National Conference was held here in Nigeria and that conference came forward with a lot of recommendations. And so that was an opportunity which Nigerians had to discuss all of these issues relating to true federalism and restructuring among themselves and to go forward.”
He recommended what he called “incremental improvement” of the institutions in place, adding that there was no need going back to repeat or convene another conference on the issue of restructuring
“My feelings on the basis of a lot of these is the idea of incrementally improving that system, taking those kinds of steps rather than starting all over again,” he said
On the key issues confronting Nigeria’s democracy and development, the professor noted that “Until Nigerians find a way to create institutions which can remain part of the state and not become instruments susceptible to being captured by factions of civil society which win (temporary) control of the state, any hope for a constitutional democracy is likely to be regularly frustrated.”
He wondered why Nigeria spent more time building religious institutions without attempting to promote the basic institutions that could lead to real development.
Joseph declared: “Nigeria must move to the forefront in the region, in the continent, and globally in interwoven ways: building effective state institutions, advancing democracy, and democratizing development
“Why can Nigerians build and operate mega churches but not quality public transport, public universities, public energy utilities and other service organizations? he asked
The professor of International History and Politics who is also a research fellow of the Harvard University, blamed Nigerian politicians for the woes that have befallen the country.
“The Nigerian political calendar keeps being turned back by political elites. Individuals who accede to positions of state power are often adept at milking the very source which they are expected to strengthen and fructify,” he noted.