WE MUST DISCUSS NIGERIA -MIMIKO
Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko has reiterated the need for a forum, where stakeholders can discuss about the structure of the Nigerian federation. Delivering a paper, 'People, Power, Good Governance and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria,' at the public presentation of a book, Nigeria's Golden Book, published by The Sun Publishing Limited, yesterday in Abuja, the governor noted that the continuing imbalance in the operation of the federal system is a manifest threat to good governance and enduring democracy.
'On the issue of the structure of Nigeria, the point has been made yet, we have to repeat it: no other federal entity is being run as a unitary enclave like Nigeria. It is the perversion of the federal structure that has birthed the disparate distortions in the polity. Because we are a federation running on a loose spin, the functional and symbiotic relationship expected between the federating states and the centre, on one hand, and among the federating states on the other, are non-existent.
'Apart from the unitary structure presented as a federation, what exist informally are regional structures, anchored in most cases on religious/ethnic and regional colourations, which are run most of the time in the interest of these regions and in such cases may not be unwilling to subvert the sanctity of the federation.'
The governor expressed concern that certain forces are frustrating the urgent need for a forum, where Nigerians could ventilate their feelings on the structural imbalances in the amalgam, Nigeria.
'We must be prepared for an all inclusive engagement. We must talk by whatever name it is called. We must discuss our anxieties and build the necessary consensus for the way forward! We have said there is a mutual reinforcing relationship between the skewed structure, elections and leadership. What should be added is that there are a set of manifestations of their combined effects on Nigeria.
'These manifestations are also direct results of the distortions occasioning the two problems. Nigeria must talk about the structure of this country. We cannot pretend that there are no structural problems in our nation. If we do not talk, hoodlums, kidnappers will talk for us from the streets. Issues of structures must be discussed.'
While he noted that democracy is synonymous with good governance all over the world, the guest speaker lamented that it has not translated to human development for Nigerians.
'Today, 12 years after the restoration of civilian democratic rule, there are horrendous challenges towards the deepening of democracy in Nigeria. Furthermore, many Nigerians of political perambulation and inept leadership have stunted Nigeria's development, accentuated ineffective governance and deepened alienation of the people from the political process.'
Governor Mimiko painted unsavoury pictures in all sectors of the economy: agriculture, education, health and security, declaring that successive governments have not been able to create enabling environment for job creation.
'One of the major determinants of good governance is the extent to which government is able to create the enabling environment for job creation. The reality about Nigeria is that, in spite of the cost of formal education, and its attendant difficulties, the prospect of employment is less promising. Overall, there is an obvious mismatch between the graduate turnout and graduate employment in Nigeria thus reinforcing that sense of hopelessness amongst the youth.'