Atiku calls for devolution of power - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Saturday, December 11, 2021

Atiku calls for devolution of power


...says over centralization  of power at the central breeds corruption, mediocrity

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has advocated for the reversal of the centralization of power and concentration of resources in the federal government.

Abubakar said this while delivering the  11th convocation lecture of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo state with the topic "Diversity, Education and Autonomy: Developing Nigeria in the Years Ahead noted that it is a cog in the nations wheels of development and progress.

According to him "The excessive centralization of power and concentration of resources in the federal government have not served us well. 

"Instead, they have encouraged a domineering all-knowing federal government that stretches itself into every aspect of our lives with little positive results to show.  

"Rather we have had excessive corruption, mediocrity, generations of citizens who hope to become rich without work, emasculation of state and local initiatives and a lack of creative and healthy competition among states as they all look towards Abuja for handouts every month. 

"The development strategies that have produced 13 million out-of-school children, millions of unemployed or under-employed youth, including those with university degrees, and a level of insecurity that threatens to splinter the country into tiny bits controlled by armed warlords are clearly the wrong ones.  We must change direction. 

"We must reverse the concentration of power and resources at the centre.  And we must make serious and conscious efforts to identify the potentials and strengths of each state and section of this country and work to maximize its contribution to the development of our country as it is supported to develop itself.

" That is how you allow greater autonomy while pulling together. Greater autonomy for states will allow ideas to germinate from anywhere and blossom.  If Kano becomes a thriving industrial city, Jigawa would benefit and soon become an industrial centre as well. 

" If we support the emerging automobile centres in Nnewi, Kaduna, Bauchi and Lagos, the tanneries of Kano would be the natural local suppliers of leather to that sector. 

"If we reverse the on-going de-industrialization and attract tire manufacturing companies back to supply that sector, jobs will be created and the rubber plantations in Edo and surrounding states will benefit. 

" If we have good transport and communication infrastructure and a reasonably free market, no section of a country would develop without the others soon joining in.  Capital moves and expands to take advantage of new opportunity centres.

"Reduction of federal powers and responsibilities and greater autonomy for states would, for instance, allow a state with very low demand for university spots to decide whether its priority is another federal university or investments in primary, secondary teacher education to ensure that its young population has basic education, preparatory for possible university or vocational education in the future.

The former VP who reiterated his call for autonomy of the constituent parts said the country needs to tailor its development policies and practices to acknowledge its diversity and benefit from it. 

He also advocated severe punishment for parents who refuse to send their children to have 'free primary and secondary education,'

According to him basic education must be free and compulsory said parents should be forced to send their children to school just as they are forced to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases.

Abubakar noted that there would not be over 13 million out-of-school children if there were severe consequences for parents who refuse to send their children to school. 

 He said his father was jailed by the local authorities for refusing to send him to school.

" We persuade parents to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases because vaccination is a good thing.  

"Why don’t we do the same for education?  Parents should be persuaded, even forced, to send their children to school so they, at least, acquire basic education. That basic education should be free and compulsory. 

" I believe that if there are severe consequences for parents who refuse to send their children to have free primary and secondary education, we would not have over 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria. Certainly not. 

"Our per capita income would not have stagnated for 40 years. Think about it, our per capita income is today what it was forty years ago.

"So why does it seem like the importance of education for a society such as ours is so difficult for some to understand? 

"Why do we seem reluctant to the idea of providing good quality basic education for all our people?  

He queried " Why can’t we see that the neglect of education for our people has huge long-term consequences which have become obvious already as our country is engulfed in security challenges across its length and breadth? End

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