Don condemns call for return to regional government

Participants at a roundtable discussion on Nigeria’s democracy and governance issues have suggested that citizens should play more participatory role in politics and hold their lawmakers accountable by compelling them to amend the constitution so that the nation’s democracy can work, or revert to regionalism.

A leading discussant at the one day workshop organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Abuja (UniAbuja), Prof. Solomon Ogbu, dissected the numerous problems hampering the growth of democracy in Nigeria and concluded that return to regional government will compound Nigeria’s problems as witnessed in the First Republic due to several administrative and lapses.

In the paper titled, “Beyond Amotekun security outfit: Enthroning regional government through state legislation and cooperation,” Professor Ogbu argued that the widespread insecurity in the country inspired the creation of regional security outfits such as Amotekun and Ebubeagu in the southwest and the southeast respectively.

He stated however, that the emergence of these security outfits have not in any way reduced insecurity as killings are being witnessed on daily basis. He argued that the security outfits have been made ineffective because state governors do not have absolute control over the police and other federal security agencies that supervise the outfits.

The university don said that it would be difficult to introduce regional governments in the country at the moment without first amending the constitution, because without the amendment, the constitution will remain sacrosanct with this generation and even the future generations.

For the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), UniAbuja, Prof. Sadeeque A. Abba, Amotekun and other regional security outfits would fizzle out at the end of the tenure of the administrations that established them.

He maintained that it would be a futile exercise to expect that present day lawmakers, who are benefitting from the nation’s democratic system, would willingly amend the constitution to favour the people.

The don urged the people to use their voting power to improve the available democratic system, noting that votes when properly applied, can decide who stays in government or what type of policies should be imposed on the people.

Former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, UniAbuja, Professor Yusufu Ali Zoaka, in a brief remark, stated that just as the nation requires restructuring, the people also need proper reorientation to reshape their mindset from the current docile state to a more vibrant and active state for proper functioning of democracy.

The Country Representative of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung of Germany (sponsors of the programme), Mrs. Angela Ogah, stated that youths can contribute meaningfully to the democratic process by using their energy, passion, numerical strength and votes to change unfavourable processes.

Mrs. Ogah, who reminded the youths that the future belongs to them, said the way the country has been going calls for concern and requires that citizens play active role in governance.

“I think it is important to highlight the root of the problems of the country, but the people have the power in their hands through organizing themselves to change the process and hold leaders accountable.

“The youths can do a lot in the society. By using their energy, passion, and talents, the youth can make a difference. People can organize themselves to engage their leaders. It is dangerous when we talk to the youths to dwell on the challenges alone. This is what we aimed to achieve by organizing the roundtable,” she said.