It’s time to devolve power to states, says Leo Ogor
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, has canvassed for devolution of power to the 36 states to allow for more responsibilities. He decried the situation whereby they go cap in hand to Abuja monthly for resources needed to turn around the fortunes of their citizenry.
The representative of Isoko Federal Constituency of Delta State at the lower chamber of the National Assembly said it is high time the states looked inward to develop themselves.
In an interview with The Guardian, he maintained that the Federal Government would not be able to develop the oil-rich Niger Delta, as according to him, the people were in a better stead to do that provided the states are allowed to control their natural endowments.
Blaming past military administrations for imposing a unitary system of government on the country, the federal lawmaker stressed that Nigeria would not achieve sustainable growth in the absence of true federalism.
Ogor, who is also member of the Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, pledged that the noticeable flaws in the system would be rectified in the ongoing attempt to amend the nation’s law book.
His words: “The people of the Niger Delta should be saddled with the development of the zone. It is not the responsibility of the Federal Government. It has no business controlling non-mineral and mineral resources.
“It has shown clearly that this has deprived us as a nation the privileges of specialisation. It is time for us to talk about some level of diversification. The Federal Government should let off many items in the exclusive legislative list and allow the states to carry out some level of responsibility. I assure you that that you will see the turnaround within a very short time.”
He noted that efforts were ongoing by the committee to amend Sections 44 (3) of the constitution which places ownership of natural resources in the hand of the Federal Government so states could take possession and pay taxes, determined by the National Assembly, to the central purse.
Ogor also revealed that some provisions of Section 162 of the law book were also to be altered to create competition so that every state survives on its resources or capacity of the governor to look inward.