True federalism is anchored on resource control, says Victor Attah

Former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Patrick Dele Cole (left); ex-Governor, Akwa Ibom State, Dr.Victor Attah; past Minister of Tourism, Chief Tonye Graham-Douglas; erstwhile Minister of Foreign Affairs, General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd); Ambassador Akporode Clark and elderstateman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark during his 90th birthday in Abuja …yesterday. PHOTO LUCY: LADIDI ELUKPO

A former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Obong Victor Atah has restated the need for resource control by states in the country. He said it is the only way to ensure equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth.

Atah said the failure by Nigerians and government at all levels to accept that true federalism is anchored on resource control would fuel further crisis in the polity.

According to him: “This fact can be appreciated if we can shed all our fears and suspicion and accept resource control on which federalism is anchored. We must accept that our current challenges stem from only one thing – the sad fact that we have abandoned agriculture and drowned ourselves in the false belief that oil alone would sustain us. Today, we are talking about diversification, what is diversification if not restructuring, so why are we afraid to restructure?”

Atah stated this yesterday in Abuja at a national discourse to mark the 90th birthday of Chief Edwin K. Clark. The former governor who presented a paper on “Restructuring, true federalism and resource control: Panacea for enduring peace and sustainable development in Nigeria” further stated that in a true federation, a governor would invest in the potential of another state to generate income.

He added that: “A governor who knows that the only means of survival for his state is oil and gas would take every possible measure to protect these resources. And he can only do that effectively with his state police.

“It is quite unfortunate that today, we quarrel, we fight, we indulge in all sorts of destructive contrivance because we want to device ways of getting more money from the federal purse. That is not federalism. This way, we would never develop because we are merely sharing poverty.

“We bicker over population figures, we fight over the number of states in the zones, we quarrel over the number of local councils in our states. These quarrels will not abate, but rather escalate so long as we continue this.”

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