From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has picked a hole at the decision of the founding fathers of Nigeria to abolish the regional government system that was introduced shortly after Nigeria gained independence in 1960.
He said that records confirmed that the regional government system was more effective than unitary system of government, insisting that it helped in the development of Nigeria at that time, and it’s abolition opened the door for backwardness and underdevelopment being witnessed in Nigeria.
Dr. Jonathan made the observation in Abuja, on Saturday, as a keynote speaker at the maiden memory lecturer of Captain Idahosa Okunbo, organized by his family and friends in honor of the legacies of the Captain Okunbo.
Aside former President Jonathan who delivered keynote address, high class dignitaries, notably, Olu of Warri; former and serving governors as well as Captains of industries, lawmakers and other dignitaries were in attendance.
Dr. Jonathan in his speech made reference to the successes recorded during the period, particularly in South West part of the country, which is responsible for the significant growth and human capital development in the region.
He said: “After the amalgamation we were governed at the regional levels not tribes. Western region, eastern region, later midwestern region witnessed impressive growth and development. We could see a kind of draggy kind of fight between all the cities that are struggling to control the affairs of the nation.
“Southwest was regarded as one of the most developed part of Africa then. So, I believe if we had been allowed to continue that way, and probably the major regions have by kind of peer review, looking at what others are doing to also do better, the country would have been better off.
“If we look at what happened in the western region, for example, where we came up with this policy of free education which was one key thing that can be use to unite and advanced people. You look at what we did, of course, the University of Ibadan, first television station in Nigeria and so on.”
He challenged current politicians to champion a cause of national unity, and eschew the practice of tribalism, religion and others differences that promotes division among the people.
He commended the family of late Captain Idahosa Okunbo, for upholding the legacies and goodwill established by their late father, challenging them to ride on the established platform and possibly exceed the achievements of their late father.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr. Osaho Okunbo, appreciated the moral and other supports received from members of the public since the demise of his father last year.
He assured the gathering that their late father built a legacy, not only in physical acquisitions but human capital which has helped the family and other well wishers to sail the ship of his legacy.
Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesile, Rivers State born politician, Tony Cole, and several others participated in the panel of discussion on how to sustain legacies that would outlived the people that set it.