Joe Effiong, Uyo
Former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has carpeted the current democratic experiment in Nigeria, describing it as ‘a civilian administered unitary system of government and not a democratic federal system’.
Delivering the 21st Obong Sampson Udo Etuk biennial lecture of the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, yesterday in Uyo, on the topic: “Federalism and Restructuring Rhetoric in Nigeria: Perspectives, Perceptions and Prescriptions for National Rebirth and Sustainable Development,” Attah said: “The essential feature of this system is the near total control and dominance of the Federal Government to which all the other governments – state and local governments- are subordinate.
“In this system, the central government exercises total resource control, collects all the revenue and distributes it according to established formula – a formula into which the states did not make any input
“What we have today, which was described as ‘feeding bottle democracy’ by the former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, is capable of causing revolutionary discontent and should be considered as alien to a democratic federal system.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it is this system that has bred all the discontent and the attendant ills that we have in this country today,” Attach said.
He said as Nigeria is faced with question of to-be or not-to-be, President Muhammadu Buhari should count himself particularly lucky that he is the one positioned to answer that question and to take the glory.
“He said without prompting that he would be belabouring the point to say that true federalism is essential at this juncture of our political and democratic evolution.
“That evolution must end in a rebirth for the country. Having acknowledged this fact, he must, with determination, and a sense if urgency, take the required steps to bring it about,” the former governor said.
Obong Patrick Udofia, who is the 10th international president of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, had earlier expressed his belief that the deliberations and recommendations from the lecture would proffer solutions to the Nigerian teething problems and attempt to answer the country’s national question.
“Resolutions and recommendations from this converge will be forwarded to the presidency, National Assembly, the state houses if Assembly in the South South and to other strategic institutions in the country for the sustained advocacy towards national rebirth and sustainable development,” he said.