Relocation and challenges of true federalism in Nigeria
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President Bola Tinubu
By Sadiq Muhammed
Are we truly ready to practice true federalism when tribalism, jingoism, and bigotry pervade every sector? I doubt it. The back-and-forth on key national issues is at stake. The idea of Abuja as the capital was conceived to have a capital devoid of ethnic influence, central for a purpose. It’s sad how our government officials keep sabotaging the system for whatever reasons.
My reason for disagreeing with moving some government agencies and departments is simple. Lagos, like any other state, must not be favored at the expense of others. Why should the FAAN headquarters be moved to Lagos? Do only Lagos airports matter? Even the relocation of some CBN departments to Lagos is inexcusable. There’s a government directive for all banks to move their headquarters to Abuja. What are the Minister of Aviation and the CBN Governor seeking to achieve? This is not good for the system.
Tomorrow, if a northern president comes on board and decides to move the same parastatals or department to his state, let it be on record that some selfish individuals started it.
Abuja is the federal capital, so every federal government activity should start there. Let’s not start the politics of trying to dominate other regions economically because it could backfire. Let’s have faith in our current arrangements. Let’s not start something that will destroy the country. You have only 4 or 8 years at most. Have we looked at the cost implications of moving these parastatals and departments? Does this mean every government can now move departments or parastatals wherever they please? The country belongs to all of us. Let’s try to do the right thing and see ourselves as Nigerians. Selfish moves won’t benefit anyone. Do the Minister and the CBN governor know how much it will cost the country to move these departments or parastatals from Lagos to Abuja?
How will moving these departments or parastatals improve our current strained economy? People are watching, and it’s not good for the country. This is nothing but an attempt to worsen an already bad situation. Nigerians need to be able to feed their families, not aggravate their existing lack of trust among themselves. What we need is improvement in the aviation sector, which can be achieved by operating from Abuja. Moving these departments to Lagos is needless and a waste of resources, something we can’t afford in our current situation. We must avoid any action that will create suspicion among ourselves. This is the kind of situation that led us to a 14-month needless civil war. When General Ironsi continued to pay the January mutineers, it raised eyebrows and led to the counter-coup that ended General Ironsi’s administration and his assassination. We must learn from history.
Muhammed can be reached at email@example.com