Obasanjo wouldn’t have supported local police creation if he’s still president – Victor Attah
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah says former President Olusegun Obasanjo is advocating ideas he would have rejected when he was president.
Attah stated this while defending his long-held belief in resource control and fiscal federalism as panacea to many of the nation’s challenges.
“I was part of a rather critical meeting. I joined that meeting virtually; the meeting was coordinated by Bishop Sunday Onouha and co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“And he (Obasanjo) said something quite interesting; that Colombia had a similar experience with us on abuse of local police. So, they (Colombia) came to realise that certain problems should be solved locally.
“So, Colombia once again disengaged and re-established local police. In Nigeria, we haven’t. You know why I mentioned Obasanjo, because if he were President today, he would not have taken that position. He was one of those who preferred to centralise. We tried to tell him about federalism, he would not listen.
“So, I am glad today that he is a convert and a strong convert. If we had gone along with what we know to be the federal arrangement, we would not be where we are today.
“We had the opportunity to lay a solid foundation for proper and true federalism but we didn’t.
“In fact, you can go back to the things I told you about governors and members of the National Assembly. When people are in position, they tend to forget that the position is only for a while.
“So, don’t make laws that suit that position, make laws that are universally okay and acceptable. If we had accepted the idea of true federalism, believe me, all these things about resource control would not have arisen, because they are intrinsic part of federalism, and that is what we want and that is why our forefathers agreed to proper federalism and I added under a parliamentary system,” Attah told Sunday Punch.
On his clamour for resource control, Attah said, “Talking about resource control; this is an issue of federalism. If we had federalism, we would have had resource control and all other things that go along with true federalism as we had in 1960 and 1963.
“If we had maintained what had been established by our founding fathers, we would not be where we are today. In 1999, with the return of democracy, we had the opportunity to again lay a solid foundation for proper and true federalism to thrive, but we didn’t.
“Our forefathers took seven years to fashion out that system from 1953 when Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for Nigeria’s independence till 1960 when we actually became independent.
“This system provided for autonomy of the federating units, guaranteed the fact that the government at the centre and the governments at the federating units were coordinate and none was subordinate to the other.
“It enthroned the sanctity of human life, mutual respect for one another and harmonious coexistence. Those were the terms that we agreed to as necessary conditions for staying together as a country.
“The change that we have today did not come because we faulted that arrangement, it came because there was a military coup and the military are not capable of operating a federal system.
“They can only function in a unitary system. But the military has gone and we are still keeping the unitary system. That is what is wrong.”