The former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, on Monday in Abuja said that “true federalism” was the most
essential ingredient to ensure good governance in the country.
Gana stated this at the Conference onthe “Reflection on Post Independence State Creation in Nigeria” organised by
the Compass Resource International, in collaboration with the National Association of State Movement (NASM).
He said, “Since there are always contending forces in any federal system,leaders must keep refining the covenant
and agreement that bind us together.
“We must never be tired of refiningour federal system, because to makeNigeria peaceful, progress and prosperous is a task that must be done.”
According to him, for federalism to be meaningful, certain minimum number of constituent states is essential.
He said that creation of more states had brought greater stability to the nation’s federal system, adding, “serious tension and challenges of co-existence prevailed when we had a federation of three regions”.
Gana said that the desire for harmony, self-determination and federal balance should compel attention to the current demand for the creation of more states.
“The question of initial viability should not be used to deny our people the strong desire to have more states. With qualitative and visionary leadership, each state can be very viable.
“In a federal system, each constituentgovernment must have the authorityand powers to act.”
The former minister said that in a modelfederal arrangement, each governmentmust exist an as autonomous entity, notan appendage of any other government.
“If Nigeria is to be peaceful,progressive and prosperous, we must release the creative energies of our
people by fully recognising the very strong spirit of self-determination.”
Gana declared support for granting financial autonomy for local government as expressed by Nigerians during public
hearing in the 360 federal constituencies in the constitution review process.
“We stronglyly support the emerging consensus that all funds meant for local governments, should go directly to each local government.
“ The current practise of the so-called joint account has been severely abused by state government.”
He expressed optimism that with good leadership and effective management, more funds to local government would
greatly facilitate rural development.
“Effective delivery of development to the people must remain cardinal objectives of good governance.”
In a keynote address, Dr Yakubu Ogwukwo, the leader of NASM suggested the creation of additional 18 states in Nigeria to accommodate agitation of various sentiments of the people in the country.
“This will drastically reduce the urge of Nigerians to request for the creation of more states for a long time to come.” Ogwukwo said that as the country advanced toward the millennium celebration in 2014, there was ample
justification to address the issues of additional states â€œfor equity and development. He added that more states would create new centres for development initiatives,
which would generate new ideals and creativity.