A one day Round Table Discussion on “Restructuring and Nigeria Federalism” organized by the International Association of Research Scholars and Administrators in collaboration with the Akpan Hogan EkpoCentre for Public Policy was held at the multipurpose hall of the University of Uyo, Uyo on the 26th of June 2018.
The Keynote paper presented by Prof. Musa Abutudu (former Executive Secretary – African Association of Political Scientists) in the Round Table Discussion raised issues to the fact that the shape and function of Nigerian federal system has remained unsettled to the extent that agitation for restructuring the country is a perennial one. The paper defined the structure of federalism to be encapsulated in the constitutional division of powers between two levels of government, namely the center and the component units.
The paper highlighted specifics on the Nigerian restructuring debate including:
i. The Framework of Federalism (issues like protection of minorities, devolution of power, geopolitical balance)
ii. Framework of Fiscal Federalism (resource control, resource sharing)
iii. Agitation for inclusiveness (rotational Presidency, Citizenship and Indegeneship)
iv. Secularity of Nigerian State (Sharia debate, Insurgency and Terrorism)
v. The politics of self-determination and secession (contemporary manifestation of secessionism)
vi. Bringing about restructuring: the politics of procedure
The paper concluded by raising issues beyond restructuring, such as:
i. Need to restructure the behaviour of political society
ii. Need to develop a service oriented philosophy of politics and governance
iii. Need for a robust welfare for the people as a key driver for the political process
iv. Need for fidelity to the principles of free, fair, and credible elections
v. Imbibing Republican ethos
Arising from the Lead Paper, the Forum agreed and adopted the following on the matter of Restructuring and Nigerian Federalism:
That there is need for restructuring, but it would appear that restructuring is not clearly defined and understood, therefore the need of a National Think Tank devoid of ethnicity, religion, politics and corruption, to raise a template for discussion of Nigeria’s restructuring.
Envisaged Federalism should be restructured to bring part-time legislature, independent judiciary, executive restructuring (moving some responsibilities from the center to the units), public service restructuring, evaluation mechanism to monitor functionality of the governance system, and the general restructuring of our religion
Current motivation for restructuring in Nigeria is based on mistrust and fear of domination. To allay such negative motivational foundations, the envisaged restructuring should offer more access to the component units and strict devolution of power.
i. The use of political power and economic control to promote growth and development.
ii. There is need for attitudinal change of Nigerians to drive the restructuring process.
iii. Restructuring of the Constitution as the people’s constitution, especially to take care of core qualifications for aspiring political leadership in the country.
iv. There is dire need for a new Federation that unites the country.
As part of the Round Table meeting, a paper was presented by Professor Celestine A Ntuen, Vice Chancellor Ritman University on the theme: Public Policy for Science, Health, Engineering and mathematics: Alleviating Consumerism through Practical Innovation.
The paper surmised that Innovation remains a means of reducing consumer economy and increasing production of goods and services. For Nigeria to achieve and benefit from applied innovation, there is need to focus on:
i. Policies on commercialization and translational research, including the modalities and managing intellectual property, patents, and sale of patent rights to commercial ventures;
ii. Policies for inclusion of commercialization opportunities as requirement for research grant applications to government agencies;
iii. An national policy empowering states of the federation to build turnkey beta testing facilities for knowledge transfer and product commercialization testing.
The paper has been printed and copies donated to the Akpan Hogan Ekpo Centre for Public Policy and it is available to the public.
The Board, Executive and Members of the International Association of Research Scholars and Administrators acknowledge the partnership of:
1. International Association of University Presidents (IUAP), New York, USA
2. Ukrainian Association of Scientists and Education, Kiev, Ukraine
3. Kandahar University, Afghanistan
4. Institute of Public Enterprises Hyderabad, India
5. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna, India
6. National Institute for Education and Research, New Delhi, India
7. University of Uyo, Nigeria
Communiqué Drafting Committee
1. Prof. TrenchardIbia – Chairman
2. Dr. Isaac Akinmoladun
3. Mrs. Itoro David
4. Prof. Akin Ogunsakin
5. Prof. Christopher Ekong – Secretary