Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku, has said the proposed National Conference should be used as a platform to evolve a workable federal structure for the country.
Anyaoku said this in Lagos yesterday at the third Goody Jidenma Public Lecture, entitled: “The Practice of True Federalism in Africa, the Nigerian Experience and the Way Forward,” held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA.
He said: “The National Conference should offer Nigerians the golden opportunity to discuss an appropriate federal structure for the country.
“The conference should be made to focus on the required system of government.
“There should be a return to the six federating units, with each unit developing at its own pace.”
The former secretary general said such units would ensure equitable sharing of proceeds from the nation’s resources.
Anyaoku noted that Nigeria attained “faster development” when it operated regional structure of government.
He advised Nigerians against the syndrome of “it is our turn to produce the next president”, but to work collectively at achieving a united, peaceful and developed country.
The guest lecturer, Prof. Jonah Elaigwu, President, Institute of Governance and Social Research, IGSR, noted that Nigeria, like other African countries, was yet to practice true federalism. He said: “No country has been able to meet with the characteristics of federalism so far.
“There is symmetrical federalism in Nigeria. Even America is not a true federalism.” Elaigwu urged Nigerians to jointly work to remove the federation challenges and create a federal system of government that would meet their collective needs.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has promised that the National Dialogue would neither delay nor disrupt the ongoing constitution amendment process.
Ekweremadu gave the assurance yesterday while delivering a paper entitled; “Constitution Review Process: A Comparative Perspective,” at the ongoing African Legislative Summit organised by the National Assembly and other international partners.
He said that in view of the new provisions on how to enact a new constitution already passed by the Senate and awaiting other steps to become part of the constitution, the ongoing constitution amendment process would rather help to provide the legal framework that would give life to the eventual output of the proposed National Dialogue.
The deputy Senate president, however, pointed out that the way forward for Africa was not necessarily in the abundance of laws, but the willingness and discipline to live by the dictates of the constitution.