Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has advised Nigerians to focus more on governance rather than dissipate energy discussing election, power and succession in 2023, which is far away.
Fayemi, who spoke at a book launch entitled, ‘Nigeria Democracy without Development: How to Fix’, authored by Omano Edigheji, also frowned at the rot besetting the local governments despite huge yearly budgetary allocations.
Represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, he contended that the states and local governments stood in good stead to deliver democratic dividends more than the federal government.
“Nobody is asking questions; everybody is talking about election, power and succession. But the content of government and purpose of power is not in debate. Yes, the national assembly is responsible for a constitutional amendment, but the 36 states must concur.
“I will worry less about the form of governance in Nigeria. But talk about the efficiency of the current system. “How can we make the current system work better?
“I belong to the school of thought that democracy missed the road where people live and the place of domicile in Nigeria is in the communities which are local governments and state governments.
“So, I worry more about the effectiveness of sub-national governments in delivering services, in education, in health, social services and creating the enabling environment for businesses to work in their respective states so that there can be happiness among the majority of the people.
“I think the role of the Federal Government is often over-exaggerated relative to what states are supposed to be doing. Because people live in states and that is where we demand education, that is where health is demanded, that is where we need roads.
“So, the earlier we begin to shift attention and emphasis of the quality of governance to states and local governments, the better for the people of this country,” he said.
Meanwhile, his counterpart in Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El’Rufai, attributed the slow pace of development in the country to transparency and accountability deficit, adding that, a “large segment of the population have disengaged from the electoral process. The situation is worrisome, but it can be fixed.”
Represented by a Senator Uba Sani, who is representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, governor El-Rufai said for the masses to trust the current system, the government must embark on developmental projects without infringing on the rights of citizens.
“My biggest worry is about the place of fundamental rights and freedoms in a developmental state. Can we carry out massive industrialisation as envisaged in a developmental state without curtailing people’s freedoms and creating space for a civilian dictatorship,” he added.
The author, Dr Edigeji, said the book was written to correct the rot in the political system.
“For Nigeria to overcome these development and institutional deficits, it is proposed that democratic governments embrace developmentalism as an overarching national development agenda.
“In effect, development needs to be carried out democratically, in the context of an overarching endogenous national development plan and anchored on a long term national development vision,” he said.