From Mathias Oko, Calabar
There is no doubt that Nigeria as a nation , is beclouded with myriads of problems which have adversely affected the socio-political , economic and religious lives of her citizenry for decades running without solution.
However, if the advocacy of Tunde Adeleye , Arch-Bishop-elect of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglican Communion on federalism is taken seriously, then the nation may be better for it,
Adeleye who has consistently called on Nigerians to adopt a federal system of government as a panacea to the numerous problems confronting the nation, said yesterday at a press briefing in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, to mark this year’s Synod of the Anglican Communion that the worsening state of the nation, can be reversed if the country toes the path of true federalism..
The clergyman noted that Nigeria as a nation is deeply sick and has failed to meet the expectations of its founding fathers “because our leaders have left the path way which the founding fathers laid for the country.”
He said: “The rail on which the foundation of Nigeria is laid is rusted under our feet. We left the path our founders laid for us. We cannot now say that what we have now is what Sir Ahmadu. Bello, Cheif Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiw and others fought for.”
He maintained that, our leaders , rather than toeing the path of the founding fathers , have chosen to destroy the nation through corruption, saying that “it is unfortunate that the fight against corruption in Nigeria is purely pretentious, selective and vindictive .”
According to the clergyman, it is common knowledge that kidnapping, nepotism, terrorism among other forms of killings have been the order of the day, yet the leadership have not been able to achieve any victory over the so called fight against terrorism, insecurity, assassination, ethnicity, unemployment and strikes.
He lamented that diseases are prevalent in the country without any organised hospital to treat patients, yet the president goes to foreign country for his own treatment.
Adeleye decried the deplorable state of roads in Nigeria, greed, deceit of leaders/by leaders, eye service, witch-hunting, vandalism, wicked negligence and abandonment of youths; malicious negligence of the aged, marginalization of ethnic groups adjudged to be minor, religious segmentation resulting to collusion among numerous other vices.
He said government institutions have failed thoroughly, citing the weak state of the economy, absence of human development as a result of planlessness, saying the state of inequality in Nigeria is ever increasing than ever;
The Arch-Bishop said poverty is on the increase as well as tribalism and violence occasioned by bad leadership and deceitful followership; election rigging leading to the demise of democracy as political parties have no ideologies , hence no direction.
He said it is sad to note that human beings are being killed to celebrate burial of cows.
The clergyman advocates for true federalism as the only way out of the alleged mess that the nation has found itself, maintaining that power should devolve to the federating states as too much power is vested at the centre, making it too powerful.
Consequently, Adeleye is canvassing for the introduction of state police, and even local government police, saying that is the practice in the developed and developing societies. He contended that the police system operating in the country today fits into unitary government police system, instead of federal police system.
Going forward, he said: “Each state must have financial autonomy, and with that in place, each federating state can contribute an agreed percentage of its revenue to the centre, and should have its educational plans, and control over its resources.”
According to him, separation of powers, should be respected more than what is obtainable now, given the fact that the police have no regards for the legislature as presently being experienced.
The Arch-Bishop also called for the respect of the fundamental human rights of individuals, adding that people should be free to live in any part of the country of their choice…
He equally advocated for the introduction of state constitution, which he said will run side-by-side with the existing 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
He however, kicked against state religion, saying “not even a resemblance or allusion to such.”
He further canvassed for state schools to be managed and run by each state; administration of criminal justice to be a combined responsibility of the state and federal governments, while defence, borrowing, regulation of commerce, post office, declaration of war should be the responsibility of the federal government.
Above all, Adeleye asked Nigerians to pray more than ever before as prayer is the key to all things..
On the well being of the Diocese of Anglican Communion, the Bishop said: “So far, the church is growing as there have been evidences and testimonies about what God is doing for them….
“The training and retraining of pastors, both on the job and through retreats, seminars and conferences are ongoing. In the cathedral and all parts of the Diocese, there are numerous developments including structural enlargement as well as spiritual growth going on, the churches are being advanced to cater for the needs of the people such as community counseling, and economic profits etc.”