Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said the devolution of power from Federal Government to State Government in Nigeria can be realised through peaceful legal processes.
According to the Vice President, restructuring can be achievable, if states in the Federation can stand up to the Federal Government and claim their rights before the courts of law, even without tampering with the constitution of the nation.
Osinbajo said this in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, during the 80th birthday colloquium of elder statesman, Bisi Akande.
The Vice President hinged his position on the success of Lagos State against the Federal Government during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Bola Tinubu which gave the state the power to create its own local community development authorities, establish state tax laws and state urban development plan laws.
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“The process of creating stronger sub-nationals is possible even without constitutional changes. Even with our current legal and constitutional framework, much is still possible.
“In the period from the civilian government of Chief Bola Tinubu in Lagos, in which I have the privilege to serve till date, the government of Lagos State has demonstrated that it is possible to have restructuring, especially fiscal federalism and devolution of power to states, but by the process of litigation as oppose to going through the legislature.
“As of 1999, my very first with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he made it clear that as far as he was concerned, what was most important was for the state to pursue fiscal federalism and devolution of power for our State. He wanted me to study it and then to look at how it could be done, and we spent a lot of time and resources, looking at how to do it.
“We realised that going to the national assembly would be a waste of time and we then decided to go through the process of litigation. As a matter of fact, we went to the Supreme Court the Federal Government at that time opposed all the moves made by then.
“Fortunately for us and we thank God, we were able to record successes, which today are the major significant achievements that we can say we have scored in terms of restructuring our country, especially in fiscal federalism and devolution of power,” he said.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi also at the event said, “The path to nationhood rests on what I will call the essence of governance, which is creating opportunities for the citizenry to thrive, to realise their potential in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.”
Kaduna Governor Nasir Elrufai also at the event said restructuring should center around reform and improvement of national efficiency. According to him, it is important also to a conducive political growth.
“Restructuring should be about the reform and improvement of our national efficiency. Reforming our governance structures is a crucial part of making our political system conducive to the pace of growth and development that our country needs.
“Along with better structures, fitted and efficiency and devolving responsibilities to the level of government best able to handle them, we must also invest in constructing a new national consensus and adapt our attitude to hold the values that enhance us all,” El-rufai said.
Dignitaries at the event described the celebrant, Akande as a notable Yoruba leader that kept up the values of selflessness, an attribute they said he imbibed form late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige.