Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Amaechi, has advised the Federal Government that the country would only overcome the present security challenges rocking the nation if it operates within the context of true federalism.
He made the disclosure while delivering a paper entitled: To your tent oh Israel: Democratic Governance and Security Challenges in Nigeria, at the second distinguished guest lecture, organised by the Department of Mass Media and Writing, Pan African University in Lagos State yesterday. Amaechi, who is the governor of Rivers State, stated that true federalism would guarantee the rights of all the component members of the federation, adding that it would also give the government opportunity to face the more serious threats of national security.
According to him, “a revision of legislative lists to favour states and local governments, would mean not only that more resources were made available at the grassroots where the people live but also more responsibility was placed in the hands of those closer to the people to guarantee the security of lives and property – a more realistic expectation that then would give the Federal Government the space to face the more serious threats of national security.
“One of the fears often expressed when the matter of fiscal federalism is discussed is the distribution of resources to cater for the weaker states. This should not be a matter for worry as the principle of fiscal equalization, where provision is made to guarantee the development of economically weaker states while ensuring that resource rich states benefit from their resources guarantees fairness.
“Security goes beyond military and Para-military issues. Health, food, environmental, political and economic security are all parts of a nation’s security systems. In the context of a weak economy and rising unemployment, violence has been democratized with an army of young men and women being forced to provide an illegitimate economy for themselves, where the state has failed to provide them with a legitimate means of survival, he said.”
Amaechi, however, maintained that the ability of political leaders to exhibit gallantry in defeat and grace in victory would help to stabilize the polity in the country. Political leaders, he said, must learn to put out rather than fan the embers of discord and sectional sentiments. Focus must be on Nigeria as a whole and personal aggrandizement and self-interest must be subsumed in the bigger goal of national unity, peace and security, he added.
“The apparent display of wealth by the leadership, pitched against the gnawing poverty among the generality of Nigerians has led to growing sentiments of injustice providing ready fuel for those who want to manipulate all kinds of sentiments, whether ethnic or religious,” he disclosed.
While describing the media as an ombudsman or a gadfly of democracy, Amaechi enjoined media practitioners not to desist from continually holding the light for the rest of Nigerians to interrogate the leadership principles, practices and political stance at all times. He warned that if the nation failed, the mass media would share in the blame with the politicians and technocrats.