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Achieving Bloodless Federalism: Babatunde Ogala Esq.

Babatunde Ogala Esq wrote.....

"I have often told those who care to listen to even define what they mean by restructuring and there is no answer.

What I understand it to mean is that we operate a truly federal system of government where every component part control their resources,  have their domestic laws, have their own police, legal system, their own tax systems etc.

 Let us adopt the USA model. USA practices federalism.

It is totally different from the call  for  cannibalisation of the country.
Restructuring or federalism howsoever called is not the same as secession.

Suffice to say that when Lagos State Government took the federal government to the Supreme Court several times to insist on the practice of federalism from control of physical planning, local government to administration that led to the withholding of Lagos State revenue allocation, to issue of land abutting the waterways, control of  inland waters, VAT, and many other issues , those states and zones  where the call for restructuring are loudest today sadly all opposed the position of LASG at the Supreme Court on the alter of politics.

LASG won 12 of such cases against the FG at the Supreme Court. That was the beginning of some elements of federalism and restructuring without call to war or secession.

I recall that I had to lead speak on behalf of LASG in the company of  Dr  Akeem Olajide Bello , then an adviser to the  governor on Legal matters  at the Senate hearing on Inland waterways and made a robust presentation for state control of Inland Waterways  on behalf of Laogs State .

A top ranking Senator from Enugu State was the most vociferous opponent of our position. He even said publicly at the hearing that  Lagos State was being too cantankerous and asked if Lagos was the only coastal state with waterways in the country. This is a man whose state rivers could be of economic benefits to his state and people .

I educated him before his colleagues and the public in fine and polite language that he was not fit to be a Senator. I also recall telling him that if he and his state dont t know the rights of his people in their state, we in Lagos did .

I asked him if he was proud that by the National inland Waterways Authority Law his people in Enugu state will need to travel to lokoja to obtain licences to own and operate fishing canoes on the river
I felt he was very disappointing and was betraying his people.

The senator sought to be Governor and is today one of the major voices and sponsors of secession and restructuring mixed up.

Lagos State House of assembly subsequently repealed the National Inland Waterways Authority Act and promulgated the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority Act and took control of the Lagos Lagoon.
There were objections and protest from such bodies like the Nigerian Ports Authority and NIWA.
Lagos called their bluff and challenged them to go to court.
Lagos used the instrumentality of the law, legislature and intellect to take its destiny in its hands and assert it's rights.

It was the series of litigation by LASG that has now effectively handed physically planning and land ownership back to the states. Before then, the FG was giving planning permits for buildings in places like Banana Island and Osborne Foreshore and in many states of the country on lands that they called federal land.
Before then the FG was issuing certificates of Occupancy on land in the states.
Before then the FG owned all lands that were within 100 metres from the shore including the palace of the Oba of Lagos

Before then, FG had absolute control over even water streams and rivers in the villages and states.

Before then FG had land registries in the states.

Before then, the FG acquired land in states without resort to the FG.

LASG also insisted and took over collection of wharf landing fees from all the ports in Lagos.
Lagos took over adverts income from FG on what they call Federal Highways in Lagos.

Let all states put on their thinking caps and use the law, legislature , judiciary, intellectual power to achieve the control of their destinies and resources and not by beating drums of war and secession .
It shouldn't be by force or might.

Let's use our brains and intellectual resources to achieve federalism. "

1 comment:

  1. Illuminating piece that'll address ethnic discontent within Nigeria without unnecessarily heating up the polity.

    ReplyDelete