Deputy President of the Nigeria Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called for a faster consensus building towards entrenching true fiscal federalism in Nigeria so as not to endanger the nation’s future.
Senator Ekweremadu made the call in Asaba today while delivering a keynote address at the Second Anniversary Lecture of the Fifth Assembly of the Delta State House of Assembly.
The Deputy President of the Senate said views were personal, noted that a federating arrangement where the federating units depend on funds from the centre for survival was a drawback on both democracy and national development.
He regretted that while fiscal federalism and enhanced resource control had continued to reoccur in the constitution amendment efforts since 1999, they had always failed to garner the requisite support needed to scale through due to embedded fears.
Senator Ekweremadu, however, noted that “the fear of fiscal federalism is unfounded since every state of the federation, without exception, has more than enough to be self-reliant and economically buoyant”.
He said: “We must come to terms with the fact that democracy alone is not enough to prosper a nation, unless there is a suitable system of political union capable of harnessing and unleashing the potentials of such a country.
“We must not jettison the wisdom of our founding fathers who saw in federalism in true federalism the best promise towards harnessing the blessings of our vast territories and the diversities of our endowments and people for national development”
Ekweremadu warned that Nigeria must urgently begin to think beyond oil money to escape the setbacks associated with the dwindling volume of oil imports by major consumers like the United States of America, the emergence of new oil and gas nations, and the eventual dry up of the oil.
“Experience the world over shows that oil wealth and free money do not necessarily prosper a nation, but hard work, determination, resourcefulness, good and visionary governance as well as tax-paying citizens that hold governments accountable do”, Senator Ekweremadu asserted.