By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – A Lagos lawmaker, Mr Tunde Braimoh, on Wednesday said the 8th National Assembly should write its name in gold by approving devolution of powers in the country.
Braimoh, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Publicity and Strategy, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The Senate and House of Representatives had rejected the proposal for devolution of powers in the constitutional amendment process, drawing the ire of many.
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, had, however, explained thereafter that the rejection was not the end-of-the-road for the clause in the amendment.
Saraki said he was optimistic that if re-presented for voting, it might scale through.
The Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has also said there would be a push for the issue to be revisited in the lower chamber in September.
Braimoh said that devolution of more powers to component units remained the most needed amendment to bring about Nigeria of everybody’s dream.
He said: “We are just paying lip service to restructuring in Nigeria. When you are talking of devolution of power, you are talking of restructuring as per allocation of resources and derivation.
“This is an opportunity for the senate to write its name in gold. If they leave the states and the Federal Government the way they are, nothing would have been achieved at the end of the day.
“If the National Assembly does it well, it will change the mode of the polity. It will tinker with the economy and jump-start all the system.
“A lot of things will come up to provide succour for the populace from this strangulating economic situation.
“If the National Assembly allows the devolution of powers to component units, it would improve the economy and the states and the local governments can do better.”
According to him, there is a need for decongestion of powers from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to transform the country.
“When we were having regional government in Nigeria, the regions were able to develop because it was from the region to the federal.
“At a point, there was nothing to the federal, later they were giving 35 per cent to the federal.
“Now, they are allocating about 75 per cent to the Federal Government, even 100 per cent in some cases, especially during the military era. We are not practising true federalism,” he said.
Braimoh said that in the United States of America, for example, even local governments control airports.
The lawmaker said that proper development would not come if more power was not devolved to states.
He urged state Houses of Assembly to push for devolution of powers whenever the proposed amendments get to them for consent. (NAN)