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*Insists on devolution of powers as solution
By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo
SENATOR Christopher Ekpenyong, respresenting Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district, in Akwa Ibom State has said return to a regional system of government, would not solve the problems plaguing Nigeria.
Ekpenyong who made the assertion during an interview on Friday in Uyo, said instead what would solve the country’s challenges is devolving powers from the central government to the State and local government levels .
He explained that so much concentration of power and responsibilities at the central government had been responsible for slow pace of development at the second and third tiers of government over the years.
He stressed that Nigeria would have developed beyond where it is today if states and local government areas were allowed to manage certain responsibilities such as construction roads construction, as well as manage their own resources as it is practiced in all developed countries of the world.
His words, “I don’t support the idea that we should return to the regional government model. That cannot be possible, because you cannot go now and collapse all the Southeast states with the South South states as a regional government.
“What some of us are saying is, allow the states, local governments the independence to develop by themselves. And what that means is that as more, powers, responsibility is shifted to lower levels of government, the revenue sharing formula will also change, with more money given to States and Local governments.
“And I strongly believe that when states and local governments have more funds, it would translate to more development at both levels.
That is why some of us are saying devolve power from the federal to State and local governments.
“It would help each of the states to develop at their own pace, and also discourage over reliance on oil. Devolution powers would also brings government closer to the people. The advantages cannot be over-emphasized.
“And I want to add that when we are saying that Nigeria should be restructured or powers devolve from the central government, we are not saying dismember Nigeria. I believe in the unity of Nigeria because it is the only country we have for now”
Senator Ekpenyong, however, expressed concern over insecurity ravaging all sections of the country and prayed that the new Service chiefs would perform to the expectation of Nigerians.