The first African President of the International Geographical Union, Professor Akin Mabogunje has declared that the present political situation in the country occasioned by agitations from various quarters for restructuring or secession is no doubt a resemblance of what led to the first military coup on January 15th 1966.
Mabogunje who was the first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences however lamented that despite various reforms, policies and amendments by successive governments including the military to get the country on track, all the factors both remote and immediate causes that led to the collapsed of the first republic have again surfaced and manifesting.
He spoke in Ibadan on Saturday at the first Seminal Series 2017 of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) under the theme “Prebendalism and the Nigerian Project: Reflections of Democracy and Development since 2015”.
He said “I think the people should start thinking on how we can come out of this quagmire, because it is like that of 1966 when people are thinking of how to get out of the Nigeria project”.
Mabogunje who is also the Chairman, ISGPP Governing Board while speaking with journalists then suggested a true federalism characterised by justice, equity and fairness.
He said “Our political leaders negotiated the terms of our being together and it was also fiscal, that was when they decided that if any mineral was discovered in any region, the region takes 50 percent of the royalty, 30 percent was put to what was called a distributable poll share across the country to even development and only 20 percent was to the federal and the federal in those days have specify functions.
“When they decided in 1969 to pass the petroleum decree which take all the royalty from oil to the federal, they then started all these rascalities wanting to pay state, for local government and that is where we are still are.
“And that what change our federalism from being a true federalism to really a unitary federalism because state government became lazy.
“As I said Awolowo government really taxed us, they taxed petroleum, entertainment to raise money for free primary education and it raised the capitation tax from 6 pens to 10 and six and there were riot in some areas, now all of that, no government is telling us what they want to do and why we should pay tax and as long as we are not paying tax, then we are not citizen and it is when citizens pay tax that they can ask their government what it has done with the tax”.
“We are now depending on oil and it is awoof, there is no citizen in Nigeria, just free money and they can steal it”.
Speaking why he is joining the league of eminent Nigerians that are calling for true federalism, Mabogunje said,
“Absolutely, because if the people in Rivers, to construct a kilometre of road is about six times, so if they do so 50 percent, they will improve their area, but as long as we are giving them, they too are stealing, so everybody is stealing because if is awoof money”.
“Somebody used the world injustice, as long as there is quota system, federal character and these are injustice.
“If a child can take an exam from Ogun State and scored 280 and you say that they should take a child from Nassarawa who scored 180, that is not even helping him because he is not been made to strive, so what we are having in Nigeria is a government being run ny the 3rd eleven where in fact a good country is run by its 1st eleven. Yes and everybody is concerned on how the country should go”.