Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has lamented the sharp division between the youth over the current clamour for restructuring of the country adding that restructuring would not only reduce corruption but create the avenue whereyouth unemployment could be tackled effectively across the nation.
Ekweremadu spoke while delivering a lecture at the 3rd Adada Lecture Series at the Princess Alexandria Auditorium of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, yesterday. The theme of the lecture was “Restructuring and the Nigerian Youth,” under the auspices of the Association of Nsukka Professors, ANP.
He said for example, that restructuring of the police into local government, state and federal structures would massively reduce unemployment as each of the three- tiers would recruit their own officers pointing out that the process would also reduce crime to the barest minimum. According to him, some universities in developed countries had their own police force the man their campuses, how much more a state or local government in the country. “The sad truth is that our youth are not only very sharply divided on the subject of restructuring along ethnic, sectional, and political lines, but that quite a lot of them have lost faith in the country and the great possibilities that lie ahead if we work at it.
We have every reason to worry because the youth represent our future and also constitutes majority of the Nigeria population “What is restructuring? What do the youth stand to gain from a restructured Nigeria? What are the challenges to the quest for restructuring? What should be the roles of the youth in this struggle for a united, better, and prosperous federation? These are few issues I would like to highlight within available time. Importantly, we broke the covenant of our fathers promulgating the unitary decree, 1966.
“Although the late General Aguiyi Ironsi probably saw it as the best way to hold together a deeply divided nation following the events leading to the coup and the coup itself, it turned out to be one of the worst political decisions in Nigeria’s history. It was a recipe for disaster as it eventually proved in a matter of six months. “Although the counter coup of July 1966 was, among other things purportedly based on the need to correct the General Ironsi’s misadventure, the military gang that overthrew him as well as subsequent regimes progressively and deliberately corrupted the architectural design and foundations laid the founding fathers, leading to the violence to the federal principles of government.
“The results have been evidently disastrous on every front. The steady decline of the nation; the comatose state of our economy; the decrepit socio-economic infrastructure; the high foreign debt profile that compromise the present and mortgage the future; the insecurity in the land; the recurring restiveness and separatist agitations in parts of the country; and our broken educational system, to name a few, have proven to us that a child can neither be wiser than the father. “As we say in Igbo land, what an elder sees sitting under the tree, the child cannot see, even if that child perches on the top of a giant Iroko tree.
“So, restructuring the police system means to go back to a decentralized policing sanctioned the founding fathers and which works for a federal system, especially a vast and heterogeneous one like ours. The implication of this is that it will create direct jobs for the youth because states, for instance will recruit young men and women to form state police. “Lives and properties and businesses will also be safer. That will translate to more businesses and foreign investments, which will in turn create jobs and opportunities for our teeming youth population. “Currently, no state government can run its own power infrastructure or build, own and operate an airport, or build and operate and run and railway,” among others, if they are placed on the Concurrent List instead of the Exclusive List.
“We have power situation, poor aviation infrastructure and systems, and decrepit and seriously underdeveloped railway because the Federal Government has become a dog in the manager, unable to provide those services it has amassed, yet not allowing the federating units to participate. “The Constitution Alteration Bill No. 3 2017 in the current constitution amendment process tried to deal with the issue of developing more power to the states. It sought to alter the Second Schedule, part I and II of the 1999 constitution to transfer certain items such as railway, aviation, stamp duties, and power to the Concurrent Legislative List give more legislative powers to states. It also sought to delineate the extent to which the federal legislature and state assemblies can legislate on the items that have been moved to the Concurrent Legislative List. Unfortunately, it did not muster the required number of votes to pass.
But we still revisit it. “However, if we restructure the Legislative Lists and have the Federal Government concentrate on issues such as foreign policy, defense, immigration and customs, monetary policy, and allow the states to exercise more powers, the federating units will be empowered to mobilize local and international recourses and partnership to revamp the economy. “If that happens, the industries will bounce back, business will spring up and there will be employment for the youth. Youth entrepreneurs will also have powers and other basic socio-economic infrastructure to excel in their various endeavors and also create jobs for others