Nigeria at 60: We must allow states to manage their affairs —Prelate Mbang

By Chioma Onuegbu

Uyo—THE Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Sunday Mbang, has said that Nigeria must be restructured by allowing states to manage their affairs and resources.

Mbang in Uyo, while responding to question on how Nigeria has fared at 60 years of independence, stressed that Nigerians have been deceiving themselves with the unitary structure that was brought by the military.

He said, “We have not arrived there yet. And the number one sickness of Nigeria is Nigerians themselves. The second sickness is the structure of Nigeria. We’ve been deceiving ourselves with the unitary structure that was brought by the military. We must leave the military philosophy completely.

“When I was a young man when the colonial masters were here before they left us, the regions were looking after themselves. We were the Eastern region then and all the palm fruits we had, we sold ourselves, not the Federal Government. Then the West had the Cocoa house. They no longer have the Cocoa house, because we are now running a unitary government.

“The unitary system of government is what is killing Nigeria, so we must restructure Nigeria and allow states to manage their affairs. It annoys me to see that every month, the representative of the governors go to stand in the line to collect money from the Federal Government. It never happens anywhere, only in Nigeria.”

The Prelate Emeritus regretted that Nigeria had copied the presidential system of America but still fails to do one-third of what the system stands for, stressing that in a presidential system,  people do their  things, and the Federal Government ‘is a very thin thing.’

He questioned why the Federal Government must be involved in the security of the states, agricultural sector among others.

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“The thing that they have done now to deceive all of you is community policing. Is it going to be managed by the people around the area? These are the questions I ask. Community policing is one of the deceits we are having in Nigeria today. I don’t believe in it and it is not going to work.

“What is Federal Government doing in agriculture in the states, roads? That is why you see most of the roads are not fixed because they are being fixed from Abuja. So, if we want to copy the presidential system of America, let it be done properly.

“In America, if the president talks of law and the governors say you cannot do that in my state, that is the end of the story. That is a presidential system. Can the governors disagree with the president here in Nigeria? They cannot.

“So we need to restructure Nigeria and face the fact that states should pay tax to the Federal Government. That is the number two problem of Nigeria. I have talked of the citizens, I have talked of structure, now, the third one is politicians. Nigeria politicians must understand that politics is for service, it is not for them to be rich.

“At 60,  we are still struggling to find who will lead us well. And when you have a corrupt, bad system, all you are going to introduce are corrupt, bad people, unless you have a person once in a while that comes in and try to do things well. Of course, the corrupt system will never allow him to do well,” Mbang added.


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