'Nigerian Constitution Our Problem'

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A lawmaker representing Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 1, Dayo Fafunmi, has said that the country can only become one of the world’s economies in 2020 if its constitution is reviewed to favour development.

The former Chairman, House Committee on Infrastructure, said one of the ways to strengthen the constitution is to give more powers to the state and allow each state to develop at its own pace.

“The only problem holding us back as a nation has to do with our laws.

“Before the civil war, we had regions which developed at their own pace, but after the war, power was given to the centre while the states were weakened.

“Now, the states which were carved out of the regions, depend on the centre. I see the constitution as a hindrance, because it has stopped us from practising true federalism.

“State governments should be allowed to use the resources in such states for the advancement of their people with a view to developing them.

“Look at the law on power for example, you cannot generate, transmit or distribute as a state. If a state like Lagos is allowed to do that, there would be growth.

“The rate of development in Tanzania, for example, cannot be compared to Nigeria because the kind of government they operate has assisted them. But here, we all look up to the federation account and this has made some states lazy as they have refused to look inwards to see how they could generate revenue internally.

“If Lagos was not denied of its allocation, I am sure our internally generated revenue would not be where it is today. Let Lagos have the autonomy to generate and distribute power and you will see what would become of the state in few years time,” he said.

According to Fafunmi, who recently travelled to Malaysia for a conference alongside some of his colleagues, Nigeria is only scratching the ground when compared to that country in terms of advancement.

He said Malaysia, which depends majorly on revenue from oil palm imported from Nigeria in the 1970s, is not a consuming economy like Nigeria.

According to him, “we need to accept defeat and confess we have not done well and then start working. We must shy away from our pecuniary gains and that is when we would be prepared to grow.”