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Minister tackles govs over true federalism

Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu has urged state governors advocating for true federalism to set example in their states by conducting democratic local government elections just as he accused them of demanding for true federalism only for financial reasons.

Shittu made these remarks as guest speaker on “Psychology and The Change Agenda,” an event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, on Friday.

“A lot of people have been talking of true federalism. But it is always a problem when you ask them to define what true federalism is. The question I ask is, what is the definition of true federalism. What are the expectations? A lot of times, they talk about the fact that the federal government takes more money from the federation account.”

“I want to say, with due respect, to most of our state governors, particularly those who continue to agitate for true federalism. What better example would they have laid in their various states? It is unfortunate particularly if you look at the manipulation of the local government system in our land. You will discover that local governments are neither local nor are they government.”

“State governments refuse to conduct local government election which will make the local government councils really autonomous. But here you find out that they always appoint the so-called caretaker committees for cynical motives of strangulating the local government system. A lot of times, most resources of local governments are completely controlled by state governments. They should first lay the example in their states before asking for more funds under the guise of what they call true federalism,” Shittu said.

Speaking on the theme of the event, he urged the Nigeria Psychological Association to bring up new ideas that would improve governance in the country, especially the implementation of the change agenda.

“Psychologists are well placed to explain behaviour, describe behaviour, predict behaviour and control behaviour. Therefore, psychologists can effectively work with other professionals, scientists and change agents to bring about the positive change that we all seriously yearn for in Nigeria today,” Shittu added.

In his keynote address, Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Dr Rotimi Adelola called for true federalism noting that there was too much money at the centre.

Calling for a change in the current structure of the nation, Adelola, especially, remarked that the federal government was holding the jugular of development across the country by taking the largest chunk of money from the federation account.

Furthermore, Adeola charged the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to engage psychologists in the implementation of the change agenda noting that the change agenda which demanded a change in human behaviour was psychological.

Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Gbemisola Oke, charged psychologists to conduct research into the differing behaviour of Nigerians across climes for the nation to move forward.

The list of personalities at the event included, President, Nigerian Psychological Association, Professor Andrew Zamani; Dean, Faculty of the Social Sciences, Professor Samuel Jegede; Head, Department of Psychology, Professor Benjamin Ehigie; and, Professor H. O. Osinowo.